Bus Stop - Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
I had some frightful luck with the bus yesterday. I wanted to make as good an impression as I could with Bernard, the gentleman who'd very kindly taken me on as his stone letter carving apprentice. I had pushed the Prince's Foundation for this placement and I'm glad I did. I feel very honoured to be here. To be around and learn from someone who works in a most noble and skilled craft is a source of energy that I will carry with me for a very long time.
I got to the bus stop for 8:00am. I wanted to get a head start on drawing my L's and E's before Bernard arrived. I wanted more practice, wanted to feel the good drug of progress in my veins and the skill in my hands. I wanted to feel the fullest weight of its expression. I wanted to be the one who takes the panorama of the kingdom of language that exists within it. What are you saying, Tom? Does that even mean anything? Take a breathe. Keep it simple. Okay: so in short, I wanted to live in a single letter for an extra hour. But I had to get there first.
Ten or fifteen minutes or so after the bus was due to arrive, we were told by a passerby that it had broken down and had italicised its state of brokendownness by filling with smoke, and that its Emergence From Wherever was left in considerable doubt. In spite of this woman's plummeting faith in public transport and a token disgruntlement of a situation that didn't transcend the borders of the inconvenience it caused her, she may have been secretly thankful of her escape, though as she walked out of the scene I fear I may now never know. So the unseen bus I had intended to board was now decidedly still, and if these accounts were to be believed, and there was no reason why they shouldn't have been, the fated bus would maintain a similar degree of stillness for a while.
So we waited. I thought about it for a while. Even in this technologically advanced age in which we are free to broadcast a picture of our dinner to everyone we've ever met, the only thing anyone can really do in this particular bus-smoking situation is get off as soon as possible and walk. Even for the posh sort - and there are a lot here - it must be a stretch even for them to complain to a driver with a smoking bus as the backdrop. Subsequent passersby provided important eyewitness accounts of the advancing seriousness post-evacuation. "Fire," one woman said as she passed. "The bus is on fire. It was smoking but now it's on fire." I responded in the only way this Englishman knows how. "Gosh," I said.