I’ve been on the bus for maybe 8 mins and I’ve just thought to check my phone. It’s been in the bottom of my bag for the morning, underneath tubes of dye, hand cream, a camera and all sorts of odds and ends. I’ve been sitting reading the second Game of Thrones book – A Clash of Kings – it’s taking me a lot longer than the first because I’ve not locked myself in my room for two days this time, so a half hour bus trip, plus the time waiting for it to come, is a good to crack on with trying to finish it. I dug around for my phone as the bus was waiting at the roadworks at the outskirts of town.
There are two texts and an answerphone message – I can’t access the answerphone message, but the texts tell me something I really should have checked earlier. My hair appointment, the one I’m on the bus for, has been cancelled. Bugger, I’m annoyed but there’s not a lot that can be done.
I’ve decided to get off at the next stop, which is the village of Farthinghoe. I’ve been through it millions of times but I don’t think I’ve actually set foot there. That seems odd to me, so I’ll take this opportunity to take a look around. I walk past the hedge and take some photos of the allotment behind it. I’ve been taking a series of photos of my walk to work and the countryside changing from Summer to Autumn in front of me and it’s good to have different locations to look at.
At the end of the hedge is a huge oak tree that in all these years I’ve never noticed it. I really don’t know how. It’s easily a few hundred years old. It has acorns sprouting all over it, most of them a vivid green, some beginning to brown and fall to the ground. I take some pictures with bemused looks from locals taking in their bins.
I continue on towards the bus stop, spotting a lion in the school playground.
The churchyard next door has many aging and worn headstones but one stands out in particular. It looks brand new, untouched by age and time, it’s bright and clean. At first I think it must have been recently added. Private —, possibly a casualty of recent wars, but no. It’s actually from a long past one. That headstone has possibly been standing for 67. He was killed in 1945.
I love churchyards and churches. I’m in no way religious, but I love the way that they were created with love, care, skill and attention. They are still and peaceful, there is a state of quiet that is hard to find elsewhere. I take some time looking around reading the headstones because I feel that they are there to remember someone who was loved. Reading them continues on the remembrance.
The bus shouldn’t be long, I continue onto the bus stop, it’s wooden and set back from the road, a good amount of shelter. I sit down, taking out my book to continue where I left off. A small movement in the corner of my eye makes me look up, it’s too distracting to try and keep on reading. I move the small brown spider from the sleeve of my coat to rest on the bench. I don’t think it wants to come all the way home with me. I look down again as an old man approaches the bus stop. He has black shoes held together with black electrical tape, holding in dark thick, woolly socks. Baggy black corduroy trousers, a shirt and jacket with some sort of button pinned to the lapel.
“Are you waiting for the bus?” he asks me.