Please welcome our first guest post, from fellow bus-enthusiast AlisonBeckMusic, about something that definitely doesn’t happen every day…
C10. 7.45pm. Front seat on the left, directly behind the luggage rack.
I was on the final leg of my journey home from an expensive (or successful, depending on how you look at it) shopping trip to Covent Garden.
After a little while, we stopped at Surrey Quays and there was a small flurry of good-natured activity as a middle-aged cockney woman and assorted adult relatives got on the bus, chatting animatedly.
Our heroine – let’s call her Mrs Wall – was the ring-leader of the gang, making sure her pals all got a seat, checking they were OK. Then her phone rang. After a moment she yelped, ‘Oh my days!’
At first I wasn’t listening, honestly. I was knackered, and busy worrying about all the money I’d spent that afternoon. And I was thinking about The Dress that I’d seen. The Dress to End All Dresses. The rarity – an incredibly glamorous frock that covered up all my fat-person lumpy bits and actually made me feel really good. (A nice touch was that it was a size 14 and they’d put it in the ‘extra large’ section – thanks a lot, guys.) The Dress that I couldn’t buy because I’m a struggling musician and it cost £199.
Anyway. So I was feeling really rather glum when I heard our heroine cry out in dramatic tones, ‘Did you say eleven thousand pounds?’
Well! You can bet my ears pricked up at that.
Of course, everyone pretended they weren’t listening in the slightest (this is London after all). But pairs of ears were pricking up all over that bus, I absolutely guarantee you.
Mrs Wall was saying, ‘I don’t – I literally – I don’t – I don’t know what to say!’ You could hear the dawning hope in her voice as she started to believe this was actually happening.
It became apparent that somebody had won money on the National Lottery and was calling to tell her the news.
She said, ‘Of course I believe you! When you tell me something, I believe you. You don’t lie.’
I started making a mental list of what I would spend £11,000 on. Starting with The Dress, followed swiftly by my scary tax bill and a holiday somewhere warm, sun-drenched and exotic. Mmmm…
Back with Mrs Wall, the conversation was taking an intriguing turn as I heard her say, ‘We’ll just have to find a way of seeing the funny side of this.’ Huh?
Then (darkly), ‘I can picture Theresa’s face. I can see it now.’ Was it the face of a much-disliked sister-in-law winning heaps of money that she very likely wasn’t going to share with Mrs Wall? Ho hum.
As the bus was reaching my stop, I started gathering my shopping bags. Mrs Wall was still on the phone, and now it was getting a bit surreal, frankly: ‘I believe you. I’d believe you even if you told me there was a dog on the electoral register.’
I glanced furtively at her as I was getting off the bus. Her shining eyes were so bright they could have lit up half of South London.
I really hope she gets her hands on that £11,000.