I decided to go it alone today with one of the very few things I qualify for with my new found disability – my bus pass. I wanted to see Hastings where the great battle of 1066 was. At first this seemed an easy feat, I checked my Traveline App, it said 0917am or 1017am from the bottom of the drive, having learnt from a previous experience with aforementioned App which was 9 minutes out, I double checked online. 0918, 1008am, 1018am and 1118am was what it said. The App was out again, so feeling smug that this time I wouldn’t be caught out decided that 0918 was too early and 1118 was too late so, I got there at 1005 to give myself two chances to get to Hastings and not lose face in front of my chums of not being able to read a bus timetable correctly. I found the stop and a passerby told me I had just missed one 10 minutes ago. Hmm, now beginning to ever so slightly not feel smug, as realisation dawned that this did not correlate with any of the information I had found out. Surely both the app and the Internet couldn’t be wrong? It soon became evident that neither the 1008 nor the 1018 were appearing either. There was a sign up which said due to the Sea Defences work and road closures there would be disruption but it only detailed alternative buses for up to 830am or after 5pm. Didn’t help me now! Luckily, I got chatting with 3 or 4 older people there and together we all supported each other at the bus stop whilst we tried to establish if another bus was actually going to come past soon. As naturally happens in a group situation we all started to develop roles to get to the bottom of the problem. One lady went into a nearby shop to ask for any information, I tried to ring Traveline who told me it was 1018 or 1118 and to ring StageCoach, another couple stood and waited complaining gently how there was no information and it was all a bit rubbish, I then rang Stagecoach and Traveline had given me the wrong number so had to try again and was promptly put on hold. Until a lovely lady in a green hat arrived and confidently told us a bus would be here at 1055. Not taking any chances I remained on hold until the bus did arrive at 1055!
It was great to now be on my way to Hastings, however, it turns out that now, you have to change at Rye to get to Hastings. I couldn’t believe it that was only a few miles away. I got off at Rye and there was a steward telling us it would be another 25minutes to get the connection. I sat down at the stop now getting soaking wet and wondering if I would ever get to my destination today when I found myself next to one of the ladies from the bus stop. She was also going to Hastings to meet her friend for a game of Bingo. She started to tell me her story and we shared tales all the way to the elusive Hastings once the connection finally turned up. She had been a cleaner at a holiday park in Camber which used to be called “The Sands”, it is now called something else. She was very passionate about her job and had worked there for 20 years. She lost her husband 8 years ago but I noticed she still wore her wedding rings. We exchanged stories about our children and places we live. She told me all she could about where the best coffee shop/lunch is in Hastings (Jempsons or M&S) and to get the bus back at a quarter past the hour. I honestly believe that guardian angels are among us and sharing this time with this lady was great and she helped to point me where I needed to go. I was beginning to tire rapidly with the cold and rain and non-existent buses but having her help at that time got me safely to where I wanted to be. I got to Hastings!
It was torrential rain in Hastings, I wasn’t going to be going far due to the weather, the town today doesn’t seem like a most historic battle was fought near here on my birthday 14th October 1066 when William the Conqueror defeated Harold II. In fact after all the rigamarole of getting there, it was a bit of a disappointment. Not sure what I was expecting, maybe some flags or suits of armour or anything battle related. The only thing I saw was a 1066 Bakery! At least somebody made an effort! I had a quick look around the shops and had some lunch in Jepsoms and before I knew it, it was time to return to get the bus back which did turn up at quarter past the hour just like my lady said it would. I was pleased to be homeward bound.
The funniest thing was on the way back I found out that the battle of Hastings wasn’t even at Hastings it was at a place now called Battle! I was in the wrong place anyway!
positive thought: ask and you will receive