The 555 bus route is hardcore but my bladder is not

It is a bad sign when I can’t cope with a picturesque ride into the Lake District. It is a worse sign when I am by far the youngest person and can’t quite hack it. To be fair it is a trifle warm.

The 555 is a double decker bus that rocks serenely into Lancaster Bus Station about Every So Often  O Clock and I glimpse it out of the corner of my wild eyes as I shuffle to the Co-op opposite to buy nappies or stale foul donuts to feed my family with.

The 555 bus ride of promise; spritely octogenerians with stout brown footwear and ruddy cheeks and sensible lunches chortle to each other whilst clutching their Daily Mail and heading into a landscape of poetry and beauty.

I have always yearned  to go on it like I yearn to do anything I think I won’t do but today I am at a loose end, the child is at his childminders, I am on holiday, the house needs immediate attention and many boringly important things need to be done.

I get on the 555.

My chest is pounding as I pay for my pleasingly priced £10.30 Day Explorer. I know now why people take such terrible risks and get beheaded in Pakistan. It is the fear and excitement of doing something exciting!

‘ Bit busy today, int it? Going to be at least ten minutes late into Milnthorpe,’ says someone in her at least seventies next to me.

I feel slightly less exotic.

But the Lake District awaits! The pure delight in getting value for money means I will go to Keswick, have a brilliant poetic arty time, maybe be a muse to someone, paint some watercolours, get discovered, sleep with lots of fellow artists whilst being feted and then loathed by the press and on the way back after having a wee, stop off in Ambleside and have as brilliant a time as can be had in a place that just sells unflattering walking boots for an inflated price and then Kendal for artisan bread and a well deserved drink on the way back home. Oh, what a day will be had!


By the time we slowly drove to Carnforth, five miles on, I was hot and bored and slightly sick from attempting to read.


Twenty minutes on and Cumbria is constantly  throwing old carved signs on houses swirlily saying ‘built in 1610’  at the slightly sickly viewer in a 555 as if to say, ‘ you’re not even on a carriage, you fucking lightweight.’


I am yearning for a footpad at this point to be fair to brighten up the stupidly relentlessly bucolic journey and stop me thinking about my bladder.


I try and seek salvation in staring fixatedly at badly tanned men in their mid sixties with their tops off standing in front of their well proportioned and individually named bungalows and pointing to something in a neighbouring garden in an angry way to someone I can’t see from my vantage point.

I want a wee.

I am bored of bunting. I am bored of fields. I am bored of people on the bus pointing at fields.

I get off at Kendal and feel the shame.

It is akin to a member of Guns and Roses being given a pint of Guiness by a fan in Dublin then getting drunk on it and being sick. Not cool.


But I really really need a wee.


My day is however made by a chance eavesdrop in a charity shop.

‘What size is that dress in the window?’


‘It’s a 14 love.’

‘Ooh, I’m a size 14, may I try it on please?’


‘Hmm (looks woman up and down) It’s a small 14, I’m a size 14 but you have far bigger boobs than me. See?’


(The whole charity shop as one turns around to see)

I think the dress might well still be in the window. And rather than get the 555 back, I made a phonecall with the dying embers of my mobile phone and went back in a car like someone from the future.

2 Responses to “The 555 bus route is hardcore but my bladder is not”

  • narf7 Says:

    Love the insight in to Northern life…a perfect reminder to me of my most sensible decision to stay in Australia and let Steve move here…I might get him to read your posts so he never wants to go back ;)

  • cyberfairy Says:

    But… but…there are vegetarian wholefood cafes here! And freezing rain and penetrating damp and tea rooms run by cross old women who smoke a lot!

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