Mad Scientess Jane Expat
Over holidays and when the schools are at half-term, I opt to take the "slow" bus to Hammersmith Station. The slow bus has the advantage of stopping nearly outside my front door. The disadvantage is that when school is in session, it can take up to half an hour to cover the last three-quarters of a mile to Hammersmith. Most days, I find the walk to catch the "fast" bus is much shorter. The fast bus has the disadvantage of being tediously, predictably, packed with harassed-looking people in suits who are in such a damned hurry they don't bother to say sorry when they've bashed your knees with their briefcases.
My favourite part of the slow bus is the ride through the narrow, winding streets of Barnes. There are no official bus stops along this route. People flag down the bus when they want to board, and many of the drivers and passengers know one another by name. Even unfamiliar passengers thank the driver when they disembark because it seems rude not to do so. It feels very much like being in a country village, except we're in the middle of London.
Two elderly people got on the slow bus today. First, a tiny old woman with beautifully coiffed white hair and sparkling eyes hopped jauntily on. With a cane. I've never seen someone move in so sprightly a manner whilst using a cane. Second, an old man in a flat cap and tweed jacket boarded, cackling gleefully, presumably because he was happy to be alive. He struck up a lively conversation with the little old woman. Through it, all the other passengers learned today is her 86th birthday. The sultry brunette in the seat in front of me impulsively leaned over and said, "What's your secret?"
Mischievous Old Lady asked, "What do you mean, dear?"
Sultry Brunette said, "You look so young, so good. How do you do it?"
Mischievous Old Lady grasped her arm. Looking from my smiling face to Sultry Brunette's, she replied, "Two things, dear. Oil of Olay, and not worrying about what the men think."