Europe 1999 ???????????

A long way from home

It was time to introduce L and the kids to my most legendary relative ever: the sublime UK in the UK: Uncle Kevin. Grandad and Gran drove us over to Chichester, where Kevin and his wife Liz and son Luke live.

Getting over there was a good chance for Isaac and Jeremy to have a good play – one of few good plays on the holiday. Kids need that sort of thing, otherwise they gradually go crazy. And adults need to prevent their kids going crazy to stop themselves going crazy. They revelled in Luke’s toys, both indoors and out, while we adults chatted and drank numerous cups of tea.

Uncle Kevin
The legendary Uncle Kevin
Gran and Grandad
Gran and Grandad enjoy a cuppa

Then Kevin was due to go to work, so we wandered off into the town centre of Chichester, got some lunch and explored the streets, poked around the very impressive cathedral, touched the Roman wall, nosed around the shops, and dodged a small army of charity collectors (no, we can’t make regular contributions to your charity, we don’t have a UK bank account).

Chichester is thankfully home to a very decent Internet Cafe by the railway station, and I spent a few minutes in there catching up on the news and e-mail from home. The machines and connection were fast; heaps better than the dingy place in Croydon that I’d used a couple of days earlier.

Nearby we found the bus station, and we caught a bus back to Bognor Regis. It was single-deck bus which was a shame – I love the idea of riding a double-decker bus through the countryside, but it didn’t seem worth waiting another 15 minutes for that one. Once in Bognor, we proceeded to wander around the shops there, at least those that were open, which wasn’t very many. There wasn’t much choice for dinner either, and we eventually settled on a Kebab place.

It was after 6pm and getting dark, but thankfully Safeway was still open, which meant we avoided the ugly scene of me on my knees, hammering on the door with tears running down my cheeks, pleading for the love of God to be let in to buy some nappies. We trotted in and stocked up on a handful of supplies, then joined the express line – which turned out to be anything but – they should have called it the Snailspace line. But we did eventually get to pay for and wrap up our groceries, and wandered up to the bus stop.

The bus to my grandparents’ house arrived and we got on, with me, the official fare-payer, fumbling with the currency, and failing to notice where to rip the ticket from the dispenser. But the bus driver was sympathetic, and seemed to understand when I told him I was a long way from home.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.