Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Wednesday Words: The Free Bus

A lesson in Welsh

In August last year we were on holiday down in Tenby and had taken a rather eventful boat trip. It took a long time for us to get on the said boat after buying our tickets. Instead of taking a seal safari cruise, we decided to check out the other boat trip offered, which was an island cruise, taking in Caldey Island (home to a lighthouse, a cottage you can hire for the week, and a monastery), St Catherine's Island and generally hanging out at sea. Several delayed timeslots due to weather, three hours later we finally made the boat.

After going on a river cruise down the Hudson in New York a few years previous I knew I had terrible sea legs (I felt so sick I ate an entire huge bag of Percy Pigs which I'd brought with me from home as I watched a family of five sat across from me eat their way through corn dogs, popcorn and nachos before washing it down with bottles of Coke bigger than my head) but after the thrill of the seal safari, in which we sped at a million miles an hour on the speed boat I actually felt okay for once and was willing to do it again.

Well, I wasn't expecting the boat to almost capsize, was I? I'd noticed that it was a fairly cloudy day but still pleasant enough to not wear a coat. Except when you're on a boat of course. Always wear a coat on a boat. That's sound, rhyming advice, that is. The water was a bit choppy but nothing to write home about, until of course, we headed past Caldey, looking at the beautiful secluded beach, watching a few people setting up a picnic and camping chairs on the sand. I snapped several photos of the island until the boat began to rock up and down in a scary fashion. A few of the teenage girls opposite us with their father shrieked. The two little boys writing postcards to their classroom sweethearts stopped messing about and sat up straight.

Me, and my family on the other hand got a nice bit of spray on our backs. Lovely. As we carried on, the captain (a tiny dog sat on top of the boat) barked, surprised. The water got worse as we carried on, and the boat moved about like a seesaw, spray getting wilder, hysteria from the teenagers getting louder. Thankful for the lifejackets in the large iron box in the middle of the boat, I grabbed the rope handle and hung on for dear life. Once we'd found a peaceful spot I managed to pack away my camera (MY BABY!!!!) which I was fretting about more than myself. The real captain announced over the tannoy that we would be turning around and going back to shore as it was much too dangerous to attempt the rest of the hour and a half tour. But it made the tour last at least an hour and I think we were more than grateful to find our feet on the warm sand again.

After walking up the hill from the beach we were too tired and queasy to contemplate the short walk to the centre of town. So you can imagine our delight at finding a free bus parked at the top of the hill.

"Shall we give it a go?" I asked my family as we approached the mini bus.

Upon asking the fairly loud driver if we could board the bus, he laughed (loudly) and shouted, "Sure, come on in!" - we boarded and I instinctively got my purse out and asked the man, "How much is the bus?"

There was a slight pause, before the bus driver announced with a straight face, "It's a fiver, sweetheart."

I then stupidly went into my purse looking for money, which made the bus driver absolutely crease up laughing. "Don't be daft! It's a free bus! Come on in, love." I sat down as the rest of my family were laughing, which in turn set me off. The bus driver unwinds his window and reaches for something before producing a shiny sign.
"Here you go, darling, then your friends 'ere can take your photo so you can show yer mates!" laughed the man, gesturing at my family to take a photo of me holding the sign. Of which there were loads. I could not stop laughing.

Advice duly noted from our afternoon of fail boats and free buses? A free bus is always free. And you should always, always wear a coat on a boat.

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Wednesday Words is my new attempt at writing a little bit every Wednesday, documenting untold stories from my life and some of my own personal embarrassing moments.

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