The Original Commute

I’ve just got on the bus, a mixture of being caught up later than expected at work and being timing ideal as it arrived at the same time as I was passing the bus stop. Rude not to take it, and it gives me a moment to reflect on today’s writing prompt around the good old days.

The commute back in high school was quite a convoluted affair before my sister started the same school.  One week I might be catching a lift with a teacher, the next I might have a bus pass. Both required a mile and a half hike at each end of the day. There was one solid period though where I would take my bike on the train. Trains were fitted with huge parcel bays (not like today) where you could stash your bike and not worry about there being a space. I remember them being dark and dirty, the guard would usually sit in there.   Sometimes the nice one, other times the grumpy one who couldn’t wait to shout at you for the smallest misdemeanour.

The journey from the train station on my bike to school was a fast 5 – 10 mins downhill in the way and if you timed it right you could get across a roundabout without stopping. Back the way was a painfull 20 mins uphill cycle. School finished at 15.50 and the train left at 16:07. You can imagine my state of mind as the bell rang, I’d be high tailing it out of there and cycling at top speed….usually to be greeted with the horn of a train leaving the station. I’d be praying for the train to be late leaving and most the time I’d have to wait for the 17:07.

The cycle home from the train was quick and painless apart from the time I went over the handle bars (another story) and the time the police stopped me because the batteries had gone on my lights (the days before LEDs and good rechargeables!). Come to think of it the time I came over my handle bars was the time I was turning my lights on whilst cycling!

Tea time was a mixed affair, If I’d come home to an empty house it would be my job to start the tea, either pork chops or fish fingers under the grill with usually chips or potatoes. My job would be to start the potatoes by peeling them. Dad would buy the big sacks of potatoes. I remember the smell as I opened the sack and peered in trying to grab the potatoes that were going to be easiest and quickest to peel. Most were covered in mud and you could never tell if you were getting the odd rotten one out, which to hold was pretty grizzly. Getting new potatoes was a real treat….but came with a different technique of peeling. Dad was a great believer in scraping the skins off!

Nice to be taken back to simpler times. Getting myself to and from school in the country was a simple affair, no smart phones and no texting. If things had really gone badly there was a call box at the station and I’d be in big trouble if I didn’t use it!

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