Obviously, I would prefer to catch the first bus. Problem is, it only ran twice a day, middayish and six in the eveningish. The second one ran every hour until about 11pm. So I usually wound up taking that second bus.
So one week, I decided to visit for a weekend. Can't remember which bus I caught there, but that's unimportant. It's the journey back that will stick in my mind forever. I'd decided to stay late and walk to the bus stop. It was a pleasant walk down quiet country roads, twilight falling, and I got to the bus stop with ample time to spare. It was quite late by now. I had a half hour wait for the bus in front of me, plus another half hour journey, but I knew I'd get there in time to catch the last train. So long as I caught this bus.
You can see where this is going, can't you? So, half an hour passes. It's dark now. The bus appears on the horizon. I stand up, step forward and raise my arm. The bus does not appear to be slowing down. I wave my arm. The bus still does not slow down or indicate that it will be pulling into the lay-by. I can see the bus driver look at me. Our eyes meet. The bus does not slow down. I step out onto the edge of the kerb, jump up and down and wave my arms and watch in dismay as the bus passes me by and drives off into the distance.
So, there I am, in the dark, watching the bus that would get me to the station in time for the last train drive away. I don't have enough money for a taxi there. My mother doesn't own a car. Staying with her for another night isn't really an option because I have work in the morning and I'm easily replaceable. And I'd have to walk three miles, in the dark, alone on deserted roads to get there. My only other option is to dash across four lanes of traffic to the pub, call her and cry. Which I do.
Thankfully, she is friends with a local taxi driver and sends him to collect me and deliver me to the train station. Someone buys me a drink while I wait, which helps calm me down a bit, and I eventually get to the train station with two minutes to spare.
My mother puts the taxi fare on her tab. The bus company then pay the tab when she phones them up the next day to give them an epic bollocking. And I never ever catch an Arriva bus again.