Until a fortnight ago I had not travelled on a public bus for about 50 years. Like so many people, I had become accustomed to the comfortable cocoon of my own car. But when my son pointed out the extreme ease with which I could fulfil a family engagement by getting on a bus for some twenty minutes or so, I was jolted into doing so. It was a revelation. The return journey was after dark, and I hate driving at night. Suddenly someone else was taking the strain, and very capably too. The bus was quick and comfortable, and I was most impressed by the skill with which the drivers manoeuvred such large vehicles in sometimes quite challenging conditions. It also meant I could have a drink before a show without a care in the world about drink-drive law.
Since then I have obtained an old person’s bus pass from my county council, and now the world is my oyster – entirely free of charge. What amazing good fortune.
So yesterday, with the sun putting in a rare appearance, I boarded a bus a few minutes from home which took me to Winchester, ancient capital of England. Before making the return journey, as the last of the light was fading, I took this photo of a cosy pub at the southernmost edge of the city. A very ordinary photo, taken on my phone, of a small pub on a January evening. Yet how it glows with invitation. Inside was a log fire which I sat beside after being encouraged to do so by the lad behind the bar. Something of England still lives.