COURTESY IN THE SLOW LANE

The bus is running late. At each stop a small group of people boards – eventually. They’re all so polite. As the doors open, they stand on the pavement saying, “After you…”, “No, after YOU!” Each in turn says, “Good morning,” to the driver who, equally polite, replies, “Good morning.” None of the passengers complains that the bus is late. So courteous, so rural, so British.

I like playing with words – the sounds, letters, pronunciation, anagrams. I like the word, ‘courtesy’ for which we have ‘cute Rosy,’ ‘cue story,’ ‘Tory cues,’ ‘Yours etc…’ Good fun, and something to ponder while I sit on the bus watching and listening to the unhurried actions and conversations of fellow-passengers.

A running commentary on what can be seen out of the window includes remarks on llamas – “or perhaps they’re alpacas;” the spring-fresh green of trees in full leaf; the luminous trousers and jackets of two council litter pickers clearing the grass verges: “Why do people chuck stuff out of car windows but it’s so good that it’s being cleared up,” and, “Is that a buzzard or could it be a red kite?” – at which point everyone’s heads swivel left and up, to peer in rapture at the raptor.

All very gentle, slow, easy, comfortable. Be courteous, stay chilled, count blessings – whatever the weather, whatever the circumstances… The passengers get off the bus, the bus moves off, and life moves on.

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