Overnight rain gives way to an overcast morning. So we decide to go to Chichester on the bus.
According to the timetable, the number 700 bus runs from Brighton, via Worthing, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Chichester and on to Portsmouth. But it also goes to Arundel, which is not on the previous route. We eventually learn it is actually two different routes, from the same company (Stagecoach), with the same number. Confusing or what? But it is free, to us “oldies”.
So first of all we walk to the bus stop just outside the site to get the 700 into Littlehampton. As we wait an elderly couple arrive to wait too. His ears are already bleeding and he sits quietly, whilst his wife engages Kathleen in conversation. Well Kathleen listens and she talks. She is a good talker, I reckon she could hold her own at the round table.
We arrive at Littlehampton and find the correct place to catch the 700 to Chichester. It turns out we have just missed the bus (which runs every 30 minutes) by about 3 minutes. We settle down to wait. Amazingly, since we Northerners are always told that we are friendly and that Southerners are “stand offish”, we are engaged in conversation by an old chap who is also waiting for the bus.
He keeps us entertained for the half hour or so we have to wait. He is a regular Alf Garnett. We learn that he does not trust any of the politicians, dislikes Gordon Brown, detests Tony Blair and Cherie, and as for Lord Mandelson, (that snake eyed b*****d he calls him), don’t even go there. He has a good rant ranging from Tony Blair and the weapons of mass destruction, through MP’s expenses and the size of his council tax bill. Along the way we learn that he had emigrated to Australia and lived there for 26 years, that his children and grandchildren are still there. He gets his pension from the Australian government rather than the UK government and at present is enjoying a nice little rise as the pound plummets against the rest of the worlds major currencies. Quite why he came back to the UK to retire is not clear, since he tells us that Australia is the best country in the world, but we think it had something to do with his wife.
As we chat, a young woman arrives pushing a happy little negro child in a buggy. Our new friend exchanges a few pleasant words with them, and then tells me (and I quote), “these African babies are all happy little things, I think it is because they get carried about on their mothers back all day”, so he is obviously of the Bruce Forsyth school of Political Correctness.
The bus (a double decker) eventually arrives, about 15 minutes late, but it is free. By now there is a large queue, most of whom appear to be ancient and infirm, so we (as the “youngsters”) go upstairs, since I am sure the rest of the queue could not possibly make the stairs.
Forty minutes later, having had a tour of numerous small villages, we arrive in Chichester. The bus stops right beside the weekly market, so we wander through there, viewing the usual junk which all markets seem to sell. The highlight is a chap who is auctioning secondhand bicycles, most of them are in a deplorable condition and would not have cost more that £80 when brand new, but people are merrily parting with £20 for them.
It is lunch time, so our next port of call is a Coffee shop, which is also full of old people, where do they all come from? I think our arrival has just reduced the average age by 10 years at least. We have a pleasant lunch on me, Kathleen conveniently has no cash to pay, since she needs to find a cash machine (I note she has not been looking very hard). Next some shopping, and more (womens) clothes are purchased, then an unsuccessful attempt to buy some (womens) boots. Finally a visit to the Cathedral, and it is time to go back to Littlehampton.
There is time for a hair washing, drying and straightening session, following which we enjoy a wonderful home cooked spag bol, and finish with the last of the Magnum’s.