Sarah’s and my trip to Cambridge: 27th February 1987 (Friday) [Aged 15 1/2]

Standard
  • 9.45: K arrives at S, sees S’s haircut
  • 10.05: KS arrive (by S’s mum’s friend Mary) at Queensgate bus station, Peterborough
  • 10.10: Bus supposed to arrive
  • 10.30: Go to enquire where is bus?
  • 10.52: Bus arrives
  • 10.53: Swim to bus [can only assume we had to cross a puddle]
  • 10.58: Bus driver sells tickets – at £1 cheaper than we thought [this bargain will come back to bite us]
  • 10.59: Bus leaves station
  • 10.59.5: Get stuck in traffic jam 100m away from Queensgate
  • 10.59.75: Bus climbs bridge. Puff pant.
  • 11.00: S begins narrative of previous day’s trip to London including Vidal Sassoon & J17 [Just17]
  • 11.15: S finishes, K starts on her narrative of previous day’s trip to London including absolutely nothing apart from Holiday 87 woman in Liberty & Aids advertiser [?] on the Tube
  • 11.18: Supposed to have arrived in Cambridge
  • 11.30: K finishes
  • 11.35: Bus stops in unknown place outsided Stilton cheese (is this Cambridge?) due to malfunction of windscreen wipers.
  • 11.39: Stops raining, still can’t go
  • 11.50: New bus arrives – pile onto this one
  • 11.54: Almost in Cambridge?
  • 11.55: See Crest hotel on the left
  • 11.56: Stilton on the right therefore within 10 mile radius of Peterborough
  • 11.57: Take road saying ‘A1, North, Peterborough’. Cambridge or Greenland?
  • 11.58: See sign saying ‘Cambridge 27’
  • 12.00: Leave industrial built up area
  • 12.03: Pass two Little Chefs. We are now on the A1 going on in south-bound direction.
  • 12.04: We are now moving in an oppositive direction to The North & Peterborough. How many telegraph poles are there in Britain?
  • 12.08: S makes sarky comment; ‘Aw, aint it larvely’ about bridge and ducks in unknown village
  • 12.09: Bus drenches passer-by
  • 12.09.5: Bus faces mossy bank. How to navigate this?
  • 12.10: 2nd anniversary of bus expected arrival. Happy anniversary bus!
  • 12.12: Pass by electrically wired, KEEP OUT RAF station on left. Sheep drink from puddles on right.
  • 12.14: Macho Man and Dolly Bird get off in middle of nowhere
  • 12.15: Bus gets itself worked up to going again
  • 12.18: On the road to Godmanchester & St Neots
  • 12.19: Discover we’re in Huntingdon
  • 12.20: Oooh Cambridge to right (A604) RAF Whyton to left. Drive in dry cleaners sign! Ooer!
  • 12.21: See a fat lady walking to St Ives. You’ve got a long way to go matey chops.
  • 12.25: Get chucked off bus at Huntingdon!!! Next bus to Cambridge at 1.45. What do we do??!!
  • 12.57: Catch bus to Cambridge now.It’s one which we’re not supposed to go on, but we gave him a nice smile & he let us on. It’s sunny, Yuk, & I’m famished. Well, Cambridge, here we come.
  • 1.01: The Italian family have disappeared.
  • 1.04: We’re well & truly on our WAY!!!
  • 1.15: Sarah’s still writing her letter & I’m getting dead bored.
  • 1.17: Seen row of useless cones playing at soldiers down the A1. S just told K about the national EEC cone mountain.
  • 1.18: Coach stopped SURPRISE. A bloke got on, half undressed & then swapped places with the driver who then got off. We’re going now – but who’s driving us? He could be a mass murderer or a terrorist.
  • 1.19: A person at the back has just yelled down if the driver stopes here or straight into Cambridge. He declined to answer, being either deaf or not likeing being called ‘mate’
  • 1.23: I detect houses!!! This is an urban site. Could it be.??  No … We’ll wait & see.
  • 1.24: Were we supposed to get off then? or was it traffic lights?
  • 1.25: It is!!! CAMBRIDGE Woohoohoooo!

The Return Journey

  • 5.20: Arrive at bus station, meet 2 girls
  • 5.30: Bus arrives. One hour express.
  • 5.35: Get told can’t get on with return tickets – Cambus. Have to buy new ones.
  • 5.36: Got to express office. Complain. Can’t do anything. Have to go to Cambus office which is CLOSED.
  • 5.37: Do we have to wait for next bus which is at 6.20? and gets in past my bedtime at 8? [8? So at 15 I was going to bed at the same time as my 2 year old is now?] No jolly fear! We (Me, Sarah & 2 girls) are determined to make a stand. Humph. More forthright of 2 girls goes to bus driver: forced to buy return ticket, now forced to wait til Cambus comes, refused to pay £2 (shock horror) for return tickets. Parents are going to be worried. So troop on.
  • 5.38: Everyone on bus stares at us. 4 seats left. 2 girls get ones close together at back. I get one just in front. Sarah gets one next to woman further down. Like a cess pit here. EVERYONE is smoking. My eyes are stinging, my nose is itchy and my throat & lungs are all tight.
  • 5.58: Most people’s cigarettes have ‘run out’ – not surprising, probably can’t stand the smoke. Just almost crashed (Oooh. Excitement!!!) by a coal lorry coming out into the ROAD!! Golly. Life is too exciting. I’m going to sit back, eat Minstrels (brown) & read JENNINGS. Adieu!!!
  • 6.29: Most people got off now, sitting next to Sarah. Can breathe without mask. Sarah finished her Minstrels before me!! Ha ha!!
  • 6.30: Girl having mass hysterics behind us. Probably found out where we are.
  • 6.31: Where are we?
  • 6.32: On the dark A1… 8 miles to Peterborough!! Nearly 0 if rounded down.
  • 6.35: Girl behind us is apparently laughing every time she looks in her compact mirror. Never mind dear, you can get plastic surgeons nowadays you know.  [I think that bit was written by S, I mention cowardly.] Just passed Crest Hotel. Now it should only take 1hr to get home – if we go as we did this morning – or 1.45 hrs !! (Counting time taken for bus to come).
  • 6.39: Girl stopped having mass hysterics. Mirror obviously broken. [That bit was definitely me.]
  • 6.40: Built up area gain: Peterborough!!!
  • 6.41: no – Not yet, says S ‘Geography’ Stephens.
  • 6.42: Yes. It is almost there.
  • 6.43: HOME! The good old jammy land of Peterborough. Bless you my boy.

This diary entry, found in a bunch of notebooks my mother gave me the other day, just serves to remind me that however much I may tire of the challenges of life at 40, I do not want to be 15 again thank you very much. Particularly not in Peterborough. I hoped that as I wrote it I’d find hilarious anecdotes (not least because when I recall various journeys to London or Cambridge with S, one us is usually about to wet themselves through laughing so much). Instead I’m just cringeing!  My lack of worldliness is embarrassing, especially when combined with an air of intellectual superciliousness, and attempts at cattiness that define teenage girls. Plus a bit of Adrian Mole, and Jennings thrown in for good measure.

It also reminds me of why buses are my least favourite form of transport.

But I’m still pleased I made my Minstrels last longer… Sorry Sarah.

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