I was kinda reminded this morning how frail my situation is out here. I live in a rural setting, a small village. We’re not far from the city of Salisbury, but nowhere in the UK is ever very far from a town or city.
The village lost its railway station following the cutbacks of the sixties, but still has a skeletal bus service to get people into Salisbury. The service is every 90 minutes or so, just between 9am and 5:30pm Mondays to Saturdays, even then with a gap in the afternoon.
This morning I planned to go into Salisbury for something quite innocuous, a haircut. I wasn’t going anywhere or meeting anyone, so had no firm timetable. But the bus just didn’t turn up. There might have been a really good reason for this, but that the bus service in unreliable is an unavoidable conclusion. And with 90 minutes between buses, it isn’t really practical just to wait for the next one. When a bus doesn’t turn up, it’s not a case of “I’ll be 5 minutes late”, but people are automatically in the realm of they themselves just not turning up for appointments etc.
This instance was only a haircut, but what if it happened on the way to one of my charity things? How many people would I then let down? It does kind-of make me worry, because I’ve just seen the tip of the iceberg. I’m wondering if I need to can the charity work altogether, just because I can’t be relied upon to turn up?
I don’t know the reason why, as I say it might be perfectly reasonable. It’s happened once before in 3 years of bus use. I suppose I should look at this just as a car breakdown. It’s a real pain when it happens, but if it only happens once every blue moon… I need to start keeping a record of no-shows just so I have an idea of the frequency.
The result, by the way? No haircut, of course. A walk out to the bus stop and back, probably an hour, including the time spent waiting at the bus stop. I’m fortunate I suppose that there are mostly no consequences of this at the moment, but really, I could have been doing something far more productive.