Today was brought to you by the letter Wet and the number Windy. Yes, I know they’re words but they’re apt words.
Anyhoo, it was a sad farewell to my friend Joanne and a trek to the bus station to catch my first bus of the day to Gloucester. Bog standard bus station, but with no actual bog. The passengers all seemed to know the driver pretty well, we don’t get that really at home.
Tewkesbury next. Pretty little town, with a river. At the bus stop, a lady was slightly peeved when a man gently pointed out to her that it wasn’t really practical for the bus company to change their entire route in order to avoid temporary traffic lights. I hate to stereotype (although I actually love to) but I have heard a lot of people moaning this week, more so the older generation. It’ll be my turn soon, no doubt.
Worcester was the next stop off. On the way, I got chatting to a couple of passengers. I’m not that great at talking to people I don’t know, but it seems to be the done thing; and you know what, it’s a good thing. When I disembarked, I checked with the driver that I was at the right stop for the bus station. Another passenger said “I’m headed that way, I’ll point it out”, and he did. On the way, he mentioned he was headed to the hospital for a brain scan. Having had several of those myself, I was able to reassure him, so I felt I’d paid back his good deed somewhat.
My dad’s mother’s maiden name was Wooster, which after some delving my sister did in the family tree we realised it’s a phonetically spelt version of Worcester. I wondered how many generations back it was that my family came from there. I didn’t see anyone who looked like me, but I did see a cash machine masquerading as a phone box.
It was in Worcester that I began to notice a change in accent. Up until there, they all had the West Country soft R sound, how farmers on kids tv speak. Now I was beginning to hear the flatter, longer sounds that I associate with the West Midlands.
Final bus of the day was to Birmingham. When I arrived there I felt, for the first time, that real progress has been made. Land’s End, Torquay, Bristol – all south west England. Now I’m in the Midlands! The middle! Of the land! The only way is up, baby.
I liked Birmingham, I did. Not much time to explore, and the weather forced me to retreat to the cinema. But that’s ok. My hostel, Hatters, was in the old Jewellery Quarter. First hostel I’d stayed in in 8 years and (I think) the first I’ve stayed in in the UK. My days of dorm beds are over, though, so I’d booked a private room. It had its own bathroom, basic toiletries/towels included, and even a tv. Well worth the £35. It did have that hostel smell though, not unpleasant, not unclean, but different. Bought back happy memories.
All too soon, it was time to leave, post my daily postcard and get back to the buses. Manchester, you’re next.
Bristol – Gloucester – Tewkesbury – Worcester – Birmingham Departed Bristol at 9.00 Arrived Birmingham 16.15.