Golden Lesson 4 (and thinking about my lovely Mum and bus stops): Love is Experience shared

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It has been nearly a year since my lovely Mum died suddenly aged 81.  I am carrying her bus pass around in my wallet.  She loved her fee travel bus pass.  mum pass

Before  her bus pass she loved her National Tavel Tokens: a bag of “travel money” which could be spent on various forms of transport.  She used to keep quite a few to spend against her train travel down from York to Doncaster to see us.  national travel tokens

She also loved her taxi account we sorted for her when she was struggling to use the bus for all her needs once the car had gone.

She was very connected to her community and life, and these helped her keep connected

Though she was mobile and connected throughout her life. As a very small child I remember going into town with her and my sister on the bus.  The Number 1 from Tang Hall Shops (next to the phone box we used to walk to every other Sunday to call my Aunty Eileen).  I remember her playing games with us at the bus stop so we wouldn’t get too bored and agitated waiting 10-15 minutes.  And I remember us all sometimes running for the bus, out of breath and laughing.

And as a small child I went to so many places on a small seat attached to the cross bar of her bike.  It was a hard black shiny plastic seat.  Up to Muncaster to see my Aunt Lorna.

She used to cycle to Rowntrees to work an evening shift packing After Eight chocolates.  She said when the whistle blew at the end of the shift there were hundreds of bikes all coming away from Rowntrees rushing home.  She’d bring home a few broken After Eights for us as a treat, and her shoes would be caked in them.  It must have been 1973?  She had learnt to drive at aged 40 – about that time – but my Dad had the car.

after eitgh

I have often thought of that saddle on the bike.  We had the same type for our kids, and Tess and maddie remember moments on that saddle so vividly.

I wonder if it made cycling a ready form of transport for me – the norm?   I have always cycled quite a bit – not as a fanatic cyclist – I mean it would just be odd not to use a bike.  I have often used it as a main form of transport to work.  Even in London – cycling from Penge to Marylebone via Hyde park Corner in all weather.  I loved it.

Buses and bikes.  Just the norm as a kid.  Lots of shared experiences.

There’s a great quote in Saturday Night Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe: Love is experience shared. 

I wonder if the mobility experiences we have as kids pass on in some ways – making a certain travel way of life the norm?  I know many people who hate buses and bikes – have they had this passed on to them?  Never used them as kids and the occasional negative parental comment about “bloody bikes” or never dreaming to catch a bus.  Maybe my kids are having car-free-ness passed on?  We have experienced laughs and jokes in the car when we had one – but they are less vivid than the run to the bus, or the shared bike ride, or even the bus ride with other people around on the top deck and the walk to the shops.  And even our chats about being car free – they instil a culture.

By having these non-car behaviours it just seems normal to take the bus, or walk extra or get out the bike – not just jump in the car.  And the car is more hassled – so often the driver (Mum or Dad) is hassled or distracted (by driving!). (This is reinforced by research which shows that for people who commute by bike the happiest part of their day is their commute.  Yet for poeple who drive the worst part of their day is…their commute.)

My colleague Beth (see the BethLikes link on the right) is doing her master dissertation on this topic: why are younger people driving less?

I know I remember vivdily my travel as a child.  The black saddle.  The bus stop games.

I know i loved, and still love, After Eights.

I know I loved my Mum very dearly.

And I am pretty sure that if your kids are opened up to new ways of doing things they get some form of innoculation which keeps that thing living in their lives.

A mobiliy culture innoculation.

An experience shared……

And here’s a lovely video that made me think of our bus stop games with my lovely amazing Mum.




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