So it’s all change here at English Towers, then. September brings that most alien of sounds… the bloody alarm clock, startling me out of bed at 7am whilst simultaneously alerting Bert to the possibility that breakfast-providing people might be conscious. This starts the pacing, the head-butting of our bedroom door and the pathetic whining – more efficient than any alarm clock to stop you returning to your pit. Yes, I know, back to the real world and all that, but when you’ve had nearly three months off it’s a shock, I can tell you. Anyhoo, #1’s new school (the one containing all the bigger boys) is a whopping 27 miles away, and he and his mate, J, (you know, his Dad C’s got the boat upon which we had such a lovely day) need to get down to The Cross (that’s the Dublin Road crossroads to you English people) to catch the Bus Eireann at 8.06am precisely. I know it’s 8.06am as yesterday I got there at 8.05am just as it pulled up:
‘But wait!‘, I cried, ‘C isn’t here with J yet – can you wait two seconds?’ ‘Nope‘, came the self-important reply, even as he was pushing the button to shut the door in my face, ‘my official time is 8.06am and I must depart’.
Oh, I thought, that’s a pisser, especially as the clock in my car only just clicked to 8.06am as I got back in, but then I headed C off at The Cross and he went hurtling after the bus like a Galway version of Jensen Button and managed to catch the bus up and deposit his child. This morning, then, we were all huddled at the bus stop bright and early at 8.00am. No way we were going to let the same thing happen again. at 8.10am we were a bit worried that we might actually have missed him after all, at 8.20am, we were anxiously craning our necks towards Dublin, and at 8.30am, C decided to put the kids in the car and drive them to school himself, lest they didn’t make the journey by 9am.
A bit put out, especially after Mr Jobsworth wouldn’t even wait half a second yesterday, I decided to call the bus station. Now I don’t know if Bus Eireann’s interview questions include: ‘ do you faithfully promise to not give a shit about our customers’, ‘can you answer the phone in a caveman-type manner that sounds a bit like ‘ugh’ and ‘can you do your best to sound half-arsed and completely ignorant’, but if so, this one passed with flying colours:
Bus Eireann Genius: ‘Ugh’
Me: ‘Er, hello? Is that the bus station?’
Me: ‘I’m calling about the Dublin Bus. It didn’t seem to turn up this morning’
Genius: ‘Hmph traffic… meh nothin’ we can do… ugh out of my hands mumble’
Me: ‘So is this a regular occurrence? In future is there any way we can find out if he left early or is delayed? A phone number maybe?’
Genius: ‘Ugh… sniff… traffic… no guarantee… harumph’
Me: ‘Oh, okay then, thanks so much for your time and for making your position so clear’
So okay, at least I know where I stand: Bus Eireann don’t give a sod if my child gets to school on time, there appears to be no way to judge whether the driver has arrived half a millisecond early and rocketed off to the next stop before we’ve arrived, or whether he’s been caught in traffic and yet to turn up. Well you know me, I’ve rifled off a strongly worded email, which will no doubt make absolutely no difference and whether my child makes it to school or not will continue to be a total lottery. Ah, rural life eh? And you thought it was all sheep and green pastures…