Green Tea and Ave Maria …. mmmm Blissful!

It has been a quiet day of reflection (and grim weather!)  The forecast was for heavy rain for most of the day – it has not been as bad as that but it has been grey and miserable with frequent showers.  So another physically calm day with little walking and lots of bus time.

Whilst on my first bus, I was reading a blog from Roy Lilley discussing how to deal with complaints.  Roy’s blog is about the NHS but he makes it clear that the public sector has to adopt good business practice the same as any business and he concludes with the wise words “Complaints are your best friends”  I was chuckling out loud as I read … why?

The bus had left early again and a young lassie who is a regular passenger had been left behind because the bus had to go round a parked truck.  I alerted the driver to the fact a passenger was trying to board and he had to stop for her – because he had started and then stopped again he lost time … more time than if he had waited in the first place.  Altogether not waiting 30 seconds cost him almost 10 extra minutes by the time he had to pick up more passengers (because they had got to their bus stop and he wasn’t early) and then he got stuck in traffic going into Dundee.  I will come back to our hapless driver a little later with some more reflections.

I took the bus to Perth and then on to Crieff; I would have liked to go to Braco or Dunblane but the bus frequency didn’t work so I did a recce visit to Crieff.  Rather larger than Newburgh but still picturesque PLUS I found the toilets and a nice map of local walks on display.

I had a good choice of places to get a hot drink and settled on “The Loft” where I enjoyed my Green Tea accompanied by Ave Maria.  The white china was delicate but functional and the teapot was a generous size.  I did feel a little uncomfortable since all the tables were large but the ambience was pleasant and the stunning mirror in the first photograph above was right next to me.

I was reflecting on how we have become bombarded with campaign information in public conveniences these days (you know “wash your hands”, “breast cancer checks” – expect chaps have a different one to that. how to report child protection concerns and so on but I really was taken aback by this large set of boards in the ladies loo in Crieff … really? you think I am going to be taking that message in while I am there for a wee, washing my hands, checking health signs and thinking about children at risk? (and especially given its proximity to the condom machine!)

After just an hour to get my bearings I caught the bus back using the reverse of my outward route to Dundee.  Whilst I was waiting for the 20, the previous one (only goes part of the way) was just loading and the driver hopped off to let me know that the early running driver (Early Bird from now on) had tried to provoke a fight with him too, claiming he had photographic evidence to prove he had not left early.  In the end it was suggested that they both had their bus cameras downloaded to see who was right; that wasn’t taken up by Early Bird …. hmmm wonder why?

Then I had a conversation with the driver of my bus while he was waiting to set off … it was a light hearted conversation about this and that … one of the things he said is a few of the drivers are feared of me.  Now hang on a minute just the other day someone else told me I was too nice to ex employers and Early Bird … so which is it am I scary or am I soft?

Actually I do not think I am either – I think those are perceptions.

I do not agree with fighting; every situation has a resolution that does not require throwing punches but sometimes we get so caught up in the minutiae of the moment that we don’t see the big picture?  And also sometimes the other people involved cannot see anything other than fighting to deal with it – but that is their inability to negotiate, to listen, to conciliate?

Early Bird has moderated his behaviour, not because I am scary but, because he had to accept he had been caught out in the wrong by someone who knew he was in the wrong; then he came up against a seemingly united front (even though I and the other driver had not discussed it we each stood our ground in a way that appeared as if we had) … it serves no purpose for me to complain about Early Bird just now, whereas continuing to be me – polite, helpful, considerate and greeted by many of the passengers each day – lets him realise I am not the enemy and he can put things right without losing face.   That is not the same as being soft, it is allowing someone to rectify their mistake.

The drivers who are feared of me are either:

  • those who are incompetent – in which case they are more afraid of being found out than they are of me;
  • those who listen to rabble rousing – I suspect I know where the rumour that I am the boss’s spy started.  It has made someone feel powerful to start that rumour but it is backfiring since it was their attempt to isolate me from other drivers which is not what is happening; or
  • in awe of me – I know the routes, the timetables, the connections and I know them better than most of the drivers because they just work with their running card for that day.  I have collected all my scraps of knowledge together, organised the information logically and I see the big picture.  This is how my brain has been trained to think ( Maths O-Level, Physics O-Level, Maths, Further Maths and Physics at A-Level and an Engineering Degree plus a professional executive level secretary’s Diploma); my brain has been shaped to spot patterns, order things logically, remember detail and work out the missing bits.

When the depot changes it’s shifts and rotas it takes me a couple of weeks of observation to work out the patterns to each driver’s day and piece together about 75% of their routine – and I do it just for fun.  I am going to make a generalisation here but within certain groups of men an intelligent woman is seen as threatening … all they need to do is have a conversation with me – like all those other folk do every day!

S0 not much exercise for my feet today but the grey matter has had a good workout … the forecast is looking better for the rest of the week so I might get back to doing something more interesting for you to read about and see pictures of.


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About nonehpets

I have an interest in how interior design and adapting a home to support living independently for longer can be complementary. The blog Life Long Design is part of an holistic plan for establishing a social enterprise which will offer the people of Tayside opportunities to explore Telecare and the wider scope of assistive technologies. Enabling individuals to make more informed and responsible choices in the care and support they need in their independent living. I am also keen to see public transport more widely adopted and sustainable rural bus services in particular supported. The Blog Travels with a Megarider shares my journey to find serenity in my life as I make that transition form employment to social entrepreneur. One of my methods in increasing serenity is to travel as many miles as I can on a fixed price bus ticket and explore my own local places of interest. Places that I used to go past and had never stopped to look at; places of peace and tranquility; places where I have had some wonderful conversations with complete strangers. I would like to share with you a response to when I described that one paragraph in an e-mail made it sound simple: "Believe me, Cathy, it does not sound simple. You are taking on an incredible challenge for all the right reasons. It is ambitious and admirable - the sort of project that can change lives, including yours." He is right it is ambitious but when did we every achieve anything by settling for the status quo and ignoring what doesn't work for people? So I would welcome your company from time to time on this journey either simply as a reader or if you are brave enough adding your own thoughts to the comments as you feel moved.

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