Thursday 15 February 2024

Don't Drink and Drive!

A Christmas Party by Bus

Each winter holiday some friends come and stay with us for a few of the twelve days of Christmas, arriving soon after Boxing Day and returning on or soon after New Year's Day. The last couple of years we have all travelled together to a relative's home in Helpston, a village between Peterborough and our home in Stamford. (The Helpston which was the home of the poet John Clare, very popular in these parts.)

We go for lunch which is a drawn out affair with plenty of fun ... and no-one wants to be "Des," the designated driver, but that is fine because there happens to be a bus service between Stamford and Peterborough which serves Helpston, and, indeed, stops very close to the end of the road where our relative lives (not so close to our house, but that is not a problem because we do need exercise with all the feasting that happens at that time of the year). Indeed, I have long maintained that one of the big advantages of using public transport is the incidental exercise you get compared with the "door-to-door" service expected of car travel: I do not need to spend time and money on gym membership!

This year our local bus company, Delaine Buses, has slightly improved its Saturday timetable by adding one more service at the end of the day to match the weekday service, which made a difference to us because on those days between Christmas and New Year the Saturday timetable was being used every day on our route and so we were able to return home an hour later than we have done in previous years. As I have often remarked concerning service changes: if a bus or train runs we shall use it; if it doesn't we can't! Our bus out to Helpston was pretty busy (well, five of us helped!), and the last bus back was fairly well loaded, too. This is a popular route linking several villages to Peterborough and to Stamford, and a pleasant ride, too, during daylight. (I am sure it could stand an even better service, with later buses and peak-time frequency enhancements, but this is something that Delaine do not seem to do.)

We had a great time and we returned home happy and content - with no-one concerned about their driving and without having to cram five of us into the confines of our car. Four of us travelled free of charge on passes of various kinds, too, which was a bonus.

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