It’s been a while since I wrote anything for this blog. I have been busily blogging away in my head but that is as far as things have got as life, in the form of a broken bed and the need to renovate the bedroom before it is replaced, intervened.
One of the things that I often find myself thinking about when I have time to daydream is travel. Not necessarily travel to faraway places although I do think about that a lot but just about the pleasure I get from journeys no matter how short or mundane they may be. This is particularly true if I travel alone. I often think that the best part of a journey is the beginning, the sense of anticipation you get from setting out to see something new and the departure from the daily routine.
The Redline Bus Depot in Hobart doesn’t have the atmosphere of an international airport or one of the great railway stations of the world but it is the starting place for one of my most frequent journeys the 80 kilometre trip to Oatlands that I make every month or so.
I usually catch the Launceston bus that goes at 5:30pm. At this time of year by the time I arrive at the Depot it is nearly dark. There is not much to the place, a large room with a row of seats for waiting passengers, a vending machine and a television with the sound turned down. In summer I can watch the cricket while I wait for my bus but in winter it’s generally more interesting to read a copy of “Tasmanian Travelways” from the pile on the table or as most passengers do play with their phones or iPads.
The usual passengers on a Friday evening are a mixed bunch. There are unaccompanied children being sent to spend the weekend with their fathers, teens going to sports events in Launceston, university students going home for the weekend, mothers with small children and older people from the country going home after a day of shopping and doctor’s appointments in Hobart.
Around 5:15pm the driver starts loading luggage onto the bus. It’s usually the same driver and I say hello to him when he picks up my bag. Once most of the luggage is loaded we are allowed to board. I like to sit near the front of the bus as my stop is only a bit over an hour away and I always take a window seat if I can get it. Usually the bus is full and I have a seat mate. Sometimes we’ll chat but more often we don’t.
The bus departs and the driver goes into his usual spiel about the features of the bus. He reminds everyone that they are required by law to wear their seatbelts. Hardly anyone does. As we make our way through the early evening traffic we make a couple of stops to pick up more passengers. It’s too dark to see the view as we go over the Bridgewater Bridge but the successive bumps in the road tell me when we’ve reached it. Once we get on to the new Brighton bypass I tend to lose my sense of direction in the dark. There is not much to see and in the dimmed lighting most passengers doze including me.
I wake up with a start, it’s dark and I have to get my bearings. Usually we are still twenty minutes or more from Oatlands. I can feel that the bus is climbing and decide that we are probably somewhere around Constitution Hill one of the steeper parts of the Midland Highway.
Finally the bus turns off the highway and takes the road into Oatlands. I try to see into the window of the supermarket as we go down the High Street as I know my sister is in there working. Occasionally I catch a glimpse of her. The bus stops outside the pub and I say goodbye to the driver before walking the few metres to her house. On Monday morning I will be heading home on a bus full of sleepy people from Devonport and Launceston and will be able to enjoy the journey in daylight.