Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Dave and I had decided to go on one last trip on the open-topped double decker sightseeing bus that runs from Chatsworth and calls in at Hassop Station, and on Monday, sunshine was forecast for the whole day, so we went. This time I had on two jumpers and my puffa jacket. The fresh blustery air and the way the bus rattles along the uneven roads makes it feel like a fairground ride, which is why i find it such fun. 

This time I came away with a wet bum. The plastic seat felt dry when I sat down, but the squishy upholstery had obviously absorbed rain from the last few days, probably through the seams. 

I told the bus driver and he laughed. 

Dave said 'It's a good job veruccas don't transmit through wet bums.'

I have to say it was not pleasant walking home with trousers and pants sopping wet, but still.

Dave has a habit of weighing up the fun or pleasure he gets from anything he’s had to pay for that is not a necessity. When we go on a narrowboat holiday he divides the cost of the rental by seven days and tells me we need to get that much fun out of each day. The bus cost us £4 each and I knew he’d enjoyed the ride so I asked him as we walked away at the end if he’d had £4 worth of fun. 

‘No,’ he said. ‘I don’t think I have.’

‘Really?’  I said. You have to understand that Dave rarely spends money on himself and never goes out for evening entertainment such as a meal out, or a trip to the pub or the cinema and he has no idea how much these things cost. I do, of course. 

‘Well I’m sorry,’ I said. ‘In that case we’ll walk home through the field of maize. That should make it worthwhile for you.’

On our way to the field, a local man cycled past us and I said 'I don’t know why but I find him incredibly irritating.’ This man - with whom I am not personally acquainted - has a cuddly toy fixed to the top of his cycling helmet which makes him look ridiculous, and he always shouts a greeting to me when I’m out on my bike. If I happen to stop for something he tries to engage me in conversation. 

'You shoudn't be irritated,' Dave said. 'He’s only doing his schtick.'

'I know. I feel ashamed.'

We reached the field of maize. Dave loves to walk on this public footpath.

I asked him to explain again why, and he did. He likes the heat gathered in the enclosed space, the foliage brushing in his face, the animal’s eye view of the plants, and the feeling he gets when we burst out into the wide open space at the end. He also likes the way it feels slightly transgressive.

He asked me why I didn’t like it. I explained that I found it fun the first time, but now I just find it annoying. After a week of rain the footpath is slippery squelchy mud, which our hiking boots get caked in, and I find the large leaves flapping in my face incredibly irritating. Also I am claustrophobic. 

'You’re very susceptible to irritation aren't you? Generally speaking?' he said.


I get irritated when I am listening to the radio and painting and have paint all over my hands and the phone rings. I get irritated when I am concentrating on something and Dave waltzes in and starts to tell me about the latest on Trump or Bennu.

'You’re like a storage heater,' he said. 'You soak up irritations and then when you reach a certain point, the next irritant will cause you to explode.'

He was right. I am an irritable person. Like my father.

'I’m sorry,' I said.

'It’s OK, you can’t help it. It’s in your genes.'

Later at home, when we were discussing the shape of the rest of the day he said ‘Does it irritate you when I go out on my bike?’ 

‘No,’ I said. ‘it never, ever irritates me when you’re out on your bike.’

‘Hmm,’ he said.


Anonymous said...

What a delicious, hilarious cameo of life together.

I too feel as though I have become more easily irritated over time: my husband's nickname started out (in rather sickly/new fashion) as 'Honey' which gradually morphed over time into 'Bun.'

Then inevitably...it found its resting place as 'Bump.' That feels about right. I'm definitely more bumpy these days.

I'm wondering if Dave felt he'd had his fun quotient/value by the end of the walk?

Great post, Sue!

Thea xx

Sue Hepworth said...

Hello Thea! I’m glad you enjoyed the post.
He says walking through the maize was worth £2.75, but if he had to pay then he wouldn’t. Make of that what you can.

marmee said...