buses and buxton

Yesterday Pauline and Alan said I should go to Buxton next, so that’s what I did.  I took a bus from Stoke to Leek, where I had to wait for the next bus so I went for pie, peas and gravy at a cafe.  A crooked old man shuffled in alone and ordered a cup of tea.  It was clearly a strain for him to lift his head so mostly he didn’t.  This was Michael, but he said people call him Dada.  Dada spoke really softly, but he said he’s always lived round here, he wouldn’t live anywhere else.  He said there isn’t anything particular about being English, each person is different and he ‘takes them as they come’.  He’s 69, not really so old to be so crippled.  He thinks this country is getting worse.

I went back to the bus station, or rather benches because that’s all that was there, and started chatting with a man called Stuart who was also getting the bus to Buxton.  He said the scenery is spectacular on the Buxton flyer, as they call this trip.  It’s the highest road in England apparently, and passes through the highest village, Flash, too.  It was a beautiful journey across the peaks, and when we got there, Stuart helped me find the tourist information office to get a room.  Then we went for a cream tea at an edwardian tearooms, and he told me a little about his life.  His mum died two weeks ago aged 90, and he said really he had been living for her.  When he was 30 he came home for a night and pitched his tent in the garden, because he wanted to try it out before setting off on a journey to anywhere – ‘a rolling stone, I was’.  That night his dad died suddenly, and he felt he couldn’t leave his mum.  And for almost forty years he never did.  Now she had left him.

We went to the dome in Buxton, and stood in the middle and clapped our hands, because the echo is indescribably brilliant, and then agreed to be pen-friends and said goodbye.  As I walked up the hill to my hotel, I heard clapping and looked down and there was Stuart in the distance, waving.

Dada, Leek, Tuesday 17th August 2010

Leek, Tuesday 17th August 2010

Bus from Leek to Buxton, Tuesday 17th August 2010

Bus from Leek to Buxton, Tuesday 17th August 2010

Bus from Leek to Buxton, Tuesday 17th August 2010

Charles ‘Stuart’ Barlow, Buxton Dome, Tuesday 17th August 2010

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