Sunday, 5 August 2007

Slow Boat to Brighton

Travelling by bus is never the most efficient way to get from A to B, but since I had no idea where we were going, or how long it should have taken, who was I to complain?

As we boarded the first leg of the journey, abandoning bags in the luggage rack by the door and climbing the stairs to the upper deck, anticipation ran high. JD had one seat, with Man behind. Eyes took the seat behind that and I sat alert in her lap, watching the road to the South Coast go by. As the day wore on, we wove through villages and along country lanes, until eventually the view became more urban, and the smell of salt was in the air. Noses twitching, we climbed down and out, into the bright sunshine and holiday bustle of Portsmouth, with it's Naval harbour and seafaring spirit.

Thinking we had arrived, I relaxed and prepared to stretch and run as I was set down on the pavement and water was poured into bowls. The sound of ferries drifted in from the water and I started to wonder what this new place would have in store for us, casting around for people and dogs who were, if not familiar, then at least of our kind. There were none to be seen, so maybe we would have to get out of the bus station to find them, in which case what were we waiting for? Why, after all the time it took to get here - 2 hours seeming a lifetime when you're a pup - were Eyes and Man not raring to go? Nothing was happening at all, we simply moved ourselves and our bags from one stand to another and sat down again. What was the point of that?

The point became clear with the arrival of another bus. We clambered on once more and this time, feeling somewhat misled by the idea of this travelling lark, I curled up and dozed, the rocking of the suspension lulling me away into my own thoughts.

I have no idea how much time had passed when we eventually got off, but I do know that the sun was low in the sky and the shadows were lengthening in the afternoon sun. Worthing is a penshioners haven, but for us it was home for the night. At the end of the prom was an old folly, and it was here that blankets were rolled out and dog bowls filled. I fell asleep in my usual place inside the sleeping bag, sniffing the sea air and wondering what tomorrow would bring. The answer, although I didn't know it then, was the bright lights of Brighton.