Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Fabulous Things About England #28: Bus Stops

I used to drive. During my last winter in Alaska, I taught at a high school, the university, and the community college arm of the university. My close friends lived ten to twenty miles in the other direction. It was the rare day that I put less than sixty miles on my car, and the rarer day that I did not drive at all. I was last in the States four years ago; I haven't driven a mile since. Now when friends text and ask where I am, the answer is almost invariably on the bus, waiting for a bus, or wondering where the bus is. I do not miss the driving. It would take me much more time to travel from home to town if I took a car, but there are days when I tot up the hours spent queuing at the big blue and white signs.

Bath Abbey, February 2011

I stand nowhere more frequently than in front of a bank, looking out at Bath Abbey. I must have hundreds of photographs of those same flying buttresses. Very little changes. The same buses drive by me. The tourists ask for the same directions, and the clock turns or does not turn the time. It's easy to forget the happy luck that brought me here to look not on strip malls but on architecture greater than any I had seen before. It is as easy here as it was in Alaska to forget to see what I'm looking at, to forget to appreciate this city for what it is. I'm trying to remember to note that the abbey, aided by the light and sky, has moods of it's own.

I've lived here for five years now, and it has only recently occurred to me to photograph the back of the Abbey, to take the time to stand back and take in the whole of the building, to wonder what it looked like before the taxi rank twirled around it. What, I wonder, did those hundreds of years of tired people think when contemplating their place below its towers.


  1. We only got to Bath once - last summer with my parents. It was beautiful and made me wish we'd ventured outside of London more often.

  2. The abbey is beautiful! I work in such a lovely place...the campus at Sewanee is breathtaking, and I often find myself rushing about, not taking advantage of the beauty all around me. I, too, have to remind myself to look up and see all that is around me instead of rushing by without a thought to it. Want to take a peek? www.sewanee.edu. We have a nice webcam of the Quad...

    Hope you're enjoying your week! We finally have sunshine again in beautiful Tennessee.

    Have a great day!

  3. I really enjoy visiting Bath. It's a gorgeous city and I love the architecture of Bath Abbey!

    Thank you so much for visiting me at my blog! :)

  4. Did I say that we had our honeymoon just outside Bath. We visited Bath Abbey. Seeing it brings back really happy memories for me.

    And bus queues? You haven't written about queues yet!!



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