No Services Stop Here

[Originally posted on Facebook 2015-05-02.] There are some interesting little curiosities in our village and the surrounding area, such as the Foxhole bus stop at the end of Long Lane that has “No bus services currently operate in this area” displayed on it. I’ve never known of a bus service that went down that narrow country lane, but I’ve only lived in the area for ten years. The nearest bus stop from our home is actually only a short walk away, but it’s cunningly disguised as a reminder speed limit sign. The only thing that gave it away was the board with a bus timetable fixed to it, but when the bus company decided to change from the one-hourly morning service to two-hourly, they removed the timetable, so the 9:20 now arrives at 9:55 (or thereabouts) and the 10:20 has gone to meet its maker (or, perhaps, just gone to Long Stratton instead).

Some of the old folk who were bred and born here have acquired a sixth sense through a lifetime of close contact with nature (or, possibly, frequent trips to Norwich) and they have divined the secret locations where the bus stops and can sense the times when the bus is due. And so it might happen, that one of these fey folk might come upon on a soggy mawther standing up in the rain and say, “if you’re waiting for the 10:20, that ent coming til 11:55”.

However, the bus company have spared us the anguish of sleepless nights, wondering when they’ll get around to replacing the old timetable with the new one, as they’ve removed the board it used to be fixed to, and so the bus stop’s disguise is now complete. No passer-by could ever mistake it for anything but a speed limit sign, thanks to its masterly camouflage.

No doubt the bus company is at ease with the knowledge that we live in the modern age with information at our fingertips, but that strange creature commonly known as “a signal” is a city-lover that delights in the frenetic urban high life and fears to venture down the winding country lanes where the pace is slower cos there ent no point tearing round the corner as they’ll only be a tractor there and you ent never going to pass that for the next five miles.

But the Foxhole bus stop with no service still remains like a phantom from the past and seems to say, “who remember that ole bus that useter stop here?”

Update 2019-10-05: eventually my curiosity overcame me and I asked some elderly locals who had lived in the village all their life what bus service used to go that way. I was either greeted with a puzzled “what bus stop?” or I was reliably informed that “there ent never been no bus that go that way.” The general consensus was that no bus could possibly get down that route because the lane is far too narrow. So why then, I persisted, is there a sign that says no services stop there? The reply was simply “there ent no bus that go that way.”

Sometime later I happened to be driving down a narrow lane further south of the village on the other side of the A140. (I don’t like to say that I was lost. I was confident that I hadn’t wandered across the border into Suffolk, and I was pretty sure that eventually I would find a sign pointing to somewhere I recognised. I was just temporarily misplaced.) I came to a junction with another equally narrow, twisty lane and, while looking around trying to determine which way to go, I saw another one of those “no services currently operate in this area” signs.

I’m not complaining about these redundant signs. It’s just one of those interesting oddities that piques a writer’s curiosity, but since my original post the sign has been removed, and there’s now no trace of the mysterious Foxhole bus stop that was apparently never on any bus route.