Thank God it's Friday

18th June 1999 at 01:00
Monday The village car park is full; huge four-wheel drive vehicles everywhere. It looks like a gathering point for a United Nations convoy, but in reality it is just parents dropping their children at the school bus stop.

I embarrass my daughters. Every mum is dressed as if for a fashion shoot and the few dads on view are in posh business suits. I have not shaved and I dare not tell the girls I still have my pyjamas on under my ancient cord trousers.

TUESday Panic. I have no change for the bus fares. What about the collection of 5p coins in my hedgehog money box? How dare I suggest that? The girls snort their disdain.

I get a tenner from the bank machine but the girls are adamant that the driver, a formidably stroppy character, will not accept notes. There is only one shop open but the shopkeeper will not change money. He tells me I must buy something and he has just two pound;1 coins in his till. He suggests I buy some razor blades.

I leave with a newspaper, milk, eggs, vinegar, a Mars bar and the two pound;1 coins. I think about shaving but it slips my mind.

WEDNESday I'm impatient. I am dressed and ready. I don't want to be in the position Mrs D found herself in yesterday. She arrived just as the bus was setting off. She followed it all the way to school, a round trip of 30 miles, flashing her lights and honking her horn. But the driver would not stop.

We arrive just in time. Mrs D has parked her Range Rover in front of the bus and reversed to within centimetres of the driver's windscreen. Another mum has parked behind him, equally closely. When all the children are safely on board Mrs D and her friend drive off.

Mrs D is standing in the council elections; I resolve to change my political allegiance of 20 years and vote for her.

Thursday I'm waiting for the bus at tea-time without the car. It is parked at the edge of town, and walking to it is our family's contribution to cutting pollution. A policeman taps me on the shoulder. "We've had a report of a shifty-looking chap hanging round the bus stop every evening this week. The description fits you." A mum had telephoned the police: she was certain I was not a parent because I was not in a car.

Friday The bus is late coming back from school. It finally arrives an hour after normal time. Everyone gets off but nothing is said. I expect to hear about a monster traffic jam, a gridlock perhaps, but the girls say nothing. It's as if I am not there - or just a taxi driver. Ah well, Saturday tomorrow. But I'll have to get up even earlier to drop the girls in town for their Saturday jobs. Roll on Sunday.

Kevin Berry lives in West Yorkshire

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