Well, it’s certainly not a quantum of solace, that’s for sure, but there doesn’t seem to be a better way to describe the forlorn ‘bus shelter’, which I know has a history, but which sits as a kind of useless, unavailing, ineffectual lump really, with its renovated doors (earnestly repaired, I also know, by the Parish Council at least a decade ago, at great expense, just under a thousand pounds as I recall), its two bench seats, its pool of urine in the corner where the camera did not deign to reach for this photo, along with discarded cigarette butts and drinks cans.
Anybody coming in to the village would have to wonder, what on earth is that for? And so do most of Allendale’s residents. I believe, in fact, that at some point in the distant past, Holden’s Hearse was often parked within, in the inner sanctum behind the secondary locked doors, and if that’s correct, surely some sign board should illuminate at least something of that history. Maybe it wasn’t, in which case, correction comments welcome below! Otherwise, you’d have to wonder, really, what is the point? I know there have been some sort of signs there in living memory, probably quickly vandalised. I also know the public toilets are closed during the winter, but honestly!
Nobody, but nobody, waits for the bus on the seats anymore, since the bus stop is now (and has been for many years) on the square in front of the Tea Rooms. So it’s not a bus shelter. Is it really just an ersatz toilet of profound unhygienic despair? It used to be quite a centre for drug transactions, I believe, and between it and the Lych Gate (when the Lych Gate had seats) formed areas for young folks to congregate of an evening. Nowadays young folks can more often be found under the village hall balcony, which is a nicer place to chat, after all. I don’t want, at all, to be pillorying ‘young folks’ either, just noting the likely places to sit and chat. Waiting to be corrected, but I just don’t think many people actually chill out in the ‘bus shelter’ anymore.
So why aren’t the doors closed, locked, and/or the place kept tidy, one wonders? What, in short, is its point? If the place is listed, with doors open, that’s one thing; then it should be maintained and cleaned regularly. But if it’s just a place to take a quick leak when you’re caught short coming out of the pub late of an evening, then surely it should be shut. We’re better than that, even if the Parish Council refuses to fund the short-fall faced by the County Council on the public toilet front during the winter.
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[Oops] . . . I was going to leave it there, before The Rev. Jon Russell’s kind remarks about the even-handedness of this diary, and its remarks about the shared goodness of our community life, yesterday morning from the pulpit (thanks Jon!) but now I’d better practise what is preached! I could follow on from my ‘high dudgeon’ with some fair comment to progress this matter nicely, couldn’t I? So: is there a problem? [Yes, probably it’s something that just slips through the net, and isn’t often noticed, but eww, embarrassing or what?]. Is there a solution [Inevitably]. Would it help if we didn’t blame everything on the Parish Council? [Sure]. Is there something we can do to help? [Just let us know, PC, let us know, eh?]