Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Pensioner Envy

One of the perks of my job in the South Hams is that I get to wander around the lovely towns of Totnes, Dartmouth, Kingsbridge and Salcombe between  visits. This is a picture that I took in Dartmouth today, a beautfiul scene even on a grey day (well, okay perhaps if I were a more proficient photographer I could have lost the foreground litter bin).

What I had really meant to photograph was pensioners at the bus stop on the Embankment but alas I felt too self-conscious!  But these queues of our elders and betters are commonplace around my patch where the bus services for a rural location are surprisingly good.  I have to admit to a tinge of jealousy because of the thrifty freedom that this allows them.

The reason for the increased bus use is of course the bus pass for the over 60s  which allows free off peak travel.   From a therapy point of view it is a great resource.  It means, for example, that I can encourage the anxious to make a journey that takes them out of their comfort zone or helps a depressed person reconnect with society by giving them the means to get out and about.

And this weekend we persuaded Nana Lovelygrey to take the plunge and make use of her pass to come on a weekend visit.  She caught the bus just yards away from her doorstep in rural Somerset and an hour and a half of scenic travel later she arrived in Tiverton where she was met by Mr Lovelygrey and Louis.   This enabled her to enjoy early morning story sessions with her grandson for free.  Her confidence increased on the way home and she plucked up the courage to extend her dependency on public transport from Exeter.

So because  the advantages that this benefit brings from a social and health perspective I really hope that this 'perk' is not withdrawn as part of this Governments cuts now or in the near future.  After all, I'm looking forward to 'whizzing' for free around the British countryside in fifteen years time when I'm sixty.

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