As always, my niece provided a great lunch of red wine and Cava, punctuated by frequent outbreaks of Tapas, after which, we decided to go and socialise at the village pub for an hour or so, and as it was a fair step, and the effects of the red wine and Cava prohibited driving, we decided to patronise the little bus that periodically passes the bottom of the drive.
The bus was totally empty when it arrived, and the driver refused our proffered fares. My niece and her husband are apparently 'regulars', and he doesn't bother to charge them, so we traveled free by association, and were dropped off right outside the pub. Two or three pints later, the bus came back for us, and along with another free-loading local, we started back to my niece's, on the way stopping to pick up, as I thought, a guy standing at the end of his driveway. There then ensued a conversation between the driver, the free-loading local, my niece and her husband and the guy in the driveway, who made no effort to board. Eventually, curious, and beginning to want the loo, I enquired if our new friend had any intention of getting on, to which he replied, "No."
Apparently, stopping for a chat with the guy in the driveway is a fairly regular occurrence, even in the summer months, when the bus is carrying holiday-makers. One day last year a chat was in progress when a holiday-maker needed the loo, and she was taken up the house, to be followed by several others who immediately decided they needed the loo as well. On another occasion, the bus backed up my niece's long drive and in to the stable yard, with the sole intention of allowing the passengers an unrestricted view of my niece's new conservatory, although she wasn't actually on the bus.
Outside the holiday season the little bus is very flexible in its operation. It will drop you off at any pub of your choice along its route, (or reasonably close to its route) and pick you up, by arrangement, at an entirely different one, and even if you're not lucky enough to live directly on its route, it will drop you off outside your door.
This is obviously the way forward for public transport, and I think everyone should have access to a bus to Anywhere, preferably free of charge, although I haven't yet worked out how the driver accounts for doing a days work without a single paying passenger.
I have concealed the location of this story, the name of the driver and freeloading passengers, in order to protect the guilty.