One of the great privileges of reaching the age of sixty is having a bus pass, especially now that they’re available across the whole of mainland Britain.
When my mate Richard reached his sixtieth birthday we made a point of meeting for breakfast in order to celebrate both his birthday and his new-found freedom.
At some expense (because before 9.00 am you have to pay bus fare even if you’re sixty) we met in the Sheffield suburb of Hillsborough in order to catch the once-every-two-hours bus to Rivelin Post Office. We travelled in state, because no-one else got on or got off, and from the terminus walked down the picturesque Rivelin Valley, past ponds and waterfalls that in the era of water-powered industry had been dams and mills.
Sheffield has a much better known route, the Round Walk, which follows the River Porter through the elegant Victorian western suburbs. Rivelin, on the north of the city, is much less frequented, but just as attractive. All it lacks is more thorough interpretation: we knew we were looking at historically interesting scenery, but only one notice-board told us anything about it.
There are other priorities, however. Our goal was the Pudding Ladies’ Café [http://www.millhousesparkcafe.co.uk/rivelinpark.aspx], which offers smoked-salmon and creamed-cheese bagels for breakfast. (Richard had bacon and creamed cheese, which seemed to me a little eccentric.) When his wife Janet appeared, she had kippers and scrambled egg.
Janet looked a little surprised when Richard declined a lift back so he could ride home on Supertram for free.
The guy has style.