I've just found out that in order to get to my new place of employment tomorrow I'll be needing to catch a number 53 bus from outside of Longsight Market. This strikes me as a wholly tremendous omen, because many years ago when Abby lived (for about five minutes) in shared accomodation in Old Trafford (with a pair of pale, taciturn Goth boys who were so obsessed with playing Dungeons and Dragons on their computer that they never left the house apart from to buy Pot Noodles at the corner shop) one or the other of us (we can never remember which) spent so much time waiting for that particular conveyance to arrive and transport us across town to where the other one lived that we ended up making up a song about it. It went (you will have to imagine the tune, suffice to say it boasts a jaunty and insistent tempo, as is the wont of songs made up to keep yourself warm while standing tapping your feet at a freezing cold Rusholme bus stop in a bedraggled Oxfam coat waiting for a bus that never, ever, arrives):
The fifty-three bus, it's big and it's orange
The fifty-three bus from Cheetham Hill
The fifty-three bus, its big and it's orange
The fifty-three bus, from Cheetham Hill
The fifty-three bus goes down Wilmslow Road
Fifty Three bus goes through Moss Side
The fifty three bus, I've waited an hour
The fifty three bus never comes on time
The fifty Three bus, The fifty Three bus, The Fifty Three bus (repeat to fade/ until you get mugged by a passing quartet of feral teenagers).
Of course what with privatisation of the transport network at the hands of the evil Thatcher, the fifty-three bus is no longer in Manchester Corporation orange at all, it's in bog-standard Stagecoach white like every bus in the country- and I'm not even sure it is quite as big as it used to be. These are facts I will need to bear in mind when I am standing outside of Longsight Market waiting for it tomorrow morning, dressed in a shiny new outfit just bought today with the last of the High Street Shopping Tokens they used to give us at the old place, including a pair of sturdy Marks and Spencers Doc Martenesque shoes, which (in a further fine omen) are just the sort of things me and Abby used to wear when we used to wait for the fifty-three bus the first time around. They are also, of course, just the kind of egalitarian footwear that you would want to have about you when leaving the world of multinational flanges behind to embark on a new dream Public Sector Guardian-readers' job with a Housing Association. They are such perfect shoes for the job, in fact, that I'm thinking of just sending them along on their own and I'm sure they'd get along just fine.
So what could go wrong? Well I could sleep in on my first day for a start. So I should go upstairs, iron my new shirt (it's from John Rocha at Debenhams, a New Labour touch to set off my Old Labour shoes but I think we can carry it off), and try and get enough sleep to prepare me for that bus-ride. All together now- The fifty three bus, it's big and it's orange....