Round Derry in a day

I was meeting up with friends during the week and arrangements had been made to meet up the town at four o’clock. The group consisted of two retired teachers and a retired accountant, which made me feel like their care assistant.

By Fr Chris Ferguson
Friday, 1st October 2021, 6:19 pm
Racecourse Road.
Racecourse Road.

Knowing who I was going to meet, I decided to take the bus, especially after all the talk concerning bus passes. Needless to say, being younger I couldn’t avail of a Translink travel pass. I had planned to jump on the bus at one of the local bus stops in Shantallow, the one on the Racecourse Road, opposite Saint Brigid’s Primary School. Of course, before I set out from the Parochial house, the rain decided to make an appearance. This meant by the time I had ventured to the bus stop; the water was running off me. Even at the bus stop there was no respite, as the wind ensured the rain was continuing to hit me side on. After fifteen minutes the bus duly arrived, a double-decker with the name Curryneirin written up on the front.

Like any normal person getting on a bus in Shantallow, I presumed the driver had simply forgotten to change the destination on the front of the bus. Well, as the double-decker turned left onto the Greenhall Road, then left onto the Culmore Road heading towards the Foyle Bridge, I knew the bus indeed was heading to Curryneirin.

Hoping against hope for a speedy journey into town, the vehicle sped across the Foyle Bridge, through Nelson Drive,and up into the Crescent Link. Next for good measure the bus entered Altnagelvin, before crossing over the Glenshane Road, down Church Brae, through Tullyally, onwards to Curryneirin. The drama wasn’t over, at Curryneirin the driver parked the bus, turned off his engine and got out his book. Approaching the driver, I asked was he heading into town? I was told, he wasn’t, but he would drop me off at Altnagelvin. There, I boarded a bus which took me through Irish Street, down the Clondermott Road, onto Dungiven Road, down Simpson’s Bray, followed by a stop at the Train Station.

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Finally, I was transported along Duke Street, over the Craigavon Bridge, along John Street, the Foyle Embankment and Orchard Street before reaching my journey’s end on Foyle Street. From leaving the Parochial house until I was heckled by my friends, took roughly one hour and five minutes, all for the price of £1.80.

Of course, the reason I can laugh about the whole incident was based on my own failures. I had eyes but I would not see, I had a voice but I did not speak, I had a conscious mind but I would not ask a question. Instead, I meekly submitted to the journey without taking any action, or making some sort of intervention, nor ask any questions. Often our journey through life can become beset by similar issues and problems.

How many situations have we accepted or series of events allowed to develop, simply from a lack of courage, or a sense of apathy? Most people enjoy the quiet life, and many women and men, would rather avoid the hassle and stress associated with conflict or resistance.

The Markan Jesus challenges all our complacencies, and compromises, which leads people away from their true identity and destiny. The Kingdom of God is founded on the presence of Jesus Christ.