An upright, tall old woman climbs to the top deck and stumbles back as the bus takes off. She grips a pole and recovers with a rueful smile, pushes forward and eases into the seat that overlooks the stairs.
She wears a bright red cardigan over several cheerful layers: a wide-collared blouse whose floral design is like a watercolour; a pink scarf drawn close at the throat and looped once, loosely, at the chest; an ankle-length skirt with a pattern of tiny mauve and purple flowers on their stems; grey socks, and sandals whose straps are bronze, silver and gold.
Her hat is all coloured bands and layers, with the brim turned up at the back, where grey hair tapers neatly behind the ear. At the front the brim turns down, shielding the tops of her glasses.
Before she can relax, she has two bags and a book to organise. One bag is dark brown leather, with orange ornaments and strap, and the other is a light-weight olive green sack whose bottom hangs heavy. She tries various arrangements before settling the green bag on her lap and the brown bag on top of it, upright on its base and leaning against her middle.
Holding the book in both hands and looking down over the brown bag, she reads. Her hands come together to turn a page, and the cover is revealed: A Man’s Got to Have a Hobby, by William McInnes.