The number 16 bus into the city centre is packed – brim full with people heading into town. The atrocious weather of the last few days let up briefly today, and with the imminence of Christmas, everyone seems to be up and about to get the last bits of shopping done. The bus stop where I clamber aboard the number 16 is mid way between the starting terminus and the ending terminus, as such I can only find standing space, ironically next to a sign that ostensibly marks the limits of standing room. Next to me are a mother and her daughter. The daughter cannot be more than six years old and still possesses the unbridled energy and uninhibited curiosity being young and carefree brings. The atmosphere is tense – of the kind where a word out of place potentially could let loose a fire storm. There are people plugged into iPods, people huddled together in groups chatting away and people like me who are alone, with lowered eyes looking into the distance. The little girl becomes the side show though – firing off question after question to her mother, peering into people’s faces, and at some stage leaning in towards her mother and planting a kiss on her cheek whilst whispering “I love you Mum”. When she gives the wizened old lady behind me a fixed stare. I wonder how the bus scene would look like in a different country, south of the Sahara. For the first time in a few months, I remember my mother.