Sunday, 27 June 2010

Men In Black

The forced removal of a brown, two day old, eaten apple core still with signs of teeth marks puts no bus driver in a good mood.

An apple a day might well keep the doctor away, but when it is stuffed into an ashtray, it is revolting. The older buses have ashtrays embedded in the seat backs. Though smoking has long been banned, they cannot be removed. The mechanics have drilled screws through the plastic to stop them opening, but always one or two are missed, or the screws are undone by some mischievous child.

Some bus drivers are cleaner than others. I looked on the sheet and swore under my breath when, not surprisingly, I found the man who drove it last always refused to clean buses point blanc. "I'm not paid to clean buses," he would say. "I'm paid to drive buses."

I arrived early at the school, which meant there was time to give the bus a quick mop. I had been to the school before and it was usually very relaxed. This morning, however, the atmosphere was fraught and fearful. It transpired that Ofsted had announced that they were paying a visit. The teachers were scurrying about at 7.30am. Files were being scanned. The final tidying was being carried out.

I watched from the bus as three shady looking characters in raincoats knocked on the school's front door at one minute past eight. All had briefcases. One had a black Eastern European looking hat. They looked fearsome - a cross between some secret policemen and the man who had come to run the meter.

I silently wished the school the best possible luck. It looked as if they would need it.

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