Friday, 16 July 2010

The Cumbrian Feeder (Part 1)

It was hot and sultry walking along the tow path beside the River Medway in Maidstone. The heat had turned the river a curious shade of green and it gave off a pungent odour, more akin to a stretch of water somewhere near the Equator. The hotel where I was staying was the same heat as a sauna. Health and safety only permitted the windoows to be opened one inch. But this was a blessing as the car park was shared by the pub next door and the noise of late night revellers was horrendous.

I was doing a feeder. Swopping with two drivers who had driven from Germany to drive the school the rest of the way back to their hometown in Cumbria. It had been a long drive down in one of the driver's aged Mercedes, which had the handling of a tank in the trenches at the Battle of the Somme.

The call finally came and I drove to the service station to take over from them. It was a noisy place too. High speed trains on one side, loud mouthed youths playing football in the coach park and using the buses for goalposts.

In between there were teenage Northern girls talking about their purchases in France. "I've got six bags in my handbag" said one.

My bus arrived. The children and the teachers were shattered. There was another 8 hours to go.

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