Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Cumbrian Feeder (Part II) - The Glasgow Effect

I met the best and worst of Glasgow in the space of three minutes in the coach park of a Northern service station. Since some of service station companies have subcontracted the parking to private companies, things have changed. There are now strict time limits and rules to be observed. There are also wardens patrolling or numberplate recognition cameras to enforce the regulations.

So I shouldn't have been surprised to find the coach park full of caravans, camper vans, motor homes, cars, motorbikes, Uncle Tom Cobley and all. There was one space left between two caravans. A gothically tatooed man with short 'See You Jimmy' style hair and his fat wife were sitting on the kerb, in the space which made it difficult to reverse into. They refused to move.

After the four hour drive from Kent, I was tired and looking forward to my cappuccino. I reversed towards them. They still would not move, until I was close to them. Then all hell broke loose as they realised that the bus was unlikely to be stopping. fatty and the redhead leapt into life, shouting and screaming and banging the bus. They were speaking in such thich Glaswegian patter that neither myself or any of the people on the coach could understand them. They could have been telling Armenian fairy tales for all we knew.

The man came up to my window. His scarlet face mirrored the lobster tint of his sunburnt skin on his upper torso. He screamed:

"Oon-bel-eeeeev-a-bill. Fookin' oon-bel-eeeeev-a-bill." With that the couple dashed into their car and drove away with their wheels screeching. The windows were wound down and as they turned the corner four fingers came out, two each side.

"Well I never...." said the teacher who was standing behind me, watching proceedings.

As the angry Glaswegians went out, a smart coach came in and parked in the spot vacated by the caravan. I instantly identified the same Glaswegow accent, but this time it was a warm voice with plenty of humour. I listened to him have fun with his bus load of old age pensioners:

"30 minutes here. But I have plenty of water for sale. And it will be a lot cheaper than in that service station. And I know where it came from. It came from my tap."

"Can you tell me the way to the toilets?" an old lady asked.

"Aye that'll be £20. But it'll be cheap at the price."

What a difference three minutes makes in the bus world.

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