Saturday, 17 July 2010

The Cumbrian Feeder (Part III) - Nearly There

Possibly the worst part of the journey for any school returning from a European trip, is the long haul back up the M1 or the M6 to their Northern base. The teachers optimistically tell their pupils that it always seems quicker on the way back. Perhaps they are so shattered that they do not remember much of the return trip in their semi-conscious delirium.

European driving regulations mean that most times the two drivers who have driven the stretch across Europe are forced to stop somewhere around Dover or Maidstone as the hours they are permitted to drive have expired. So a third feeder driver (to feed the service to and from the port) is required, and that's me.

The wretched Cumbrian students suffer the hot bus for ten hours. It is a scorcher of a day. They are great and never moan once. Then we arrive on the outskirts of their town and have an enforced 20 minute stop in a lay-by, while the gridlock caused by parents and buses picking up the children at the end of the school day has finished.

Still they do not complain. Even when the teacher orders them to clean up the bus. I take out eight black bin liners of half eaten sweets, plactic drink containers and general rubbish. This is on top of four I had got rid of earlier.

They had eaten for Britain.

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