Thursday, 15 July 2010

Kerb Crawling, Jack Daniels And Some Strange Teeth

The coach park at Alton Towers is a great place to be. The happiness of the schoolchildren and other coach parties seems to result in an infectiousness which rubs off on the drivers. The coach park has a holiday camp atmosphere and the drivers, who congregate from every part of the country seem genuinely pleased to see one another.

Often they are looking over their shoulders as VOSA are often there inspecting vehicles and drivers records. (VOSA stands for Vehicle & Operator Services Agency and its slogan is: Saving lives, safer roads, cutting crime, protecting the environment.) It is a great place for them to be stationed as they can guarantee 250 t0 300 coaches visiting daily in the high season. It is a veritable history of buses too with many ancient vehicles parked.

But the day I was there, VOSA were not and the sun was shining. The park was packed with groups of drivers, huddled under the shade of an oak tree, telling stories and tales of great driving endeavours.

"Yes they did think I was kerb crawling," said one. "There I was driving my bus around the city looking for a parking place, when, darn it this Policeman pulls me over.

'Are you looking for business, sir' he asks us. No, I says. I'm looking for a parking space. I told him it's cheaper to drive around and pay for the extra diesel than it is to pay the city's parking charges. The Policeman laughed and told me to drive on."

"I just got myself a bottle of Jack Daniels," another driver added. "I was in a queue on the motorway when this other bus alongside me on the inside lane, opened the window in the door on the passenger side and waved a bottle of Jack Daniels, meaning for me to take a swig and pass it back. I took it and at that moment the traffic cleared. So I drove off. There was a lot of hooting and flashing of lights behind me, but it was too late. I was gone."

"That's nothing," another driver piped up. "When I was in Paris, this German bus came into the coach park. It was driven by a man with large glasses who looked like Mr Magoo. He reversed straight into the next door bus's mirror and broke it. The driver was furious and went over to Herr Magoo.

'Sorry, but you wouldn't hit a man with glasses,' Magoo said in pigeon English, before getting back into his bus and reversing into the side of three more coaches before driving off down the Champs Elysees."

There was a quiet driver standing a few yards behind the others. He suddenly said: "That's not a patch on the night when four drivers were sharing the same bedroom. The elderly one took out his false teeth and placed them in the basin. One by one, the other drivers got up in the night, bleery eyed and pee'd into the basin. Come the morning the elderly driver picked up the teeth and put them in his mouth. 'Funny taste me teeth have today',he said."

The congregation of bus drivers hurriedly split up.

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