Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Chinese Chickens And Headless Chicken Mentality

Thankfully that's over. The first day back on the buses.

"Shall we pay him some holiday money?" said one of the bosses.

"I wouldn't bother," said the other, "he's on permanent holiday." It had begun to feel like a permanent break as I had been away for nearly a month. A combination of school holidays and what was generally a quiet time on the buses made it the perfect time to disappear.

The first day back was going to be a doddle. The local school bus was a fairly relaxed affair and though the lanes were narrow, the Flying Pig, an old midi-sized bus was assigned for the route.

But shock horror. The morning began with the news that the Flying Pig was required for another route, owing to another small bus being in the paint shop. One of the smarter executive coaches was all that was available. No fun at all, creeping around the narrow lanes where the visibility was nil due to the overgrown trees and expecting a branch to ruin the paintwork at any time.

It would be the one day around the sharp bends and narrow stone bridges I met a delivery lorry, three sets of tree surgeons, four pick-up trucks, a late for work mother with her head down, two amorous doves and a partridge in a rowan tree.

"Watch the Chinese chickens," yelled the children as I nearly ran over a family of pheasants. The waddled up the road before flinging themselves to safety over the side of a bridge.

The bus park was chaos. Teachers and children getting on and off the wrong buses, running around like headless chickens. Buses were heading in every direction, hesitant and cautious of knowing which way they should be going. I got a rocket from a parent for running early. In truth they had probably not ventured out of their front door, due to the heavy rain so it was unlikely they could say whether I was early, late or outrageously late.

I've volunteered myself for two more weeks of this. What could I have been thinking of? But, hey. It could be worse. Opportunities won't knock but I will be an expert on the stupid lives of Chinese chickens.

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