Friday, 5 November 2010

The Bus That Doesn't Like Getting Its Wheels Wet

"Where are the Goldfish?" mocked the auto electrician as he examined his soaked feet.

He had just removed the plastic cover to one of the rear light assemblies. He was looking to see why one of the brake lights was not working. This could have been a contributory factor. The effect of driving around with your rear light housings being akin to a fish tank may or may not have blown the bulb.

The electricians early morning mood was blackened at the thought of having to cope with the rest of the day with soaked feet. But it made him work faster. Possibly the thought of a forced tea break might have been appetising.

It had been a bad morning. It was a damned if you do, damned if you don't sort of morning. The bus I was taking had a history of not liking the wet. It was the bus that had begun life on the flat and well drained tarmac of Heathrow Airport. What can only be described as a similar act to Black Beauty being sold to the gypsies, this bus suddenly found itself on top of a wet and windswept Cumbrian hilltop. No wonder it took umbrage at the change of lifestyle, finally making the ultimate protest when going through a deep puddle of blowing up its engine.

Trust me to be given this bus to take to Carlisle on the wettest day this year. The rivers and burns in the high hills had burst their banks. There were puddles and mini floods all over the place. I drove tentatively. I drove so tentatively that the school bus which leaves 10 minutes behind the service bus, came hurtling down the road and sat impatiently in my slipstream. The driver is a great bloke and mixes his full time job as a farmer with part time bus driving.

He was in a hurry. As I stopped to pick up a passenger, he overtook. He was in a hurry, grim faced, he must have been worried about his sheep and the pummelling they must have been taking in this cyclone. I kept on driving tentatively, trying to avoid the deep puddles and rivers that were appearing down the side of the road. It was a good chance to think of excuses I would make to a Policeman or VOSA inspector, if I was stopped.

"Do you realise you have only one brake light working?"

"Oh really Officer? I had no idea. It wasn't like that when I did my walk round check before leaving the depot. It must have just have happened."

Then it would be in the lap of the gods as to what sort of mood they were in and whether they were going to take action and be over zealous as to the precise wording of the law. Today, they would most likely be raindrenched and in a raindrenched frame of mind.

It was a relief to be discussing fish with the auto electrician. At least I was legal again.

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