Friday, 3 December 2010

Bus Escapes From A Touch Of The George Formby's

The car slithered for most of the seventeen miles down to the builders merchants in the town down on the valley floor. It was unpleasant or as they keep saying on the radio 'treacherous driving conditions'. This was the first morning where the presenters had stopped talking about the weather. Football had superseded the weather and the North East radio presenters were brimming with confidence that England was going to be awarded the World Cup in 2018. Too much confidence. It was a certainty, according to them.

The builders merchants were already open when I rolled up into their snow laden car park at 7.15am. There was one of their staff in a mini digger, clearing away what snow he could. This was difficult as there was a line of builders vans eager to pick up supplies. But he did his best. Even more impressive was that they still had bags of rock salt and grit. The little Ford Fiesta sank to the ground as it was loaded with 10 x 25kg bags of the stuff.

"Clearing snow around your house?" asked the helper who loaded the salt.

"No," I replied. "I'm off to dig out a bus." There was nothing more to say.

When I arrived at the depot, all the reports were true. The bus was teetering over a drop. The back wheels were raised off the ground. The front wheel was held by a small and suspect plank of wood. It was cracking. I was expecting the call of: "Run Lads!" at any time as me and two other drivers started digging out around the bus.

The snow was the least of the problems. It was the polar-like ice underneath which needed a pickaxe to shift. One driver arrived in combat trousers. Snow camouflaged combat trousers, similar to what the Russian Spetsnaz wear. That was as far as the similarity went as he was definitely no Spetsnaz shape. He looked though as he had seen some form of combat that morning as his hat, coat and trousers were dirty.

"Bloody car," he said. "On my walk to work this car came so fast past me that all the salt was sprayed over the top of me. I threw my shovel at him. But I missed."

It took three hours to dig this bus out. Then came the nervewracking part. Trying to drive the bus out. If he went forward there was the chance he might tip it over. If he went back he might have hit the gates before tipping over. Neither were nice choices. Two other drivers had turned up and he was getting different advice from four drivers now. Sensibly he ignored the lot. He seemed to pluck up courage, take a deep breath and shut his eyes as he put the bus into gear. It worked a treat and the bus slid and wobbled a bit, before hairing up the icy road. He stopped for no man. If he had he would have been stuck again. He made it with some great driving.

"Not like Dangerous Don," someone said.

"You mean George Formby."

"George Formby?"

"Yes, when his bus slipped into the lampost he was given the nickname of George Formby."

"Why was that?" I asked. By the other drivers looks I instantly knew it was a stupid question.

"Well George Formby sung.........I'm leaning on a lampost at the corner of the street."

Silly me.

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