Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Doctor, Doctor I've Got Wind

The moon shone brightly over the snow covered moorland road. It was so bright that you did not need headlights to see the way. Perhaps it was so bright in anticipation of the forthcoming lunar eclipse and the winter solstice. The road again sparkled, as if there were a thousand photographers loosing their flash guns at some creation coming down the catwalk. It was 'effing taters' as my cockney friends used to say (cockney rhyming slang - taters short for potatoes - potatoes in the mould = cold).

It was not the sort of day to stand around. On arrival at the depot, this was confirmed on examination of the driver's lavatory. Not only had the water in the bowl frozen, but it had been covered with a dusting of snow, courtesy of the hole in the roof directly above the bog. For a brief moment it looked as if it was a Christmas decoration, before reality kicked in and the deep frost started to get into the bones and cause pain.

The Flying Pig was there waiting to go on the Vallium Run. The other bus had exhaust problems and needed a day with the mechanics. The Flying Pig was a rattly old bus which following an eleven hour shift, made you feel as if you had been on a treadmill for all that time. At least it was good in the snow and the heater worked - sort of.

The Flying Pig is so noisy that it is impossible to hear what the passengers are saying. One came onto the bus carrying a large suitcase which I carried onto the bus and rested on the seat behind me. When he got off the bus, he looked anxious and said:

"Back." Or so I thought he said. I ignored him.

"Back. Back." he repeated more agitatedly.

"Back? Back where?"

"No bag."

"Back? Where? What do you mean?"


"I can't go back. This is a bus service. Where....."

"NO! BAG. BAG. BAG.........Oh never mind, I will get it myself." With that he grabbed the case and stomped off the bus.

It was going to be one of those trying days.

It did get more trying. The driving conditions were not great. The freezing fog froze up the wing mirrors. The heater struggled against the Arctic temperatures. The day was long. The bus had not been cleaned and the floor was littered with scrunched up pieces of paper, which turned out to be terrible jokes from the inside of crackers like:

"Doctor. Doctor. I've got wind!
Can you give me something?

Yes. Here's a kite."

My mind was diverted by a passenger who piped up: "Excuse me driver. But can you tell me if the buses are running on Boxing Day?"

"I have no idea," I replied in my most helpful, concerned voice.

"It's just, you see. that the other driver told me on Saturday. But I was drunk and I've forgotten."

I went back to reading the rotten jokes.

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