Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Flying Pig Suffers A Post Christmas Breakdown

Cancel what I last wrote.

It is far from peaceful and only lip service is being paid to the joyous.

I am sitting on top of a cold Northumbrian hill. I am not alone. I have five others sitting beside me.....and a dog. With such breathtaking views, we should all be happy. The sun is shining. It is fractionally less cold than usual and all is well with the world.

All is well with the world but not with the bus. The Flying Pig has given up the ghost. She started to make high pitched whistling noises, refused to go more than 20 mph and expelled clouds of black smoke. She struggled to the next bus stop, gave one last ear piercing scream and stopped. I picked up the mobile and dialled the mechanic.

"What have you broken this time?" said an irritated voice.

The boss came on the phone. "I've contracted a well known bus company called HRS."

"HRS? That's a new company on me." I replied. "Where are they based?"

"Well no actually they're not a bus company. I've despatched Hiram B Birdbath in the other bus. HRS - Hiram Rescue Services is on the way."

Hiram, the assistant mechanic was like a hot scalded cat and arrived 25 minutes later. Not a moment too soon as the passengers were muttering under their breath. I hadn't improved their mood by pointing out that there would be no refund or chance of compensation as they were all pensioners and were on a free trip anyway. This was the local bus company - not British Airways.

It had started so well in the morning. It was the first service to run since Christmas Eve. It was the first frost free drive to the depot. Even the the six inch crust of ice in the drivers' lavatory bowl was showing signs of thawing.

Then the post Christmas problems began. The bus I was due to take had a loose wire and therefore no tail lights. I had to swop to the Flying Pig, who demonstrated signs of a Christmas hangover by refusing to go above a crawling speed. A sign of things to come. The exhaust brake seemed to be temperamental and stuck on occasionally.

In the end it was not so bad. Thanks to Hiram, the service was only 45 minutes late. Two ladies ordered their husbands to bring the car and rescue them. A local man and his dog had just come along for the ride to kill time and he seemed to be enjoying every minute.

"Aye, 'tis good crack, 'tis," he kept saying, before his stomach started rumbling as hunger descended. "Aye I could eat a scabby horse."

When we finally reached our destination, the last couple got off the bus and turned to say:

"Thank you so much. That was exciting!"

In a way, when you look at the average dull events which occur on the Vallium Run, then I suppose it was..........exciting.

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