Friday, 14 January 2011

I Broke The Bedford: Explanation Needed

Walking past the mechanic this morning with a plastic bag full of wine bottles en route for the bottle bank, meant an explanation was necessary. The bus industry has self-regulated, taking action on bus drivers who drink and many companies have introduced random breath testing.

It was bad timing. On the tv the previous night there had been one of those 'follow the Motorway Police, fly on the wall documentaries', where they had stopped a truck driver, found half drunk cans of strong lager in his cab, breathalysed him and arrested him for being three times over the limit.

"So are those bottles all yours?" the mechanic asked half jokingly. "You're driving the Bedford today. Don't break it."

The Bedford was a 1970-something Bedford bus which was still used on the school run. It was an amazing bus. It had a unique smell, three decades of cigarette ash, smelly passengers and mud - mixed with Jeyes Fluid, engine oil and furniture polish. The Bedford was a great character. It took twenty minutes to build the air up. The steering wheel was heavy and you really had to hold on tight to it as you went round corners. None of this power steering lark.

I get off the Bedford and feel rejuvenated. I'm not a bus spotter or a bus enthusiast, but there is something about this machine which gets me going. All very sad. It had been a challenging journey. Three large lorries had come along this narrow country lane and we had to inch past each other.

All was well. No dents. Then it all went wrong. There was a loud noise and the windscreen wiper detached itself. The mechanic was not there when I returned to the depot.

I will have some more explaining to do.

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