Saturday, 29 January 2011

More Ripping Yarns On The Vallium Run

"I'll catch yer while I can, though I can't see you very well this morning, because of the water in my eyes," shouted the fellow in the Russian hat and tweeds. He had a walking stick in one hand and a dog on a lead in the other. I was was walking up the street to find my supermarket reduced item for lunch and so I just gave a hearty wave and marched on. Today there was extra value in the bargain basement department - a flattened, tired prawn pasta salad for 89p - an unfamiliar brand of continental chocolate bar for 19p and some solidified soya milk for 43p. Total: £1-51. You can't get cheaper than that, even if it was food which was about to be binned.

When I got back to the bus, there was the old fellow, sitting in the front seat. "I hope yer didn't mind. I just wanted to have a good crack with yer." I liked his company on the bus. He would ride the whole route, occasionally getting off to walk his dog, then catching the bus again, further along the route. The other passengers warmed to him too, and when he was on the bus there was always a plethora of stories.

The sluice gates opened and tale after tale was let loose.

There had been a fight in the market town. A woman had caught her boyfriend with another woman. All hell had broken loose and she had beaten up the boyfriend and the other woman. "Makes a change from them brawling in the street," said one of the women on the bus.

In another village there was a lady who lived there who had a fearsome reputation. A reputation for 'planting her lips' on anyone she could find. "Well you see, this young lad was on the bus and as it happened she was also on. Well when they got off she dragged him in the doorway and kissed him. He was very embarrassed and came to see me."

"What did you say to him?" asked a passenger.

"I told him he should go to the doctor's."

One of the elders on the bus had a problem with another lady passenger. "I was standing at the bus stop minding me own business, waiting for the bus," he said. "It turned up, the doors open and this woman fell down the steps, straight into my arms." She was another of the passengers gaining a reputation fast. She had fallen down the steps once when I was driving.

"Are you well?" I said to the pensioner, trying to change the subject.

"Nae fine fettle. Nae fine fettle at all," he replied. "Me and the wife went to the hospital yesterday. We asked the reception where the department where the appointment was at. She said she dinna know, but it may be on the third floor. We went into the lift and pressed the button for the third floor. Up we went. The doors opened. We got out. but it weren't floor three at all. It were floor five. So we got back in and pressed the button for floor three again. The doors opened but we were in the basement. Then we asked a nurse to take us there. 'Don't ask me dear, she said, I'm new here.' So we got back in the lift and pressed floor three again. We went up, but we got out on floor two..............(and so it goes on...and on...and on).......and do you know how long it took us to get there? One hour. One bleeding hour."

I felt physically drained when he got to the end of the story.

"Well I hope the appointment went well," I said, making polite conversation.

"Nah it dinna." He looked disgusted. "When I told him aboot me problem, the doctor asked me what I drank. Well I says, on a Friday night I usually has two pints of lager and three whiskys.'Ah that's the problem, he says. You'll have to stay off the beer.' So now I'm on a whisky only diet."

I watched him descend down the bus steps and head off for the club.

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