Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Mat & Pat, The Donkey And The Icebreaker Dog In The Farmyard

The farmer's sheepdog confirmed the fact that it was a return to wintery conditions again. As I made the school bus run late, by chatting about many things with the farmer, there were loud cracking noises coming from behind him. Noises which were similar to a bough breaking off a tree, though this was unlikely as there was hardly a breath of wind.

It turned out to be the old sheep dog who was bashing the icy crust of one of the farmyard puddles with his snout. After five attempts, the ice broke and he was able to lick the brown liquid, lurking underneath.

The bus I had been given today was 'the Donkey'. Steady but sure, sluggish at the start, but not bad when it reached cruising speed. There were no complaints as it lethargically hauled itself over the hilltop. The sheet ice and the frozen rain did not seem to bother it. Nor did the freezing fog, which was the worst of all weather conditions, because you knew that some local was hairing up behind you in a souped up old banger. Fog waited for no man. They overtook the Donkey whether they saw much in front or not.

The children were quiet. Quieter than at any time I had driven them. The Donkey had the added bonus of being equipped with a DVD player. The children perked up as they saw the lit up screens inside the bus, meaning there was a screening of some film:

"What is it? What is it?" said a little boy in fever pitch excitement. "Star Wars? Mall Cop? Batman?"

"No - much better," I said. "Pat & Mat." There followed a long pause of mixed bewilderment and disappointment.

"Who are Pat & Mat?"

"They're Czech. The very finest cartoons......"

"Awwwaaa. I suppose I'll just have go to sleep."

Pat & Mat are fantastic. They work every time and within thirty seconds there are hoots of laughter from the back of the bus, regardless of age. I start laughing when I see them...and I am nearly half a century old. Czech animation has always been the best in the world, and Pat & Mat() typify this. They are not so well known in Britain, though have been around since 1976 and were way ahead of the likes of Pixar, Wallace and Gromit and the like.

"Very nice," said 'jack the lad' as he descended the bus steps onto the snowy tarmac, "but on the way back can you PLEASE put on Star....." I closed the door, successfully blocking any more demands and drove away.

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