Thursday, 17 February 2011

There's Little Peace In The City Of Peace

Which city in the UK is the City of Peace where you can find a Cenotaph. a Workers' Memorial Plaque, the Bhopal Workers' Memorial Day Plaque, a Hiroshima and Nagasaki plaque, a 1932 Ukrainian Famine Memorial, a 1986 Chernobyl Disaster Memorial, amongst other things?

Bradford, of course. A brilliant place. Not that I saw any of these sights. It was dark when I arrived. It's the food, though I've enjoyed best. Especially the Kashmiri cuisine. It's delicious.

"Be careful," warned one of the other bus drivers when I told him where I was going, "you'll have curry for breakfast down there."

He was nearly right. The schoolchildren brought containers filled with curry and boxes piled high with warm samosas. The aromas permeated through the bus. They were still there the next day. Proper cooking, with proper spices. I closed my eyes for a minute, I felt I was transported to a warm street, somewhere on the subcontinent bustling with hawkers selling every kind of food.

I was awoken out of my dream by a blunt Yorkshire voice:

"Eeh 'ello. 'Ello luv. Mr Coach Man? Are you in there?" It was a worried mother. She was standing over me with her arms folded. "Mr Coach Man - you drive carefully. Remember it's our children, you are driving." She smiled, but the threat was there.

"NO CHOC-O-LATE. I said NO CHOC-O-LATE," said the teacher. "How many times do I have to say NO...." Good, I thought. This is a school which has properly drilled its children and would mean a sick free trip over the winding roads later in the journey.

"But you can eat any other kind of sweet," added another teacher. Oh no, I thought, it will be bad later.

"That's very nice of you to bring a cake," said another teacher to a child, "and cut it into seven slices to share out. Hmmm maybe later....oh alright then." My heart sank.

We departed and drove up the motorway. There has to be a new kind of grit and salt being used on the roads as it is hard to see out of the windows because it is caked on and no amount of screenwash seems to shift it. Another driver swears that he put some down outside his door and the salt is eating in to the concrete slab and nothing has stopped it. It is still eating into the concrete.

"You've had a bad winter," I thought the teacher said to me. I half heard her and wasn't sure whether it was because of the noisy engine or the broad South Yorkshire accent.

"Yes," I said, "but nothing we're not used to, and the snow's not been bad."

"No not WINTER," she said agitatedly, "I says WINDA. I meant your window is bad."

It was one of those trips.

1 comment:

  1. The thing is there are very few Old Etonian's anywhere else in the UK or the world who can offer such insightful comment into everyday working life. The best known Old Etonian currently cannot. This guy should get a pat on the back.