Thursday, 14 April 2011

Coach Driver Catches The Vibes

There is a joy and freedom where I am lucky enough to live, to walk up the hill and escape from a bad day's bus driving. This morning there is no wind, there is glowing sunshine warming my back and there are no sounds apart from passing birds. The black Patterdale puppy stops and looks up at the alarmed screeching in the sky. It is a buzzard being harassed by a solitary, brave, dive bombing lapwing. The lapwing is almost kamikaze like in its behaviour. He plunges at full speed. The buzzard tries to take evasive action, but his lumbering bulk cannot compete with the aerodynamics and the lapwing slams into his midrift, causing the alarmed screeching.

Not that I had a bad day's bus driving yesterday. To the contrary, I had an exceptionally good one. I did, however see another bus driver; a lady with dyed crimson hair who looked like a hangover from Red Nose Day, struggle to negotiate the cramped car parks of the various points. She was driving a thirteen metre coach full of bird spotters. It came up the hill to a scenic viewpoint of the Wall before she realised the road narrowed dramatically and the only way out was to reverse through the tight gateway to the car park.

Having helped to guide her back, she turned, parked in a muddy lady and got out the bus to light up a tab. We looked at her bus and discussed the difficulties which sometimes occur when strap lines and buzz phrases are written across buses. Next to the company logo, in large, informal typeface were the words:

'Just Go'.

"Yeah, I know," she said. "One of my passengers said 'Just Stop', when I struggled to get through the hotel gates this morning. It was embarrassing, but I haven't got stuck yet."

Great to meet a coach driver with a carefree attitude. I was not so lucky at the next coach park. There was another driver who insisted in keeping his engine running. The noise and smell of fumes was distracting.

"Why's he doing that?" asked one of my passengers.

"Probably looking at a dvd," I replied, "and doesn't want to run the battery down."

"For sure," said someone else, "looking at the size of him, he obviously watches many dvds." At that precise moment the driver looked across at me with a disdainful look. He could not have heard. But the radio waves must have travelled and he realised he was being watched and spoken about. I blushed. Caught in the act. We drove off.

Nothing is sacred.

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