Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Happiness Is A 1973 Bedford

"It's embarrassing," said the child, shaking her head as she got on the bus. "Plain embarrassing. Why have we got this old bus? The 38 year old Bedford puffed a little as she climbed the hill.

"Be careful," the mechanic had warned me before I had set out. The Bedford was the boss's pride and joy and because the company were so busy, needs must and I had to take her out on the longer school run. Longer than she usually goes. A pleasure for me as the Bedford is a joy to drive. none of this computerised new fangled push button stuff. You really feel you have driven a bus as grabbing the steering wheel and keeping it straight is akin to an hour on weightlifting equipment in the gym. She tries to wrench your arms from their sockets.

There is a slight pressure when you drive her, however. I can hear the boss whispering in my ear: 'Don't bump the Bedford'...and the mechanic; "Drive very carefully'.....and the other boss; 'Not like that- TOOL.' In fact they all spoke at once in my imagination when I turned the corner and the builders' delivery wagon was trying to skid to a stop. We both headed for the ditches and somehow missed each other. It was an intake of breath moment.

It happened again when a minibus thought he could squeeze past on a very sharp corner. I stopped and closed my eyes. The mini-bus didn't. But somehow, whether or whether not he closed his eyes, he mounted the verged and bounced along a bank, narrowly missing the bus.

"Why yo geeve meee thees bus?" the Eastern European boy asked. "Is awfuf. Is rubbish." I resisted pointing out that this Bedford was a far better bus than some of the more modern buses in his country, but that would only have sent him into a dark strop. Besides it would not be right because it is on the day that Action For Happiness, the membership organisation dedicated to spreading happiness is officially launching.

Happiness is a 1973 Bedford full of a load of moaning students. It could be worse.

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