Tuesday, 14 June 2011
Day Trip To The Scottish Seaside: 2. Pure Dead Brilliant
'Andy who?' I asked lamely.
'Andy Murray, of course. We want to know how he is getting on at Queens.'
The ladies chatted the whole way up. About everyone and everything. When we were close to the Ayr coastline, the clouds began to lift. The chatter in the back of the bus became more intense at the realisation that the long drive up the twisty road of the long gone Scottish coal mining industry was coming to an end.
As we drove into the centre of Ayr the traffic increased. At a roundabout I got an uneasy feeling about the car fast approaching from one of the side roads. The driver did not seem to be concentrating and did not look like stopping. He saw the bus at the last minute and stamped on his brakes. Just as I drove off the roundabout there was a loud bang from somewhere towards the back of the bus.
'What the bloody hell was that?' one lady said loudly.
Streuth, that damned car has hit me, I thought. But there was no feeling of a collision. I stopped the bus on the dual carriageway and rushed round to the back, fearing the worst. After Gretna, how would I ever persuade the boss that two accidents on the same day were not down to me. It would be an unenviable task which would result in weeks of teasing. But there was nothing. No cars embedded into the back of the bus. No marks, no scratches. No damage to frame, or tyres, or wheels or enging. A mystery.No other cars had crashed into each other. So I drove on, dropped the passengers and headed for my Mancini ice cream at the Royal Cafe.
Spending an hour cruising the shops, seeing the architecture and walking along the beach is just my sort of day.
Ayr had changed and remained the same. It was still beautiful, full of history and lots of interest. Still pure dead brilliant and able to deliver the occasional surprise.The demographics had changed and I found myself queuing in a shop behind the family from hell. The man was drunk. He had a face which was black and blue and looking suspiciously as if he had been in a punch up. The woman was equally drunk or drugged. The children were out of control and running around the shop stealing things. The uncles, aunts and cousins were all standing around issuing different instructions. they were after money. It was like a scene from Rab C Nesbitt. The counter staff giggled when the family left.
One of them looked at me and muttered 'low life'. I felt at home. Of course it takes one to know one.
I returned to the beachfront where the bus was parked for the last half an hour
'No thanks, just a drink,' I replied.
'Irn Bru, darling? That'll be £1.' She took the note which was folded in my hand, before I could argue. Her dog watched me with a mixture of emotions but let me retire to my bus without any aggression.
The passengers fared better in their eating. 'Lovely, it was,' they said. 'We found a place which advertised a Pensioner's Special for £3-99. Lovely it was.'
And with that we headed home.
'But what's happened to Andy?' repeated the same voices.