Monthly Archives: October 2010

Blues and Twos

Hardly a day goes by without encountering an emergency vehicle with all lights flashing and horns blaring, usually it’s an ambulance. What staggers me is the way in which the majority of motorists react as soon as they see the emergency vehicle – slam the brakes on and stop! Doesn’t matter if they’re just short of the brow of a hill, a bend in the road, opposite a parked car or at a point at where the road narrows. I can’t recall if how to react to these situations is covered in the driving theory test? If I’m correct in thinking it’s not, perhaps that explains why the majority of drivers react as they do, although common sense should tell you what to do without having to be taught.

Poor souls

All you Oxford Bus Company drivers. I read that the ERG Ticket Systems TP5000 ticket machine is being installed on your buses in 8 days time. If you want to know what’s in store for you read my review here, written after 3 months use of the ERG TP5000.

Giving change

Two people who appeared to be together boarded yesterday, the guy then stated his destination, I said ‘£1.60, please’ at which he dumped a one pound coin and an enormous pile of loose change into the cash tray adding ‘Sorry about the change’! Sorry, my arse, he was glad to shed that lot, he knew what the fare would be and had it counted out. But he’d made a mistake – he’d asked for his ticket before his companion :-) She asked for the same destination and offered a £2 coin so was due 40p change. I’d left the pile of coins in the cash tray to put away later so was I quickly able to snap up the £1 coin and the only silver coin (20p) leaving nothing but pennies and tuppences left by her companion and say ‘There you are ….. sorry about the change’. She then joined her companion who’d already sat down and it looked like they they were having a team meeting about how it had gone wrong and were planning not to do it that way round next time.

A couple of pictures from my regular route

The Winchester to Salisbury route that is. At Broughton there is a Water Buffalo farm and usually the buffalo are way back in the fields but yesterday I was able to get a picture of this ‘girl’. She actually spotted me walking into the field and then headed straight for me to then stare at me as I stared at her. There are more, and better, photos on the farm website.

The hedge was thick with sloes. Next time I’ll make sure I’ve got a container with me and I’ll grab some to make sloe gin for Christmas.

Well done, Engineers!

Whenever there is a problem on the M3 Winchester virtually locks up. The motorway should run round the City, not through it, but whenever there’s a problem motorists seem to think running through the centre of Winchester will somehow save them time, and so it was yesterday. I was due to drive the number 1 route twice, this route is a figure of eight leaving the bus station and then looping one area before returning to the Bus Station to do another loop of a different area.

I took the bus over and within 2 stops, got about 150 yards away from the bus station, the bus was filled to capacity – all 37 seats taken and 28 standing! As I passed further stops swinging my arm in a negative way to try and say “sorry, can’t you see I’m full” produced nothing but abuse (lip reading and body language relayed these messages). I crawled around this first loop stopping at every stop which took far longer than it should have because those at the back who wanted to get off had to fight their way past those who were standing. When I finally got back to the bus station it was already the time I should have been arriving after doing the second loop! I was told to ignore the lost trip and just to go again in 10 minutes on the scheduled first loop of the route again.

I got about a third of the way round the loop and then warning lights on the dashboard lit up and the buzzer kept sounding – the main belt on the engine had shredded. The lack of an alternator is not major problem in the short term but the lack of a water pump is of rather more immediate concern so I had pull over, stop the engine and inform control. No problem they’d get the engineers out and the passengers could catch the following bus, this route has a 15 minute frequency. About 25 minutes later an engineer arrived in a van with tools and a belt, the shredded belt was replaced, the bus started and checked and then given the all clear. What is so surprising in all of this that due to the traffic congestion no other bus had yet passed us! So the engineer had got there quicker than the following bus, mended my bus and got me on my way before the other bus caught up. Well done and thanks to the Engineering Dept.

A couple of things

On Thursday I started to feel unwell with all the symptoms of a cold. Friday was the first day of my 5 day break and simultaneously the cold broke. I’m being ill in my own time! At last I’m beginning to feel a little better which is fortunate because this afternoon I’ve got to take Essy to Gatwick for an overnight flight to Zimbabwe. She’s flying Air Zimbabwe who, whilst being a safe airline, don’t have too much to commend them except the baggage allowance – 40kgs hold luggage + 8kgs hand luggage. You may well think that’s an awful lot for someone going to a very hot country for a short time, I’d probably only take a few pairs of shorts and some cotton shirts …… oh, and some underwear! Essy, having exercised extreme self-control, has one suitcase of 19kg, a second suitcase of 19.5kg and exactly 8kg of hand luggage. Of course very little of this is Essy’s clothes, the bulk of it is made up of stuff still difficult to obtain, or which is very expensive, in Zimbabwe.

I just remembered something I posted 3 years ago. Here it is, a reminder of how ill I’ve been!