Friday evening, I was doing my once a month late duty((ends at 21:32) which is late for me). I knew the forcast was for a strong east wind which usually means the sea front will close just before High Water,19:45, and stay closed for about 3 hours. So when I drove out of Torquay at 19 30 I was expecting the front to be closed. Usually the big waves come over between the Livermead House Hotel and the Livermead Cliff Hotel. They are only 200 yards apart and yes, in the summer it does cause problems. It used to just suprise me that holiday makers didn't remember which hotel they were staying in, the look they give you when you ask, it's as if you have just asked then to explain why Tony Blair is such a crook.
Any way when I drove past the Livermead House, a 30 foot wave came over the wall and crashed down on the bus. For a moment it was like driving 'Das Boot.' Water, sand and gravel all over the road. And still 20 mins to High Water, surely the road would be closed when I got back from Brixham. An hour later it was worse, 40 foot wave and even more sand and gravel splattering the bus. It isn't the water that is the main problem. The council, used to let buses through when the big waves came over but now they are concerned that rocks (small) will damage windows and some one will get hurt. They don't care so much that some one gets hurt, it's the look on the Lawyers face when he hands over the writ that worries them most. Any way back from Newton and the road was finally closed, almost 2 hours after high tide. I think the person who's job it is to close the sea front didn't turn in for work, because by the time the road was closed the waves were much smaller. Any way, round the diversion in the dark. Last time we used the diversion in the dark a bus hit a tree, poor tree, and 2 windows when in. This time the controller spent the whole time saying, "There's no rush, drive in the middle of the road, don't worry about oncoming cars, just watch out for trees. " The trees must have learnt, because none of them jumped out in front of any buses and we lost no windows.
As global warming gets worse the road will close more often and the diversion will be used more and more. So if you live along there sell up now before you find yourself living on a bus route.