Sunday, 30 July 2006

Chaos, more than usual, in Newton Abbot.

The Team arrived from ISCA Scaffolding (the best Scaffolding Firm I know) on Thursday . As there is not much room in the bus station it will cause problems. Not on the same scale as Global Warming true, but as you can see in the left hand picture there are a lot of people using the 79 bus stop. This is a local stop and not very big. Up where the barriers are in place is the stop used by the 85A, the 39 and the X64 which go to such far flung places like Teighmouth, Dawlish, Chudliegh and Exeter. So now 5 or 6 buses will be trying to get into the one small local bus stop. Where are they all going to go?

In the past if the bus station got a little full we could always drive round the block, took about two minutes. Unfortunatly the are now roadworks at the exit to the bus station and driving round the block would take 15 minutes if you were lucky. As you can see from the picture below the temporary traffic lights at the road works have been really well though out. The zebra crossing is the first problem. The lights change to green and you drive forward and some one walks on to the crossing. While you are there the lights change and traffic appears from the other direction. They can not get out because you are now blocking the road. Gridlock. A couple of other problems, one is something that every erector of temporary traffic light should know but seems to ignore. Car drivers can not or will not read the sign that says, "When red light shows wait here." A few do but most drive up to the lights and stop. This does not leave room for buses to get past them and they end up having to reverse out of the way. By the time they have done this the lights have changed and they end up waiting twice as long. When will they ever learn. 'They' in this case is not just the car drivers but the people who put the lights up. Why not put the lights up next to the notice instead of 10 feet past the notice. Then the car drivers will stop in the right place and not in the way. Maybe!

An other problem at the road works if once you get through the lights there are a set of traffic lights and some idiot in the Department of Traffic Lights decided that being on Green for 5 seconds was quite long enough thank you very much. Well it bloody well isn't. Take a drive out one day at lunch time and see for your self. It's called testing. Try it now and then. Get out of the office, there are plenty of examples in history where testing was neglected with not good results. If the builders of the Titanic had put 3500 people on the ship while it was still in Belfast and said,"Right, everyone get in a lifeboat." we might not have had two good films and hundreds of documentries and 1500 dead people.

Saturday, 29 July 2006

Friday, 28 July 2006

And This Was Before I Even Got To Work

Truck unloading in front and chaos behind. There was room for cars to get past but not the buses so they kept over to the left to let the cars though. Considerate bus drivers. The truck driver was in no hurry and we were delayed about 5 mins. Still got to work on time though.

The above was on Friday. Then on Saturday on the way home a car driver worked out he was in the a right turn lane and he wanted to go straight on. So he signaled and started to pull into the left hand lane. He realized just to late that the bus was closer than he thought and stopped. Just to late and lost his wing mirror. No damage to the bus; thank God.

Thursday, 27 July 2006

Petrol Tankers; Don't you Just Love Them.

There I was, about 5 minutes down, well OK ten, and the traffic not only came to a dead stop; the cars at the front were turning round and coming back. I couldn't see what was going on as the problem was round the bend. (Been here before). I could soon to see the problem, the cars in front were doing three point turns like the Devil Himself was dancing in the middle of the road. No such luck. Just a petrol tanker that had swung into the Jet Station in Paignton but had come to a stop in just the right place to block the road comprehensively.

A police officer came over and with a big smile said, "Sorry mate, you're going to be here a while. His clutch has burnt out." So I pulled over at the bus stop and explained to the passengers. Most were going to Paignton and the town centre was only half a mile down the road so most got off. Then on the radio to break the bad news.

"Hello Orange control. You'll never guess what's just happened." Orange control don't go in for guessing games so I had to tell them. I also suggested that as a matter of some urgency they should tell all the other twelves heading for the Jet Station to divert otherwise we would have hundreds of buses lined up and not way through.

Orange started. "All twelves Heading for the Jet........" I could bore you with the rest but actually I didn't listen to the rest because as soon as Orange had started, the petrol tanker driver started his engine and drove into the petrol station. So much for a burnt out clutch. I then had to get on the radio and say," Forget that. Tankers gone. Back to normal line of route." I felt a right twit. Must have been the shortest diversion ever. Didn't even get a photo.

If you like bus stops this is the place to be.

In a recent post about getting a bus to stop at bus stops and the need to put your hand out sooner than rely on the mind reading abilities of the driver, I remarked that even if there were bus stops in Antarctia and on the Planet Zog putting your hand out was a good idea. Better than making a rude, one or two fingered guesture as the bus vanished into the distance.

To day I received a link (thanks) from a gent called Lamiao which proved there are bus stops in the great cold land to the south. I am still waiting in hope for an email from Planet Zog; where ever it is.

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

Blast from the Past

I was heading into Torquay the other day when the traffic came to a dead stop as this Blast from the Past emerged from the Romny Jones Cafe and headed north. Perhaps they had heard the town was full of Harleys and had decided in the interest of world peace to go some where else.

I could never understand the need to have so many lights on a scooter. To get them all on you would need to be connected to the National Grid or get struck by lightening.

Oggy Oggy

I went in the local pasty shop in Fleet Street the other day for a pasty. As it was a little late in the afternoon I asked if everything was still on the menu. The young lady behind the counter said"Oh yes, everything is on," she looked at the display for a moment and added," bar lamb."

Tuesday, 25 July 2006

Please, Don't Get left Behind.

I had a little incident while driving past the Old South Devon College site yesterday. Both participants, me and a gent in his seventies, ended up a little angry and slightly baffled.

What happened was this, I came round the bend (OK, OK, I know, been there, got the tee shirt) at Torr Station and 200 yards ahead there was this person standing on the island in the middle of the road. He saw me and walked briskly across the road to the pavement on my left. Now I know there is a bus stop there but I had also noted that there was no one at the stop; so I didn’t slow down. There was no danger I would run the pedestrian over, he was too far away. As he crossed, he looked at me to make sure I wasn’t going to remodel the front of the bus with a person shaped indentation, which I wasn’t, and carried on walking. When he reached the pavement he turned clockwise so he had his back to me for a second or so. Then, as I drew level with him he looked at me with a surprised look on his face. Why hadn’t I stopped? Surely it was obvious he wanted the bus. Why else would he have crossed the road? Aren’t all bus drivers uncaring bastards? He was definitely angry and I expect a bit baffled.

Me too. I’m baffled because compared with the energy expended crossing the road, putting a hand out is so slight. So why not do it? Angry because he has now added him self to the group of people who think bus drivers find it hard to sleep at night unless we drink half a gallon of Horlicks just before going to bed.

Does he walk in a pub and stand at the bar and expect the bar person to know what he wants to drink. Well if he goes in the same pub all the time and it is the same bar person all the time then probably. Yes; that’s probably it, he got a bus yesterday and as all buses look the same he expects it will recognise him. No, sorry mate buses don’t work like that. Anyway I’ve never seen him before and I am sorry to say that hundreds of people cross the road in front of me (some I think with suicide on their minds but that’s an other story) and less than 1% want to catch the bus. I am not stopping on a one in one hundred chance that he wants the bus.

I still can not get used to the idea that people think we are mind readers. We are not; we need some sort of sign and running or walking towards a bus stop is NOT a sign that you want the bus to stop. You would be amazed how many people just continue past the stop and look at the poor bus driver thinking, “What this idiot stopped for. I don‘t want the bus.”

Putting your hand out is a universal sign recognised by bus drivers through out the whole know cosmos. I have travelled on buses in 3 continents and I have managed to get buses to stop by sticking my hand out in all of them and I am sure that if I ever get to Africa, America, Antarctica and the Planet Zog and I stick it out the oncoming bus will stop. Prehaps not Antarctica, I’m not sure if they have buses there. Maybe some one can tell me if they do. Likewise Planet Zog.

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Clackson, again.

Sunday lunch time at work. The rest room was empty except for me. No other drivers I could bore to the point of making the idea of returning to work a very attractive proposition. But there was an old newspaper. Yesterday's Mirror, even turning the pages would be better than starring at the walls. Guess who writes in the Mirror on a Saturday. Mr I Hate All Bus Drivers Clackson. And what was he talking about to day. Bird Flu. Or rather the lack of it. Actually he was quite right in what he said. Remember a few months ago we were all going to start growing feathers and die. Or some thing like that. So when did you last read some thing in the press about bird flu?

Gone said Jeremy; just like the sound of the V2 rockets cutting out just before they crashed with a very large bang. If you are going to use similies Jerry dear, get them right. You're paid enough to get them right. It was the jet engine on the V1 Ram Jets that cut out and then you knew it was going to crash will the loud noise. No one heard a V2 until they made the big bang as they crashed, traveling faster than sound had some thing to do with it. Something I expect you would like to try; please try it on the strawberry Bends going into Brixham and let us all know when. Should be fun.

And have you considered that this silence may be because Government Scientists have discovered that we are all going to die of Bird Flu this winter and are keeping it quiet so as not to cause a panic?
No; have heck.

Saturday, 22 July 2006

Bus Stops Are So Tempting.

There you are driving round the town centre. All you need is some where to pull in for a moment to drop the wife off. Well actually she wants to nip in the shop and do a little last minute shopping or dash over to the cash machine and drain your bank account of every last penny or you said you would pick her up but you're 20 minutes early and a quick pint would go down well. There's no where to park and you're buggered if you are going in a car park; expensive places. Oh look. That bus stop is empty. No one will mind if I slip on there for a little while.

Well bus stops do spend some of their time empty. No point in having a bus if you don't drive it along the road and pick up a few passengers now and then. The Bank Manager and the Traffic Commission would get a bit upset if you didn't. Not to mention thousands of passengers. So all the buses have gone but there are always more buses about to turn up and they need that space. In this case it's the Land Train, the loco and 3 carriages. Bit bigger that a bus and definitely bigger that the Chelsea chariot parked illegally here on the Harbour. Click on the photo and you can see he is not a happy bunny. You can also read his number plate and if you know him you can ask him what the train driver said to him. Could be interesting.

Please go away, you are blocking up the town.

Newton Abbot Carnival

I went up to Newton Abbot a few days ago in the afternoon and got held up by the Carnival. So I got off the bus and took a few pictures.

I am not sure if the guy with the bucket is hoping to collect cash for charity or some thing for his roses.

Union Street, Torquay

This is Union Street Torquay. Those of you who know it will know that it is a one way street down the hill. Those of you who don't know it now know it is a one way street down hill. So how come this council vehicle driver apparently doesn't know it's a one way street?

Answers on a post card or leave a comment.

P.S. The banner proclaims that it is Torbay Carnival Week 23th July to 30th July so get down here quick or you will miss all the fun.

Friday, 21 July 2006

Last word on the Road Works at Penn Inn

While sat in stationary traffic for 10 mins the other night I noticed that even the motor bikes couldn't get past.

The road works are all done up there for the time being. What had happened was small parts of the road had sunk a few inches along a 500 yard stretch. You got to know where the sunk bits were and avoided them. When the notice went up warning that resurfacing would take place I expected that they would dig the whole stretch up and re lay the road. Well they haven't, four nights spent patching up. And the patches are just as bad as the sunk bits; even worse really. Now the patches extend across the road and it is impossible to avoid them.

Still the engineers know best. I hope.

Parking Attendants

Come on NCP; I know you must have a fairly
high turnover of Parking Attendants but isn't
this just a little too casual.

These people want to catch the Kingswear bus.

Need to know; the 120 to Kingswear only runs once an hour, on the half hour from Paignton.

I pulled on the Strand yesterday a few minutes late, heavy loading and slow traffic. The Fare Taker came up and asked if there was any chance I could get to Paignton in time to catch the 12:30 bus to Kingswear. If you come to Torquay you must have a day out in Kingswear and Dartmouth. Buy a Ferry Ticket, £5.00, use it like a day Torbay explorer and a return trip on the passenger ferry to Dartmouth. A good day out.

But I digress. It was 12:13, just time to get to Paignton if all went well and the roads were clear. So ten tourists got on. I pressed the green button to close the doors for my mad dash to Paignton. The doors were half closed when a lady with her elderly mother arrived. Doors open, they boarded, two returns to Paignton. £6.20 please. Purse opened, twenty pound note appeared, my eyes light up, I’ve loads of change,"No I don’t want to take all your change, mother I’ve only got a five pound note, have you got £1.20?"

Now it is a well know fact that I can issue two tickets, take £20 note and give change in about the time it takes light to travel a million miles. 5.319 seconds if you are interested. It is an other well know fact (to most bus drivers any way) that a middle aged lady and her elderly mother can find £1.20 in the time it takes a hungry man to eat his lunch. A big lunch at that. The Kingswear bus was vanishing up the Dartmouth Road without the ten tourists sitting up stairs with hope in their hearts. I explained that there were people up stairs wanting to catch a bus and could I have the £20 note. Light had travelled 10 000 000 miles but we were back on track.

Round the corner at the Pavilion stop there was a lady and gentleman. Did I go to Paignton. I was tempted to lie. But I am too nice and they got on. He loaded the chair and helped her to a seat and came back to me. “Paignton Sea front.” Sorry mate, we only go to the bus station. “That’s no good.” I told then they would have to wait half an hour for the bus to the sea front. Waiting half an hour was better than walking down to the sea front and they got off.

Light had now travelled so far only the Hubble Telescope could see where it had gone. I set of at very, very small fraction of the speed of said light trying with little hope to get to the bus station on time. From here the roads were clear and few people at the bus stops. Even so I would be 3 minutes late. A wait of 57 minutes for the next bus. I tried the radio, maybe the Kingswear bus was late. Luck has to run my way now and then, he was about 4 minutes late so my tourist made the bus. I love the adrenalin rush when you get a result like that. Makes the job so nice.

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Brixham Park and Ride.

If you have been driving between Brixham and Windy Corner over the last few days you may have noticed that Traffic Lights have been erected at the entrance to the Pitch and Putt golf course just past the Go- Carts. Must be a busy Pitch and Putt if they need their very own traffic lights. Nip out and buy some shares quick. Or maybe the ultra safety consious council are going to put traffic lights up at every pub and petrol station, every beach and bus stop, every car park and car boot sale, every DIY and dog home; (I'm getting desperate now).

Well no,there not.Thank goodness, though the bus stop idea has some merit. The lights are for the Park and Ride car park that the council are setting up once again to help beleagured Brixham cope with the summer visitors. Park there free and catch the bus, nominal charge, into Brixham. Click here to see what happened last year the council did this. Not their fault. And it is not often I say that.

The car park will have an attendant so your car will be safe and there are buses every 7 or 8 minutes during the day.

Road Works

Just when you think it's safe to go for a drive.

This is the main road between Newton and Torquay and the local council have decided to resurface parts of it. At least they are doing it at night. Though I and most people I know would consider 6:30 pm to be evening. Delays of 20 in each direction are the norm. So when you are sat here waiting to get home to a few hours slumped in front of the telly spare a thought for the poor bus drivers who have to go through not once but 4 time each evening. If you are waiting for the bus some where and it is no where in sight, this is where it is. Sorry but for once it is not our fault.

Actually most times the bus is no where in sight it is not our fault. Honest!

Wednesday, 19 July 2006


I have had this max/min thermometer on the wall in my garden (no you don't want to see the rest of the garden; believe me on this one). It shows that the temperature yesterday, Tuesday 18 July, got as high as 29C. That is as high as it has been in the two years it has been hanging on the wall. It did once get to 50C but that was cheating. I dropped it in a bowl of hot water.

So if you want some where nice to come for a few days, or even a week or two try Torquay. We have a range of tickets on the buses to help you get around from single and return to Torbay day tickets for £4.00 or weekly ticket for £20.00. Use as often as you can. A bit cheaper if you are under 16 or over 60 or a group of upto 5 poeple.

Just ask the friendly helpful bus driver when you board the bus. You can also ask the unfriendly bus driver if you can find him.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006


I told them not to carry that advert!!!

Monday, 17 July 2006

London Bus on the Strand

I saw this old London bus driving along the Strand over the weekend (Torquay Strand not London). There were a few other old buses driving through the Bay but this was the only one I managed to get a photo of.

Lots of charm and character but low on carrying capacity and dead cold in winter. However they did get you to your destination quicker due to the inbuilt conductor they all carried. No queuing up to get on and pay the driver. I now and then wonder if bringing back conductors would improve public transport to the point of making the extra cost unimportant. I now and then wonder if my boss has asked this question recently.

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Students. Learning English.

At the moment there are thousands of foreign students in towns along the south coast here in England to learn some English. Here in Torquay most of them have bus passes so they can get around when they are not learning English. Most of them are fine and every year when they start to arrive I say to myself, "I WILL be nice to the students."

However a few of them have some habits that mean I soon start to say, "I will be nice to students." through clenched teeth.
One, they have to be told that the queue was invented in Britain and while they are here it would be nice if they observed this quaint practice. Especially when there are little old ladies at the front of the queue, usually for their own safety. Some of those little old ladies can be quite nasty when some one pushed in.
Two, most, as I said have passes but the odd one doesn't. A mate usually tries to get on the bus and pass the pass back. I've been watching them do this for the last 8 years and it is getting a little boring. If one of them came up with a new way of doing it I might even let them get away with out of admiration but now I just throw them off the bus. It is stealing. Note, I get a little upset who ever tries this, student or not.
Three, 35 of the little darlings and two staff members from one of the biggest, though not the best Language school in Torquay got on in Fleet Walk and got of at the Harbour. Just in case you aren't totally familiar with the area, that's one stop, a distance of 200 metres (210 Yards). It took them longer to get on and of the bus that it would have taken them to walk. It also meant the bus was now running late. Not fair on the passengers who are making sensible use of the bus and not just having an unfunny joke.
"I will be nice to students." Well I am still trying; just.

Saturday, 15 July 2006

Ants and Seagulls.

Thursday afternoon, millions of flying ants hatched. It must be some thing to do with it being summer and the moon is new and the all just feel like being born on the same day. A bit like race horses. Any way the seagulls love them. No, no I don't mean they go all gugie eyed and write them little love poems and shelter them under their wings and engage in some kind of weird inter species sex. What I do mean is they go round and eat as many of the little sods as they possibly can. When I went past Victoria Park in Paignton on Thursday evening there must have been a thousand seagull trolling through the grass after the ants. On the down side, from the seagulls point of view is that while they are so busy eating as much as they can they forget the Green Cross Code and the remains of 4 or 5 seagulls are spread out in the road in various parts of the bay. Poor sods.

Oh yes, what else? Not much really; very busy on the road; lots of English Language Students about town; beach crowded; South Devon College closed but we still go down there and pick no one up. That's it.

Friday, 14 July 2006

Aller Police Check

This photo was taken at Aller on the road between Newton and Torquay. The police were doing a vehicle check. What they do is sit up the road in a van equipped with a high resolution camera. It can read tax discs and even see if the driver is wearing a seat belt. An out of date tax disc or any thing else the camera doesn't like and the car is flagged into the lay by. This is good. Most people who are driving round without tax usually are doing so because their car either, or both, has no MOT or insurance. So spot checks like this help to keep uninsured drivers off the road and unsafe cars also off the road. Well done Devon and Cornwall Police.

The slight draw back is that because of this activity by the police, maybe 12 or 15 officers and 4 or 5 cars attracts attention and every one driving past slows down to see what is going on. PLEASE DON'T. There isn't much going on. Just look at the photo. Not desperately interesting is it. One police officer in a yellow jacket talking to a motorist, who may or may not have done some thing wrong. No bears dancing, no girls dancing, no bare girls dancing even. Please don't slow down and hold every one up.

P.S. To Devon and Cornwall police. Could you now and then do a spot check of vehicles driving up and down Fleet Street in Torquay and Through the Bus Station in Newton Abbot. One day a week ago in Newton Abbot I watched 8 cars drive past the sign saying no vehicle except buses and cycles. And this was in 5 mins. Total disregard of the Law.

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Try and be nice to passengers.

Well her we were, the busiest day of the year so far, probably the busiest day of the last few years with the Tall Ships 50th have ago do on today. I came down Fleet Street and on to the Strand. Now when you come on to the Strand you have to go all the way along the Strand and round the Clock Tower Roundabout and back to the bus stop. If the road is clear this takes 30 seconds. But on Monday with all the traffic around with the Tall Ships Race and Phil the Greek being in the Bay it took about 5 mins.

When I got to the stop everyone must have know I was about to arrive. Well they must have seen me coming for at least 5 mins. Even when I came round the Clock Tower it wasn’t straight forward. There was this d***head in a four wheel drive with 3 under ten year old children on the back seat who decided that I wasn’t going to get into the bus stop without a struggle. Even though I could have got through no problem he moved over a few feet and prevented me from passing him. When will they realize that it isn’t me they are holding up but the 40 people on the bus. I don’t care how long it takes me to get to where I am going. If I am late the company either pay me the overtime so I get extra for doing the same work or they instruct me to put up Paignton instead of Brixham and I get paid the same for doing less. Any way, I made the stop eventually.

There were about 30 people waiting, at the head was a gentleman and he waved the two ladies behind him onto the bus in front of him. What a mistake to make? They got on, their names were Abigail and Tricia, they were in their forties and the conversation, which I took little part in went like this.”Two please.” Me “Where to?” Abigail to Trica,”Oh. Where are we going Tricia?” 10 second pause. “I don’t know. I thought you had decided.” An other 10 second pause. Abigail to me. “Where does this bus go?” By know the nice gentleman who had waved them on in front of him was having problems with his eyes, they were beginning to roll about a little. Me. “Paignton and Brixham.” “What’s there?” enquired Tricia sweetly. “Shops, pubs and sea.” said I, only slightly less sweetly. (Remembering rule one which states be nice to the passengers at all times.) The eyes were soon to make it out through his ears but the gentleman remained silent. But not for long.

Having decided on Paignton and worked out that a bus every 7 or 8 minutes wasn’t going to mean they would have to walk back to Torquay they asked how much. “£6.20.” It was at this point that nice gentleman’s eyes stopped rolling round in his eye sockets and came out his ears accompanied by what I looked like steam but could have been his brain boiling away. What brought him to this state was the fact that one of the ladies was removing her back pack and was searching through it for the cash to pay for the tickets. The first one hadn’t enough so the second was repeating the procedure with her back pack. He started slowly but soon built up to a roar.” You have been standing here for 20 mins waiting for the bus complaining all the time that it’s late, you watched it come round the island for 5 mins and you haven’t even got your money out. You stupid, moronic, thoughtless…………………….. .”

I did try and write exactly what he said but the keyboard started to melt. By the time he had finished the whole bus queue, which was by know several hundred strong looked like they may burst in to applause, the two ladies demanded to know what I was going to do about this mad man. I told them it appeared to be a private conversation and was nothing to do with me.

I would have been bothered by this delay if I had only been a few mins late but by this time I was over 35 mins late and I would never be able to make that up so I had just sat back and enjoyed my self.

The two ladies then decided to catch the 32 up to St Marychurch, a nice place.

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Tall Ships and Traffic

Monday morning and a few Tall Ships finally made it into the Bay 5 hours before the start of the race. Which was from round the other side of Berry Head, which is the headland you can see in the picture, and wasn't visible from Torquay sea front where I took this and a few other pictures. I had to grab them while I was stopped at the traffic lights but better than nothing. In previous years there have been ships parked out there for days before the race but Torbay Council don't seem to have done much to get them here early so we could all take photos and tell the grandchildren we were at the 50 anniversary Race.

The other thing that happened was the traffic was chaotic. Most of it was just the number of people coming into the Bay to see the Ships plus some idiot parked a coach (not a bus as the local paper reported) at the entrance to the Harbour and the official party, including HRH Edinburgh were held up for hours. Well OK the clean up before they arrived was held up. Still nothing to do with Stagecoach.

All day long drivers were on the radio reporting that they were up to an hour late. When this happens the controllers have to work hard to try and get us back to something like our correct running time. The Paignton controller who should have finished at 5 pm was still there at Half past six working hard. Well done him. Shame our local police force weren't out and about attempting to control some of the traffic. Note; I didn't expect them to be, so I wasn't disappointed.

Then right in the middle of it all the council put temporary traffic lights up on the Brixham Road and dug a very small hole. In case you don't know the area, Berry Head where the race started from is on the other side of Brixham and most people who had been to see the start would have been using this road. Well done Torbay Council.

Monday, 10 July 2006

Tall Ships. What Tall Ships?

Sunday 09 July 2006

As you can see from the picture of the Bay, taken at 3 pm Sunday, Torbay Council have really made sure that the Bay is full of Tall Ships for every one to look at in advance for the big Race due to start Monday.

Well done Torbay Council, you have surpassed your selves this time. We can not expect to see it's like again.

Saddly though, putting sarcasm aside, we probably will.

Sunday, 9 July 2006


During the week I have had 3 duties with 36 min meal breaks. Now we have to have a 30 min break by law. On each day I have been 6 mins late, which means I have had exactly the legal limit meal break. Not good for the indigestion. So on Saturday I was heading for Newton at about 3.00 pm. Roads were quite and on my way back from Newton I had a 56 min break. That is nice, time to eat, have two cups of coffee and a nice long sit down and do nothing.

Then the radio goes. It's a driver some where ahead of me,"Anyone know about this carnival in Newton?" The police usually inform the company that there will be roads closed for what ever reason but no one had told us. They probably sent a memo to head office in Exeter who though, " We don't got to Newton." and filed said memo in the bin. Any way by the time I had watched the carnival go by and got back to the depot I was 26 mins late. Bang went my nice long break. I made up for it on Sunday. On Sunday I had 32 min break and the traffic was bad coming into Torquay and I was 15 mins late and this time some one else had to do part of my duty which ment I had a 95 min break. Which was nice as I spent most of it sitting in the sun shine down on the harbour.

Talking of brake downs. Heard a funny story yesterday. One of the drivers was concerned that he could hear a high pitched whine on the bus. There was no warning light showing so he switched everything off and the noise was still there. Now every driver has it drilled into them that the safety and comfort of their passengers comes first and foremost so he got on the radio and asked for advice. He was told to wait and a replacement bus would be sent. Luckily he was near the garage and the bus arrived fairly quickly. The fitter who brought the new bus had a listen and confessed that he did not know what was causing the noise and so, to be on the safe side the passengers were asked to change buses. When all the passengers had got on the other bus the fitter noticed that the whine had stopped. Just at that moment the driver came to him and reported the the high pitched whine was now present on the replacement bus, a little old lady's hearing aid had gone wrong and a slight addustment cured the problem.

The moral of this story is if you hear a high pitched whine, before getting on to control all passengers should be checked to see if their hearing aids need turning down a little.

World Events

Well done the Doctor, I knew you'll beat the Cybermen and the Dalecs. Shame about Rose!

Oh and thank you Italy for beating France.

Thursday, 6 July 2006

Tall Ships Race.

Monday sees the start from Torbay of the Tall Ships Race to Lisborn. This race was started in 1956 as a way of having a sailing ship race before all the ships ended up in the breakers yard. I am glad to say most of them have avoided that fate so far and about 70 Tall Ships will take part.

This is the 50th anaversery of that race and quiet a lot of the original racers are back in the bay for an other shot at winning. The most well know ship is The Mir from Russia and there will be ships from all over the world. I hope to get a few shots of the ships over the weekend. Phil the Greek will be here to start the race on Monday, Phil is not noted for his liking of people not from dear old England so maybe he will get in a few shots as well. Could be interesting. Still if he wants a ride on my bus he is more than welcome, so long as he has the correct money ready of course.

For more click here and here

Not much happening. Just a battle for the World

Summer has arrived and it is hot and sticky driving a bus and all, well some, passengers get on and state, as John Cleese would put it; the bleeding obvious."It's too nice to be working." A snowstorm that would be regarded as unusual in Spitsbergan could be raging, it could be so cold the sea in the Bay had frozen, the next ice age could be just round the corner, the water pipes could have burst with such fury that all the windows had been blown out and it would still be too nice to be working.

Still we have the big final conflict to look forward to at the week end. I still haven't decided Who will win. When I knew who would be there I decided at once who was going to win. No contest! But having thought a little bit and talked to people and been on the internet and read what the pundits are thinking I am not so sure. One side have strengths that have not been see previously and the other side did appear to come back from the dead.( More than once). And that takes some doing. One side are very well drilled and when you see them you know the mean business while some seeing the othe side for the first time might even be inclinded to have a quiet giggle until informed that they too are serious contenders for the world.

It could depend on the referee Who ever that is.

We will just have to wait till the weekend to see Who comes out on top.

World Champions


Which side are you expecting to win?

Monday, 3 July 2006

A Training Schedule on How To Take Penalties.

Yes I know, a trite and only slightly witty comment addressed to poor Wayne. I should be above such ‘Braying to the mob’ type remarks. Well here is something constructive.

After the match one of the commentators remarked that England had gone out of competitions 5 times so far due to their difficulty with the penalty shoot-outs. Some one mentioned that they do practice taking penalties in training but in training there is little pressure. So I have come up with an idea to bring a little pressure into the training schedule.

When the squad come to gether for the European Championships in 2008 all 22 players will put a weeks wages in five pound notes into a pot, a pretty big pot to be sure, I’m not totally sure what the top 22 footballers in the country would earn in a week but I have a feeling that we are talking serious money here.

Then a neutral goalkeeper would be employed just to save the penalties. Any shots that went wide or over or hit the wood work he gets nothing but any he saved would earn him £5000 from the pot.

Each player would then take a penalty. They would all stand in the centre circle and their names would be draw out of a hat. Then they would walk to the penalty area, passing on the way this big, big pile of five pound notes. Is this pressure? To add to the pressure just a little Channel Five could televise it, a sort of Big Brother meets The Weakest Penalty Taker. fail to score and you are out. Score and you go through to the next round. Which would be the next day.
Ladbrokes could take bets, spectators could be admitted to the training ground. Some would come to watch the penalties, me I’d go just to gaze, and drool at the obscene mound of fivers.

Just feel for a moment, you walk past the money, you place the ball on the spot, you back of a few feet and wait for the ref to blow the whistle. Miss and you’re out. Been here before? England fans have. Five times so far. You run up and kick. A good training schedule with so much pressure, just like the real thing, miss and you’re out of the world cup except that here it’s miss and you’re out of all that money.

Eventually we would get to a point where only a few players were left. What if they all miss their penalty. Well the security guards who have been standing next to the cash would pay the goalkeeper his £5000 per save, give me my 10% cut for thinking up the idea and then they would pour petrol over the rest and set fire to it.


Sunday, 2 July 2006

A Short Message to Wayne Rooney.

Hi Wayne

Yes I know, they were trying to get the ball away from you and they were a little bit rough, but the idea behind football is to kick the ball in your opponents net, not to kick your opponent in the balls. Try and remember this and one day you will win a World Cup Medal.

Best wishes,

School Run; Wholesale.

In heavy traffic like this you wouldn't get away with putting your foot down and pretending you just didn't see them until it was too late to stop.
Some duties have school runs in them. Some don't. Lucky is the driver without a school run. On the duty I was doing this day I should have been well past the school before the little darlings came out but the heavy traffic put paid to that idea. Still this lot aren't too bad, they all say please and thank you when they get on and off and make a lot of noise but don't actually throw seats, or each other, out the windows.

We Didn't See a Sheep. We Did NOT See a Sheep!

Saturday, 1 July 2006

Mind Reader!

In an informal poll of some of my passengers it has been decided that I, like all other bus drivers am a mind reader. You would think with this ability I would be appearing on TV or making a living sealing credit cards and mind reading the owners for their PIN number instead of driving a bus. But I'm not, so maybe I am not a mind reader after all.

Why do I think my passengers belive I am a mind reader? Two reasons. So many of then seem to just stand at or some where near a bus stop and expect me to know they want the bus even though they show not the slightest interest as I approach never mind sticking their hand out. As I drive past they decide that I am not a mind reader but a bastard or a ****. Or a ****, or a ******, or an **** ****. I'll leave you to fill in the missing words if you want but none of them are nice. The second reason is, despite the bus being equipped with at least 15 bell pushes all of which are tested every day when the first driver checks the bus out for defects, so many passengers are disinclined to push them. They seem to feel that my mind reading ability is so good they have no need to disturb me by ringing the bell and they only discover this ability is sadly lacking in me as I sweep majestically past their stop at a stately 29.9 mph. (see a previous post)

If you travel by bus please don't trust the drivers none existent mind reading skills, stick your hand out to get on and ring the bell to get off.

PS Hope England win.