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.