Thursday, 31 August 2006
Monday, 28 August 2006
Day one, "Two £1.70 tickets please." "Where are you going?" "The Grand Hotel." "£3.40 please."
Day two, "Two £1.70 tickets please." "Where are you going?" "The Grand Hotel." "£3.40 please."
Day three, "Two £1.70 tickets please." "Where are you going?" "The Grand Hotel." "£3.40 please."
Day four, "Two £1.70 tickets please." "Where are you going?" "The Grand Hotel." "£3.40 please
Day five, "Two £1.70 tickets please." "Where are you going?" "The Grand Hotel." "£3.40 please."
Day six, "Two £1.70 tickets please." "Where are you going?" "The Grand Hotel." "£3.40 please."
Day seven, "Two £1.70 tickets please." "Where are you going?" "The Grand Hotel." "£3.40 please."
I mean I am all for persistence but when would you have given up?
Sunday, 27 August 2006
At last the letter had arrived from head office thought I. The one telling me I had been voted top driver in the depot and that I had won £250 plus a weeks all expenses paid holiday in Perth (Head Office) (Scotland not the one on the Indian Ocean) to collect the prize from The Boss Himself.
Did I owe the Controller £100 and I had promised to pay him back to day.
Did he have my P45 in a plain brown paper envelope.
So why the big smile. Well he had allocated me bus 18078 and bus 18078 was presently parked right outside the control room window preventing the glorious, bright sunlight that Torquay is famous for from entering the control room and would I please move it ASAP. Which I did. Control room transformed into its usual bright, warm, welcoming place of work which we all know and love so well.
Saturday, 26 August 2006
I had got out but it had taken a good few minutes instead of 5 seconds. Down to the main road and head for Newton. Check the running board a minute early so I pulled over and stopped. At the stop was a trainee bus driver and he explained that he was waiting for an X46 to Exeter where he was starting his driver training. He added that he had parked his car in the depot and was taking the bus as he didn't know the way to Exeter Bus Station. The penny dropped. "Not a green car at the top of the road?" asked I. "Yes." admitted he. I suggested he go and move his car asap.
A good start, blocking the garage up on his first day. Still, no one will hold it against him. Could happen to anyone.
A passenger once asked me did I think crossing myself worked. Well so far it has. I have been into Brixham about 6 ooo times in the last 8 years and have had to go on the wrong side of the road about a quater of those times and so far I have managed to avoid having a head on crash. Luck or the cross? Who knows.
Friday, 25 August 2006
Any way the slight problem. Sorry but I do get a little carried away on the subject of lack of mind reading ability amongst bus drivers. No signal; no stop. Any way the problem, there was a gentleman at to stop who had remained seated without an extended arm and the poor driver in front had continued unabated in the direction of Brixham. Only as he went past the stop had the seated gent become unseated and the unextended arm become extended. Too late to stop safely, my colleague had used his radio to make me aware that the gent did wish to go to Brixham and would I stop even if the seating continued when I got there.
Anyway, when I got there 15 minutes later the gent was indeed standing and did have an arm out. He had had 15 minutes to think about it after all. He got on and I provided him with his ticket to ride (free oap ticket). Ten minutes later as I drove into New Road at Monks Bridge and past the first stop there was a gentle cough in my left ear, well close by my left ear and a voice saying, "I wanted that stop." A quick check on the dash showed that the bell had not been rung and I apologised saying that I had not heard the bell. I dropped him off at the next stop.
So a bus ride that should have taken about 15 minutes had taken about 35 and involved a walk back from the wrong stop. All because some people think we are mind readers. We aren't; please put your arm out to get on the bus and ring the bell when you want to get off.
Tuesday, 22 August 2006
This is New Road, the main road in and out of Brixham. I am driving out of Brixham here, well not driving actually, I'm twiddling my thumbs because blue and white van drivers have no imagination. They couldn't get any where because of the queue of traffic but they decided to get as far as they could and went along side the parked car, not visible in the photo, in the mistaken belief that they would get to where they were going faster if they blocked the road to all but cyclists and mini drivers coming out of town.
Actually its not them I am having a go at here. Sorry Torbay Council but it's your turn again. As you can see there is a high wall on my left and yellow lines to stop people parking there. There are also yellow lines on the right but there isn't a loading ban. So people park there which can be dangerous. When you driving into Brixham and have to go on the wrong side of the road you have no idea if some one is coming the other way. I used to follow the instructions in the High Way Code and 'Give audible warning of approach.' Blow my horn in other words. But there is a dentist over on the right and he wrote a nice letter to the company asking would we mind not doing it as his patients used to jump when they heard the horn and if he was drilling at the time the results could be painful. His attempts to persuade old age pensioners that lip piercing was the 'in thing' didn't go down too well. Now to get back to Torbay Council. The vehicle parked is not a van loading; it's a car parked on double yellow lines. No problem, we have some very keen Parking Attendants round here. Send them in. No good, they wont put a ticket on that car. No they are not taking back handers, the driver isn't 7 foot tall with a bolt through the neck, it isn't their mother's car. It's got a blue badge. Can park any where it likes.
No it can't. Please note Torbay Council before there is a crash here. It is dangerous to park on this bend but blue badge holders will. So make it a Loading Ban and then they wont be able to. Make the place safe, that's your job.
Monday, 21 August 2006
There I was loading up in Newton Abbot when this police car turned up blue lights going like mad. The driver parked and jumped out and started talking to a member of the public. Oh good thinks I. He's going to be there for ages and this is my break trip. I'm going to be late for my break, wont get my 30 mins and some other poor sod is going to have to drive my bus to Brixham and back for me. At least an hour and a half extra break; nice.
Then a traffic warden marched up and spoke to the police officer who moved his car and I left on time. What a Shame. Aren't traffic wardens a pain in the butt.
Any that is what happened to me, a passenger handed it to me and a few moments later it rang. I was still in Brixham waiting time so I was able to answer it and assure the owner that it was safe and well and would be in the lost property department in Paignton (01803 664 500) within 30 minutes so they could pick it up.
The second wasn't on a bus but on a bench on the Harbour. We change buses down there and a driver had put it down for a moment. I took the picture so I could stick it up on the wall saying,"Do you recognize this coat?" (Standard Stagecoach issue). Before I got the chance the driver returned and claimed his coat so all's well that ends well as they say.
Not bad though, two lots of lost property in less than an hour and both lots returned to their owners.
Saturday, 19 August 2006
As you can see from the sign in the insert the only vehicles that should be here are local buses. Now the red thing is not a bus. There are no destination blinds on it for one thing and it is lacking in size for an other. Both dead give aways. Now I have been driving up and down Fleet Street for over 8 years and have never ever seen anybody stopped by the police for ignoring the road sign. Perhaps the driver is a stranger, our local registration plate starts with a W; this one starts with a K. But I am sure that the sign is the same one that is used nation wide. Unless we here in the Bay have our own signs for some reason.
PS If you want the full registration of the vehicle you only have to prove you are entitled to it and you can have it with pleasure constable.
Friday, 18 August 2006
Then at 12 35 it started raining. Well the heavens opened and cats and dogs bucketed down. For about 15 minutes. By this time Torbay had flooded. Manhole covers were forced up by the water rushing down the drains and every where you looked was water and broken down cars and traffic, traffic, traffic. An hour later I should have been in Newton but I was only in the Newton Road where I managed to get the above shot. At one stage 45 minutes late and no chance of catching up. Global warming has a lot to answer for. Sorry if you were stood in the rain waiting for a bus.
Driver. "Bus working 1234 to control."
Control. "Go ahead 1234."
Driver. "I have a problem, I am at the terminus and I have a puncture."
Control. "Switch everything off, wait two minutes and try again. Let me know if the problem persists."
Two minutes go by.
Driver. "Bus working 1234. I switched everything off and tried again like you said. I still have a puncture."
Wednesday, 16 August 2006
Any way, the council decided that having the stop just at the traffic lights was not the best place and moved it 100 yards closer to Torquay. So now it stands, unused and ignored. After long years standing proudly at the side of the road, it's shelter, depending which way the wind was blowing, keeping the waiting passengers dry. School children have used it's windows to practice their handwriting on, some times using words I wouldn't want my maiden aunt to see. They have used the shelter to do pull ups from in the utter boredom spent waiting for ever for the bus to turn up. How many have had their first cigarette there, egged on by their peers? The bus stop flag, on top of it's pole boldly proclaiming it's status; a place for buses to stop, has been, without cerermony removered and discarded. It's timetable, which for years has both informed and baffled the traveling public like wise had gone. Never again will any one stand there looking in the direction of Newton hoping against hope that their bus would be on time or now and then that it would even turn up. I myself have used this stop over 2500 times on my way home from work so I have some feeling for its demise.
Sooner or later the council will remember it and the bulldozer will be dispatched to remove the shelter and flag pole and all signs that a proud bus stop once stood here. When that happens I hope that the council will recognize the contribution it has made to the people of Torquay and erect a suitable memento to note it's passing.
Saturday, 12 August 2006
As the passengers were getting of the bus I was approached by a passenger waiting for the 85A. She just wanted to make sure it was still running dispite half the bus station being out of action due to Scaffolding round the car park. I opened the window and in my best company manner assured her the 85A would, at some time to day, arrive and carry her away. She went away brimming with confidence in my ability to tell the future. I then noticed a very irate look male person heading for the bus and my ability to tell the future suggested a punch on the nose. So I shut the window quickly. And trapped my coat. The aggressive male person had been driving the car that had ignored the give way makings and was now trying to ignore the pain that comes when you punch a window that doesn't break. I smiled sweetly at the poor, pain wracked face as tears sprung to his eyes and he wandered off without even waiting for my reply to his demand that I get out of the bus and face him like a man. Still didn't solve the problem of the coat stuck in the window. In the end I had to get on the radio and arrange for a fitter to be on hand when I drove past the depot on the way to Torquay.
For the rest of the day drivers everywhere were asking after my poor coat. No one cared that I had been spoken to very harshly by a bad car driver (That's a bad driver; not the driver of a bad car) nor that the bus window had been punched when it had done nothing to deserve such a beating.
Thursday, 10 August 2006
At the time of writing no bombs have gone off and no one has been killed or injured but it is still an attack on Heathrow. Finantial cost to airlines, companies supplying food, fuel and maintainance to the airlines, security and polices costs, fall in the stock market value of all major Airlines and in the general stock market. The human cost from some one just going away on holiday to the bussiness person on who's trip (now cancelled) depended the future of his company and the hundreds of people who work for him.
The world wide nature of air travel means that this attack will be felt round the world and will continue to be felt for weeks or months to come. And it is so easy to stage. Just let a word here and a word there get to the ears of our security services and Heathrow will be back up to war status before anyone can say, Hang on a moment.
OK; this is how it works. You make sure that you and a group of like minded people meet with terror suspects who you know are under police surveillance. Your group will now be under surveillance. Let it drop, gradually over months, that you are plotting something very big concerning flights to the USA. Now this next bit is most important. Make sure that there is never anything, neither documents nor materials in any of your houses, or on your person or your place of work that would lead to a conviction in a court of Law. Then when the security services are certain that you are about to hatch your plot a secondary source in Asia or America will appear to confirm that Heathrow will be attacked next week.
A massive police operation will be put into action. You and all your group will be arrested, Heathrow will be all but closed down.
The effect on major airports will in the short term be long delays for passengers and loss of revenue for the airlines and all associated industries. These delays and cancellations will last a few days. What will last much longer is the added burden such an operation will place on security at check-in. Check-ins will now and into the future take longer and will therefore cost more.
The effect of the police raids will be to widen the rifts which already exist within the community and to ensure that the hot heads in both the majority and the ethnic minorities continue to pick at the uneasy truce that exists in present day race relations. It will also make recruiting to the terrorist movement so much easier.
When no incriminating evidence is found to link the arrested suspects with any plot, confidence in the police and the government will fall, lessening their effectiveness. The police will face a decline in confidence as they begin to doubt the accuracy of their intelligence reports until a situation is created where "attack imminent," will have only one meaning. More delays at the airport, train station and bus terminal.
This strategy repeted time and again will in the end be more disruptive than 9/11 and the July bombings.
Wednesday, 9 August 2006
We had a Steam Fair over the weekend and on Friday evening all the steam engines that could decided to have a little drive round the area. Some were big and colourful and some were just small.
Tuesday, 8 August 2006
Duty 3616; not much happened, drove to Newton back to Brixham back to Newton etc, etc,etc.
Thursday 03 August
Day off, bit of shopping in the morning, couple of pints in afternoon, tellie in the evening. Exciting life down here in Torquay.
Friday 04 August
Woke up feeling like hell. Temperature up, arms and legs aching, clammy skin; Flu like symptoms but I felt well enough for work.
Saturday 05 August
Felt much better, almost looked forward with joy in my heart to work. During the day, each time I went for a pee it did become slightly more obvious that I had a problem that was nothing to do with flu. Never mind, day off Tuesday, go and see Doc.
Sunday 06 August
Got to work and had a drink of water, needed to pee at once. Pee also contained blood. Passing blood can be one of life's most painful moments. Yes I expect child birth can be painful too but you don't give birth 4 or 5 times a day. In the end the pain got so bad I had to become SOD. (Sick on Duty) Got home; entered blood+urine in NHS search engine and it came up with lots of possibilities, the first being bladder stones.
Monday 07 August
Saw Doc, told her my problem and presented a small sample. She tested it. Infection in the tube that allows urine to get from the bladder to the outside world, well the sewerage system anyway.
Take these pills, you will be fine in a day or two.
Tuesday 08 August
Started taking Trimethoprim tablets yesterday, feel better already. Pain gone, urine looks the right colour again, and the right amount. I've always said mankind's, sorry personkind's, greatest invention was Trimethoprim tablets. Never mind the wheel, fire or the internet, they all pale in to insignificance compared with Trimethoprim.
Oh yes; one other thing; I felt so bad over the weekend that I stopped smoking and hardly noticed. It's an ill wind......
Still got my return to work interview to look forward to.
Monday, 7 August 2006
On a bus it means slightly less. But it is still a pain in the neck having to get of one bus and on to an other. Usually it's because one has broken down or on is running very late. Now and then it happens because engineering want the bus for servicing. It doesn't happen very often, in the last 6 months I have had to change buses 3 times including this change.
This change was slightly different than the usual run of the mill change from on bus to an other. An X46, the Exeter Express had a problem and required a change of bus. The only bus spare in the depot was the Marks bus. This bus is used to provide a free service from places around South Devon to the Willows were Marks & Spencers foolishly moved to some years ago. The bus is quiet old and does not have wheelchair access. Unfortunately one of the passengers on the X46 had his wheelchair with him. I was the next bus along that did have wheelchair access so my bus changed to an X46 and the Marks bus became a 12 and the broken down bus went to a rest home.
To driver of the X46 had explained all this to his passengers who just piled on my bus while the problem was being rushed so fast past my ears it had to be rushed past once again but slightly slower. By this time I had two lots of passengers, half of whom I had to get on to the Marks bus, and I wasn't feel exactly 100% (more about that in next post). Fortunately the Marks bus is Green in colour and the broken down bus was blue so I said , "All passengers who want the 12 service to Newton should get on the green bus in front of this blue bus. Those passenger for Exeter should remain on this bus. "
Seemed clear to me.
I want the hospital,
I want Kingskerwell,
I want Aller,
I want Penn Inn
I want the duel carriageway,
I want Countess Wear,
What's green about it, does it run on LPG?
Do we have to pay again?
I almost said yes to the last question, but I did arrive in Newton without any one saying "When do we get to Exeter" I am not sure if there was anyone wandering around Exeter thinking, "Newton Abbott is bigger that I thought."
Saturday, 5 August 2006
Not quite double. But still £84.00 more than my present insurance bill, so sod off Halifax. The insurance company that is, not the town which I am sure is very nice.
Maybe we should try this tactic on the buses. A big sign indicating that a family of 5 can travel on a bus for only £2.40 (1) could be placed on the side of all our buses. What sort of reaction would I get when the family got on the bus in Torquay and wanted to go to Brixham and return. "£16.00 please", I would say. I will leave you to work out what the passengers would say. Think of some thing nasty and send it to Halifax. The insurance company that is.
A family of 5 can travel for £2.40 on our buses. From Torquay centre to Belgrave Road, about 3/4 mile. Brixham is about 10 miles. and the £16.00 is for a group ticket, for 5 people to use all day long.
Thursday, 3 August 2006
2000 times 200 = 400 000 cubic metres. Some of it will continue to send out particles for the next 132 000 years. Come back Global Warming; all is forgiven.
I had a look at the size of the double Decker buses that I drive and they are 10.504 m long, 4,2 m high and 2.55 m wide; total volume equals 112.5 cubic metres.
A little division sum 400 000 (the volume of all those swimming pools full of nice safe nuclear waste)/112.5 (the volume of my bus) = 3555 buses. Now lets say that the Government decide, and lets face it governments have done daft things before, to load all that nuclear waste into buses and drive them down to Berry Head and dump it. If the buses pass through Torquay on the way to Berry Head at the rate of 8 an hour (the same rate the 12/12A pass through) then it will take 18 and a half days for all those buses to get past you while you wait at the bus stop for a bus not full of nuclear waste.
Wednesday, 2 August 2006
All part of the job.
P.S. Just in case you were wondering why everyone went for a drive on Monday. This was the Sea Front on Monday afternoon.
Tuesday, 1 August 2006
Most people who arrive in the Bay in their cars tend to leave them all alone during their holiday. They can walk to the beach or get a bus if they want to go a little futher afield. Makes sense, you don't know the roads or what parking will be like and you can always have a drink or two if some one else is doing the driving. But when it is raining, as it was yesterday, and I am sorry to say is to day , all 20 000 holiday makers look at their partners and children and all say,"Oh, look, it's raining. Lets go for a drive." They do this in with the mistaken idea that this wonderful idea has not popped into the heads of 19 999 other holiday makers. Every bus driver, white van driver, dust cart driver, travelling sales man, brewery dray driver and poor jerk who drives to work, the list is endless but all of them know if it rains then the roads will be like the approach roads to HELL 10 minutes after Gabriel blows the last trumpet.
And it was, drivers were on the radio all day long and well into the evening reporting, 10 mins late, 20 mins late, should be in Torquay but just leaving Paignton, am in Paignton heading for Brixham but should be heading for Torquay, am in Newton but should be in Paignton until finally;"I am in Brixham but should be in Newton." That's 80 mins late.
One of the main problems is lack of roads. In a big town or city there are different ways to the same place. Here every thing heading for Torquay and Babbacombe from Paignton and Brixham has to go through Preston. And when they come back they have to go through Preston.
Never mind the Kingskerswell by pass. We need a Preston By Pass!