Wednesday, 20 September 2006
Almost an embarrassing moment.
Some days I start work on the Strand in Torquay so I can walk to work down Fleet Street. The other day was one such day and I noticed that the Land Train had come down Fleet Street, as it does every 40 mins, and had not pulled in to the space on the left to pick up passengers. The driver expected the conductor would get the passengers on board and collect the fares at the next stop. But the conductor wasn't having any of this and insisted in collecting the fares, thus delaying the train long enough for a 31 to come up Fleet Street. The road was blocked so I took the photo. Aren't I nasty?
A couple of hours later I drove down Fleet Street and on to the Strand. To get to the bus stop you have to drive along the Strand and round the Clock Tower Roundabout. When I got there, there was a 32 and a 200 on the stop which meant I had to stop at the back of the stop which is where the Train pulls in. No problem, I was due out in less than a minute. I opened the doors and one or two passengers got off. No one got on. The 200 and the 32 then pulled away and I was just about to go when a little, old and frail lady got on. At the same time I noticed that the Train had just emerged from Fleet Street. And I, who took a picture of him blocking Fleet Walk earlier, was now in his way. Still no problem, there was lots of slow moving traffic between the Train and me. Where did the dear sweet little old frail lady want to go? She wasn't sure. The Train was getting closer. She decided on Paignton. Did she have a yellow card I foolishly asked. "What's a yellow card?" she sweetly asked. "I'll take that as a No." I replied. If she didn't know what it was, she didn't have one. "Well I might have one if I knew what it was." she innocently queried. "It's an OAP bus pass." They are a a bright yellow folder so we call them yellow cards. "Oh I have one of them." she triumphantly smiled. God the Train was now almost at the roundabout and the driver was ringing his bell to warn me to move soon or block up the whole of Torquay town centre. She fished in her bag and produced a Rotherham bus pass. "Sorry we don't take those. Rotherham don't take ours so we don't take theirs." I was getting desperate now. The bell on the Train rang again, louder and more insistent now. "Single or return." More consideration. "Single." "£1.95 please." She opened her purse and I could see a £5.00 note but she was looking for the right money, bless her. I pointed out I had plenty of change, even pointing to my cash try."Oh yes you have." and grudgingly extracted the note. The Train was still stuck in traffic on the roundabout but that kind of luck doesn't last for ever. While I punched the keys on the ticket machine she told me she had been coming to Torquay since she was a young girl and she was now 94.
I clamped my hand over my mouth to stop my self from saying, "I expect you have seen a few changes in that time." We could have still been there if I had. By now the controller had seen my problem and the Driver of the Train was ringing the Train's bell with frantic pleasure as he at last started to pull off the roundabout and head for his space on the bus stop. The space I was occupying. The controller got on the bus and grabbed the little dear sweet old frail lady's bag and practically pushed her down the bus to a seat. I say practically, he didn't actually push her. We don't do things like that. He jumped off I shut the doors and checked the mirror just as the Train arrived. He didn't quite block the town up and blame it on me.
I love little sweet frail old ladies.
The rest of the day passed without incident.