Monday, 30 October 2006

Torquay Athletic Rugby Club Under Nines

Just a quick mention for Torquay Athletic Rugby Under 9s (sponsored by Stagecoach and the Belgrave Hotel). Sunday 22nd they were at home toBrixham. They won 15 to 5 with Dion Dickerson the Man of the Match. I was going to go but it was raining cats and dog and I have done my time standing on wet touch lines. This Sunday I was working and according to Coach Chris Coverdale I missed a good match against Topsham, Torquay winning by 50 pts to 45pts against a very strong team. Man of the match was Connor Donacy for good all round play and some great try's.

Keep up the good work boys.

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Goodbye Summer Time.

I had a short day to day, start at 07:25 home by 14:30, open fridge, remove can of beer, drink can of beer, remove second can of beer, close fridge, switch computer on. So now it is 3 pm and the cat is looking at me as if I am a monster. He doesn't usually so I will explain. He usually gets fed at 4 pm but the clocks went back last night so I know it is 3 pm but Cat's internal clock, also known as his stomach believes it is 4 pm and he can not understand why I don't feed him.

An other couple who didn't reset their clocks came running up to the bus struggling with big suit cases in Brixham as I was just about to leave at 09:48 heading for Paignton. "Would the bus get to Paignton before 11 O Clock?" they wanted to know, as they had a coach to catch. Being a nasty sod I told them the journey time to Paignton was 20 mins. They looked a bit dismayed by this piece of information. Then after a suitable pause I told them I would be in Paignton for 8 mins past ten so they would have plenty of time to go for a cup of coffee. Then the penny dropped. I expect they enjoyed the coffee.

Footnote; To Tony Blair. Some thing to do before you go:-

Please get rid of this stupid twice year changing of the clocks and stay on summer time all year round. I know, we could call it British Standard Time. We tried it last century but it was abandoned as the Scots didn't like it. Dark till nine in the morning they said. Well they have their own Parliament now so they can have their own time as well.

Friday, 27 October 2006

Leyland National

The Green and Cream bus shown here is a Leyland National registered in 1974. Drivers who have been in the job longer than I speak of them with a mixture of love, fear, admiration, nostalgia and lots of other emotions. Me, I have never driven one so I don't know what they are all about. This one, which was parked in our bus park one rainy day last week belongs to a gentleman called James. He is based in Exeter and has several photos of former Devon General Buses and owns one or two. Click here for a link to his site if you like old buses.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Close Call.

I had a close call to day. I stopped at Jury's Corner bus stop on the way to Newton. After I had loaded up I put a right turn signal on to pull away and a car flashed his lights (1) so of I went. 80 yards past the lights there is a side road, Avenue Rd it's called. There was a lady in a red car waiting to turn right onto the main road. Now the Newton road is the busiest road in the South West and getting busier, Our nice Mr Tony Blair would sooner go to war than build us a by-pass so it is going to get worse before Global Warming kills of the car for good, anyway it is impossible to emerge from a side road unless some one lets you out. I do from time to time but not this time. I've just accelerated hard away from the stop, I'm not going to upset the person behind, who has just slowed to let me out, by braking hard. Well that wasn't the plan but it was what I ended up doing as this lady drove out in front of me. I mean I am driving a bus that is almost 14 feet high and over 8 feet wide and weighs 11.5 tonnes. If I had hit her she would have been able to claim it was my fault as I didn't have "DANGER OF DEATH" printed on the front of the bus in big letters. (Now there's an idea for the Health and Safety brigade). I ended up stopping 6 inches away from her after doing what used to be called an emergency stop but I call a blind panic stop.

Well I hope I scared her because she sure produced a string of obscenities from me in very quick time. All very quietly under my breath I should add.

Please note; No passengers were offended or hurt in the making of this skid mark.

Note (1) In the UK if you are letting someone out of a side road or allowing a bus to pull away from a bus stop you flash your headlights. Not many motorist know this; not the bit about letting the bus out any way.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

The Power of the Blog

On Sunday I wrote asking if anyone knew what was happening to this section of road in Newton. There have been temporary traffic lights here since January and the road works were finished several weeks ago. However the lights are still there as the road is too narrow for a bus and a car to pass each other. I did ask the Health and Safety Officer at work if he could find out. He is also the Union Rep so he should have been able to use his connections to get some information. All he did was send management a note. Well I could have done that.

Anyway I went into Sherborne Rd on Tuesday and there standing talking at the lights was a senior police office, a contractor in a yellow jacket and some one who could have been either an FBI agent or some one from the Highways department. Probably the latter, funny how council officials tend to look like FBI agents. Could be the dark suits.

To day when I went down there, even more yellow jackets standing there looking at the width of the road with puzzled looks. Some one made a cock up and we are going to suffer with yet more road works.

Now was it the blog that produced this activity, or did the union rep's note to management do the trick. Or maybe the email I sent Teignbridge Council on Tuesday morning pointing out the difficulty this stretch of road was causing had the desired effect. Who knows? Who cares so long as they fix the problem in the near future or at least some time before I retire.

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Two Days so Different

Tuesday I took over my bus which had arrived on time but the bus in front had been a few minutes late. This is nice as it means the driver in front is picking up some of my passengers. If he gets too late and I catch him up I will go past and help him out. He never got so late that I could get in front of him so I had an early first half. After lunch there were two of us waiting in Paignton bus station to take over incoming buses. The other driver was taking bus working 1206 and I was after 1207 , both came in together and we managed to take the wrong buses. So when we realized we got on the radio and altered the paper work. Easier than changing buses. Well most of the afternoon was like the morning, always a bus not too far in front but too far to get past. A nice easy day.

So you all know what happened today. I started in Torquay and should have left at 10:11 but the bus didn't turn up till 10:28. The reason, a broken down vehicle at Manor Corner. And the vehicle that was broken down was large, about 14 feet high, a bit over 8 feet wide and about 32 feet long, just to make matters worse. And Manor Corner is probably the busiest junction in the Bay,just to make matters even worser. To add to my problems the bus in front of me had not been held up by this large broken down vehicle and this meant I started to pick up a lot of passengers and run even later. When I had picked up the bus and reported that I was 17 mins down one controller who I will not name said, "Not to worry, you'll soon make that up." I love an optimist.

At one point I was well over 45 mins down. On Tuesday I had carried 96 passengers and the last time I had done 3612 duty, the one I was doing today I had carried 224 passengers. To day 361. And guess what duty I have tomorrow. If I hear one word about broken down vehicles I am going home.

Sunday, 22 October 2006

Just the Thing for Fleet St and Sherborne Rd

Those of you who just love to watch cars and vans driving along Fleet Street in Torquay and through Sherborne Rd in Newton Abbot should not click on the link below. The rest should and then write and tell Torbay Council and Teignbridge Council what a good idea these bollards are. Thanks to jimmy and anon for sending me the link.


NHS Riots in Torquay

OK, it wasn't a riot but you know what these newspapers are like with eye catching headlines. What it was was a hundred or so National Health Service workers having a well ordered stroll through the centre of Torquay on a damp Saturday lunch time and guess who got caught up in it.

They were protesting about the way the government are running the NHS. Hospitals are losing vital services like Doctors and Nurses and Equipment and Drugs but are being over run with admin departments and red tape, enough red tape to stretch from here to Alfa Centuri. Which is a long way believe me. The NHS is and has always been used as a political football. Getting kicked about just so one political party can score points over the other. What I can not understand is that the Government have been running the NHS since 1948. Surely they should be able to do it properly by now after 58 years.

P.S. Sorry NHS workers, a million people took to the streets to try and stop Blair the Dicktator from going to war with Iraq and he took not a blind bit of notice. I wouldn't hold your breath if I were you. You'd need a tracheostomy to get you breathing again and there is a 3 month wait.

Three on lookers giving their whole hearted enthusiastic support.

Just Because a Bus Goes By 13 Mins Late.

OK. We all make mistakes, except for the boss that is, who never makes mistakes, but that is an other story. The mistake I made was made jointly with another driver who I will call Brian. Mainly because that's his name. Anyway, we had both finished work at the same time one day last week and we were walking down Regent Close from the depot to the main road to catch a number 12 into Torquay. Brian asked me what time the next bus was due and I told him 19:14 We had 2 mins to get to the stop to get the bus. Plenty of time. But at that moment a bus went hurtling by and did not stop. 2 mins early the bastard, was what we both said. So when we got down to the main road we had 15 mins to wait for the next bus. We didn't walk the 80 yards to the bus stop at this point as it was possible that an out of service bus might come out of the depot and head into Torquay to start work. So we stood on the corner where we could flag the driver down and travel into town that way.

No out of service bus turned up but we were joined at 19:25 by an other driver who was changing over with the driver of the bus we were now waiting for, the 19:29. This bus appeared in the distance at 19:26; not due till 19:29 and we all made comments about drivers running early. We began walking slowly to the bus stop, expecting the approaching bus to pull in as the driver was getting off. We were still about 30 yards away from the stop with the bus coming up behind us when a thought occurred to me just a few seconds too late.

What if the bus we had seen go by at 19:12 hadn't been the 19:14 running early but the 18:59 running 13 mins late and the bus coming up behind us wasn't the 19:29 running 3 mins early but the 19:14 running 12 mins late. And it was. And no one had put their hand out and we were still 30 yards from the stop and it went straight by at a steady 29.9999 mph oblivious to the screams being directed in it's direction by me and Brian.

The 19:29 arrived at 19:40 running 11 mins late.

There is a moral in this story some where.

If you Know What is Happening in Newton Abbot.........

Newton Abbot. What is happening in Newton Abbot? If you know please let both me and the local council know. Asda have built a new 24 hour supermarket in Newton Abbot. To do so they changed the road lay out in the town. Before, when we drove a bus out of Sherborne Road we went up to the Library turned right at the roundabout along the main road and past the Post Office Sorting Office. This has gone, as has the original road and the roundabout. Traffic going through town now goes a completely different way. For months while the road was being changed there were tempory traffic lights in operation. Now all the re building has been finished but the tempory lights are still there. The reason they are still there is due to the fact that the new road, built over months is only about 12 feet wide and on a bend. As buses are over 8 feet wide it is not possible for a bus going out of Sherborne road to pass a car going into Sherborne Road. So every time we exit the bus station in Newton we have a delay of at least 2 mins while the lights change. In the last 7 days these lights have failed several times and, as they say, chaos has ensuded with cars having to reverse out of the way of buses.(It is easier for cars to go backwards than buses and we are both bigger and are not in a great deal of hurry to get any where). I do believe that the contractors have made a mistake and made the road too narrow or who ever drew up the plans wrote down the measurements in metres and the contractors thought they were in feet. Anyway some one has made a mess of the whole thing. I went through my photos and the first photo showing the road works was taken in January and the photo I have here now was taken last month and shows what happens when the lights fail. All the vehciles you can see are stopped and remain stopped for 2 or 3 mins.

I did ask the depot Union Rep if he knew what was going on but he hadn't a clue. He did say he would find out as soon as possible but I know he has been busy going round in very small circles for the last few months and he hasn't yet been able to report back to me.

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Sherborne Rd, Newton Abbot

Two items to report, both from the Bus Station in Newton Abbot. One happened last night. The local teenagers decided to add a little excitement to their other wise dull and boring lives by climbing over the railings on the footbridge and dropping down onto the roof of the bus below. I don't expect they were trying to get a free ride some where because the only other bridge we go under is the one at the bottom of Belgrave Road in Torquay and we tend to go under it at 30 mph. If they were going to get off there they would have to time their jump just right or the word would definitely have been splatter.

The second incident gave me much more satisfaction. There are signs at both ends of the bus station which state that there is No Entry to any vehicle except buses and bikes. But as I have mentioned here before nothing is ever done about the hundreds of cars and vans that use the road as a race track every day. Until to day. I was waiting time and a white car drove through at at least 30 mph. Now we have a 10 mph speed limit as there are lots of people crossing the road, mostly passengers and we wouldn't want to wipe out any passengers, would we . Then I saw him stop. Then I saw a policeman walk up to the drivers window. By the time I drove out he had reached the paper work stage. At least a £60.00 fine and 3 points on the license. 12 points and you have to learn how to catch the bus. Keep up the good work, boys in blue.

A footnote on a post about the car for sale. If you wanted to buy it, sorry its gone. Maybe the owner read the blog and took it home to fix it. Or maybe someone reading the blog decided that is was just what he wanted. It was a bit of a shock today as I drove past Oldway and it wasn't there, a bit like losing an old friend. Still there are two more in its place.

Rained a lot today, windy too. Autumn is on its way.

Wednesday, 18 October 2006


This post is dedicated to Simon Curtis who got the lowest ever score, one point, in the specialist subject round on Mastermind , the world famous BBC quiz show.

You are driving your bus towards a bus stop, there is one person standing there. They don't put their hand out. What do you do?

There is a cyclist ahead off you but there is not much room. What do you do?

You pull in at a stop and an off duty bus driver gets on. What should he show you but probably will not?

If you are over 60 what should you have to get free travel on the bus?

You are playing for the depot football team and you kick the ball to an other member of your team. What is the technical term for this action?

On the X46 route from Exeter there is a small range of hills. The road takes a meandering path over the lowest part of these hills. What is the geographical name for this path.

You get to the terminus and have 20 mins to wait before you leave so you read the paper. What are you said to be letting time do?

You are driving your bus through Roselands, the bit going up a hill, round a bend and over two speed humps. There are parked cars on both sides of the road and a car appears. The driver flashes his lights. What should you do.

If you are appearing on Mastermind and you don't know the answer to a question what do you say?
What in God's name am I doing here and why doesn't the ground open up and swallow me and what the **** are all my mates going to say to me tomorrow and for the next twenty years and why did I chose to answer questions on bus timetables.

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Car For Sale

Like most towns and cities in the UK if you want to sell a car you print a FOR SALE notice listing the car's good points and how much you want for the pile of junk and a phone number and stick it to the windscreen. Then you park the rust bucket at the side of the road some where and go home and wait for the phone call from some idiot who would like to buy your car.

It is a good idea if you go and check the state of your car now and then, just to make sure the back bumper (fender) isn't hanging off. Probably a good idea not to park it some where where a passing vehicle can smash into your back bumper.

This car has been here a few weeks so far. Why not try an ad in the local paper. Or at least fix the bumper. And park it some where else.

Monday, 16 October 2006


Lots of seagulls in Torquay. The local division two football team, Torquay United are known as "The Gulls". They are also known by one or two other names which I can't mention here due to the fact that they had a good start to the season but have lost the knack of winning over the last few weeks. But I am not here to talk about football but seagulls. Is you don't live in a seaside town you probably think gulls are magnificent birds. I mean, look at the picture.

If you do live in a seaside town or one that has open cast rubbish tips then you know that gulls are loud, aggressive birds that start screaming an hour before the sun comes up and rip in to plastic rubbish bags in the hope of finding food and are litter louts of the first order. Down here there are notices asking people not to feed the gulls but they get so much food they are able to breed twice a year. We are over run with gulls. Last time I hit a gull it flew into the nearside front windscreen and splattered. The only person on the bus was a sweet little old lady and being new to the bay I was very surprised when she said,"Oh good, an other of the buggers dead." That was 8 years ago and I can now understand why people don't like them, but I do. I mean, look at the picture.

Still, since early Sunday morning we have one less in the Bay. Wasn't my fault, he/she just walked out in front of the bus. I swerved madly hitting two cyclists, three parked cars before ending up in someone's front garden. O.K. O.K. I didn't. Never swerve to avoid seagulls or you could hit two cyclist, three parked cars and four partridges in a pear tree in someone's front garden.

I wasn't even sure I had hit the poor little thing until a couple of hours later when I came back from Brixham. But there it was, lying in the road, dead.

Sorry seagull.

Sunday, 15 October 2006

Allocations Officer

I went into work the other day and as soon as my foot had entered the Sign On Room I heard the sweet, syrupy voice the Allocations Officer call my name. He does have an other voice which he uses much of the time to snarl at people. But when he uses this, 'come here and let me do you a favour', voice you know what ever plans you had for your next rest day can just go right out the window. Either that or you are going to spend the next week working late in Newton Abbot. Let me point out at once, just in case you are from Newton Abbot that I have nothing against Newton. I must have been the about 8000 times in the last 8 years. It's just working there that I am against. 30 mins to Buckland, 30 mins to Sandygate, 30 mins to High Week. Then you do it all over again, and again, and again, and again.................... you get the drift. So on Monday, despite the fact that it is at lest 5 years since I last got up before 6 am, I am starting work at 05:25. The worst part about it is while you are doing him a favour you come away from the encounter with the impression he has just done you the biggest favour since Marie Antoinette tried to help the peasants by offering them the advice to eat cake.

Motor Cycle Going Past

Just gone to bed the other night when a motor bike went past the house. The road has parked cars on one side and is fairly narrow. Two cars can pass providing one is stationary. To the north of the house is a side road, the entrance of which is hidden by the parked cars. To the south of the house is a slight bend and it was from this direction the bike approached. Now judging by the time it took the bike to:-
approach, 1 nano second,
pass the house, a smidgen of a nano second,
disappear up the road, 9 tenths of a nano second
and comparing these times with the time it takes vehicles driven normally and even with vehicles driven at excessively dangerous speeds like 60 mph along the road I would conservatively estimate this bike's speed to have been in excess of 120 mph.

Now if he is still alive I would like to shake the riders hand. Not to congratulate him, just in the hope that some of his luck will rub off on to me.

Thursday, 12 October 2006

Yesterday and Today; Big Difference.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I had a really nice day. No, I didn't spend it in the pub, I spent it driving a bus. The roads were quiet, the were quite a few people about including a good few holiday people but they were either walking or using the bus. Those that were using the bus got on and had their money or tickets ready, they all knew where they were going, and all, well most anyway were cheerful. It was a beautiful, warm sunny day and everyone was in a good mood. No one shouted that they had been waiting for 1/2 an hour because they hadn't. The light traffic meant that we were all running on time and had in fact lots of time to enjoy the drive. Even when I went for my meal break the canteen was full of drivers who were in a good mood and we all had a lighthearted chat about not much in particular instead of the usual moan about the things bus drivers the world over moan about; running times, traffic, mad car drivers, controllers, managers, buses, the radio system, boss and the old favorite, passengers.

In fact it was such a nice day it is a shame that someone from the training deptment hadn't been there on the bus with a camcorder. They could have shown the video to new recruits and told them this is what bus driving is like, "Isn't it a wonderful job?"

Then today, (Thursday). Road works in Preston out side the Living Waters church. They dug the road up, right down to the foundations. Only for about 50 yards. With temporary traffic lights controlling the traffic. I went through on my way to Brixham at about 9:45 when they had only just started. I began to notice there was some thing wrong when I left Brixham. Normally as I go up New Road I should see the next 12 going down New Road into Brixham. Today I didn't see him until I got to the Big Tree which is 15 mins from Brixham. Which meant I had left Brixham 15 mins before and the next 12 wouldn't get there for an other 15 mins. 30 mins between buses instead of 15. It is one of the problems of small town traffic, especially sea side towns. There is only one road through the town and when there is a problem on that road there is just no where else to go.

Anyway, I left Paignton Bus Station on time and finally got through the road works 40 mins late. Even if all the traffic has to go along one road this is definately not on. It is always the same when there are road works in the Bay. No one seems to give a damn about traffic management. They just put some traffic lights up and bugger it. If they manage the traffic that's fine (and a miracle), if they don't who cares. Usually we get a two mile queue on one side and 50 yards on the other. What we had today was the set of pedestrian lights 20 yards from the road works. So you sit waiting for the red light to change to let you through the road works and some one walks up, presses the button and then two things happen. Pedestrian lights change to red and road work lights change to green. You can't go anywhere. Coming the other way, you are driving through the road works and the pedestrian lights go red, so you stop. Mean while the road works lights change but you and twenty cars are blocking the road. Note to Torbay Highways deptment, "Tomorrow, please switch the pedestrian lights off." Oh the good news is the road works are only expected to last two days. The bad news is I have exactly the same duty tomorrow.

Oh yes, almost forgot, at about 5 O Clock in the evening the lights turned to red; at both ends of the road works and for 15 mins nothing moved. At least it was a nice sunny evening and not pouring with rain.

Later in the day a bus broke down in Abbey Road in the centre of Torquay and that caused a little problem all of it's own. But that's an other story. I did end up 29 mins late finishing so I am slightly richer for the day. Had anyone from the training deptment been on the bus today with his camcorder I expect they would have shown the video to the same new recruits just to give a fair and balanced picture of this wonderful job.

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

A Bit Early For Christmas.

Not totally clear but the blue sphere is an almost life sized version of one of those glass globes you shake and snow falls for a minute or so. This one is operated by gas or electricity or newclean power or magic for all I care. It is there to inform passers-by that they should book early for their Christmas 'do'. Why firms want to have a Christmas 'do' is beyond me. It is a well know fact that any Christmas 'do' involving more than 20 people from the same company ends up with at least 2 black eyes, one divorce, and two sacking and god knows how many pregnacies and enough embarassing moments to fill 9 minutes on Eastenders.

Now I took this photo two weeks ago on Sept 30th which is 86 days to Christmas. Summer season has only just come to a close and Christmas is being shoved in our faces. I know some one will have already have seen some thing sooner that that is asking us to celebrate the birth on Earth of that well know son of god but I will vote for any political party no matter how far to the left and quiet far to the right that promises me it will ban any mention of Christmas before Advent (1) has started. Oh yes; the next day I went past B & Q Hardware store and they had 20 plastic xmas trees in the window. I'm not even going to take a photo, you get nothing for being second. Not even your photo on this blog.

Footnote (1) Advent, for those of you who are not, or have never been a member of the Christian Party starts the first Sunday in December.

Forgot to mention, just in case you feel like having a Christmas 'do' or indeed you feel like boycotting some where that mentions Christmas in September the pub is the Half Moon in Paignton.

Monday, 9 October 2006

Torquay Athletic RFC V Totnes RFC (Under 9's team)

After losing last week to Kingsbridge the team played well this Sunday against Totnes. Torquay in the black and white tackled hard when needed and passed the ball well. They touched down 6 times to Totnes's one. Their next game is against Brixham on 22 Oct at home.

It's good to see that outdoor sports haven't completely vanished under the growing tide of Nintendo and Game Boy.

Cherston Village Crossroads

This set of crossroads is on the way to Brixham from Paignton. The road, as you can see is not very wide and the speed limit is 40 mph. The other problem is there are bends in the road just before the crossroad which ever way you approach so you can not see what is coming towards you for more than a couple of seconds. I have driven through there several thousand times but on Sunday, after a gentle walk along the beautiful Devon coast line, I was down there waiting for a bus. I decided that I would find out exactly how wide the road was. Just out of curiosity. I know it is wider than 16 foot 11 inches because I have been through there with a bus going the other way and we managed to scrape through. Sorry, we managed to get through without scraping any thing. Any way after watching the traffic for a little while I decided not to pace out the width of the road as I wished the rest of my life to be a little longer than 5 seconds

The road on the right, from Cherston Village, is one way. No one can come out of there on to the main road as they would have to move out about 5 feet in order to see what was coming. That doesn't stop them from trying now and then. So, it's just one of the little bits of excitement in and other wise dull day.

The one thing I did notice while I was waiting for a bus was how noisy it was with the cars flashing by at 40 mph every few seconds. A long way from the horse and cart days when the houses by the road were built.

One other thing. A driver did once tell me he was always worried about hitting the gutter on the house to the right of the bus. The photo shows that is not going to happen. You may hit the house but the gutter will survive. The bus probably wouldn't. Nor the house.

Friday, 6 October 2006

Not so much a pet hate, more a source of puzzlement.

One of the comments made on the previous post is about pulling up at bus stops. Over the years I must have pulled up about 20 000 times at various bus stops. I'm not actually counting you understand. Just a carefully calculated, well worked out blind guess. Anyway I am not talking about pulling up at bus stops; just the actions of a good few of the people who have been waiting at the bus stops. It has puzzled me all the long years I have been pulling up at bus stops and I would like to thank the anon bus driver for coming out in the comments section and revealing that this action is one of his pet hates.

For all those years I thought I was alone. This can only be happening to me. At last I find I am not alone. The relief. The sense of belonging. Now I can bring the subject out into the open without being torn apart by the mob. Errr... hang on these people may be members of some religion, very obscure but still a religion. Oh, what the hell, I don't have to get re elected every 5 years.

It is the people who are standing at the bus stop. The have put their hand out and are right by the bus stop. I indicate to pull in and as I slow down they start walking towards the bus, some times briskly enough to take them several yards away from the bus stop. I drive past them and stop at the stop, exactly where they were standing and presumably had been standing for several minutes as they waited hopefully for the bus to arrive. (I love putting a bit of hope in people's lives, it brings a warm feeling deep inside). Then I have to wait while they return to the place they have waited at for so long to get on the bus but deserted at the last moment. One woman had walked so far back that I felt like charging her from the previous fare stage.

Is there anyone out there who knows why these poor souls feel so compelled to bring so much puzzlement into my life? It can't be they just feel like a bit of exercise before they get on the bus. Can it?

Thursday, 5 October 2006

Bus Shelters, rain and passengers.

As you can see I am stopped at the Sloop in Kingskerswell. You can also see that it is raining. If you study for a second you can see that the doors to the bus are 15 feet (3 metres) past the bus shelter. When I pulled in to the bus stop there were people waiting for the bus and I did stop in the position you can see me in. Why I can hear you asking did I make my passengers walk 15 feet in the rain instead of stopping by the shelter. OK. OK, I cannot hear you, asking or not as the case maybe, but you know what I mean.

Have a look at the road behind the bus, half hidden by my mirror is 38 tonnes of speeding, sorry rephrase that, going fast (40 mph) heavy goods vehicle. You may also note that the road is not very wide. So if I stop at the bus shelter the back of the bus will stick out into the path of 38 tonnes of going fast heavy goods vehicle. Not the best of ideas, especially on a wet road. So why did the council (1) put the bus shelter there and not 15 feet further forward in the first place. Where there's plenty of room for it. The only logical explanation I can think off is that some one in the council office does not like the people who live in Kingskerswell and wants them to get wet when they get on a bus.

Unfortunately I could run the blog for weeks if I went through all the other misplaced bus stops and shelters along the route. I'm not going to though, prehaps once a month, called imaginatively "This month's misplaced bus stop/shelter."

Footnote (1) Please note; Local Councils erect bus shelters and bus stops, not the bus company.

Lucky End to the Day

As you can see from the section of running board I went into Brixham at 18:00 and then ran back dead to the depot to finish. About a mile out of Brixham I drove through the traffic lights at Monks Bridge and I noticed that they were not working, well you do tend to notice things like that when you are driving a bus. Anyway I got on the radio to let the over drivers know that the lights weren't working and got severely castigated by an other driver who pointed out that that message had gone outearlier. So. I had been on my break and hadn't heard it.

5 minutes later an other driver broadcast to the world that the lights in Brixham weren't working. Some one told him he was the 297th driver to put that message out. After a slight pause the first driver said, "Not Monks Bridge. The lights at Bolton Cross."

Now there is a big difference between Monks Bridge when you can move out slowly and stop and let oncoming traffic go if need be and Bolton Cross. There if you move out slowly and there is something coming the whole junction is instantly and completely grid locked. Which is what happened. I got to the garage 30 mins later and buses were still stuck in Brixham and nothing was moving. Had I been if Brixham 5 mins later than I was I would have been very late home and my dinner would have been burnt. Lucky end to the day.

Tuesday, 3 October 2006

Torquay Athletic RFC V Kingsbridge RFC (Under 9 team)

Torquay Athletic RFC Under Nines team (Sponored by Stagecoach and the Belgrave Hotel) played their first game last weekend. At half time they were winning by 20pts to 5. A hard second half followed with Torquay running out of steam just before the end and Kingbridge ended the winners by 35pts to 25. Hard luck Torquay.

They have a game this Sunday, the 8th against Totnes and I am sure we all wish them the very best of luck. I will let you know how they go on.

Monday, 2 October 2006

Appeal for information

At about 2:25 Monday morning I was fast asleep. At 2:26 I was wide awake. The very loud noise was produced by a powerful motor. At first I thought the Power Boat Racers who have been in Torquay all weekend had been in the pub all evening and had decided to go for a midnight race. Now to be a power boat racer I suppose you have to be a bit mad. But not that mad surely?

After a minute or so I worked out the the noise was from a helicopter circling over the centre of Torquay. If it were a coast guard helicopter it would be out at sea or at the top of some cliff some where, not in the centre of town.

When I got up this morning I had a bit of a headache as the noise had continued for over half an hour and I had ended up closing the window. So I took a pill and looked on the news for anything that might explain why the police, it could only have been them, should disturb the sleep of thousands of people. Had someone been murdered, a drugs bust, driven his car up Fleet Street or what. Not a word. Had I been having a very vivid dream? It's now midnight and I have just had an other look, BBC Devon and local papers and still not a word.

If you can help me with my investigation into this matter, answers please in the comments section. All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Sunday, 1 October 2006

Some new links over there on the right.

There is a new link from a member of a Pizza Hut Team, I am not a team player and even if I was I could not work in any kind of food establishment. I would be so scared of getting the order wrong I would keep going back to everyone's table and double and treble checking the orders. I would still get them wrong.

The other two are both from Phoenix, Arizona and both blog about passenger transport, one from the passenger point of view and one from the point of view of the guy sitting up front. Enjoy.

Wishing Well Newton Abbot

This is the bus stop in Newton Abbot. I have been driving into Newton for 8 years now and it is always like this when it rains. The drain is blocked up and nothing seems to be done to clear it (or if anything is done it doesn't seem to work). If you look carefully just in front of and to the left of the reflection of the number plate you can see a few coins. Strangers to the town, thinking this is some kind of bizarre wishing well have been dropping coins in the water,probably in the hope that they never return to Newton Abbot, at least not on a wet Sunday.

Rover Rovers

Here in Devon we charge dogs to travel on our buses. There have been many reasons put forward as to why we charge but the real reason is to stop dogs traveling on buses on their own. Just a minute I hear you say, dogs don't travel on their own on buses. But when I was driving a bus in London there was a dog that sat at a bus stop and when a bus stopped it got on. When it got to where it was going it would bark to let the driver know it wanted to get off. No problem as we didn't charge for dogs. But we do here. 50p single fare. It used to be 50p return but that went out the window last time the fares went up. There were one or three protests and now the company have introduced a Rover Rover . Rover can now travel as often as he/she likes on any Stagecoach bus in Devon for just 75p. All he needs is an adult on the other end of the lead. Please don't sit on a seat.

The company call the ticket a Dog Day Ticket but Rover Rover sounds better.

A Bit of a Boast.

Out in my back garden I have a max/min thermometer and I knew September was going to be a warm dry month so I noted the max temperature through the month.

The average max temp was 22.5C for the month with the highest temperature being 26C on the 5th and the lowest 17C on the 29th. 21 days out of 30 were above 20C. So next year if you are thinking of having a late holiday you know just where to come.

The photo of the Harbour and Warren Hill was taken on the 24th and shows the blue sky and sun shine for all to see.

Masked Person and a Stagecoach

When I was but a young boy in Manchester I used to go to the Saturday morning pictures at the Odean on Withington Road. Now a block of flats but then a fine cinema. The Saturday show was a singalong, a cartoon, the cliff hanger and the main film. In those days westerns were the favorite and Stagecoach was my favorite film till I was about 15. Anyway one thing I learnt was that Masked Men (except the Lone Range) and Stagecoaches did not go well together. So when a young (mid teen) person got on the bus wearing a mask I pulled out my trusty shotgun and blew him away.

Alright, OK, I didn't, not quite. I just asked him nicely would he mind removing the mask ( an Ali G look alike) as he wasn't going to get on the bus with it on. After what followed I almost wish I had taken out said shotgun and blown him away. He started shouting at me and demanded to know if I had asked everyone who had ever got on the bus wearing a mask to take it of. I assured him that I had. He wanted to know how many people had got on the bus wearing a mask. I had to admit that in 9 years there had only been one person daft enough to get on the bus with a full face mask on: him. I then asked him, "Doesn't that tell you something?" He then asked why I wanted him to remove the mask and I explained that if there was a problem I would not know what he looked like.

Imagine the situation. Policeman, "What exactly did he look like?"
Me, "I'm not sure, he was wearing a mask."
Policeman, "Why did you let him an the bus wearing a mask?"
Me" Errrrr... Good Question. Officer"

Our masked friend's responce to my explanation was, "Well I don't want you to know what I look like." Well I ask you? I mean ask any bank robber why he is wearing a mask and you will get the same response. That is if you are very lucky and the bank robber is in an exceptionally good mood.

Then a lady passenger joined in, telling him to take the mask of and put it in his pocket. He turned to her, now she was made up for a night out but tastefully so. He told her she was wearing a mask with all that muck on her face. This was too much so I told him he could not get on the bus even of he removed the mask, and to give Ali G lookalike some little credit he realized he had gone far too far and walked away muttering loudly under his mask.

All in a days work.