Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Who Said,"The customer is always right."

When you work in the hotel industry you have to be nice to the guests. That doesn't mean the guests have to be nice back. Mind you, some times, with coaches breaking down and not being fixed (too expensive?) the passenger have a right to be a bit upset. The other day we had passengers at the hotel who had been told the coach would arrive to take them home at 2pm. I finally arrived at 4:30 due to first a blunder, not mine and the a crash, also nothing to do with me except it was in front of me somewhere on the M5. When I got to the hotel I had to drag 50 cases off the coach and replace them with 50 more. Heavy work is not my favorate way to spend a wet and cold hour after having driven from the W.Midlands down the M5 with rain and side winds all the way down. By the time I had finished with the cases I must have looked a bit bedraggled, not to mention tired. An elderly woman guest looked at me and demanded to know who was driving the coach back. I explained that I was going part of the way and an other driver would take then the rest of the way. She then said," Well I hope we get a younger driver then." Before I could say anything nasty she stormed off. Which was lucky for her because at that moment I could have bitten her head off without even noticing. Sometimes I love this job but this wasn't one of those times.

Saturday, 27 March 2010

Poor Cat

If you own a brown and cream long haired cat which you haven't seen for a couple of days and live near the M5 in the Bristol area then I have sad news for you. It tried, unsuccessfully to cross the motorway and was hit, not by me but by the truck in front of me. There was nothing the driver could have done. We were driving through the road works and there were 3 lanes of heavy traffic travelling at 50mph, no room to avoid the poor little moggy. If it is any consolation it would have been instantaneous.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Missed Photo Shot and Two Long Days

Last Sunday I went into work, as far as I knew plan A was in operation. When I got there I was told we were now on to Plan B.

Plan A was simple, I would do a half day tour to Teighnmouth and Dawlish, back to the hotel for lunch at 1pm then drive the guests up to Cullompton ( a 45 min trip) where I would meet a coach bringing more guest down from the West Midlands. We, the drivers would then swap coaches. and I would return to Torquay and be home for 4pm. Now I have been on the tour lots of times and decided not to take the camera.

Plan B was slightly more extended. The tour was still on as was lunch but I would then drive dead up to Walsall, stay the night and return on Monday morning with 55 new guests. As it didn't matter what time I got to Walsall I would have plenty of time to go home and get an overnight bag.

In Dawlish I told the passengers about the Black Swans and when we got there went to see them for my self. Swans can be aloof birds but today they were in a romantic mood as I watched them, neck rubbing and pecking went on for a few minutes before the male mounted the female and me without my camera to record the moment. Damn.

Back at the hotel Plan C was explained, the coach coming down was delayed for I was to take the guest back as soon as they had had their lunch. No time to get an overnight bag. Damn again.

Plan D was then explained. As the coach that first broke down a month ago had managed to break down again I would pick up the passengers in the West Midlands, take them to Torquay and then pick the guests who were still in Torquay waiting to go home and take them to Cullompton where a driver would be waiting to take them the rest of the way. He would have a mini bus which I would use to get back to Torquay. Then Plan E came along. Not Cullompton say the voice on the other end of the phone line, the driver needs a 45 minute break. Can you get as far as Bridgewater. Only an extra 45 miles. Things you do when an emergency turns up.

Problem is at the moment we seem to be lurching from one emergency to an other.

Watch this space for the next part in the story of my little part time job.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Rock Walk, will it ever reopen?

THE reopening of Torquay's £3million Rock Walk project is facing a delay.

Unforeseen technical problems in creating new cliff face pathways look likely to push back the date, which was planned for June.

The above words are just a couple of lines from an item in the Herald Express. Last week as I drove past Rock Walk with a coach load of visitors I assured them that if they came back in the summer the Blue Wall would be gone and they would be able to walk up the cliff face and admire the view of the Bay from the soon to be completed walkways. (Should have known better.)

It seems that the supports that were being placed into the cliff face ended up in a hollow space and would have been no support what so ever. Councillor Lewis, the self elected deputy mayor of Torquay explained, "We have got to try to make sure we do it right, even if it costs more and takes longer.

I have a feeling Clr Lewis must hate the words "Rock Walk.". Which is why he keeps calling it Royal Terrace Gardens when everyone else calls it the mess on the sea front. Will he spend the rest of his life having nightmares about the place? Or maybe it will just go over his head.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Still here but working hard.

Still here but running up and down the M5 several times and a few little tours around the area over the last week.

Over the Christmas period I did two weeks full time work together with the other driver who worked out of the Torquay hotel full time. Then the hotel closed for a couple of weeks and the full time driver left to go coach driving somewhere else that paid slightly better. Then nothing, no work all through January. I went in the hotel just to make sure they hadn't forgotten me. No, they assured me I hadn't been forgotten and as soon as more guests book more holidays I would be called in to do the driving. Almost all of February went by, a couple of trips to the hotel just to say hello and "You haven't forgotten me have you?"

Then came the call I was needed at last, thank god. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever drive again. My first job was to pick a coach up that had broken down, towed up to Exeter and repaired. I drove it back to the hotel eventually. The fitter had to come out at the garage and use jump leads to start the coach, "The batteries were dead." he said. Well who am I to argue with someone who has served a 7 year apprentership, spent years working for a well respected nationwide coach repair company, probably been on loads of in-service training weekends and takes pride in his job to the point of obsession. And is paid lots more than me who once took a BSA Bantam motor cycle to bits and couldn't get it back together again. Next morning I boarded the coach to go up to the West Midlands to bring a coach load of happy holiday makers back to beautiful Torquay. Full of optimism I was. Working again, a bit of money coming in to augment my merger pension at last. The coach didn't start. It still hasn't started. My company and the nation wide, world renowned coach repair company are still arguing the toss about who should pay to have the coach that was suppost to have been repaired, actually repaired.

Not to worry, the company have other coaches and over the last 10 days I have worked 7 days. I would appear we are not as yet replacing the full time driver who left in the new year but managing with a driver who is normally based in the Midlands and me.

Could be interesting,especially if I heve to take a tour to Plymouth, a place I have only been to 3 times in my life and one of those times was 56 years ago.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Is God On Our Side?

Councillors "not paying attention."

I read in the Herald Express an item which reported that last September two members of the Standards Committee attended a full council meeting here in Torbay. They observed that over half the councillors were not rally paying attention during part of the meeting. This didn't actually bother me, I have long been critical of party politics, no matter what is said in the debate, no matter how well someone from the other side puts an argument you are still going to vote the way your party tells you to. Truth to tell during the debate you may as well nip out for a pint or two and just come back for the vote.

Here are a few of the observers comments

"There was not much sign of 'personal judgement', all members seemed to follow party line."

'an unedifying political tennis match'

“Half of councillors appeared to be paying attention, others were fidgeting, reading or whispering among themselves."

The observers noted there was a 'a disappointing lack of public interest' and wanted to know if the meetings were well advertised

(No they are not)

It was the other item brought up in the article in the paper that managed to get me typing. It appears that before every council meeting prayers are said. What in god’s name are they praying for? Divine guidance? No wonder Torbay is in such a mess when the people we elected to run this town belief that god even knows where is, let alone will spend even a second of his time leading them out of the mess the Bay is in. You, dear councillor, are here to run the town. Not god.

On this subject the observes said,

"The reason for prayers at the commencement does not appear clear and the rationale should be reconsidered."

If this was a meeting of cardinals in Rome about to elect a new pope then saying prayers does come with the job and the faithful would rarther expect it. But my feeling on this matter is say prayers in church not council meetings. If you think you need divine guidence to run Torbay then you are oviously not up to the job so QUIT. Now.