As Julie Andrews famously sang in 'The Sound of Music' ...
"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens
Really long bus rides with a 'stop' bell that pings
These are a few of my favourite things."
I agree with Julie. There's nothing better than a long bus ride and if I don't have one at least once a week, I get a tremor.
I've written before about my favourite Warwickshire bus, the G1. One of the local G1 buses has a STOPPING sign at the front that lights up when you press the bell, but on which the STOP bit of the word has broken, so that the only bit which lights up says PING!. I think that's just brilliant, and if they ever mend it, I'm going to write to the Chief of Buses and say Why Are You Ruining My Life? I may even send them a poem.
My best thing
Is that broken ping.
I'd do anything
to see it back agin.
It makes me want to dance.
It makes me want to sing.
I think the word is funnier
without its begin-
(Shift over, Carol Ann Duffy. New and startling talent is coming through.)
But although the bus drivers around London don't talk to you, the buses do. A woman's voice announces the places you are approaching. This doesn't happen in Warwickshire - when you get on the bus, the driver will happily chat to you about the weather or the football, but you are left to your own devices after that, and if you end up in Birmingham City Centre, well, that's just your look-out, you fool, for nodding off over your free newspaper and missing your stop. You deserve to wander around the Bull Ring for a while getting lost on escalators.
Something went wrong, though, on the bus we were on at the weekend when we went to Greater London to visit relatives. Every time the woman's voice announced the next destination, the automated recording didn't stop, and so we got all the rest of the destinations as well. Here's a snippet, but it was much longer than this. Would you want to listen to this, twenty times over? (Only if the other alternative was chewing on someone else's toenails, I'd imagine.)
"Thames Riviera ... Garrick Villa ... Thames Street ... Hampton and Richmond Borough Football Club ... Hampton Station ... Percy Road ... Hampton Lodge ... Kenton Avenue ... Harfield Road ... Blah Road ... Rhubarb Rhubarb Close ... Mumbly Mumbly Drive ... Etcetera Avenue ... Blah Blah Street ...."
There were a lot more. I can't remember them all. I could see the driver's face in his mirror and he was looking a little desperate as he had to decide whether to stop the recording altogether or just let her witter on and drive us all insane.
As she repeated her routine again and again, she began to remind me of a very old lady in a nursing home who's lost her marbles and just keeps saying random phrases to anyone passing. Any minute I expected the recording to go 'Kenton Avenue ... Harfield Road .... oh, what a lovely wardrobe .... the Queen is coming to visit me tomorrow .... are you taking me home now? .... pretty canaries .... would anyone like a Werther's Original?'
We got off, gratefully, at Rhubarb Rhubarb Close, and left the rest of the passengers frothing at the mouth and developing tics in their left eyelid muscles.
I still maintain, however, that Julie Andrews was spot on. I don't think I'd have half the blog material if I had a car.
(Oy! Who said, 'I wish she'd buy a car, then.'??????)
|This is my local G1 bus to which I am addicted. Isn't she gorgeous?|
A ride a week on her, and the crystal meth habit is kept well at bay.
Just to show I don't make it up .....