Thursday, 14 January 2010

"It rained again today"

06:27... At the Eastern end of the route, waiting for my time slot to get out on the road...

There's a painting, held at the headquarters of the Royal Military Police, entitled "It rained again today", depicting a crime scene being processed (an in-car shooting, by the look of it) in Northern Ireland in the late 1980s to early 1990s. The point was to portray a letter home from a soldier, conveying the message that nothing of any unusual note had happened there.

So why am I mentioning it?

Well, the temperature has actually risen enough to allow some rain instead of snow or sleet and, overnight and into the morning, it actually rained. There was a touch of fog, too. This has managed to get rid of all the slush and ice off the roads here, which is nice, I have to say.


It rained again today.

Wonder if the gritters'll come out to play today?

06:56... at a point on the route...

I should've known it'd be too good to be true. The back doors on my bus refused to close once i got it out onto the route, effectively immobilising the bus.

So, I radioed control with the bad news. They got the depot engineers to phone me, who told me how to close the rear doors, but it meant working a double decker bus on only the front doors.

Normally, this'd really stuff things up - think log jam at the doors as passengers try to barge past each other in both directions. Luckily, another bus on the route had passed me by then, taking the lions share of passengers (we call that "getting slaughtered") and I'd been turned short, so I could pick up time on the way back and swap over for a substitute bus mid-route.

Of course, that assumed that the traffic was gonna cooperate.

It didn't.

Massive queues everywhere were the order of the day, and I'm stuffed if I know why - it was, most likely, everyone and their cat getting in on the kiddie run, but hells bells, it sure didn't help - nor did this gormless reject from a brain donor program (picture left, after I let her back into the correct side of the road) in the silver Honda Civic, who came screaming round me in a queue of traffic, to find that I wasn't indicating to stop at a bus stop, but was instead waiting my turn to join a mini roundabout, and that there was indeed a queue of traffic in front of me - and that she was now stuck on the wrong side of the road because of her stupid and near suicidal impatience.

Oh and if she wants to argue the point, by all means she should contact me, and I'll ask our CCTV officer to send the tape to the Old Bill!

Anyway, getting to the mid-route swap over point (...where the engineers like to exchange what we drivers on occasion call "slightly bent buses" for other "not-so-bent buses"...), I changed buses (Brrrrrr, damn thing was COLD! The heater had yet to warm it up!), I managed to only lose five minutes or so before getting moving again...

But, just to add insult to injury, over the radio, we then learn that some fool had wedged his car transporter under a bridge on the route, and that we were now on diversion because of it - a diversion that would add close to half-an-hour to the trip.

Well, as luck would have it, the Police re-opened the road just as I got to it, so I stayed on route - guess they had a very big boot handy to kick it out from under the bridge!

10:37... at the western bus stand, having lunch...

I wound up only 6 minutes late at the western end, into my meal relief, having spun the bus at the eastern end in lightening order, with the heavy traffic having agreeably naffed off elsewhere in the mean time!

14:38... back at the depot, knocking off for the day...

Well, at least the second half of my duty went well... even if the bus was an old clunker, it was warm, the passenger loading was relatively light, as was the traffic, and the crew ferry was awaiting me when I got back to the start point - not a bad end to another day that started out so badly!

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