“On the buses”

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  • 23rd May 2024 at 1:56 pm #599578

    Poor lady, I can relate to her.

    Back in the 70’s I was sailing aboard a sail training vessel, it was after midnight but one of the most beautiful nights ever. The moon was bright and it reflected off every wavelet. The sky was beautiful too.

    Suddenly one of the off watch crew rushed up the companionway, dived between me and my neighbour and gave up his dinner and cocoa. Some time later I pulled up the hood of my oilskin jacket and had the most unpleasant shock as cold sick poured over my hair and face.

    A beautiful night ruined and then a few bucketful’s of cold seawater tipped over me with no shampoo anywhere around.

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    23rd May 2024 at 2:47 pm #599586

    Yuk!!! :-(

    Keep the stories coming JP they’re most enjoyable  :good:


    24th May 2024 at 9:33 am #599612

    Those Royal Blues certainly look smart.

    Looking forward to more.

    10th June 2024 at 8:31 pm #600261

    I haven’t forgotten the story, I just have a lot going on at the moment, not all good. So for the moment here is a lovely recent photo of a preserved 1950’s Bristol Coach in that beautiful Royal Blue livery.


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    11th June 2024 at 8:17 am #600267

    Thanks JP, they do look good. Glad to hear there will be more. have you got your license sorted yet?

    Good luck with the not all good and I hope Monty is ok.

    11th June 2024 at 8:36 am #600269

    I submitted another declaration as requested and I understand I will now receive my amended licence in due course. I found out yesterday however that i got caught on a speed camera when returning from my medical, 78 in a 7O limit. First time in 54 years driving but there you go, pay the fine and take it on the chin; Such is life.

    Monty is fine, 10 months old now and enjoying life, making a mess and being mischievous at every opportunity. When he gets together with my friend’s bichon she calls them the terrible twins :yes:

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    11th June 2024 at 8:44 am #600270

    What a shame, better points now you aren’t driving for a living and they will go away in due course.

    Monty sounds like he is thriving, he must make you smile a lot.

    How is your friend getting on now?

    14th June 2024 at 11:17 am #600407


    The winter of 1977/8 was pretty memorable in the west country. I don’t remember the date but sometime in February I think it started snowing around midday, big flakes like saucers which pitched on everything. I hadn’t seen anything like it since winter of 1963. By about 13.30 we were starting to curtail some services and the schools were calling for us to collect the children. My school run that day was Axminster school to Branscombe. and all available drivers were dispatched to the various schools. There was by now around 3-4 inches of snow on the roads and it was starting to drift a little too. I chose one of the older buses which are heavier and have a conventional ratchet handbrake which could be gently applied as opposed to the air parking brake fitted to the newer buses which was either on or off. Picking up the children I headed down the Axe valley which is fairly flat but a few narrow places and tight bends. The snow is building all the time and already some cars are struggling to get grip. I have weight in my favour and I proceed slowly using my gears to slow down and my handbrake gently to avoid locking the front wheels. Seaton is the at the mouth of the Axe valley and to proceed west or east you have to negotiate steep hills and there is one in front of me. At the top of the hill there is a tight steep bend so I engage a low gear to avoid having to change down half way up and proceed steadily to climb. As we get higher the snow gets thicker and the wind builds up whipping up small snowstorms. I can feel the bus losing traction in places as we climb and I pray I won’t get held up by a struggling car and have to stop because I know I would never pull away again. As we reach the top my heart is in my mouth but we just make it. I pull in to the forecourt of a service station at the top of the hill and I can see the snow is drifting now. I should turn off the main road in about 2 miles and head down the narrow lane in to Branscombe but I know I will never be able to climb the hill at the exit of the village with an empty bus. One of the children is the son of a farmer so I ask him if he can phone his dad from the service station and ask if he can meet the bus in a lay by near the turning with a tractor and trailer which he agrees to do.

    So I proceed very slowly onward, the wipers are now struggling to clear the snow and several stops are needed to clear the screen. By now only the odd Land Rover is braving the conditions and already some abandoned vehicles are left at the side of the road. You can imagine my relief when I see the tractor and trailer in the lay by ahead. Having handed over the children to the farmer I proceeded a little further further to where I could swing round in a pub car park and head back to the depot. I now have a problem, whichever route I take back to Seaton involves a steep descent. As I turn off the main road I reach the top of the hill and a picture of chaos. Cars stuck at various points and angles on the hill and all trying to help each other with little success. I apply the handbrake, stop the engine and go to get out to help but as soon as I take my foot off the brake the bus starts to slide forward with the back wheels locked. So I have to stay with my foot firmly on the brake. After a while the road my side is clear with most vehicles having given up and turned round so I gently proceed with the nearside wheels on the kerb so that if it starts to slide out of control I can steer into the hedge. Creeping forward in bottom gear and by gently applying the handbrake I manage to descend successfully and thus return to the depot.

    Everyone is waiting for safe returns of our services. I am told one bus is stranded in a snow drift on the road I would have used had I ventured into Branscombe. One of the mechanics and a driver had taken a bus with chains on the back wheels to try and rescue the stranded driver. Happily they returned several hours later but the bus remained where it was for five weeks before it could be rescued. I have a picture of the bus about four weeks after it was stranded, according to a local farmer you could only see the roof before the thaw started.

    AC0D42BE-C0B7-4D56-8467-CECB49494B05_1_105_cIt was three weeks before we could operate any services from Seaton and then only a very limited service, most villages were either cut off or had a single track which a bulldozer had cleared and not wide enough to get a bus down.

    That winter it snowed during the day and froze hard at night making all passable roads like a skating ring by the next morning, It just wasn’t safe to leave the depot.

    It did snow other years but normally just disrupted things for a day or two. I have never experienced conditions like that since thankfully, although I do have some memories from winter 1963.

    To be continued……………………………. :mail:

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    14th June 2024 at 11:41 am #600410

    Thank you John, that was a really good read.

    14th June 2024 at 11:54 am #600412

    An exciting ride JP! Hats off to you for your expertise & forethought, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading that while taking a break during hedge cutting and look forward to the next installment. Such memories you have, you transport us there!

    I remember that sort of snow & a bus with just the roof showing in our lane at the time and the sound which would echo when travelling through the snow towering above us on either side.

    Keep them coming when you get the chance JP

    20th June 2024 at 4:31 pm #600679

    I hope the next bus is coming soon?

    23rd June 2024 at 7:36 am #600785

    It’s got held up with admin issues but I’m sure it will be well worth waiting for BJ

    23rd June 2024 at 8:44 am #600792

    Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten, it is just that now the weather has improved a little I have more things to do outside and less time to compile another episode. It doesn’t take long to actually write but there is a lot of time spent gathering my thoughts, researching and finding newspaper articles and photos. While this is all my memories, I am trying to make everything as correct and accurate as I can. It can be difficult sometimes to remember and un jumble 40+ years of memories and at the same time keep it interesting. :wacko:

    23rd June 2024 at 9:20 am #600821

    You are doing a marvellous job JP, the wait has been worth it for each of the Chapters.

    I am guessing Monty will be getting into extra mischief if he is spending more time outdoors?

    23rd June 2024 at 9:30 am #600825

    Enjoy the fresh air JP, plenty of time to sit at the computer when you can’t get outside, being outside will do you and Monty the world of good. Enjoy the summer, listen to the birds, breathe in that air we will enjoy your next chapter whenever.

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    23rd June 2024 at 9:42 am #600828

    I am guessing Monty will be getting into extra mischief if he is spending more time outdoors?

    Monty could cause mischief in a telephone box, if he could find one :yahoo:

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    23rd June 2024 at 11:23 am #600843

    Your next book “ The Mischievous adventures of Monty”


    27th June 2024 at 12:47 pm #600980

    This came up on you tube and I thought it might be appreciated on here.


    6th July 2024 at 8:41 am #601303

    What a cracking photo



    6th July 2024 at 1:53 pm #601311

    I just get the current FB page when I click on the link JP

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