Monday, August 15, 2011

England - Back home... well it certainly felt like home, but it truth it's our second home.

February 1969.

The first thing David did on arriving back in England was go back on the buses!  The first day he arrived in England from Australia way back in November 1967 he saw an advertisement on the side of a bus that said - 'Drivers and Conductors Wanted' - and having wanted to own* a Double Decker bus since he was a kid he signed up as a driver.  But it wasn't as easy as it sounded... David had a drivers licence, David even had a truck licence but they were Australian, or International and to become a British Bus Driver he had to have a British Drivers Licence but luckily the 'Aldershot and District Traction Company' (aka 'The Tracko') was desperate for drivers so someone came up with the bright idea that David sit both his British Bus Licence test at the same time he sat his British Drivers Licence test... and it was done and he was an English Bus driver which he loved for a short while... having to stop to let people get on and off became a pain so he later found other work.

The same week we arrived back from Europe he rocked up to the 'The Tracko'  and he was 'on the buses' again.

Very early one morning, just as dawn was breaking, I drove him to work and was heading back to our new flat in Merrow, just north of Guildford.. I was turning right and noticed a police car following me, as I made my turn they put on their flashy blue light and indicated that I stop... this terrified me... I wondered what I'd done wrong and more to the point... how much it would cost... Had I not indicated?  Had I driven on the wrong side of that bollard (getting back into the swing of to driving on the left side of the road in a right hand drive vehicle was harder than we thought, maybe we didn't think! driving on the right side of the road in a right hand vehicle was easier because we were concentrating much harder, whenever we came to a bollard and there was no traffic about we had to think hard... which side do we drive left or right?)  Anyway I seriously thought I was in trouble.

Two policemen got out their car and wandered around the taxi which wasn't looking it's best, a ding here and there, a few scratches, a bit of rust starting to show and still dirty with French mud!  I stayed put because I wasn't really dressed, I had clothes on but it was early morning and I hadn't even had my breakfast yet :-)   Both policemen asked questions... Was I an Australian? (well maybe that's what that AUS sticker meant on the back!)  What was I doing driving a London Cab?   Where had we been in Europe?  Where else did we intend travelling? and so on... they were very friendly then eventually said thanks for the chat, they'd seen us around town and were just wondering who we were :-)  As they walked away one of them said... 'By the way you have a tail lamp out!'              Phew!

They got back in their car and flashed their lights for me to move on... and do you know what I did??  I crashed the bloody gears!  LOL  Such a relief not to be in trouble but how embarrassing.......

* David does now own a Double Decker Bus, two in fact, both of which he has restored and are in excellent working condition, a pre-war Leyland and a post-war Albion who are housed at the Sydney Bus Museum in Leichhardt. But that's a another story.......

 At Petersfield in Hampshire near the Train Station with below... his favourite bus conductor Zowar Shah.

At the Crown Inn in Chiddingfold, Surrey... Shah instructs Pennie changing the destinations.  Below the Crown Inn today on Google, that old bus shed is still on the left and even that tree!                    (You are not to ask what I have on my head... okay  :-(   )

 The Bus, The Crown Inn and the Duck Pond at Chiddingfold.

 Still a 'Give Way' sign on the same corner but a newer one methinks... no buses in sight unfortunately.

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