Weedy was very excited about today.
Not only was it his little cousin’s birthday party (which he enjoyed most muchly, I might add) but also it was the trip(s) in the old Routemaster Bus(es).
I’m not really sure what this was commemorating, but, starting from the RAF Museum in Hendon, lots of classic 60’s Routemaster buses were taking enthusiasts on trips round North London. For the uninitiated, the Routemaster is the traditional double-decker London bus – the one you took pictures of on your Kodak Instamatic when you visited London years ago and were able to hop on and hop off – I think the reason they finally went out of business is that people used to hop on and hop off – without doing the bit in the middle that says – BUY A TICKET FROM THE CONDUCTOR!
But this is genuinely the iconic and much loved and cherished mode of transport – arguably the most famous vehicle in the world. Why oh why oh why did they ever take them out of service? And what joy for Weedy – and us, of course to savour its delights once more.
So we ease ourselves through the throng of total anoraks and board our first bus ride – a round trip to Stanmore
Are we nearly there yet?
– and squeeze up the tight staircase to the front window seats at the top. We sit down, our knees pressed against the wall ahead of us and wonder just how it was that 2 big burly blokes could ever have sat next to each other in this thing. (Not that any of us are big or burly y’understand – but just surmisin’).
The bus judders and jolts out of the car park – Weedy is taken aback… and his head thrown back, against the hard steel rail of the back of the seat – designed for the people behind to rest their hands on – but designed with no safety in mind for the poor wee heads in front.
And on trundles and bounces and jerks the old rickety jalopy. And I am feeling genuinely nauseous after only 5 minutes. Folks on the pavements look up and smile and wave – and I manage to raise the mearest of grimaces – B is jumping up and down with camera in hand – so i guess my queasiness will be captured for posterity.
And finally, after one hour, we have to get off the bus – and by now I am moving from memory as i hold on to the poles and seats in readiness for my sheer drop descent back to dry land! Phew! Thank the Lord that’s over with.
Right. Now. Which one shall we go on next?
Don’t get me wrong. It was nostalgic. It was fun (I think). It was very interesting and Weedy loved it – and that’s what matters. As for me? Well, I think I know now why they had to take them out of service.
Now there… are 3…. steps to… carry a donor card – ooh, wap wap!
Just follow steps 1, 2 and 3.