Hello and welcome to my Blog, my name is Chris, a bus driver for First Mendip based in Wells, Somerset. Married to Fiona, we live in Midsomer Norton near Bath, with Harvey the dog and Boots the cat. My main hobby is Amateur Radio and I hold the call sign G4KVI. I am the repeater keeper for GB3UB and MB7UB. I have a fascination for the weather and all things to do with nature and science. I am a biker and currently ride a Honda CBfF600. As a Christian I worship, when shifts allow at St. Nicolas Church in Radstock. These are my observations on my life, both at work and at home.

29 Dec 2007

Up early

Couldn't sleep so up having a cup of tea. Putting some sky+ stuff on to a disc for my Father in Law and surfing the web. Just had a look at who has been looking at the blog. Found a couple of interesting blogs and have added them to the list. The Ambulance one is very sobering. That is one job I could not do. Not just the blood bits, but having to help people, some who seem to have just pressed the self destruct button.

28 Dec 2007

An embarrassing situation

Bit of a quite time over Christmas came down with a cold and felt a bit of a wet drip. had to start early day after Boxing Day, so despite visitors, I was in bed at 1830!! Alarm call at 0320 and still feeling a bit coldly headed off for work. Took three coaches until one good one could be dug out so a good start. Full coach and left Bath about 10 mins late. Good run up and into Victoria on time. Did the usual and got my head down for an hours kip. Awoke at 0910 to get ready. Only made it as far the front seats when things did not seem that good, in fact the next thing I remember is waking up on the floor!!! Hit the redial on the phone and got my boss, she told me to get to the office and get a first aider. I was not sure really where I was but arrived at office completely soaked in sweat. I did not even have to ask, a first aider was called and it was ascertained that I seemed to be suffering from the 'flu' type virus which seems to be doing the rounds. Very, very unpleasant, but not life threatening ( at least not for me) In the mean time there was still a service to run.
This is where my hat goes off to the back ground staff. They not only looked after me but had to arrange for the passengers at Victoria to get to Heathrow to pick up a coach to Swindon and Bath. My coach was stuck on the bay and was supposed to be the 1345 from Bath. I was in no condition to worry but everything was sorted and a place was found on a coach to get me home.
I did not work today and are not back until the 2nd so hopefully will be 100% by then.
Maybe I should have seen it coming, even the dog tried to stop me getting out of the house!

25 Dec 2007

Merry Christmas and catch up

A very Merry Christmas to you. I hope Santa brought all that was on your list, (you did send a list??)
Thought I would take some time to bring things up to date and get make to more regular posts.

  • Sky broadband is going great now, running at about 4MB so not bad.
  • It has been very busy at work, hugh amount of passengers and even after three years people still cease to amaze me. Here are some of the top ones.
  1. Booking a flight to China (or other non EU destination) and only allowing 2 hours to get from Bath to check in. And getting in a blind panic when the coach breaks down or gets stuck in traffic.
  2. As above but not even booking the coach ticket and then complaining the coach is full.
  3. Booking for the wrong day and saying it must be my fault that the coach is full!! I must say this is easy to do so YOU MUST CHECK YOUR TICKET!!!
  4. Not knowing what terminal the flight goes from.

However for all the above most passengers are great like a bit of a laugh and will thank you for providing a comfortable and safe journey.
I am off until the 28th. I am on the 0445 from Bath!! I have a cold so a bit grumpy at the moment, but what's new???

13 Dec 2007

Back and running

Well and VERY busy couple of weeks, moving. I have never been so tired so glad it is all done. Broadband is back on. Gave up on Talk Talk, who are still sending letters to the old address and do not seem to have realised I have moved. If you thinking of moving be very careful who you use for your phone etc. You may get a shock when you come to move. Any way I have gone with Sky. So far very impressed router was delivered, wireless. Connected on the day they said and the speed is nearly up to the 2MB I am paying for.
Not to much to report on work front, did work some of my holiday so I nice wage this week. yesterday was a bit of a mare, just about to leave bath when the Oil warning light came on. Off went the engine and a 45 minute wait for breakdown. It was a stuck sensor in the end but I did not want to risk it. Had a passenger going to China who was getting very upset about the delay. When I quizzed her, the flight was a 1100. I am not due at Heathrow until 0930 and she had to get to T3. We finally got to the airport at 1045 so I wonder if she got it. We always say allow an hour before check in to arrive at the airport and I would always prefer to be at the airport then stressing on a bus.

29 Nov 2007

Moved

Well, moved house. Now completely knackered. Boxes everywhere. Only on dialup at present so only short post.

25 Nov 2007

Moving house

day has arrived and we on the move. We are all organised with everything boxed up and ready to go. Yea, right, the place looks like a bomb went off!!

17 Nov 2007

2960 Take 2

Well I thought Friday would have been OK, and all started out OK and we were just about on time when we left Swindon. However the traffic was just slow and by the time we got to J4 we were 20mins down and the traffic into London was back to j4 as well. We crawled through the tunnel into Central Bus station to find several coaches out of hours. A quick chat and discovered that travelling to Victoria were more than 11/2 hours. So that was me out. So it was Friday all over again.
Today went in to do one trip on the 178/778 to Bristol. Quiet going but VERY busy coming back as the pubs cleared out and people made their way to the clubs/pubs in Bath.

16 Nov 2007

Out of hours

last couple of days I have been on duty 60. This leaves Bath at 1545 and should arrive in London at 1920. However, this timing puts us in every rush hour in every town along the way. Sunday was bad and I only just made in to Victoria within the 4 1/2 hours. Then I had to take my 45 min break which meant rather that than 2030 we did not leave until 2100. Passengers were a bit upset, but the law is the law. However little did they know but on this duty you can make a far bit of time up and we did get back to Bath on time.
Yesterday was different. Normal situation out of Bath and we were already 20mins late into Swindon. I had heard that there was at RTA at J8 but it had been cleared. The traffic was heavy as soon as we joined at J15 and by the time we got to J12 were 30mins down. Then we stopped. By the time we got to J8/9 it was 1910, so 50 mins of driving time left. Rang control to tell them the bad news and they said to ring when we got to the airport. Finally arrived at Heathrow at 1945!!! That was that, only 30mins to get to VCS and running times are around 40mins, on a good day. Managed to get the London passengers transferred to a London bound coach and parked up.
Due to leave Heathrow at 2115 so got on the stand at 2100 to be told my connecting passengers would not arrive until 2200!! 2215 arrived at the 501 arrived with my passengers. Not much I could do to make up time and we finally got to Bath at 0040 and home at 0110.
Today.... THE SAME!!!!!!!!!!

13 Nov 2007

Moving house

Well finally taken the plunge and decided to move house. The rent here is getting a bit steep and the council tax is band c , so we are off to a two bed in band a. So far made four trips to the dump with more tomorrow. Not to busy at work at present. Someone made a cock up and we have ended up with nearly half the drivers on holiday at the same time so there is begging for people to work. I think it is going to cost them. I have two weeks coming up but this is the time we are moving so will have to see. Off tomorrow so preparing stuff to take and dump.
And, nearly forgot the car passed the MOT at a cost of £140, not too bad.

7 Nov 2007

Road signs and roadworks

Been off for three days and have sorted out a lot of stuff from the loft. Put the car in for repair and MOT so hopefully back on the road at the weekend.

Driving about I have noticed a couple of things at roadworks.

  1. Road narrow signs are wrong. ie the signs say road narrows on the left and the roadworks are on the right.
  2. The roadwork signs are as much of a hazard as the roadworks. They stick out in to the road/pavement. Fall over and leave sharp edges sticking out into the road.
  3. Small roadworks on the pavement involve traffic lights. Why?
  4. A hole is dug, and....
  5. Signs are left out long after the works have finished.
These are only my observations. Back to work tomorrow.

5 Nov 2007

A big thank you to the lady in the blue fiesta

I would like to thank the lady who was so helpful and courteous on the M4 yesterday.

As I and four other National Express coaches joined the M4 at Reading the traffic was flowing at about 50mph due to the roadworks. We all merged in nicely and then came up on slow (40mph) traffic. I indicated in good time, and checking my mirror and saw I had enough room to move to lane 2. Just as I started to move I mirror checked again and a blue Fiesta was accelerating fast behind me! so fast in fact that I had to take avoiding action. As they passed I noticed it was the usual young dumb blonde!!! This is normally only a passing annoyance and I wish them a pleasant journey!! This one I discovered was not only the dumb blonde who does not like the coach to get in front of them but was also the chairman of the local CLOG's She spent the time form J12 to J11 driving at 40mph!!
So I would like to thank that lady and hope that if she does a trick like again with a coach or lorry it has brake failure!!!!! problem is it will be the poor driver of the lorry who gets fined for driving too close!!!!
I am off now for a few days and have to pick up a rear axle for the Peogeot and start preparing for our house move.

3 Nov 2007

Lots going on

Had a busy few days. Not just at work but at home.

The car looks like it can be repaired and it will not cost a fortune. We are going to move house, not as nice but much cheaper rent and Council Tax. Also nearer to work but still close enough to carry on with the Avon etc.

Recovering from all the earlies but have a few comments on cyclists, road signs and people with mobile phones. I will post about these when my brain is functioning again!!!

28 Oct 2007

Failed

Well my car failed the MOT, big time. Has a bent rear suspension arm so think that is it. Really could have done without it as money is tight and we are trying to down size and move to a smaller house. I always wonder how people with kids make ends meet. Worked yesterday on 337,318,319 and X39 so an enjoyable day. Off now until Tuesday so spending some time trying to clear the house, find somewhere to live and something to drive.

25 Oct 2007

Glad that is over

Finally finished my run of early shifts. Glad to be at home and not have to worry about setting the alarm. Tomorrow is MOT day. I really hope my little Peugeot passes. Had to get a puncture repaired so now have four good tyres.

20 Oct 2007

Tirdness

Been on early shift for over a week now and it is beginning to get hard work. Trying to get as much sleep as possible but difficult to get 8 hours in one go. I have been having a nap at Victoria and when I get home, this seems to help but really looking forward to Thursday's rest day.
One thing that has been good is that the traffic levels have been low and I have been able to take my time. Must comment on the M4. I think we should have a competition to see who can guess how many yards of motorway are NOT being worked on. Driving standards have not improved but I think there are enough comments on that.

19 Oct 2007

Quick Post

Been on early shift all week, and next week. Will update with my usual moans and groans latter.

If you are on the M4 count how many sets of roadworks there are!!

14 Oct 2007

Park and Ride

Nice day Saturday. Rugby Park and Ride. bath Rugby have a training ground and on match days we run a Park and Ride from there to the ground in the City. Not too busy and the traffic was much lighter than I had thought. Even better, Bath won.

11 Oct 2007

Couldn't last

Last three days have been on Frome back. Nice run, plenty of time and not normally much traffic.
Yesterday it all went wrong. Just got to Earls court when the low water light came on. Not a problem check it when we get to Victoria. As we got to Cromwell Road the temp went up, and up. Maybe it is not just low water. Stopped at the lights by the Natural History Museum and a great cloud of steam passed me!! Maybe this would be time to stop. Pulled up and contacted the office. Only had a few passengers, some were staying in the local area so walked to their hotel, the others waited for a passing 412 to pick them up.
breakdown came and had a look and turned out to be a split water pipe. Due to it's location and kerb side repair was not possible so had to wait for recovery.
Had to wait ages for the truck to take me to Victoria. But once we got to Victoria the repair was made and we were off home without passengers. Nice drive back, radio on etc.. Finally arrived back in Bath at 0030.
Two day's off now and Park and ride overtime Saturday.

8 Oct 2007

Traffic in Bath

Had a few good days this last week. Only problem has been the traffic in Bath. Friday and Saturday it has taken some drivers over 2 hours just to get out of Bath. It seems due to some roadworks in St James Street. All they seem to be doing is resurfacing which should take a couple of days but our council has the road closed for 5 weeks!! I am glad that this week I will not be around at evening rush hour.

4 Oct 2007

Bath Amateur Radio Club Meeting

Bit off topic, well for driving, but an advert for my hobby.


If you are a local amateur there has been talk of starting (restarting) the Bath club, well it's happening.

The first meeting of Bath amateurs is planned for Wednesday 17 October in the Boathouse (map), starting around 20:00 - 20:30.

Come along and help get this club off the ground. Remember when you sign the book you will be part of history!!!!

To keep up-to-date with the latest local ham ragchewing, please join our active discussion group.

3 Oct 2007

Well that was a better day!

After Sunday, yesterday was great, 1530 start and not many passengers or luggage. Had CSQ's though (customer satisfaction questionnaire) These are a bit of a pain as not many people fill them in and anyway half of our passengers are not English so cannot read them any way. Did have a few back, not bad comments about me so none to throw away!! (just joking).
Did have a bit of traffic into London and arrived a bit late. Was suppose to leave at 2030 but it had to be 2040 to get my 45mins in. Good trip back and arrived nicely on time and back home by 0030.
Two days off know so going to relax and enjoy.

1 Oct 2007

M4 problems

Sunday started out great. Nice weather and a good drive up to London at 0715. Everywhere on time, which was great as was being shown where a new cafe was!!
Arrived in London at 1030 and had to wait for the 1100 coach to come in, he arrived on time and we headed off for South London. After a nice lunch we went and parked by the Thames. Very nice pleasant afternoon.

Left Victoria at 1430. Drive out to Heathrow was good and as I had a dupe arranged to go directly to Bath. This meant we should have arrived in bath at around 1730.
As we approached J14 signs the matrix signs where showing '50' no problem there as they often show this.

However as we passed Membury they changed to 40 and - standstill!!

After about 10mins I rang control and asked them to check Traffic master. The reply was ' M4 J14 -J15 Closed!!!!

Ok big problem now, passengers, driving hours etc.

We got reports after an hour that the earliest the motorway would reopen was 2030 (it was 1800) things were now serious, very serious. At 1900 things began to happen, the Highways agency turned up and began to turn traffic around. We ended up doing a 'U' turn and heading in a convoy the wrong way up the M4 in lane 3!!!.

When we got to J14 we were sent back down the slip road and onto to the A338. The journey to Marlbough was a nightmare. When we got to Marlborough most of the traffic headed back to the M4 leaving the A4 free. We had a good run back to Bath via Melksham and finally arrived back in Bath at 2130, 31/2 hours late!!! Still the passengers were very good and calm, thankfully.

Was supposed to start work at 0600 but with had well exceeded the driving hours so had a nice 0900 - 1600 day today!!!

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

27 Sep 2007

Lady with the baby

Frome up today and apart from the traffic in London a good day. One thing we (me and the passengers) saw was, coming out of Hungerford and small white car was in front. I kept a good distance from it as there was a van in front of it and no room to overtake. The car was a little wobbly when suddenly it went the whole way over to the other side of the road and back, not once but several times. We could see the occupants deep in conversation and leaning in to the back. They stayed on the left side of the road but still a bit wobbly. It was only when we were in a queue at Newbury that we saw there was a child in a car seat in the back. I rather not think what would have happened had something been coming the other way.

25 Sep 2007

Traffic lights out on the A4

Funny day yesterday. I saw on Trafficmaster that traffic into London was bad. When I got to work my coach was down as late. It arrived in the end only about 10 minutes late. Had help load so left about 15min late. Had not pick ups at Reading so rang control and we went straight to Heathrow.
Incoming driver said traffic was terrible at A4 junction North End road due to the lights being out. I was early but asked the staff if I could go. Traffic was bad into London and the journey took an hour rather than 40 min.
The two 1800 coaches left on time and I waited for my coach to come in. Despite the A4 problems and an RTA on Buckingham Palace Road it arrived on time.
I left at 1900, on time and made my way to Hyde Park to go out via Knightsbridge. I found the back of the queue by the The Lanesborough!! Made a decision to go via Notting Hill and up to the A40 and A312. Good run out and arrived at Heathrow ON TIME, and, the 1800 coach was still there!!!
A result and the passengers were very pleased. Rest on the journey to Street was great and back home by midnight.

22 Sep 2007

Bus work

Went in today for 4 hours on the 332. First time I have done this trip from Bath to Bristol. Very nice run across country and a nice bunch of passengers. Off now until Monday so enjoying a beer.

20 Sep 2007

I really should have worn my seatbelt

Been very quite last few days so nothing really to report on the work front. Had abit of bad luck today. Just going to Tesco and saw a Police car and realized I had not got my seatbelt on. Too late, minute latter lights and horns behind.
Very nice Police man showed me the error of my ways and issued a £30 fixed penalty notice. It was my own fault and I am always saying why do the Police not crack down. Well they have and I have the ticket to prove it!!!

18 Sep 2007

A typical day

Looking back through the posts I have comments on driving but nothing to show just what a driver does so here goes.
I will take the 0430 from Bath as my example. I think you may be surprised at just what is involved.

Day before.
Prepare bag, Tacho's envelopes, mobile charged keys etc

0310 Alarm goes off. Usual things, wash, breakfast.
0335 Leave house.
0450 Arrive at depot.
0455 - 0415 Go and booked on with inspector. Check allocation board to see what coach I have. Prepare coach, check all safety features. Lights, doors etc. Fill in Taco graph, defect card and ticket envelope.
Ring control to get 'loadings' or passenger list.
0415 Leave depot and make my way to the Bus station.
0430 Leave Bath and make my way to London.
0430- 0750 Pick up passengers, issue extra tickets where needed. Load luggage. Answer questions and drive well!!
0750 Hopefully arrive in London. Once passengers are off. Check coach and clean through, included the toilet!.
0800 Once the coach is parked time for break. have some food, coffee and a quick nap.
0915 Prepare coach for departure. Get loading chart and start boarding passengers.
0930 Leave London and make my way back to Bath.
1245 Arrive back in Bath. Once passengers are off prepare coach for next driver. Clean, check for left items. leave coach clean and tidy.
1300 hand in ticket envelopes, pay in money and head for home.
1400 Hopefully arrive home.

There. thats it one day as a driver.

16 Sep 2007

Driving Standards

back after the 'overnight' and I am tired, to say the least. Driving over the weekend I am still amazed at the standard of driving. I know you will say 'you think you are the best' What I am talking about is elementary driving skills. These include.

  • Observation. Or lack of. You must be aware of people around you.
  • Reading the road. Or looking ahead, it is not rocket science if you see a lorry in lane one and think 'will that car pull out to overtake?'
  • Courtesy. This is one that seems to be lacking. If someone moves over, lets you out etc..Thank them with a raise of the hand. Also is you judge something wrong, acknowledge it, with a smile. Trust me it cools road rage in a flash!!!
This is probably a pipe dream. but is nice to dream.

14 Sep 2007

Bit of an update

Need to bring things up to date.

Back to work and no real problems. Same problems with drivers etc but will post more information latter.

Spent this morning getting copies ready for a presentation I will be making to the Church council. I am proposing to set up a Debt centre at the church.

My Mum is better form her hip operation so good new there.

OK now will try to get back to daily posts.

6 Sep 2007

Coach Crash

What can I say. My thoughts go out to the passengers who were injured and I wish them a speedy recovery. I cannot comment on the circumstances, but what I can say as a driver is that First group and National Express have a very tough policy on drink and drugs. They carry out random tests and the limits are nearly 0. On a personal note I NEVER have any drink if I am driving the next day. If I had an accident, my fault or not, and I had had a drink, the thought would always be 'what if' so I do not. I hope to see more random testing and show that we are all professional drivers who take safety seriously.

Visit to Cap

Tuesday I made a visit to Christians against Poverty. These are a Christian debt counselling service based in Bradford. I am hoping to start a service from St Nicholas. Travelled up by coach on Monday and stayed in Leeds and then travelled to Bradford on Tuesday morning. These people are so passionate and dedicated. It was a very good day and all I need to do id obtain some funding, but if I am correct in my thinking the Lord will provide this. Came back on Tuesday and - we broke down!! Still the situation was handled very well and I arrived back at Heathrow at 2300.

Holiday & mum's accident

This week I am an holiday. The plan was to go and see my parents and surprise my Dad on his birthday. However, on Friday I had a phone call from my sister to say my mum had fallen and was on her way to hospital by ambulance!!! This changed things a bit and we waited for news. The news was not good as she had broken her hip. She was in good spirits and as I was 120 mile away my dad a sister did the visiting. We still made the trip up on Sunday as I was working Saturday and by this time the operation had been done and she was sitting up in bed!!!
We stayed up until yesterday which by this time she was out of hospital. Amazing!! There is still a long way to go, but great she is at home.
So, well done to all the staff at Wexham Park Hospital , in Slough. For looking after my mum and providing a clean and pleasant place for her to recover.

30 Aug 2007

Training Course

Had a change today. Attended a training course on advanced driving. It is called the Smith System. It is all about reading the road and giving yourself time and space. very good I thought and well worth any driver giving it a go.

28 Aug 2007

Walk up Penn Hill, near Wells.

Yesterday was a Bank Holiday and for once I was not working (will miss the money). Spent most of the day clearing the garage cutting the grass and catching up on other jobs around the house. Sitting having my lunch in front of the telly thought, it is a fantastic day, crazy to be inside. So Harvey and I set off up Penn Hill. This is the site of the main TV mast for the area. We had a great time and I was amazed how few people we saw. The views from the top are stunning. You can see to the coast at Weston Super Mare, over to Bristol and Bath and down the Blagon Hills in the south. Took the radio and gps and the trig point is at 1006Ft above sea level.

Here are the pictures I took.


Get your free HUMYO.com online file storage

24 Aug 2007

Mobile Phones on coaches

last few days has been fairly uneventful, everything going well and on time. Only problem is that I have been on earlies.
The thing I want to comment on today is passengers using mobile phones on board. I have no problem with this but I usually mention in it in my safety brief asking passengers to keep mp3 player volumes and mobile phone conversation to a reasonable level. However today the definition of reasonable was pushed a bit, well a lot!! I am not saying she was loud but by the time we got to Swindon the whole coach knew were she had been on holiday and the fact she did want to drive a train. I did try to ask them to keep the volume down but the traffic was such I did not have an opportunity. So if you are on a coach please remember the other people around you, they cannot walk away, so keep conversation to a minimum and then try and not shout at the phone!!!!
Given the work I do and people I meet I am seriously thinking of writing a book using some of these characters.

16 Aug 2007

Mrs (I can not park) & Mr angry

Well been back at work for a few days and the usual mix of city bus and coach work. However today I seem to have had my share of problems. I did Bristol for a bit extra. On the way back rounded a corner to be faced with a car parked at least 1 foot from the kerb. The lady passenger smiled at me and after indication from me and a blast on the horn she moved in to the driver seat. She then moved the car forward toward me thereby causing us both to be jammed!! A gentleman(not so gentle) came out and seeing the situation immediately assumed I had cut the corner and blocked the lady!!!
I do not think he used any word that I could print here. He then moved the car to the position I had indicated the lady should have moved to in the first place!! he continued his torrent of abused. Anyway the journey continued, and apart from having to pass various stops because I was full. Without incident. As the passengers were leaving a passenger handed me his details and offered to be a witness to the fact that the abuse given to me was completely uncalled for.
I then jumped on to the 403 coach and went to Heathrow to pick our nephew up. Nice to be a passenger for once.

7 Aug 2007

Driver of the year

Some good news for a change.

Just come back from Bristol where I received my award for coming 3rd in the regional heat of the Driver of the Year competition.

I received a certificate and a small financial reward. Not bad for knowing the Highway Code and keeping my nose clean.

Well done to the top 2 who go on to Blackpool to compete for the big prize of £1500.

2 Aug 2007

Chilling out and driver of the year.

Two days off and apart from the rain today, not bad. Been down to see Fiona at New Wine. She is having a good time serving and enabling over 110000 Christians to meet with the Lord. I will be down there next week and I am really looking forward to it. Back to work tomorrow and hope to find out more about a presentation I am going to. It appears that I have come third in the local heat of the Driver of the Year competition. There is to be a presentation next week so assume I will have to wear a tie!!! Anyway has put a spring in my step. Sun is out now and must think about tea. Not quite the same on your own, well plus the dog and cat!!

29 Jul 2007

Bristol and bump

Worked a rest day yesterday. Good one, 178, X39 and 319. fairly quite passenger wise but Bristol was packed. I only found out latter that it was the Harbour Festival. Had a bit of a problem in Bristol. Stopped in a queue waiting for the traffic to move and saw a local bus coming up the inside. Thought it was going to be tight, and it was , too tight!! Result was mirror through the window and scraps to his and my vehicle. I did feel sorry for the lad, but as they say if you can't do it safely don't do it. Still he will learn from it.
Day off today so have some Avon to deliver and hope to pop and see Fiona.

25 Jul 2007

Ticking along

A nice few days. Been on early shift this week so 0400 starts. It does mean I get home early. Have not seen much in the way of floods, which is good. I feel so sorry for those flooded out, but it still seems there is more to come. Been very busy with regard to passengers this week but with the schools breaking up the roads are getting easier. This does again highlight the need for the law to be changed regarding driver training. It is obvious if you spend as much time on the road as I do that many people are completely unaware of how to drive on motorways. A couple of points I would like to see advertised in public information films are :

  • There is no 'slow' or 'fast' lane. Just one lane and two overtaking lanes.
  • Keep to the left,unless you are overtaking.
  • When joing a motorway YOU DO NOT HAVE RIGHT OF WAY You may have to stop before you join. (would you pull straight onto a main road without first looking and waiting???
  • Fog lights - these are only to used when viability is below 100m. This is VERY rare and they are not to be used in the rain. Also it should not be possible to drive over 40mph with them switched on.
I think the chance of this happening are remote but still we live in hope and try to lead by example and hopefully people will notice.

20 Jul 2007

Day off

Sitting with the rain pouring down I am glad I am off today. Have a few jobs to do but as they are outside, will have to wait. Waiting for the Avon order to arrive so we can start delivering the orders. Just arrived, 9 boxes so a busy day.
Anyway g4kvi-7 seems to be going much better and as the kids seem to have finished school I am looking forward to a few weeks of comparative calm.

18 Jul 2007

Back to work and trip to Science Museum

Well back to work yesterday and the weather did not look too hot. Was on the all day so had four hours to kill. Fiona decided to come up and we planned a trip round the science museum. Very good trip up and arrived well on time. Caught the tube from Vauxhall to South Kensington.
The place is amazing. It must be 20 years of more since I have been there, so much to see and so little time. Anyway we wandered about and pushed a few buttons. There were things in there I remember we had in our home. In the telecoms section there was an amateur radio display with an FT480R in. I still have one of those!!!
Another good trip back and arrived home about 2200.

16 Jul 2007

It's a dogs' (and cats) life.

A sunny day today. Got the grass cut and the garden sorted. It was obviously too much for Felix and Harvey.

15 Jul 2007

G4KVI-7 Upgrade.

As you may know I am a radio amateur and run an APRS tracker from the vehicle. This is a fully automatic system and requires no action from me. However the last few months I have been having problems with battery power. I have looked around for a new pack and I was looking at over £50 to replace it. This starting me thinking and I came up with a solution.
Seal lead acid battery. This is a fully sealed battery giving me two days running. It all fits in a bag and can be charged at any time without loss of capacity.
I can now run 5w and also power the gps.




Vehicle Lighting

Enjoying my wedding anniversary (18 years) and thinking about Friday. Left the depot and noticed the number plate light were not working. As it was day light carried on and completed my shift, but noted it on the defect card. When I got back to Bath the next driver was not happy about taking it back out. However I have had a look around and found this.

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si1989/Uksi_19891796_en_1.htm

This gives all the information about vehicle lighting.

13 Jul 2007

Weekend off

Well that is the end of a week of earlies. Even going to bed early I still find it difficult. Still my wedding anniversary this weekend, 18years and still going strong. Plenty of beer in the fridge, meal with friends tomorrow and hopefully the weather will improve.
Interested about the comment regarding lorries overtaking. I must admit I always ease off and let faster coaches pass, i do not like having a vehicle slowly passing in lane 2. I did see something strange today. Going up from J15 lorry went for the overtake and had that sinking feeling of being stuck for the next 10miles. And then quick flash on the indicator form lane 1 and the lorry slowed, the overtake was completed and we were on our way!! If only they all behaved like that.

12 Jul 2007

Lorries Overtaking

Driving on the motorway today I came across two lorries overtaking, in the end they took nearly 10miles to pass. Why is it not possible for the slower lorry to ease off a bit and allow the overtake to be completed rather than have miles of traffic behind?

4 Jul 2007

Wind Turbine

Sitting with the rain and wind lashing against the roof prompted me to put this link in. If you ever drive up the M4 towards London you will not have failed to see the wind Turbine at Reading. Had a look at the website and here is the information on that site.

http://www.ecotricity.co.uk/projects/plan_greenpark.html

Now you be a real geek!!!!

Few days off and new lawnmower

Been off since Monday. Didn't want to work rest days this week and anyway will have enough hours to give a good wage. Started to cut the grass on Friday only to have the lawnmower blow up on me. Managed to get a new one on Monday and got the grass cut dodging the showers. Need to get things ready for the rest of the week so must have a think about what I am going to have for lunch this week. Busy weekend coming up in London with the Tour DE France so wil keep you posted on how things went.

30 Jun 2007

Rain, disruption and lunch with the family

Been a very wet few days. Was the overnight on Thursday and was staying round the corner from where the bomb was found. Funny thing is I only found out about it from the news. Still life goes on and today there was the Pride march and Wimbeldon all went on as normal. Today was great as I met up with my Parents, and Sister for lunch at Victoria. I have not seem my Sister since Christmas so it was nice to catch up. My Mother also seems to enjoy these events and it was also nice to have Fiona with me on the trip.
Just sitting with the rain pouring down outside, even Harvey seems quite happy to stay indoors.

25 Jun 2007

Safe driving

Driving such a large vehicle gives you a completely different view of the road. When I drive my car I am amazed at just how little view most drivers have of the road ahead. But they still drive at inappropriate speeds. I am sitting here as the rain pours down and have found a site which has a very good article on safe driving. You can find it here .
I am just going to write an email to my local council regarding the number of road signs which are obscured by trees and hedges.

23 Jun 2007

Can nobody park a car??

Work a rest day today. Extra money is good and it reminds why I want to stay on the coaches!! All city work today and I am amazed how so many people think they can park anywhere and I mean any where.
Examples today are
  • ON a crossing not just the zig zags but on the black and white markings!!!
  • On bends, so to go past means taking up the whole road.
  • Where the road narrows so it is impossible to get another vehicle past.
  • On 'Keep Clear' lines
It was truly an eye opener today. The thing that saved it was the passengers, nice bunch and laughed at my jokes. I have two days off now. Off the the Frome Radio Rally Sunday and then a quite day on Monday.

17 Jun 2007

Bath new bus station and fly past

Well today was the day. The new Bath bus station opened. I got in early to check it out, I had the key for the door put didn't know were the door was!! It looks very good even though it is porta cabins. After a look round and a cup of tea it was off to London. Full to the rafters. Good trip up with no delays. Handed the coach over to the next driver and headed to the park with chicken and chips. Finished them just in time to watch the Falklands fly past. Very impressive, finishing off with a very low pass by the Red Arrows.
Had a read in the park and then headed back to wait for my coach to come in at 1735 and get it ready to go at 1800. 1800 came and went with no sign of the coach. Finally turned up at 1820!! I was not best pleased, the driver thought it went at 1830, he would have still been late!! Anyway loaded up and went on my way. Went via Knights bridge and arrived at Heathrow 20 mins late, not bad. Just leaving and the 1800 coach turns up!! He went via Earls Court and got stuck in traffic. After all that arrived home at 2220, and just tucking in to a plate of sausages.

14 Jun 2007

It was my Birthday!!

Been off for a few days and Tuesday was my Birthday you can find how old I am from my profile. Had a nice day as my parents came down and took us out for lunch, very nice. First day back today and what a day. Started Ok but got to Maidenhead J 8/9 and hit the a queue. After sitting stationary for about 20mins rang control and they told me there had been an accident. Seems that they told all the office people but not the drivers!! As a result of that I did not have enough driving hours to get to Victoria so had to terminate at Heathrow. The passengers I had for Victoria had to be transferred to another coach. Not too bad though as I spent a couple of hours catching up on my paperwork and watching a bit of telly.
Journey back was good, bit delayed as I had to wait for the passengers to come from Victoria. In the end we made up the time and the passengers seemed very happy.
Added another to to the site. This time to BBC Radio 2. This is my sanity saver. It enables me to keep in contact with what is going on in the world and breaks the silence when I am having a break.

10 Jun 2007

Speed cameras

I am not the biggest fan of speed cameras especially when they cause other drivers to break as they approach them however they are not always speed cameras as these ones can spot tax, MOT and things like unpaid fines. Found this link which explains more.

http://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/units_and_departments/operations/rpu/anpr.aspx

9 Jun 2007

Luggage

Been on the 'Frome up' all week and 0445 in the morning so off to bed in a minute. I am always amazed by passengers. The last few days I have a few that have cases obviously over the 20Kg limit. This is not only the limit given by airlines but is also the limit given by health and safety executive. This means if a driver lifts over 20Kg and is injured he will possibly not be able to claim compensation. So I always ASK the passenger to load the bags to save my back. Two passengers had the hump but started to lift them and the handles broke off!! I cannot imagine what excess baggage charge they would get.

3 Jun 2007

Day on the buses

Had a change today and worked a rest day doing country bus work. Had a trip to Cribbs Causeway and Bristol and then a trip out to Devizes. Only problem was I did not know it was one of the only bus that went a certain route. So had to ask a passenger to show me the way!! Good fun and the passengers had a laugh as I went through a housing estate without problem. As I said you either know the way or you don't.

2 Jun 2007

Tinted Windows

Always wondered what the law was on tinted windows especially when you cannot see the driver.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/6707873.stm

Slight Bump

Not a bad day lots of passengers. Good trip into London Until some joker decided that as he had parked cars in his way he would try and push in. However I do not think he could have seen me as when we got to the lights he jumped out and accused me of hitting him. He was very upset and even when I said I had the right of way as the parked cars were in his lane he accused me of driving like a loony. Any way he went VERY quiet when I produced the accident reporting forms. No damage to the coach anyway and continued on to Victoria.

1 Jun 2007

Not very far

Not a very good day yesterday. Only got as far as Chippenham when had a high temp alarm. had to stop. Any way as normal control had all the passengers on their way within an hour. I then spent the rest of the day watching TV in Bath!!!

30 May 2007

Bath Bus station moving

For those that do not know Bath is undergoing a major rebuilding. Much of the old 1960's concrete has been demolished to make way for a new Bus station, shops and offices. All much more pedestrian and disabled friendly. As with all developments there has been a far amount of 'discussion' and disruption.
The most important step for me is that as of 17th June the existing Bus Station in Manvers Street will move to a temporary location (2 years) at Avon Street. Therefore if you are traveling on or after this date give yourself lots of extra time to find the new station, park the car etc.

Here is a link to a map which should help.

Passengers and tips for easy coach travel.

I do not normally moan about passengers but sometimes I feel that some need a good smack to remind them to behave like adults and not children. On Monday I was charted for 86 boarding passengers at Bath. That is a lot and requires a bit of planning to make sure we get away on time. So, as I had a 'dupe' I thought it best that as passengers arrived we loaded the coach up until full and he could go on his merry way. However some passengers had other ideas. Comments like 'we want to sit together' said a group of ten. 'I want to go on the empty coach' which would be empty for long!! 'are you sure this coach is going to London' It got worse because of the numbers we had to make sure we had all seat taken. So double checks were made, we found people had got off to have a fag, get a drink etc. In the end it worked out and we got away on time and even had a few spare seats. But things would have been much easier had passengers listen to the drivers and realize that sometimes you cannot always do what you want. hat said here are some tips to ensure you have a pleasant trip.

  1. Turn up on time. At least 10 mins before departure.
  2. If you are a group and want to sit together get there even earlier, and ask the driver.
  3. Remember is you at the front of the queue your bad will be last off.
  4. Always try to book your ticket id advance.
  5. If you have an open return, remember this is only on a standby basis.

There hope that helps. Off today, good job as I have a terrible cold and it is pouring down with rain.

27 May 2007

Busy Day

Very busy Saturday. Weather was good most of the time apart from some very heavy showers. had a load of Bristol Rovers fans on the way back very good humored as the team had won their way up to divisionone.
Just sitting here the rain is pouring down so will have to take a coat.

26 May 2007

Bank Holiday Traffic

Very busy yesterday. Everyone seemed to heading west (towards to rain!!!!) Took 1hour 15mins to get from Victoria to Heathrow. Then very slow all the way to junction 11. Once we got past there it was foot down and managed to make up some time but only just made it back to Bath within the driving hours. Hope today is a little better.

24 May 2007

Hot Day

Nice day in London today. Little hot but found a new cafe for lunch. Very busy both with passengers and on the roads.

21 May 2007

Time keeping

Nice few days, very early starts but that does mean I get home early. Usual problems with people on the roads not following the highway code but that is life.
Bit of a cock up Sunday. Arrived for my duty and wondered why the passengers looked a bit twitchy. It was only when I rang control for the passengers numbers I realized the coach left 15mins before I thought it did!! No problems though and even with a full coach we arrived in London on time.
Have three days off now and apart from the usual domestic duties, grass cutting etc, I will be installing the new aerials on GB3UB. All very exiting

12 May 2007

Bicycles

Pretty quite last few days. Due to have 5 days off but had a phone call asking me to cover the 'overnight'. Didn't do the city work so made a change, just turn up drive the coach, sleep, and drive back. Now for a moan. I hear a lot from cyclists about how car drivers do not give them much room and why are not enough cycle lanes? Well maybe when they are provided THEY COULD USE THEM and not hold up traffic, which then gets frustrated.
Fridge is stocked and going to friends for an Indian, great stuff. And no work until Tuesday.

7 May 2007

Car serviced

Managed to get the car serviced. Running well apart from the really bad ignition interference. Will have to have a good look but good to be able to pull away without stalling and start easily.

Allowing enough time

Terrible day today. Weather was, bad. Got out as far as Bathford and came across an accident. The road was blocked by Fire and Ambulance so had the prospect of reversing half a mile back down the road. Luckily as I started the road was cleared!!! Got up as far as Membury service station and had a breakdown!! Pulled into the service station and called control. Within an hour the passengers were transferred and the coach repaired. Arrived in Victoria 10 mins late. But, slight problem with the luggage and we had passengers and luggage , but not together. Should not have been a problem apart from passengers allowing 20mins to get from Heathrow Bus Station to their terminal!! Turned out OK in the end but remember to allow enough time, if in doubt allow more time. Good trip back and a nice tea with Fiona.

2 May 2007

Very Quiet and Avebury

Not much going on. Calm before the storm? One interesting thing, came up through Avebury on 1st May to see the Druids celebration around the stones. As a Christian I do not go for this type of thing but it was rather surreal to see all those people at 0630!!!
Day off today so recovering from three earlies. Hope to get the car sorted as well.

26 Apr 2007

Indicators & Bluetooth

Not a great deal to report but thought these might be interesting. Have you seen these people with Bluetooth headsets? They have them on while walking round the shops driving the car etc with the must have little blue flashing light. I have a bluetooth but only put in on when my phone rings which it only ever does once or twice a day. I wonder if these people think they will be save from the radiation from their phone (not proven) or just want to look a bit flash (pratish) any way it looks very silly and I even saw a women in Tesco last week, she really did look silly.

Indicators are put on a vehicle so you can tell other road users what you intentions are. So if you see a bus with it's right hand indicator on THINK VERY HARD BEFORE OVERTAKING!!!
It also can mean there is an obstruction ahead a other hazard. Yesterday I was trying to pull out of Bath and another driver stopped and in the usual way put his right hand indicator on. As I pulled out a women in a Peugeot flew out from behind the bus and might me in the middle. Remember I am 42ft long 11ft 11in high and 8ft 4.5in wide so not the easiest thing to move. Any way I got the evil eye and a mouthful of abuse. She was lucky it was not her elderly Mother who was trying to cross the road!!!!

22 Apr 2007

Driving Postion

Pretty straight forward few days even had a coach with a new seat (sounds sad!!!)

Anyway question of the day. How do some people drive?? Going through the roadworks at J10 saw a lady with her seat so far forward her chest was resting on the stearing wheel!! This meant her elbows were also resting on the stearing wheel. I hope she was not around if there was an accident because I can not see how she would be able to steer properly. It is another example of lack of correct teaching that seems to be lacking.

19 Apr 2007

New Driver rules

Forgot to say that as from April 11th 2007 there were changes to the rules under which I drive.
They can be viewed (if you interested!!!) at New Tacho Rules

18 Apr 2007

Cutting the grass

Two days off so out in the garden today. Cut the grass and tidied the flower beds. Well attacked them with the strimmer. Still it does look a lot better and as we are the corner house it can be a bit embarrassing to have a untidy garden. Especially when my neighbour does not have a blade out of line!!

Harvey enjoyed himself watching the world go by. Off in to Bath soon to help Fiona choose some glasses and then up to the Uni to have a look at GB3UB the Bath 70cm amateur radio repeater.

16 Apr 2007

A little warm

Been a bit hot last few days and passenger numbers have been high. Today was the first day back to work for many so a little slow into London, but on time. Had a little demo of what happens when you do not look ahead. Two lorries overtaking al the cars move to lane three and bang. They may be more careful next time. Late start tomorrow so will go into Bath and get Fiona's birthday present. Also have an NVQ meeting as well.

10 Apr 2007

Very good day

Bank Holiday Monday. Not usually the best day traffic wise particularly going back into London. All was well until a phone call from control to say the M4 was shut!!! So we went off down the lanes and to Hungerford joined the A4 and rejoined the M4 at J13. Passengers as usual got a bit panicked. Worrying we word be late. However, much to my surprise we arrived at Heathrow ON TIME.

Coming back my inbound coach didn't turn up until 1930. I was supposed to leave at 1900!!! Still traffic levels were very low so only 15 minutes late at Heathrow. By the time we got to Bath we were back on time. It was off down to Street via Wells. Good trip down and back to Bath on time.

Two days off now and time spent with my Nephew James and Harvey the dog.

8 Apr 2007

Happy Easter

A very Happy Easter to those that might read this. very nice day here today with sun all day. Busy day yesterday but managed to get home on time so happy with that. My parents came down today plus my godson so had a nice lunch and went to the park with Harvey who had great fun chasing the ball. Back to work tomorrow and as it is a Bank Holiday extra pay!!. I think it will be a busy day so look forward to that!!

6 Apr 2007

Busy Day

Have had a good couple of days. Yesterday I was due to do city bus work. Not my favourite but it makes a change means I get a good lunch and know what time I will finish. However had a phone call and was asked if I could do the 0645. Fine thanks more money so a trip to London it was. Not too busy on the roads given that it was the day before Easter ran about 20mins late. Today had Frome up. Usually not too busy, not today, full bus not much traffic untill we got to Victoria and had to queue to get into Victoria. Not to bad a trip back again about 20mins down.

2 Apr 2007

Slow and luggage

I do wonder if any one reads their tickets. had a pick up at Earls court. The ticket clearly states 'hand luggage only' I arrived with another coach behind and between us had 10 passengers. And all with luggage. I resolved my situation because the bags were just small enough. The other driver dis not take his. Therefore always read the ticket!!!

Friday which i thought would be good was bad,very bad delays all over. Saturday and Sunday were good. Had the overnight so a bit of city work before and after and a night in London. Good thing all the roads were quiet and no problems any where.

30 Mar 2007

Back to work

Back to work on Wednesday and what a day. Checked Traffic master before I left. Showed M4 closed between J13 and J12. All the early coaches were late so prepared myself for the delay and diversion. Left a bit late and told all the passengers. Arrived at Swindon and was told M4 open. In the end arrived at Heathrow ON TIME!!!

Thursday was OK getting in but the traffic at 1900 was bad, really bad. Was it an accident? No, people were slowing down to LOOK AT A FILM CREW!!!!

Friday today so hopefully a bit quieter.

24 Mar 2007

Bath Half Marathon

Sunday is the Bath Half Marathon will be out with Raynet on this. Providing back up comms for the organisers. It is a long time since I have been out on an exercise so looking forward to that. Forgot to say the doctor has put me on Allopurinol for the gout. Feel a lot better and look forward to a beer latter in the week. Been asked to work on Sunday as well, one of the other drivers has gone sick so helps the company out a bit and give me some extra money. As always you will be able to track me here.

22 Mar 2007

Holiday

Having a week off at the moment. Good job as my cough got worse and my gout forced me to the doctors (again) Been busy, got the grass cut and went up to see my parents and other family. Guess what, took the coach, and it wasn't bad. No stress etc. etc. Today went to have a look at the amateur radio repeaters I look after. Full report at Bath Repeaters.

17 Mar 2007

Holiday & Mothers Day

Still have the cough, so much so I am unable to visit my Mother and Mother-in-law on Sunday for Mothers day. My wife has gone up so at least she can enjoy the day. First time she has been on the Motorway for a long time so a talk on how to drive was in order. She took it all in and arrived safely. This will give me a few days to rest and cough in peace!!! I am now on holiday for a week so will spend some time having a real rest and sorting some more paper work out.

14 Mar 2007

Overnight and highway code

Was on the overnight yesterday. City bus work to start fuel the coach and then off to London. back the next day, break and then more city work, not a bad one. However yesterday someone decided to walk into the side of a bus. brought the centre of Bath to a standstill as the Police had to do investigations. I feel sorry for the driver and hope the person recovers. This however highlights the fact that no one seems to know how to cross a road. Rule 19 of the highway code states.

19: Zebra crossings. Give traffic plenty of time to see you and to stop before you start to cross. Vehicles will need more time when the road is slippery. Remember that traffic does not have to stop until someone has moved onto the crossing. Wait until traffic has stopped from both directions or the road is clear before crossing. Keep looking both ways, and listening, in case a driver or rider has not seen you and attempts to overtake a vehicle that has stopped.

20: Where there is an island in the middle of a zebra crossing, wait on the island and follow Rule 19 before you cross the second half of the road - it is a separate crossing.



However most people do not even look and it is only luck that more people are not killed. I watched someone today. He stopped at the kerb and a car was coming so he waited. the women on her mobile walked straight out giving the driver very little time to stop.

back home now and trying to clear up my cough/cold.

11 Mar 2007

Victoria Coach Station is 75 Years old.

Boy I am glad to be home and be done with 6 days of early's!!! My body is saying enough. Gout is still playing up so will have to lay off the booze and will stretch to a Chinese talk away.
Funny day today only had 10 passengers until Heathrow and no luggage. I knew it was too good to be true. By the time I left the airport i was near full and both lockers full!!!
As you can see from the title Victoria Coach Station is 75 years old and they had a rally there this weekend. There were coaches from all ages and I have the utmost respect for the guys that keep these vehicles on the road. Some were even dressed for the part so it was very good. There were also various trade stands so made a change to have something to look at. As a result of this I had to load from bay 16 which I have never done before, very easy but kept me on my toes.
I did take some pictures but there is more at Victoria Pictures


10 Mar 2007

Highway Code

A typical Saturday. On the first up today so not much traffic. But usual Saturday stuff. Seems that at weekends driver leave their brains at home. Approaching a motorway junction spotted the car joining. I am at 62mph so plenty of scope to pull away from me. No they run alongside matching my speed lane 2 is occupied so nowhere to go driver seems to think I should slow down and let him in. have they not read the highway code? It clearly states that traffic on the the motorway has right of way and joining traffic should be prepared to stop and give way!! I have seen three accidents this week involving cars and lorries which seem to have been caused by this type of driving. Also another strange thing. There are roadworks with 40 and 50 mph speed limits so people slow down to 30!! then at the end speed up to 80mph plus, all very strange.
Tomorrow up through Calne, so hope the weather is good.

7 Mar 2007

New route

Had the new route today. very nice. Started as normal to Chippenham and off down the A4 past Bowood House to Calne No one to pick so off towards Avebury very quiet on the roads and plenty of time had a chance to look at the fantastic views. One of those mornings I was glad to up at 0450!! Anyway into Avebury and past the stones, a bit narrow with the coach but very little traffic so no problems. On through Wroughton, past the science museum and into Swindon. Then on to the M4 and into London.

5 Mar 2007

Day off and new times

Day off today. had to go to doctors as gout still playing up. Have some pills to take for a few days. Also got a cold which does not help. Anyway spent the day getting some of my paperwork up to date and updating this blog. Have added a link so you can book tickets directly from the site. As a lot of you reading this are not in the UK I will try and give a little more information on the places I go through on my travels. Tomorrow is my first day back since the new timetable and fares came in so hope we have no problems.

4 Mar 2007

Church today

Well off for a few days (legal break) Worked yesterday as a 'Rest Day' so a few extra pennies in the bank. Sunday today and for a change not working so managed to get to church today. Nice service and a baptism as well. was nice to catch up on people and thank the Lord for what he does for me. Also some good news about setting up The Christians Against Poverty centre at church.

1 Mar 2007

How to book a National Express ticket

Well, not much going on last few days. Have a timetable change coming up so going on a route drive tomorrow. One thing I did think of was as customer was boarding I realized they had never travelled on a coach and had no idea of what to do.
So here is a few steps for getting from A to B.

  1. Book your ticket. You can do this on line, via mobile phone or at a travel agent.
  2. Check your ticket. Make sure date a time is correct.
  3. Arrive in good time at your departure point (at least 10mins for departure)
  4. When called hand your ticket to the driver. They will check it and either mark it or tear off the counter foil.
  5. The driver should take your luggage and load in the hold. (Please note cases over 20kg will not be loaded by the driver)
  6. Board the coach and find a seat. There are no allocated seats.
  7. Make yourself comfortable.
  8. Listen to anything the driver says.
  9. Enjoy your trip.
That was easy!!

Have a few days off now so will enjoy the break.

24 Feb 2007

Busy Day. And laws

Very busy today. had dupe on both up and back. Interesting to see with the law on mobile phones changing the number of people still using hand held phones. Why do they do it???
The other thing is the number of vehicles with lights outs. One of my passengers commented last week she had counted 100 vehicles with held lights out. She had too much time on her hands!!! But had a point.

20 Feb 2007

Pain in the leg

Got in at 0515 only to find my shifts had been changed to 0900 but no one told me. Not happy but these things happen so back to bed.

Good day though and even with the new congestion charge arrived on time. So lunch and then a sleep for a couple of hours.

Been having pains in my foot thought it may be gout!! Visit to doctors confirmed this and she also told me that the pain killers I was taking with aspirin were making it worse!!! So ibuprofen tablets and drinking plenty of water. Feel much better now. 1600 today.

17 Feb 2007

A little blood

Had a bit of a problem yesterday. Passenger with luggage came to the back of the coach with their luggage. As always told them to mind their head on the lockers. next thing lots of blood they had run their head along the edge of the locker!!! Lucky for them we were still in Bath so took them in the office and called the First Aider. One look and the ambulance was called. Things got a bit stressed their family were all going to see Sound of Music in London. Any way I said I would not go until things were sorted. In the end after the ambulance look at them and confirmed they had not hit their head and were not concussed etc, they put butterfly stitches in the wound. After that we left about 20mins late but in the end arrived in London on time. The passenger was happy and even shook my hand.
With all the stick the NHS gets I would like it put on record how impressed I was with the ambulance crew. They were helpful caring and fully aware of the situation and put everyone at ease even had the passenger smiling. Well done to them.

13 Feb 2007

Frome Back

As I said had Bath to London and then London to Frome. Not a bad run up bit wet and had the big chief on board from Heathrow. He said my driving was good, he must have had his eyes closed!! Very wet coming back and the traffic lights at J8/9 on th M4 were playing up so took 40 mins to go 5 miles. Still arrived in Frome on time passengers happy and I got home at 2230.
Two days off now and valentines day tomorrow.

12 Feb 2007

Two days of 402's

Should have said before. I drive on the National Express 403 and 402 services.

Had two 402 Sunday and Today. I like this one a lot.

It starts in Frome on to Trowbridge which is the county town on Wiltshire. Then on to Melksham this stop has been a bit of a pain due to cars parking and blocking the stop. Next is Devizes always lots of people at this stop. Next is the best bit over the downs and past Avebury and Silbury Hill this area is reported to be a UFO hot spot. I have not seen any myself but at night it can look a bit mysterious.

Next stop is Marlborough usually have time for a 10min break to give passengers and the driver time to stretch their legs and get a paper etc.

After that it's off along the A4 to Hungerford this town was the scene of one of the worst random killings in the UK, if you wish you can read more here.

OK after that its off to Newbury.

That is the last of the A4. now up the A34 and on the junction 13 of the M4. On to Heathrow airport and then into London Victoria Coach Station.

There all none now 1 hour 30mins for lunch and a lie down.

Tomorrow have it in reverse!!!!

10 Feb 2007

Day off

Day off today. Just had to take the car for it's MOT test. PASSED, but the brake pads are a bit low so will have to get them fixed. had a good walk with Harvey and after a bit of lunch will be out to help Fiona with a leaflet and Avon run.

9 Feb 2007

Snow. What snow?

Well the weather people said we would have snow Thursday. alarm went off at 0500 15mins early so I would be ready. Had my boots, extra coffee, soup all ready to go and... NO SNOW!!!

Set off from home at about 0540 and it started to snow. By the time I got to Bath it was heavy with snow on the ground. Checked the coach over and left for the bus station. Was still snowing and very cold.

Set off along the A4 and it all went white VERY white and the thought of 'i do not think we are getting up this hill!!' Anyway after a bit of sliding we made it up and in to Chippenham for another pick up. Then up to the M4 and things got better. Road conditions better than I expected and not many cars on the road. In fact less than a Sunday morning. The rest of the journey was good max speed of 50mph to be safe and finally arrived in London 40mins early!!!

had a coach change so had to wait for the other driver to come in. Went over to Nine Elms, Battersea for lunch. Journey back was very good, light traffic and good road conditions.

6 Feb 2007

Early starts

Few days of early starts. Thought we were going to have a problem on the M4. Someone had hit the barriers between J1 & 2. Signs said long delays etc. Got prepared, and after all the hype arrived in London 20mins early!!!!
Was very cold and foggy start today. Washers froze solid and did not free up until Reading.

Still day off tomorrow so a few bottles tonight!!!

19 Jan 2007

Wet and windy

Yesterday was wild. Morning was not too bad, all the warnings about strong winds and rain. Fairly windy over night but by the time started work did not seem too bad. Drive up was good did not notice the wind very much.
Had a break at Nine Elms, well things changed, sitting on the coach was like being on a bucking bronco and the crane at Vauxhall was swaying. A LOT. On the way back to Victoria Buckingham Palace Road was closed due to unsafe scaffolding. Left on time and by the time we got to Heathrow we had passed several fallen trees and various bits of damage to buildings. The real fun started when we got on the M4. It was difficult keeping th coach on the motorway let alone in the same lane. Anyway with abit of care and reduction in speed we made in safe back to Bath.

10 Jan 2007

Quiet day & 3G phone

Frome up, yesterday. 0515 start then drive out to Frome and 45m break. Like this route, nice passengers and nice roads and views. Only had a few. Mid week after Christmas and all that. Still made a change. Was surprised how quiet the roads were until on the way back was held up in Chippenham for 30mins due to a broken down lorry.
Now just waiting for the postman to bring my new 3G phone!!!

7 Jan 2007

On the buses

Rest day today and a bit extra work. All helps after Christmas!! Drove the coach from Street to Bath. Bit wet and kept on my toes informing the passengers about seat belts. Handed the coach over at Bath and had four hours on the 10's. That was fun as the fares went up today. Home now and enjoying a few beers (not working tomorrow)

6 Jan 2007

Not the best day

Enough has been said about recent events. As a driver I has always told passengers to wear their seatbelts and given information on vehicle safety.

However it is serious events like this it is important to LISTEN TO THE DRIVER.

And, to end just a few points.

Latest CPT figures show the number of fatalities, per one billion passenger kilometres travelled, is 17 for buses and coaches, 37 for cars and 1,500 for motorcycles.

Under government regulations, coach operators have to notify passengers to use the belts, though it is the duty of individual passengers aged over 14 - and not drivers or operators - to ensure they use them.

My weather data