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.

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.

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