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.

31 Mar 2008

Bike Safe

Looking through our local police web site I noticed they had Bike Safe sessions. One was Yesterday. I rang up and a very nice lady said the records had been lost but turn up anyway. The day was great. First was a briefing about correct riding technique, road position and general hazard perception. This I found very useful having not been on bike for so long. However many of the points were the same as driving the bus!! After a short break it was time to go out on the road. This was in groups of two with a marked police bike!! It was a this point I was told the course was more aimed at experienced bikes with 1 or more years of riding, and, with a 400cc+ bike. Anyway after a chat with the officer he agreed to take me out and see how I kept up. The ride was fantastic, to be able to see a police rider putting into practice what you had just seen in the classroom was amazing. After a short while it was my turn to lead. A bit odd looking in the mirrors and seeing the police but we pressed on, stopping at regular intervals to discuss each others riding and take turns leading, and learning. We were out for about two hours and I have it say it was one of the most enjoyable afternoons I have had, and, at the same time picked up a hugh amount of information. My hat goes off to the police officers and the council for putting on this course. I just wish they had something for car drivers.

27 Mar 2008

New Bike

Picked up my new Haotion HT125-8 motorcycle today. Felt a bit strange having not ridden a bike for nearly 27 years. Still took it steady and arrived home OK. Going to spend the next few days getting used to riding in all conditions so ready for work on Wednesday. Below are a couple of pictures.

23 Mar 2008

Happy Easter

A very Happy Easter to you all. It would have been nice to have the day off but doing the 'Frome Up' today. The good thing about this duty on a Sunday is that I can have my break at home. So Harvey is very happy to have master at home! last few days the weather has been very wild, wind, snow and rain very exciting fighting the cross winds on the M4. Had the usual crop of bad driving, I really think the time has arrived where a separate test is required before you drive on a motorway. Apart from the usual bad driving my 'best' one was the driver who moved from lane 1 to lane 2 in front of me. There was no reason for it and as he was going at 45mph I gave the appropriate flash of the headlights. He seemed more intent on adjusting his sat nav!! I fell back and moved to lane 1 as I could not over take in lane 3. He still kept up at 45 - 50 mph despite the flashing of other drivers. I cruised past him in lane 1 (traffic in queue rule) to be met with a hand signal that I could not find in the Highway Code!!! I wished him a very Happy Easter too. Going out to walk Harvey and then off to London.

18 Mar 2008

A Change and change

Yesterday thought I was on 14 and 5 route, made a mistake and I was on the Chippenham run. haven't done this for a while so a bit unsure on the route. However like with a lot of things once you start it all comes flooding back. Nice people as well, and all had the correct change. Completely different from City work where most people now how much the fare is £1-70 of £1-90 but still tender £2-00. They then moan when you run out change. The problem is that if you have 100 - 200 passengers on a duty you would have to carry 100-200 20p and 10p pieces!! It also amazing when confronted by the dreaded change ticket, how many people find the exact money!!

16 Mar 2008

A bit damp

56 and 55 last couple of day's (0825 - 2000 and 0630 to 1800) so a bit of time in London Saturday was great, nice lunch and then sat in the park with a book for a couple of hours. Sunday, well could have not have been much different. Rain and more rain. The river in Bath was looking very angry and all the way along the M4 the fields were almost invisible under the water. Traffic was light so not bad up to Heathrow. Had plenty of time so went up the A4. Just turned by the Fullers brewery
and right into the back of a queue. Crawled all the way up to the lights before the Famous Three Kings to find so joker down a manhole. Could it not be done at night??
Trip back was dry and great to do it in the daylight. Just watched final of Dancing on Ice and off out to walk Harvey. Bus work tomorrow. 14 and 5. lovely.

13 Mar 2008

A rather pleasant day

Frome up today and again had to be in early as still having to get a lift in. Still, gave me a chance to have a kip. Had a very pleasant load with two passengers needing front seats and help with the luggage. On time as we got to Marlborough and left on time. There was a set of roadworks just at the end of the high street with a young yellow jacket clad lad controlling the lights. 15 mins latter we got out of Marlborough. By the time we got to the M4 at j13 I was 20 min late. Rang control to let them know. Arrived at Heathrow with not enough time to get to Victoria so off to watch the planes.
Trip back was a laugh got to J7 and stationary traffic dived off and made my way up the A4 to J8/J9 was thinking of continuing up to Reading and back on at J12. I thought that Reading would be busy so rejoined at J8/9. I should really have learned by now as I joined the traffic at J11. Some joker with a trailer had side swiped someone who was on their side in the middle of lane 1.
After all that arrived back in Bath 30 mins late with several passengers commenting on my driving (for the good) One thing I have learned with this job and with customer facing roles, is that whatever happens, don't have a sense of humour failure, keep smiling, even if what you really want to do is kill someone!!!

12 Mar 2008

Write Off

Well that is the end of my car. Thanks to the actions of some drugged up person I now have lost my car, NCB, Excess AND still have to pay the rest of this years premiums. I am not making a political statement but I think the time has come to stop treating the criminals as some kind of victims. YOU choose who you mix with, YOU choose what substances you take. YOU must therefore except the consequences and stop blaming other people.
That said permission has been granted for the purchase of a motorcycle. Just the problem of what to buy and how to pay for it.

7 Mar 2008

Nowhere to go

Frome up today but again had to start early due to lack of a car. Had to wait for a coach to be allocated, did the usual 'all round checks' and discovered the toilet was not working. I mentioned this to the engineers who said that was the only available coach. I have to say I did rather loose it and tried to explain where I could go when I was having my break? before things got too hot I just took the coach and made my way to Frome. Didn't use my usual stop but made my way up to McDonald's. This must be the only one that doesn't open at 0600-0630. Still got my head down for a way until Salisbury's opened. Quiet trip up and tried to make time up but customer tickets , roadworks and then a toilet stop all conspired to cause me to run out of hours at Heathrow. Nice day for watching the planes.

6 Mar 2008

Shift Changes

As I said some little chap has left me without a car. So I have to change my shifts so I can get a lift with other drivers. This is a real pain as tomorrow I do not need to sign on until 0530 but will have to get a lift in with the 52 driver who signs on at 0450!! Still means I can get the coach and drive down to Frome and get my head down for a hour. On the subject of cars, permission has been (reluctantly) granted for me to go back on two wheels. I have a full bike license but have not been on a bike for nearly 20 years so going to start small with a 125/200cc and see how we get on.

3 Mar 2008

Some good news

Had a nice piece of paper in my 'pigeon hole'. A note to say I had 'earned' my Bronze safe driving badge. This was a result of completing the Smith - System and having six months without a 'blameworthy' accident. I now have to go another six months to achieve my Silver.

Wot no car

'Street back' last Thursday and Friday. Not a bad duty but a bit rushed. Got home about 0000 and to bed at 0100. 0600 the phone rings 'what duty should I be on?' was my first thought. Hello this is Avon and Somerset Police said the lady. Your car has been used as part of an 'incident' A look out of the window confirmed this with four police cars parked in the road. Got dressed and went out to see the Police. My car was a bit sorry looking. The door bent and the dashboard smashed. The police informed me that two people 'high on drugs' had been on a robbery spree and were trying to use my car as the getaway. It's a 'K' reg 205 which doesn't start easily. Any way the long and short of this, is that the actions of these people has left me without a car as the police have taken it as evidence, have caused me to have to change shifts at work so I can get there. I assume I will loose my NCB. The criminals will get..'it's not their fault they are on drugs' we must help them. What a load of B......... I was asked if I wanted to a. claim from the criminal injury and b. claim compensation from them. TOO BL..... RIGHT.

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