I'd like to wish all my readers A HAPPY NEW YEAR. I'm a bit late doing this as I've been away.
Yesterday, I caught a coach from a major coach station in the east of England to get back to my home in Bristol which is in the South West.
Nothing strange about that, you may say, as people are taking such trips all the time.
However, this journey was like no other that I'd ever experienced.
The last passenger had just boarded the coach with great difficulty as she was quite disabled, old and frail and in a very long gown that seemed to trip her at every step. After she was safely strapped in, there was a bang when the coach next to us came too close and knocked the door of our coach quite badly. I was sitting right by it but was not hurt in any way.
There were *workers* from the station buzzing round and all giving advice as to what should be done. This caused quite a delay.
About five men tried hard to shut the door but it wouldn't lock as it was slightly out of alignment owing to a bar that was now bent from the impact.
It was decided that the door could be locked from the inside by a special lever, and with brute force, a gang of men managed to shut the door which would mean we were now all locked in.
Feeling a bit uneasy, I thought they knew what they were doing and sat back to relax for the duration of the journey which would take about two and a half hours using the Motorways.
I noticed the first thing that went wrong was that we had a very annoying alarm that wouldn't stop, because of the damage to the door. We had to put up with that noise all the way home The next thing I noticed was that the driver twitched an awful lot, making his body jerk forwards quite violently at times..... a bit like Tourette's but without the shouting. He only ever drove with one hand and coughed violently all the way home and constantly blew his nose and yawned a lot. All this didn't inspire confidence and I vowed I'd never sit in a seat near a driver again. Best not to know these things are happening and sit behind it all.
We got home to our Bus Station but then found we couldn't get the door open even when the lock was undone. The driver had to summon help from his window and several workers could not get the door to budge an inch but by now the annoying alarm was silent.
It was decided we should all make our way to the emergency exit where we had to go down steep steps and slither down from quite a great height when the steps finished.
I fortunately didn't jar my back or hips as I could so easily have caused further damage than I already have.
I was the last off the bus except for the old lady who was by then crying. I don't know how she could possibly have got off the bus through such a difficult exit but the driver was trying his best by the time I left the bus station.
I did think of her all evening after I got home and it affected my getting to sleep for a long time.
It wasn't until afterwards that I realised what a dangerous journey it was, being locked in with only the emergency exit that was facing the the *fast lane* of the motorway and would take at least 15 minutes to evacuate the coach and the elderly disabled lady wouldn't have managed to get out at all.
Anyway, all's well that ends well, for me and the majority of the passengers.
The coach in the image I used has nothing whatsoever to do with this story as I just picked the it at random.