#62: Drive a bus

I have been trying for a while to pluck up the courage to make this request in our local garage/coach hire company. And today I struck gold.

I popped in, and was referred to Barry, the man who can. ‘I have an odd request’ I began. ‘Hmf. That sounds like it’ll cost me money’. Not so promising.

‘No, its nothing like that’. I giggled nervously. My friend who works there also giggled. Barry looked at us suspiciously. ‘Two giggling women. This could be bad’. ‘Or very good,’ suggested his colleagues, sniggering.

I disabused them of the notion that anything unsavoury was intended. ‘I want to drive a bus’ I blurted out.

Barry looked a little surprised. Then thought about it, head on one side. ‘I can see a couple of issues with that’ he began. ‘You have to have a provisional licence before you even get behind the wheel, for a start’. ‘Ah well’ I said. ‘Never mind’.

Then Barry remembered something.
‘But I don’t give a shit!’ he declared, brightly. ‘Come on. We’ll take one down the Spine Road’. He picked up his keys and was off. (The Spine Road is a busy A road leading out of our village, popular with large lorries).

This was a most unexpected turn of events. I had imagined at best getting behind the wheel for a photo, and maybe going backwards and forwards 5 yards on their forecourt.
‘We’ll take one without our name on the side’. This was the only precaution deemed necessary. And a wise one, no doubt.

So sure enough, the request was no sooner uttered than done. I was driving a bus on a major thoroughfare, with a supervisor who was rather more absorbed in filming me than monitoring my driving. He pointed out brake and accelerator, I released the handbrake and we were off.

I thought he was joking about the roundabout. But no. ‘Just get in the middle of the road. Don’t let anything come near you.’ And it worked! And back we went. ‘Go on then, put your foot down’ he urged. I got up to 50mph! Nothing was hit, no one got hurt. I did not upturn the bus in a ditch.
bus driverme and bus
A ruddy triumph! It was all rather exciting! I am still a bit giddy about it even now. I’d better go and ring the flying school next. Where will it all end!?

#61: Spend a day with the children without shouting

I wish I could report an unmitigated success story here. It was a worthy effort, but as Eva reported earlier this evening, ‘I think you did do 4 shoutings’. But that is a triumph compared to most days.

I had told them the challenge was coming. ‘Mummy is going to try not to shout, at all, tomorrow’, I explained last night at dinner. 6 eyes widened with incomprehension. The scene was beyond their imaginings.

‘So I am going to need your help’ I went on. ‘Will you try extra hard to be good, so that I don’t shout at you?’ Touchingly they are still young enough and sweet enough to try and support my efforts, rather than deliberately sabotage them for their own amusement. Though I did see a glint in one pair of eyes that betrayed it had crossed her mind. Innocence is not long for this household, I fear.

I can account for the ‘4 shoutings’. Driving around Swindon, slightly lost, with the signposts and sat nav arguing between themselves, and 3 people in the back singing all the songs from the Lion King, out of time with one another, all shrieking that it was their turn to be the loudest… Mummy forgot herself.

In a crowded playground, trying to monitor 6 children at once, and discovering that 3 of them had ‘left’, without explanation… Shouting number 2 occurred on their return.

Then there were a couple more which were only very mildly provoked. Bad mummy. But it does get harder to be tolerant after the first 10 hours of childcare.

Broadly though, it was one of our better days. We fed chickens. We bought new school shoes. We met friends in a large park and played and walked and mixed up a cauldron of dead flowers in a puddle. We made playdoh in 3 colours and created ladybirds on a leaf. We all ate our tea. We went to another park and played football and everyone kind of cooperated. (I realise that sounds like a week’s worth of activities. Tomorrow will be less ambitious!)

But achieving all that with only 4 shoutings goes down as a success in my book!