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.
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!?