Hold Tight! - Wrong number
Chapter 1
Page 4
Hold Tight!
Chapter 1
1 Introduction
2 Dedication
3 No son of ours
4 Wrong number
5 All change
6 Sign this, fill that
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
<< Back Fate takes a hand. Next >>

I was used to walking. While I was at school I seldom had much money and when I did I tried not to waste it on bus fares. So the idea of becoming a postman was not all that strange. Of course I had not considered the weight of the mailbag or the cold, wet winter mornings. I had no idea if I would even be given the job but I set off for the city centre ready to give it a go.

At that time I lived in Winchester near the prison. Our neighbours included police officers and prison warders. If I had not considered either of these professions it was probably because I had not been encouraged at any point to think about my future or to plan a career. Until I was seven years old we had lived in Eastleigh which was a railway town. If we had stayed there I would quite possibly have looked to the railways for work. I did not have any wish to be a train driver but did at one time like the idea of being a guard.

My mother's father spent a lifetime in the railway works, first in Ashford and then from the 1930s in Eastleigh. My great, great grandfather, John Ware, had been a driver for the London Chatham and Dover Railway (LCDR). In June 1884 he and his fireman were killed when they ran into the rear of a stationary train at Deal in Kent. The company was criticised for having outdated signals showing a white light for clear instead of green but a signalman was held to blame for the accident.

Anyway, I headed for the bus stop. Why was I going to catch the bus and not walk? I have absolutely no idea. The fact that I did was to change my life for ever. The main road near my home was served by the local King Alfred bus company. This was the country's only privately owned city bus service.
Longer distance buses were run by Hants and Dorset, Wilts and Dorset and Aldershot and District. These three companies used the bus station while King Alfred buses stopped outside in the Broadway.
King Alfred routes 4, 4a, 6 and 16 operated along Romsey Road with just one bus each hour on the joint Hants and Dorset, Wilts and Dorset 66 service. If I had caught any of the King Alfred buses I would have got off in the Broadway and walked round the corner to the post office.
The first bus to arrive was a 66.
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