Hold Tight! - Baby blues
Chapter 4
Page 22
Hold Tight!
Chapter 4
18 Fare game?
19 Ten bob fiddler
20 Back to front
21 Fareham tales
22 Baby blues
23 Winter blues
24 Double trouble
25 Bus companies
26 Get lost
27 Time to move
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
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One of the biggest causes of problems were pushchairs. And big was the operative word. When I started on the buses, buggies were very new and definitely the exception. Most pushchairs were heavy, caked in mud and rusty. Many were simply small prams. All would trap an unwary finger or draw blood with a sharp edge.
Pushchairs under the stairs behaved like paper clips, no matter how carefully you stacked them they became entangled. The first one in was always the first one out and passengers with bags or cases would always place them on top of the pushchairs rather than at the side. On the front doored buses we had the front off-side seat adapted so that it folded down to provide more storage. Passengers invariably returned the seat to its original position so they could sit on it.
Sometimes we had so many pushchairs on board we had to leave others behind. They could cause other problems too, such as putting the wrong one off at a bus stop or seeing one roll off the platform as we went round a bend. One mother left her pushchair by the bus in Winchester bus station and assumed I would see it and load it onto the bus. I didn't and when we arrived at Andover she was most abusive.
Also at Andover, I left the bus to collect parcels and when I returned I found a baby on the platform. The mother had left him there when she realised she had forgotten to go to a shop. She assumed, correctly, that I would not pull away with a baby in such a dangerous position. I had taken the child to the office by the time she returned to the bus, but she was quite unconcerned about the risk she had taken.
Another woman, this time in Romsey Square, swung her child onto the platform to stop the bus as we pulled away. I rang the bell to stop the driver. She complained that I had rung the bell to start the bus, not to stop it. She told her boyfiend, a bus driver who should have known better. He threatened me next time we met. Some mothers!
Incidently, and nothing to do with buses, one of my earliest memories of television is a news item on the Hungarian uprising in 1956 when I was seven years old. There was a shop full of prams with its windows shattered and a Russian tank pointing its gun at the building. The meek may inherit the earth but not if the Red Army gets there first!
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