the winter open back buses were a place to
watch your fingers curl up and turn blue.
Heating, impossible to turn off in the summer,
never worked in the winter. Handling tickets
and cash became difficult and I was always
looking forward to the next chance to grab
a cup of tea.
learned a lesson in human psychology. If the
sun is shining and it's minus five the passengers
will see the sun, assume it must be hot and
open the windows so I freeze. In the summer
if it's hot, humid and cloudy, there is no
sun therefore it must be cold, the passengers
close the windows I just opened.
my second winter a sudden fall of snow early
in the morning caused chaos on the roads.
I left Winchester with the 0635 number 47
to Southampton via Chandlers Ford and got
back at two in the afternoon. The journey
should have taken 48 minutes each way. On
our arrival, we were met by an inspector who
told us "That's your next bus there"
as he pointed to a full number 48 to Southampton
driver and I decided to go to the canteen
for a hot drink and a bite to eat. It was
a good job we did. We left about twenty minutes
later and made reasonable time to St Cross.
Once we had turned off to go through Twyford
and Colden Common our journey became much
slower and from Fisher's Pond to Fair Oak
we nearly got stuck several times. We struggled
through Eastleigh, narrowly avoided a head-on
collision with an out of control car in Stoneham
Lane and eventually arrived in a deserted
Southampton bus station at about half-past
asked the inspector if he had any instructions
and he said no, his depot superintendent had
ordered all crews out on the road that morning,
none had yet come back. We took a short break
and then started the return journey. By now
the temperature had fallen sharply, the snow
was freezing and it was getting dark. We made
it to Eastleigh bus station but from there
on we slid and slipped all over the place.
We finally arrived back in Winchester a little
after nine o'clock. It had taken us fourteen
and a half hours to do just two journeys.
All services had been suspended for the rest
of the day as soon as we had left on our second
me the problems did not end there. My driver
and I had a quick drink in the pub outside
the bus station and then I walked home. Having
left at six that morning, without breakfast
of course, I got home to be told there was
no chance of getting anything to eat. And
of course I would have to leave at six again
the next morning, without breakfast just as
I had done the previous day. At that moment
I knew I had to leave home.
to rub salt in the wounds, we had picked up
the passengers from another bus in Eastleigh
bus station and then dropped the conductress
off at her home. Someone in the warmth and
security of their front room had phoned the
depot to report that we had stopped where
there was no bus stop!