Hold Tight! - One for the road
 
Chapter 6
 
Page 55
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Hold Tight!
Chapter 6
Southampton
35 Fans
36 Smash hits
37 New money
38 Eastleigh
39 Tight squeeze
40 Romsey
41 Hythe
42 Holy city
43 Docks tours
44 Fawley & Calshot
45 Kids and animals
46 Hot stuff
47 Police, stop
48 Flic storys
49 Specials
50 Just sack me!
51 Machine wars
52 Not funny
53 Borrowing
54 Demon drink
55 One for the road
56 Disputes
Chapters
1 Beginnings
2 Learning
3 Getting Away
4 Winchester
5 Freedom
6 Southampton
7 City Transport
 
<< Back Two pints of lager ..... Next >>
..... and a packet of extra strong mints.
Drinking on duty was, of course, not permitted. Indeed we were not even allowed on licenced premises. Even so ....
There were two pubs at the bus station in Southampton and crews on standby often had to be fetched to do a journey. Most of the termini on Hants & Dorset routes had pubs too. Sometimes inspectors would be sent out to catch crews drinking, often we were tipped off. I had a narrow escape one evening at Fair Oak, a place where I and the driver I was with that night had stopped for a pint on more than one occasion. For some reason we had decided not to go to the pub and were sitting on the bus when the inspector's car pulled up.
Bus companies like Hants & Dorset carried parcels as well as passengers. We collected and delivered parcels at bus stations and at parcels agents along the major routes. A conductor, with many years service, was caught in The Shoe at Plaitford but before he had time to buy a drink. When he was summoned to the office, the depot superintendent asked him why he was in the public bar. His reply that the pub was too busy for anyone to come to the side door was readily accepted, not least because he had been caught by a Wilts & Dorset inspector and not one of ours.
But you have to obey orders. Another conductor, told by his driver that there was something wrong with the brakes, found the nearest phone was out of order. The phone in the pub was working and when he asked what he should do was told to stay exactly where he was. He did not argue.
One of the breweries held a beer tasting in the rooms above the Co-op Travel Agency across the road from the bus station. The idea was that people would take a sip of several different beers and then score them. Unfortunately the event had not been publicised so the people running it came over to the bus station for volunteers. But as there was a lot of beer and a limited number of drivers and conductors, we had to drink a pint of each.
There was one time I was particularly glad when the pubs opened in the morning. And not because I wanted a drink, just a smooth ride. At Winchester we had a driver who at six thirty in the morning could not drive to save his life, let alone mine. With erratic steering, wild gear changes and sharp braking he threw me round the bus. Until he managed to get a couple of drinks inside him. Then all was peace and calm for the rest of the day.
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