We’ve been having a lot of weather lately, in case you hadn’t noticed. Vast amounts of the wet stuff have been falling from the sky and this has led to very muddy conditions in the country lanes.
On Saturday I took Hants & Dorset 1220 on a Private Hire job to Priston Mill, near Bath. The bus was ready and waiting for me when I arrived (thanks Andrew!) so all I had to do was complete my walk round checks and jump in! The A370 was fairly busy so it was quite easy for the FLF to keep pace with the traffic. I’d forgotten about the diversion at Long Ashton, due to roadworks on the overbridge but fortunately the traffic kept moving and we rejoined the main road just before the Cumberland Basin. Annoyingly, I took the Bedminster exit instead of carrying on over the Avon and on towards Clifton. This resulted in a rather roundabout route through the city. However, all was not lost as I had plenty of time in hand. In fact, I had too much. The first pick up was at a bus stop near Clifton Downs but I was about 20 minutes early to I parked up in a handy layby, especially provided for buses on layover!
I had the benefit of a run-up to Park Street. In other words, I could attack the steep hill at 30mph without being hindered by the pedestrian crossing at the bottom. However, even with an empty bus, I was down to 2nd gear by about halfway up and I chuckled to myself as the noise of the Lodekka climbing the hill in time-honoured fashion turned many heads!
After departing from Clifton there was a second pickup at the Radisson Blu Hotel, right beside the Centre (known as the ‘Tramways Centre‘ in the old days). My earlier unplanned excursion around the city streets had actually taken me past this hotel and I was glad it did because I noticed that I couldn’t turn right at the end of the street. So it wasn’t a surprise to have to go all around the Centre first before heading for Redcliffe and the A4 towards Bath.
Once we had driven through Keynsham we travelled south to Marksbury, where the lane signposted ‘Priston Mill’ led away from the A39. This is where all the recent heavy rainfall was most in evidence. There were muddy puddles all along the lanes to Priston Mill, some of them extending right across the road. I knew that the sides of the Lodekkas were getting plastered but there was nothing I could do about that! Inching my way past cars (and the inevitable 4×4 towing a trailer) was more of a challenge. That’s one of the hazards of taking a double decker bus down a single track country lane!
I parked in the large gravel parking area at Priston Mill and allowed the wedding guests to alight. Some were kind enough to compliment me on my driving, particularly in the lanes. All in a day’s work, really…
As I sat on the top deck eating my late lunch I saw 2 modern coaches come down the lane and deposit more wedding guests in the other car park. Priston Mill has the facilities to host two functions at the same time. I was glad I was on my break just then because there was no way that 2 coaches and a Bristol FLF could have passed in the narrow lanes!
After taking my compulsory break I drove back empty to the garage and reversed into a space between another Bristol FLF and a Bristol FS. By then it was dark but the duty cleaner was still busy so all the lights were on. So ended another successful duty. My next outing will be to the Exeter Twilight Running Event on Sunday November 11th so my next post will carry a report on this.