2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Thank you to all my readers for following my progress from conductor to driver this year. I hope you will continue to follow my occasional ramblings in 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 19,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 4 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Bristol Lodekka versus Santas On A Bike

My most recent outing with Hants & Dorset Bristol FLF DEL893C was surely the most bizarre yet. The weather was fairly chilly but I didn’t expect to meet Santa and a Polar Bear!

To start with, I had a nice surprise waiting for me. My boss had sent me a cryptic text telling me that the FLF was all ready and I was to let him know what I thought. As I drove up the motorway towards the depot I wondered what had been done to it, that I should let the boss know what I thought. Had it been fitted with antlers and a big red nose? Had it been repainted into my favourite Tilling livery, red and cream? Had a Gardner 6LXB been shoe-horned into the engine bay? No, none of the above. I found the FLF waiting for me outside the garage and, as I opened the cab door, I was greeted by the unmistakeable aroma of fresh paint. The cab had been given a coat of Tilling Green paint, with silver and black adornments to match.


This was, apparently, a parting shot from the engineering apprentice who had now moved on to pastures new. It looked fantastic! It looked so good that I was reluctant to climb up inside for fear of spoiling the shiny silver floor! Needless to say, I had to make my mark with my muddy size sevens as I made my preparations and checks before setting off. I had plenty of time in hand so I wandered round the garage and took some pictures of some of the heritage buses under restoration and repair. I’ll share these in another post.

The trusty Gardner 6LW gradually came up to working temperature as I drove out on the A370 towards the M5 motorway junction. I was amused to see a handful of high-powered motorbikes burble past me, the riders clad in Santa suits. Across the other side of the motorway junction there is a large layby with a snack bar parked within. I had to do a double-take as I drew closer because the entire layby was full of Santas on Bikes! I idly wondered what event they were taking part in – I was to find out later because they featured heavily in my entire day!

My Job Ticket indicated that I was to pick up a bridal party from a narrow street in Westbury-on-Trym so I arranged with the customer that I would park up on nearby Falcondale Road and await a text message when they were ready, to save causing an obstruction in the street. As I waited, yet more Santas passed by in dribs and drabs, heading into Bristol from ‘oop north.

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Tilling jacket project update

Just a quick update for all those who have kindly expressed an interest in ordering from a new batch of Tilling-style summer dust jackets.

I’ve added together the ‘votes’ from the poll on this page, along with those which came via email or in person. If all those expressions of interest are eventually converted into firm orders, we’ll be looking at a batch of more than 50 jackets!

Most of these favour a jacket with green trim but a handful have chosen red trim. All being well, we should be able to cater for both. There have also been enquiries for the white coaching variant but I’m not sure if that’s do-able yet.

So, there’s more than enough interest to plan the next stage. We are approaching a few suitable workwear manufacturers for quotes and timescales at the moment.

Does anyone out there have a red-trimmed jacket in good condition that they would be prepared to lend to this project as a sample? It will of course be returned to you undamaged. If you can help, please leave a comment and I will contact you direct.

Summer seems to be a long way off. Especially as I’m writing this on the top deck of a Bristol FLF on a freezing cold Saturday afternoon! However, I came prepared. Thermal long-johns, a winter uniform AND a heavy Tilling overcoat are keeping me nice and toasty.

I’m waiting for the wedding ceremony to finish before giving the guests a short tour of the Christmas lights on the way to the reception.

But the story of the double-decker bus and the 200 Santas will have to wait until the next blog post!