Old Lodekka goes from Old Down to Old Sodbury

This time I’m going to make do with a pictorial report of my most recent wedding duty for Crosville Motor Services.

There are two reasons for this; the first is that you are probably fed up with endless accounts of buses at weddings and the second is that my attention is being drawn to my next outing. Of which more later. So, because I can’t be bothered to write my usual Perfectly Presented Piece of PCV Prose (bus blog), I’ll let the pictures and captions tell the story:


For this particular duty I was rostered with ex-BOC LC8518 (Bristol LD6B 972EHW) and a theme emerged as soon as I saw the Work Ticket. Not only was I taking the oldest Lodekka in the Crosville Heritage Fleet, I was also picking up from Old Down Manor. To top it all, the wedding was to take place at Old Sodbury!



I found my bus waiting for me in the maintenance bay, having undergone an inspection the day before. It had also been fuelled up so all I needed to do was to check oil and water, and complete the rest of my walkaround checks. I brought it out of the shadowy interior into the bright sunshine to do this. Then it was time to trundle northwards to meet Conductor Kemble at Cribbs Causeway, next to the M5.


After picking up some of the guests at Old Down Manor, some more at the Premier Inn, Alveston and yet more at a small hotel round the corner, we headed off through Yate to the delightfully named village of Old Sodbury. The parish church is located right at the end of a lane and I had to park carefully alongside a hedge to allow room for wedding cars and suchlike.



Even though I say so myself, I judged my parking manoever perfectly. I swear I didn’t put the cone there afterwards just for the photo!






This time the newlyweds joined their guests for the journey back to Old Down Manor. Richard, my conductor, had suggested a route through Yate which would have avoided the town centre but, being a stranger in these parts and not having had time to look at it on a map, I decided to play it safe and go back the way we’d come. (Photo © Richard Kemble)



The main gates to the Manor were padlocked shut when we passed them earlier in the day so I returned (from the opposite direction) to the car park where I had initially picked up the first group of guests. Unfortunately the bride and groom had made arrangements to have the main gates opened for us but had neglected to tell me! Some discussion ensued, followed by a bit of reversing in the car park. Sure enough, the wrought iron gates were open and a smartly dressed member of staff was there to welcome us. The narrow lane didn’t allow any room to swing wide and line the bus up for the narrow gateway so I had to judge my turn very carefully. I take pride in my work and I desperately wanted to get through in one go without any shunting! Everyone on the bus must have been breathing in because we just squeezed through. There to meet us at journey’s end was a peacock, calling loudly. Why is it that, whenever I hear a peacock, the comedian Lenny Henry comes to mind?


A formal wedding, stunning venue, beautiful bride, vintage bus and bright sunshine – what an unbeatable combination! (Photo © Richard Kemble)



Our final obstacle. Someone in their wisdom had padlocked the gates again without checking if we’d left yet! We had to wait for a member of staff to come back with a key to let us out.


Our final port of call was Cribbs Causeway again, where Conductor Kemble left the bus to make his own way home. There is a bus station at Cribbs Causeway, a large shopping mall on the outskirts of Bristol. The location would have been green fields when our bus was originally in service so it looked very out of place!










My next outing will be a very special one indeed. Tomorrow I’m travelling to Salisbury to take part in the Wilts & Dorset Centenary celebrations. The main event is a running day with up to 50 vintage buses giving free rides on former W&D routes in and around Wiltshire’s capital city. I have the honour to once again be driving Wilts & Dorset 628 (1956 Bristol LG6G OHR919) and possibly a Hants & Dorset FS6G as well. A report will follow in a few days’ time.

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