With another 80th birthday to celebrate this year (my mother’s), we decided to take my side of the family for a day out at Bicton Park, East Devon. We had booked H&D Bristol FLF DEL893C for the day and my son Peter and I arrived at the Crosville depot early on Saturday to collect the bus. One of my colleagues had just very helpfully brought the bus out of the garage for us. Or perhaps he just wanted it out of the way in order to get to another one!
I also found that, although it was my responsibility to check fluid levels myself, I found that the garage staff had already done it for me. Oh well, it doesn’t hurt to check again! I used the Displacement method to check how much fuel was in the tank… a wooden pole and a Mark One Eyeball! We had one brake light go u/s so we waited while the chief mechanic brought it back to life. We took our fully fit Lodekka out to the motorway via the filling station to top up the tank and then set off southwards to collect members of my family from various places near the M5.
We left the M5 at Exeter and took the A376 to Exmouth, a road I know very well, having grown up there. My parents had no idea we were bringing a bus, we’d all kept it a secret. My Dad was speechless when he saw us – he is the one from whom I’ve inherited my interest in buses and all things heritage! Not only was the bus a Bristol, a manufacturer he is very familiar with, but also Hants & Dorset. H&D operated near to (and sometimes into) Salisbury, where he grew up.