Take your pick, the effect is the same. If you thought that a single decker would be easier to drive than a double decker you would be wrong!
I’ve done several wedding duties with Weymann-bodied Crosville KA244 (Leyland Tiger PS1 LFM320) before but this one turned my arms to jelly by the end of the day. The design of the Leyland PS1 steering mechanism is inferior to that of, for example, the Bristol design from the same era or so I’ve been told. After today’s exertions, I tend to agree.
The duty didn’t start well. A Transit van had been parked near the door of the garage which effectively blocked what would ordinarily have been a straightforward reversing manoever from the PS1’s parking spot. The van was unlocked but I searched in vain in case the keys had been hidden somewhere in the cab, so my only option was to shunt the PS1 backwards and forwards until I had it at an angle that would clear the van. At virtually 0 mph, turning the steering wheel took huge amounts of effort and, by the time I had the bus outside I was exhausted!
The journey down to Old Oak Farm just outside Curry Rivel was a doddle by comparison and even turning the bus around at the venue was a piece of cake. Following the advice of the venue owner’s father, I simply drove in a big circle on a grassy camping field. I did take the precaution of checking the condition of the ground for softness, just in case!
Old Oak Farm is a recently developed wedding venue and promotes itself as a rustic, simple setting for those who want to celebrate their wedding in a secluded, peaceful style. From what I could see, it is full of country charm yet has high quality facilities.
The schedule for the day involved several journeys to the nearby parish church and I had previously planned my route so that I could drive around the village green outside the church to avoid any reversing manoevers. But my plan was scuppered by the local Master Thatcher, who was busy putting the finishing touches to the roof of a large house which fronted onto the green. His two vehicles parked outside prevented me from using that part of the road so that meant reversing away from the church in order to turn around.
As always, I tried to give my passengers as smooth a ride as is possible with a 1950 crash gearbox bus. Double-declutching my way through well-timed gear changes didn’t give me any trouble but the worn and juddery clutch mechanism was more difficult to hide. Of all the buses I’ve driven this season, this Leyland Tiger PS1 is the most difficult to tame!