Donkey years ago I was upstairs on a completely EMPTY bus. This bus entertainment creature plonks their self down next to me and says:
“Is there anybody sat next to you”?
“Of course there is.”
“ I have just been talking to Saint Francis of Assisi about Margaret Thatcher’s first speech as prime-minister of Great Britain and Warrington?”
The man was obviously a few butties short of a picnic. I duly decided to vacate my seat and get off at the next stop. But of course I didn’t.
It was probably my own fault, thinks I. I had decided to go shopping in a neighbouring town. I caught the early morning bus. It was full of people dressed in factory and shop overalls. Suddenly this gentleman bursts into song at the top of his voice:
“Onward Christian Soldiers. Marching as to war. With the cross of Jesus. Going on before.”
Some people laughed and applauded. Most just sighed and tutted:
“It’s the same every bloody Tuesday,”
Said this very unimpressed woman.
We used to make our own bus entertainment when I went to school. We didn’t have Nintendo’s and those MP3 players.
We went to the local secondary modern school. Sometimes we would go the local baths. My friend (the lad who helped me feed the polar bear our butties at Belle Vue Zoo too, remember?) and I use to buy tubes of Bob Martins from the local pet shop for our consumption and of course we would always eat Robertons jelly cubes. We didn't have designer sports bags either. A Kwik Save or Asda plastic carrier bag would be used to carry ones swimming togs. Some bright spark would make an hole in the carrier bag with a cigarettet or their fingers and eventually you would be walking home with your wet towel and trunks in your arms. Happy days!
On the way home we might board the bus. This was always cram packed with schoolchildren from the local Grammar school. They never brought their grandparents with them though! Sorry.
Every week one of us, the eleven plus failures. Would stand up and give the gathered upstairs audience, a grammar school take the Michael concert. Upper crust snobby voice:
“Oh hello I’ve got lots of homework today. We’re doing trigonometry, physics, hockey and algebra, really spiffing what?”
The working class kids enjoyed the free concert and laughed at the show. The grammar school kids just tutted and shrunk back into their books.
A few years later most of the working class kids from my school were on the dole. The grammar school kids were probably no doubt spending their university grants on subsidized student beer, and p.a systems called stereos or having years off in a kibbutz in Israel....? Oh to be a swat or to be intelligent even!
Kids hey. Or boys perhaps. Probably better than the girls who would just be being catty in whispers and horrible stares and imitation. Most, if not all, the secondary modern kids from around here did well, went into proper trades that are so unfashionable now. All Peter's mates have never moved far and were successful. He went to secondary modern. The secondary modern prepared them well. Perhaps it was 10 years before you left school though. Not that many people even from grammar schools went to university and leaving at 16 was quite normal. There used to be lots of children from different schools on my bus and we all got on well. Good post Dave.ReplyDelete
Yes Rachel: Kids hey. It was a bit like Barry Hines Kes or . Lots of laughs and mickey taking. The school/university of life gives a much wider curriculum and we all got on well really. My dad use to say :"nobody is better than you and you're no better than them!" I am glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks!ReplyDelete
..or Kestrel For A Knave..ReplyDelete
We had a school bus and a grumpy old man next to the driver to keep us in order. I often missed the bus as it went at 8am and I hadn't got back from my paper round. Fortunately I could do a fair forgery of my mum's signature. Dear Teecher please exclude my sons absent from skool yesterday. He had to go too the dentis/doktor/psychiatris/vet (delete as appropriet. Singed, His Mam.ReplyDelete
Thanks Gwil. We use to write our parents forged letters too: Dear Newsagent. Please give my son ten Benson and Hedges and a copy of Playboy magazine. Thank you.ReplyDelete
There was a different one for the off licence and it was always a girl who wrote it because they could read her writing. I should have been a doctor. Nobody would have been able to read my prescriptions. Happy days! Thanks Gwil.
I used to forge letters for a girl from another school. Because I was from a posher school than she was she picked me out for doing the letters for her. I used to pretend to be her mum and write on Basildon Bond Blue paper with a fountain pen. Apparently the head never suspected a thing.Delete
How clever Rachel. Especially with the Basildon Bond blue writing paper. It makes you wonder how many letters are actually written by the sender. I once talked to somebody who workedcin the Dole office. He told me they use get Christmas cards saying: Hope you have a really crap Christmas.ReplyDelete
not to be too rude about people, but I doubt very much many people write letters to the schools now and they would have no idea what Basildon Bond paper was or looked like with the water mark. they would think it was something to do with 007. And also most of them cant seem to write well at all. I saw on mother scribbling on the back of a childs picture outside the school my niece is a teacher at. She could hardly hold a pen, and she was wearing what I suspect to be pajama trousers. They are more likely to whatsapp or send a crappy email now. Some of the parents at that school looked like they had just got up and it was 3pm. I am not the best dressed person in the world but for my kids sake I would at least brush my hair when I picked them up.Delete
Hi Sol. Thanks for your comment. Yes you're right standards have dropped. I have seen parents driving their children to school and still in their pyjamas. Thanks.Delete
Dave, I loved this post. I could identify with your other visitors as well. I was such a dunce and got into real trouble with parents and school. I used to 'round the circle' on the bus, it took several hours which helped me miss school. Oh boy, what memories. And yet I did well with the job hunting. I often wonder if I would have succeeded as well if I'd been forced to keep the nose to the grindstone....lolReplyDelete
Thanks Valerie. It's never too late to learn and its so easy to be wrote off at such a young age. I am a great believer in self learning too. I am really glad you enjoyed the post. Thank you.ReplyDelete
It's the autodidacts and the square pegs who change the world for the better, Dave. The zeitgeist:conformists change nothing.ReplyDelete
Yeah good old Mr Sartre and Nausea Gwil. I am writing this at Cork airport. Any guesses where I am going? Thanks!ReplyDelete
I can guess Dave. Have a great time.Delete
Yes you're right. We have just landed.Delete
nothing wrong with a good sing song on the bus!ReplyDelete
No there's nothing wrong with a good sing song on the bus. Thanks!Delete