Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Today back to London on a Berry’s Coach. Which was fine. The days when Berry’s Coaches were a bane of my life are long past.
The problem was, when I first moved to London, I’d travel back home to Somerset on a Berry’s Coach on a Friday night. And so it would always get spend hours snarled up in Hammersmith, on the A4, and on the M4. So no matter how optimistically the bus timetable might have stated that the journey would take three hours, it never did. And this was in the days before mobile phones, so my dad would end up stuck waiting for ages parked outside Where The Cinema Used To Be.
Worst of all, one occasion I remember, we were almost home – we’d gone through Bridgwater which still, despite the fact that the plastics factory is closed, smells of oven-roasted shit – when the bus driver took the wrong winding country lane and managed to get lost. And then managed to get the bus stuck and lodged between stone walls on one particularly narrow and sharp corner. It was a miserable bitter and sloshy night, and even the fact that I was a few seats down from Auberon Waugh wasn’t enough to lift my spirits. I always got him mixed up with Clement Freud anyway.
Maybe I’ve merged several journeys from hell in my memory. I remember a school trip to the Bridgwater plastics factory where the PR guy said, ‘Our chimneys pump out ozone, which is actually good for the atmosphere and helps replenish the ozone layer’. The fumes must have gone to his head. And some cocky little sod – it may have been me – then pointed out that low-level ozone was poisonous, and was the reason that the whole town smelt of oven-roasted shit.