A lad comes up to me as we arrive at the station. He’s been sat at the back of the bus for over 90 minutes and is looking somewhat nonplussed

Lad: What number bus is this, drive?
Me: It’s an 8
Lad: Oh. It’s not a 4?
Me: Nope, an 8
Lad: I thought it was a 4
Me: Well, you were half right…
Lad: Eh?

Christmas Market

It’s early December, the time that many Bath residents dread. Why? For that’s when the annual Christmas Market magically mushrooms from the pavements in a litany of wooden huts, drunken revellers and thousands of visitors from out of town that blocks most of the city centre’s thoroughfares for a number of weeks. To be fair it’s a great spectacle but, should you be so foolish as to attempt to drive anywhere through the city at this time, you’ll be staring at brake lights for what seems like aeons

I’m late and picking up outside Halfords. There’s a tap on the outside of my window from a rather concerned Welsh chap who, like most pedestrians clogging up the place at this time of year, is standing in the road like it ain’t no thing. He’s in boozy fooling, as is his girlfriend who looks like she’s finished off a litre bottle of Lambrini on the coach over the bridge and will kick off if she doesn’t get some Blue WKD, like, NOW!

Me: (Opening the window) Alright there?
Rather concerned Welsh chap: Mate, where’s the Bath Market?
Me: You mean the Christmas Market?
Me: So, where’s the Christmas Market?
RCWC: Yes…?
Me: (Making an expansive gesture similar to the one Moses made when entering the Promised Land) You see those sheds just there? The ones that are fifteen deep in people cooing over £38 chocolate Santascapes, the selection of olivewood ‘Santa Call Here!’ placards, the steaming flagons of mulled Reindeer piss, that bloke selling wooden bloody ties, and Dave from Twerton inexpertly dressed as Father Christmas and ringing that bell for all he’s worth?
RCWC: Er… yes?
Me: That’s it
RCWC: Oh. Right you are
Me: Sheesh


I pick up a young student who, in another time, would have been dismissively classified as a crusty. She is obviously enjoying her first time away from her folks and, as such, has dyed her hair a sort of rancid green, invested in some smudged henna tatts on her hands and is dressed in clobber she seems to have discovered in a hedge.

She has the pale, malnourished look of a first year student and, to cap it all, has a cold, so regales me with a chorus of marshy sniffs as she buys a ticket. She’s also sporting a somewhat fetching nostril candle.

She fishes a crumpled tenner out of a pocket within which also resides an accretion of tissues and, as she gets off at the station some time later, she stomps up to me, whereupon the following conversation ensues:

To whit:

Snotty Student: Oi, drive!
Me: Yerrsss?
SS: (Sniff) What was that you just did?
Me: What do you mean?
SS: What you just did? (cough) That stuff you put on your hands? What was it? (sniff)
Me: Oh, it’s liquid hand-sanitiser. I…
SS: (Interrupting) Are you saying I’m dirty? (huge sneeze into her hand)
Me: (Warily) Er, no, not as such. You do have a cold, though
SS: I don’t (sniff)
Me: Well…you do
SS: I… (pauses to wipe nose on sleeve, coughs) don’t…
Me: You do, though
SS: (Blearily) So?
Me: So I don’t really want to catch it from you and you pulled that money from your pocket that had some tissues in it. Hence the hand-sanitiser
SS: Oh… (slightly mollified) Where’s the nearest Boots?
Me: Just over the road. Get blackcurrent Lemsip. Ooh, and some Fisherman’s Friends!
SS: Thanks drive (Sniff…cough…sniff…wipes nose on sleeve again)


A brilliantly refreshed student falls onto the bus in a flurry of scarves, a billow of over-sized trousers and a gust, if I’m any judge, of Chateau Cidre et Noir. After a fruitless search for her ticket she triumphantly slaps an Asda receipt onto the ticket machine, accompanied by the most engaging of smiles, whereupon the following conversation takes place

To whit:

Brilliantly Refreshed Student: (Clocking my expression) What?
Me: What do you mean ‘what’? That’s a receipt
BFS: No it’s not
Me: (Sigh) Yes, it is
BFS: It’s not
Me: It is. Maybe have another look?
BFS: (Reality dawning) Oh! (Snort) Sorry! Hang on…

After more rummaging through her tie-dye bag and a further barrage of knee-weakening smiles, she produces a slip of paper. It is, of course, another receipt, this time for local hostelry The Raven (née Hatchetts)

Me: That’s another receipt
BFS: No it’s not
Me: Yes, it is. Look, do you have a ticket or not?
Me: So, do you need to go somewhere
BFS: Yes
Me: OK. You’re a student, yes?
BFS: Yes
Me: Right. It’s £1.50 then, please
Me: (Dreading what’s to come) Do you have your Student ID Card?
BFS: Yes… (Opens bags again) Hang on…
Me: Oh, forget it
BFS: (Giggles) Thanks! (Smile)
Me: Well played


As the temperature increases, so does the severity of the olfactory assault of your humble driver’s nostrils courtesy of the staggering lack of personal hygiene demonstrated by some of the daytime complement of passengers

Today, to compliment the all too familiar fug of feet, farts, sick, booze sick, baby sick and crushing BO coming off the motley crew huddled in the 5’s saloon was a guy of indeterminate age who reeked of those gerkins you find in a certain brand of fast-food burger. Absolutely stank of them…

Brilliantly, the following conversation ensued as he got on and flashed his concession card

To whit:

GOIA: ‘Roit, droive
Me: OK. Where are you going?
GOIA: Weston Lock
Me: (With fingers crossed) Ooh, to McDonald’s?
GOIA: (Quizzically) Yeah…
Me: Outstanding

Sun’s out, scum’s out…


An American student is trying to locate the e-ticket on her phone. As the lengthy screen-scrolling process ultimately leads to success, the following exchange takes place

To whit:

AS: Ah, that’s the one that I want
Me: (Enthusiastically) Woo, hoo, hoo, honey
AS: I’m sorry?
Me: (Abashed) Nothing…


A conversation between two little old ladies regarding the upcoming EU referendum

To whit:

Little Old Lady #1: Trouble is, if we stay in there’ll be one big European army and the French can’t fight, can they?
LOL #2: No. Nor the Italians
LOL #1: No
LOL #2: No. Or the Belgiums
LOL #1: No
LOL #2: We should see what pans out with Nigel Farage. He seems nice
LOL #1: Yes
Me: And there it is…


Two little old ladies are discussing the disruption caused to their blue-rinsed reverie by fellow passengers speaking at too high a volume whilst using a mobile phone. It’s plain that neither know exactly what mobile phones are nor how they work, but are vehement in their mutual dislike of said infernal contraptions

To whit:

Little Old Lady #1: Thing with all these telephones is, you don’t have to speak loudly for the other person to hear you
LOL #2: Yes. That’s the whole point, isn’t it?
LOL #1: Yes. You just put your mouth close to it and speak normally, don’t you?
LOL #2: Yes
LOL #1: I heard someone talking so loudly on one that the other person must have been in space
LOL#2: In space? Well I never…
Me: Wish I was there…


A road closure in Odd Down has led to the 14 being diverted and, despite all sorts of notices informing people of the fact having being stuck up all over the place for over a week, most passengers aren’t aware of the change of route

As we trundle up Wellsway, the clucking from the silver-haired manifest increases in volume until one of them decides to totter up to the cab to enquire of our destination

She’s a little unsteady, is, of course, wearing a purple hat and, even better, has an accent akin to that of Lili Von Shtupp from Blazing Saddles

To whit:

LVS: I sink you haff gone ze wronk vay, darlink
Me: Nein. Frome Road is closed so we’re diverted up here for the rest of the week
LVS: Ach, I am zo zorry, darlink
Me: It’s perfectly fine, zveetie

Wake Up

A somewhat morbid exchange between two little old ladies on the 4

To whit:

Little Old Lady #1: Ooh, hello Maureen. Keeping well?
LOL #2: Well, I’m still waking up every morning. That’s the main thing
LOL #1: Yes. That’s the main thing