My memories drift back to the years
1959-1961 when, whilst living at Winterborne Abbas, my father joined
Bere Regis and became a bus driver. He also did his fair
share of driving the taxis also and I can clearly remember him driving
the Austin FX3 model on many occasions. For some strange reason I
recall Bere Regis having two (I think) Renault Dauphines (blue and red
if my memory serves me right although it was a long time ago).
He drove the 29 and 33
seater Bedford OBs that were on the fleet at the time and nearly always
had the Dorchester - Bridport run on a Saturday. That old bus
would wind it's way through all the villages...Martinstown,
Steepleton, Winterborne Abbas, Little Bredy, Long Bredy,
Litton Cheney, Pucknowle and so on ending up in the Café Royal
car park at Bridport where there would be a rest and then return again.
I used to love riding up the
front and would go back and forth with him all day (I was only 7 at the
time). Lunch time would find a lot of buses in the
council park in Trinity Street Dorchester where they would
come and go at various times but somehow manage to be there
most of the Saturday afternoons.
Our bus would always park in the same
position at the end of the park facing the road next to a privately
owned Bedford OB (two tone green with lovely shiny chrome front wheel
caps) that was owned by a gentleman named Wilcox from Litton Cheney.
I can remember listening to the
conkers (from large horse chestnut trees behind a wall at the back of
the bus) falling on the roof of the bus in the autumn
and several of the drivers sitting in the café opposite or drinking in
the New Inn pub located in South Street (long gone now). There
was also a single decker AEC (I think) with a fin (certainly - I think
it was called a Harrington fin but I may be wrong) on the rear
of the roof also owned by Bere Regis that would park by the shelter.
The bus companies that you
mentioned... Pearce, House, etc and the buses.. Bedfords,
Commers etc I can vividly remember them as though it were yesterday
just as I can remember a lot of the drivers and see their faces and
names and of course sitting up the front of the OB listening to the
whiney gearbox and shivering due to the fact that the heater was either
none existent or didn't work, watching my legs changing colour as my
short trousers struggled to keep me warm.
And then just by magic in
the late afternoon all the buses would leave the park and
follow in convoy up Trinity Street whereby at the end
one would see the little direction indicator arrows suddenly
illuminate under the back window and each and every one would take the
weary shoppers home to their village abodes whereby they would light
the coal fires and settle in for the evening.
On our return my father
would park his bus in the Bere Regis bus park and we
would walk to the office in the dark (me looking at the Regent
petrol sign that lit up the pumps by the office), and wait whilst he
would clock out, then home to Winterborne Abbas and for me.....bed.
Sadly it is a bygone era and I view
it with rose coloured spectacles. I'm so glad I was there, and
I'm glad Peter you gave me this chance to remember those happy days.