The Minibus

If you didn’t already know, you may have deduced that my job at the Hospital Radio Conference was driving the minibus, picking people up from the railway station and airport, returning them to those locations once the weekend was over, and in the meantime taking them on trips to local radio stations and other places of interest, like footie matches and geocaches.

It may seem a little odd to do Southampton – Norwich via Nottingham, but we like the minibus hire company in Nottingham, mainly because when I write on the insurance form “I am diabetic”, they tick a couple of boxes, get another signature and that’s it – most hire companies go into a mad panic and don’t seem to know how to handle such a basic issue. The downside of hiring from Beeston Van Hire is that sometimes the condition of their vehicles leaves a little to be desired.

When I collected the bus on Friday, the checking-out person was walking round it with me noting damage: It’s important to get this right so I don’t get charged when I take it back, for any damage that was already there. We discovered a number of minor things.
Him: “Bump there…scrape there…scuff on the bumper…scratch there…”
Me: “Bloody hell, it looks like I’ve already been driving it” 1

The best was yet to come, though: When I got it back to Jenny and Chris’s, to start loading our bags on board, we discovered the previous hirers hadn’t been that careful about emptying it out. As well as the usual dried mud all over the floor (and the bloodstain on the step, which as far as I can remember was a new experience), we found a packet of jelly babies and a knitted skullcap (which we threw away), a wooly hat with the logo of Borrowash Football Club (which Chris grabbed), and the grid out of someone’s oven.

1 Acksherly I’m not that bad – but we always have a laugh about the Slough conference, when the minibus was assaulted by a member of an elite suicide bollard squadron.

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