I rode on a school bus throughout the time I was at grammar school, which was between September 1965 and July 1972. The grammar school was seven miles away from my village, and my journey consisted or a ride on a service bus two miles to the next village, followed by a five mile ride from there to the school on a school bus. The return journey was a ride on the same school bus, followed by a ride on the same service bus. The main memory I still have of riding the school bus was of the bus itself. The same bus was used most of the time during all those years, and it was one exactly like the bus shown in the picture below, and even had the same colours as the bus in the picture below. This bus is in fact a Bedford (type) OB bus, which was introduced in 1939. Only a few of them were made that year, but then with the outbreak of World War Two production was suspended and did not start again until after the war had ended in 1945. The bus was then produced in relatively large numbers between 1945 and 1951. I would therefore guess that the bus used as our school bus was manufactured in the late 1940s or even 1950. As these buses were produced in relatively large numbers for their time, 180 are known to still be existence today, and 70 of them have been well preserved and are still on the roads, often appearing at vintage vehicle rallies and events. In August 2009 I visited Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes, which of course played a vital role in World War 2 as the centre of British operations to break the enemy’s communication codes. The visit to Bletchley Park itself was fascinating, but there were also two events there that day which made the visit all the more memorable. One of these was a gathering of many of these preserved Bedford OB buses. This event brought back memories of my rides on the school bus, and my school days.
The other event that day incidentally was a fly past by the World War Two Lancaster bomber belonging to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight, and it flew really low directly over the Bletchley Park house. Five years later in August 2014 I was at another event where this Lancaster bomber flew over my head again, at the Dawlish Air Show on the Devon coast. I stood on the beach with a crowd of people watching it, but this time it was accompanied by the only other remaining Avro Lancaster bomber which is still flying. This other aircraft had belonged to the Royal Canadian Air Force and had flown over from Canada (stopping at Greenland, Iceland and Scotland), to participate in this air show and other events here in the U.K. I happen to be one of our county’s substitute school bus drivers. My day at work starts at 5:30 when I pre-trip inspect my bus then find out what bus I am covering for that morning. (Sometimes this means getting 40 minutes away for a route that starts just after 6, so I am NOT always on time!) During the route I am not only picking up you children, I am also paying attention to the road and weather to make sure that we arrive safely while also making sure that school bus bully behaves, and the mischief makers stay out of mischief. I usually do a High School run and at least an Elementary run as well…occasionally there will be a middle school tossed in there, or it will be MS/Es or just MS (but a LONG route…) I usually get back to the barn around 9am. I am then free to do whatever I feel like on my break…run errands, clean my house, doctor’s appointments, the usual grind of a mom and homemaker… If I haven’t been told I am doing the same route for the pm run I return to the bus at 1pm and find out what the afternoon will be. (If I am repeating, then I just need to be sure to get the bus to the first school on time, so have about an extra hour to 90 minutes to myself) PM runs are usually more “interesting” since the kids are finally “free” from the constraints of school…and they often forget that the bus STILL has rules. (In the morning they are often still sleepy so better behaved). When the routes are done, I return once again to my parking spot at base and sweep out/clean the bus to get ready for the whole thing to start over tomorrow.