England's traditional public transport, a double decker bus
AN EXTRACT FROM MY MEMOIR "OXFORD, A DECADE IN WONDERLAND"
Boarding the bus at St.
Aldates for a preliminary visit to our permanent residence the
following afternoon left me feeling equally apprehensive. The house
had been booked sight unseen through an Oxford agency called Finders
Keepers. No sooner had we settled on the bus than a stream of
football fans rushed the double-decker. About 25 youths shouting
profanities scrambled up the narrow stairway to the upper level.
Within seconds a wild-eyed young African tumbled down the steps, out of
the bus and onto the sidewalk. No response from the driver. He
looked the other way.
The noise from above was
alarming, but even more alarming was the rocking motion of our
transport. As we proceeded on down the High - Oxford’s main street
- with our riotous load of drunken football fans, pedestrians stopped
and stared. Many watched with mouths open, at what must have looked
like the passing of a cage of monkeys. The noise from above was
deafening. Were they breaking the windows I wondered. The bus
driver looked stoically ahead, obviously used to this Saturday
fiasco, or else he was not about upsetting a bubbling cauldron.
A brief ride up Headington
Hill and the bus came to a halt at the Headington bus stop. The
football fans, still bellowing, poured down the steps and headed off
to the Oxford United Stadium for an afternoon cheering on the local
team and hopefully getting rid of some of that testosterone.
There were police at the
bus stop. They looked officious. The driver climbed out of his cab
and joined the uniformed officers. Alighting, we stopped beside the
group as they looked up at the top of the bus. I gasped. It looked
as if every one of the windows was missing.
Another first I thought.
We’d encountered a contingent of England’s infamous football fans
… and we'd made it to Headington without calamity!!
More to follow tomorrow...
Photo copyright Anne Gordon
Posted by Anne Gordon on Tuesday, 12th November 2013.