Sunday, 24 April 2011

Day 2-5

Tower Bridge
Suffice it to say the traffic was murder in London! Oh my Godfried Bomans, I had never seen so many coaches not being able to park! Fortunately I was able to park in a spot where I a. didn't have to pay and b. wasn't crowded and c. in the shade. It was a lovely spot and when I made it to the other side of the Thames I took a Thames Clipper and raced along the river! The only time on Tuesday, since it was so incredibly busy on the roads.

Tower of London
On day 3 we went to Duxford Imperial War Museum, Wimpole Hall and Cambridge and the roads were okay. Not too much traffic and we were able to get everywhere on time. Back was the same, even though I did feel queasy by the time we crossed Dartford Bridge. Driving on the left side of the road, with the steering wheel on the left and then looking down over the railing into the River Thames: not a good thing for me! The day didn't finish that well for me though. We were nearly at the meeting point and I had to turn left with my (14 meter) coach. I was straddling both lanes so I could take the turn properly without hindering anybody when a car suddenly drove in front of me and stopped again since his light was red. I honked the horn to let him know I was not happy with his behaviour and turned left. By the time we had gotten to the meeting point I had told the kids on board to immediately walk towards their host families and not inspect the damage. The next thing I know a woman is walking up to the coach, holds out a badge, tells me she's a police woman and can I please get out of the coach! Yes, I had hit the car and it turned out to be an unmarked policecar!!!

An hour and a half, two more police cars, five more police officers, a breathalising test and a sermon later I was finally allowed to leave again! I maintain my stand though: if she had just waited for ten more seconds, we would have both been fine! Idiot!

O2 Arena
On Thursday of course the traffic wasn't any better and we had to make a change to the program in order for me to have my required 9 hours of rest. Fortunately by the time we left at night the traffic was a considerable amount less and we made good time. Until I turned into a wrong street that is and nearly got stuck! In the end I had to reverse back out (after moving a car a few meters along, sigh), turn and retrace my tracks.

Mail Box in Cambridge
Friday started off with more beautiful sunshine (we had had beautiful weather all week) and we left on time-ish. When we arrived in Dover though, we realised that even though we were on time, we would not catch an earlier ferry: it was so incredibly busy! When we finally made it to the check-in it was 11.40am and we were booked for the 12.40pm ferry. An hour to kill! However, someone liked us anyway and the next thing we know we are on the 11.50am ferry (last on) and we are leaving Dover Harbour! We drove through France and Belgium, had a couple of stops and at exactly a quarter to ten at night I steered my coach onto the school's parking lot!

What a week...


  1. So busy! Driving in the sun is never fun if it's in your eyes. Glad you got back safely and on time.

  2. It was a lovely week! (Ok, apart from the crowds and traffic jams and some police officers...) And I really loved seeing you do your job. You are very good at it!

  3. Hats off to you. I think I would go crazy trying to drive a bus in tight quarters.

  4. Okay day 2-5 were very busy and filled with drama. So glad your okay. You seem so calm talking about it, were you nervous at all?

  5. I won't even think about driving in England. Good for you, and boo to the bobbies who made you take a breathalyzer.
    -- K

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  6. My goodness
    Im sorry you had to deal with all this!

  7. I'd like to know who took the picture of you taking the breathalyzer!

    Glad you survived it all. I doubt I'd try driving a car there let alone a bus.

  8. I love your 'Oh my Godfried Bomans' and might use it too. So: Oh my Godfried Bomans, you have a stressful job. And who took that photo of you doing the breathalising test? Just your luck to hit a police car. Poor you.

  9. Lots of interesting posts, Mara. I went back about five or six to catch up. England has been having glorious weather for weeks as far as I can tell from reading other English blogs.

  10. I was envious because you went to London, but driving with a bus there must be a nightmare, so I forgive you that you had been there and even without some pints of beer ! what a adventure !

    I had a wonderful time with Claudie at the French Rivera, I felt home, it was like in Italy. only the people spoke French !

  11. You are my coach driving hero, Mara. I have only ever driven my little car into Central London twice (both times by accident) and I vowed I would never do it again. I just can't imagine driving a coach with the steering wheel on the wrong side through all the traffic.


Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!