Skin of Your Teeth
How many of us would have experiences that have that got the adrenalin flowing
Post them on the web by emailing or mailing them to Don or Richard

Posted by Don Granter

Enjoyed your stories, the merchant Navy, travel in your early life, and experiences sure grew you up early and like many others of us helped us to "mix it" with the bureaucracies we experienced in our later lives.

Your story of the "decent bus driver" reminded me of a similar situation when we lived in Wollongong when every Christmas we camped at North Narrabeen for the 6 weeks of the school holiday, giving me respite of travelling from Wollongong to work over that time. Sometime in the early 90's following a Sedgwick Christmas ding I took the bus to where I later found to be to Palm Beach, planning of course to disembark at North Narrabeen and walk to the camp site, alas, yes you guessed it, I went to sleep, until Palm Beach, by now 1.00am, when the driver woke me and said "OK mate final destination", or something similar.

Our discussion that followed was that he could not drop me back to North Narrabeen as he was going direct to Brookvale Depot to finish for the night, but when I explained there was no other transport back at that time and the panic at the camp (no mobile phone) when Don was not in the top bunk in our room of the 24x18 double pole tent, four bedroom, kitchen, 8 seater (stools)- to accommodate our family of four, Pam's mum and dad and two guests; the driver said "OK mate, jump in" and in no time we were back at North Narrabeen and by 2.00am Don was snoring away happily, as Pam was quick to tell me next morning.

Had a great and relieved chat with the bussie on the way back, l learnt he had a few young kids, and was able to convince him to accept $20 (all I had on me) towards something for Christmas for them. Even if there had been a taxi I wouldn't have had enough for the fare.

So as they say, all's well that ends well!! but I shrink to think what may have been.

Cheers, Don

Posted by Richard Quartermaine

It was February 1948 and having signed on the Aberdeen and Commonwealth Line SS "Morton Bay" berthed in King George V Dock, London I made a quick dash out to Hanwell near Ealing Broadway to see my Aunt Lil knowing that we sailed at about six am for Sydney which I left in the previous August.

late at night I said my goodbyes and caught the London District Line train for East Ham (for the "Manor Way" bus to the docks) and as we rattled along I fell asleep. The next thing I knew the guard was shaking me telling me that this was Dagenham, well on the way beyond East Ham. it was 3 am and the train was not going any further. Also there were no more trains until morning.

In a panic I ran up to the stairs to the road above - pitch dark and no traffic. Shortly a black Wolseley pulled up next to me full of cops asking what I was about at this time of night. I told my story and they gave me a lift up to the main London road, dropped me off at a bus stop with a - "don't know if there are any more buses tonight!"

Eventually a big red double decker bus came along all blacked out. I waved frantically, it pulled up and as I jumped aboard the driver called out through the hatch - "I'm only going to Barking depot - keep your head down". I went up to the hatch and told him my problem and asked if I could get a bus from there to KG V Docks. "Nah!" he says and kept driving. Before long I realised I was in familiar territory. He had taken me miles and miles off course all the way to the docks. I had two half crowns to my name and I asked him to have a couple of pints of "mild and bitter" on me. He gave me a friendly wave as he turned the big bus around and headed back to distant Barking depot. That was over 70 years ago and every time it comes to mind I think warmly of that decent driver.

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