||March Contents Page
Our big red bus
Lee Common Scout Group’s vintage red London bus is a regular sight in the village, taking our young members and leaders to a variety of activities and outings. It is the stalwart of at least 30 years of scout summer camps, as well as jaunts to special interest locations such as Duxford and Hendon, the Imperial War Museum, and HMS Belfast.
My father-in-law often recalled an infamous trip to Greenwich many years ago, when Bernard Tompkins drove it the wrong way up a one-way street looking for the car park – scattering motorists in all directions. And a few of us still talk about a summer excursion to Duxford when we experienced ‘life in the fast lane’ for an uncomfortable period of time, having suffered a flat tyre. However, the adventures of the bus continue this year as, once again, it is commandeered to take local villagers and history buffs across the Channel to France; on this occasion ‘Le Voyage de Trois Guerres’ will have as its highlight the re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo.
Naturally the bus will be well-prepared for its duties. Garaged at Little Kings Ash Farm over the winter, it will soon come out for its make-over: Rick Brockett will give the windows their annual scrub (whether they need it or not) and it will be swept out; then serviced and MOT’d by specialist engineers Ward Jones Commercials of Cryers Hill. Recently its upholstery was refurbished, at considerable expense, with specially-woven standard London Transport ‘T’ moquette: heaven help a scout (or anyone else) who puts his boots up on the seats!
For summer camp the luggage racks are loaded with pioneering poles and kit, whereas on the French sorties a makeshift bar has priority (there’s a surprise!) Rumour has it that these trips resemble a ‘rugby tour with culture’; however past participants including my husband remain tight-lipped when questioned.
Proceeds from each of the previous expeditions sur le continent have assisted the Scout Group in maintaining the bus in tip-top shape so that our young members can benefit from this much-cherished asset. Recently we were delighted to receive from Liz Stewart-Liberty, a good friend of the Scout Group, a donation of £1,000, ensuring that we can keep the bus on the road for the foreseeable future.
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