A friend, just returned from a vacation in England, sent me a photo of

a double decker bus.  Not so many to be seen these days.  Many of the

city route buses have, sadly, been taken from the city streets.  The photo gave

rise to these thoughts:

And there’s the ruddy bus!  Always loved ’em.  One of the

great joys of my childhood was sitting on top, up front,

“driving” the bus.  Also the tram.  The trams were such a

lovely oaken pieces of art.  The top front compartment was,

for some reason, separated from the rest of the seating

by a sliding door.  What bliss  to be alone in there.  Drivers

had no idea, of course, of how dependent they were on the

invisible wheel I held in my greasy fingers.

I remember stopping off after “the pictures” by myself (my

parents never had any notion of kidnappers or child

molesters: went all over the city by myself by tram or

bike)–stopping off to buy a newspaper “cone” of chips

and experiencing the sublime up in that compound, oak

slatted seats, windows all around.

Suddenly, a woman’s voice, “Ere, do oi smells chips up ‘ere?”  No point in denying it.  There they were.  Food of the gods in newspaper.

“Better get them done for t’driver gets a whiff if ‘e ain’t

already.”  Gor bless ‘er.  And Gor less the buses and trams,

them that did their duty no matter what and sit now quiet

some still smelling vaguely of the old fires, others, the trams,

well maybe just a whiff up there of chips.