On my way into work I saw a bat, an owl, the short woman with the sweat shirt and the peroxide perm who goes through the bins in the park and, on the pavement outside the Mortgage Introducer and International Flights shop on Marsh Street, a women’s block heeled boot.
I knocked at a house on West Moor Road. A boy of about three or four wearing nothing but a nappy was sitting on the window sill drinking milk from a baby bottle. A thin woman in her forties with braces on her teeth answered the door and shouted “Toilet!” at me. Then she said “Oh sorry love, I thought you were someone else”.
Mr Briggs intercepted me for his mail in his Bedford Rascal. He asked me whether I’d ever toured Scotland by coach. I said I hadn’t. He told me his wife had seen an advert in The Examiner; “...up one side and down the other—five hotels in a week.”
Mr Briggs went on at some length about his reservations about coach travel.
"A sore arse... compulsory seat belts... steamed-up windows that you can’t see out of... the lack of decent toilet facilities... if you get sat next to a knobhead..." and so forth.
He said "I said all this to her but she’d already gone and booked it hadn’t she. Her and Barbara had cooked it up together hadn’t they. So, the four of us went together; me, the missus and Gary and Barbara. And do you know what?" said Mr Briggs looking up at me from over his wire-rims.
“What?” I said.
“We had a real time! It was fantastic! We’ve been another... one... two... three... four times since!”
He went on at some length about some of the exploits they’d had.
“...They’re only allowed to drive for a couple of hours at a time these days so we always have chance to have a coffee or a tea.”
And how he’d got around the seat belt problem.
“if you plug the belt in to the thing before you get into your seat and then just sit on it, the driver's alarm doesn’t go off. He’d had to tell me a couple of times over the tannoy before I figured that out”. Mr Briggs chuckled and did an impression of the bus driver “Passenger number 44 could you fasten your belt please”.
I told Mr Briggs that I’d once travelled from London to Paris by coach and I’d found it quite tough going. I was about to elaborate with an amusing anecdote from the journey but he cut me short saying “Anyway, I’m off to Leeds now” and he drove away.