It's well-known that I don't like buses, modern ones anyway, and vastly prefer to drive my own car, or else go by train, or walk. I don't even have a bus pass, although I qualified for one several years ago, back in 2014, when my State Pension began. I must be almost the only pensioner in the country who spurns this feebie.
This said, I used to like the old-fashioned kind of double-decker bus with an open platform at the back, the sort you could hop onto, and jump off from. Those buses, which I used when at school, and afterwards until 1973 (when I passed my driving test) had character and were fun: they were proper buses. They were basic in their comforts, and probably fell well short in the safety department, but they were airy, they had cheeky chappies for conductors, and offered certain views out denied to the rider of buses in 2021.
Nowadays I do, very occasionally, have to use a bus. It's so occasional, that each time I step aboard something has changed. It could be the procedure for buying a ticket from the driver, or some restriction on where I can stand, or sit. But it always strikes me that - since the last time I used a bus - things have advanced a notch or two. Modern buses now resemble long-distance coaches in their comfort and facilities. So much so, it's a wonder that they are not thronged with switched-on people wanting to ride in some style, charging up their phones, and connected with sizzling onboard Wi-Fi.
As it is, the passengers are always fewer than you might expect, and seem restricted to students, mums with buggies, and wheezing oldies of both sexes. I suspect that some of these doddery pensioners spend a lot of time riding around for free, their bus pass being their passport to another exciting Odyssey. Yes, I sneer. But I'd have to join their ranks if ever I lost the ability to drive, and no trains were handy. Not a pleasant thought.
A vintage bus would be different. I'd use one of them.
Three days ago, I had the chance to board just such an old-style bus. It was originally from Merseyside, but looked very similar to the buses I rode when at school in Southampton, during the 1960s. It was red and white, whereas the Southampton Corporation buses were red and cream, and had the distinctive Corporation coat of arms on the side. But nevertheless very much the same. So a real trip down memory lane! I may have hated school, but the bus ride there and back was always something I looked forward to.
The bus was parked outside Dunster station on the West Somerset Railway, one of the West Country's preserved railway lines. It belonged to the Railway, and shuttled between Dunster and Minehead as an alternative to taking the steam train. I suppose you'd have the option to travel from Minehead to Dunster by train, and return on this bus - or vice versa.