Sunday, 29 August 2010

The bendy bus and more Argyle woe

Over the years I have been challenged to do many things through my radio show. One of those was to put myself through the bus drivers' test which involved a lot of work to get through the practical and the theory.

Fortunately, I passed first time, and have since jumped at any opportunity to drive a bus.

When I was invited by CityBus to get behind the wheel of a bus that is on trial in Plymouth, it was too good an opportunity to turn down - especially as it is a type of bus I have never driven before.

The 'bendy bus' is a Mercedes, and at 19 metres long is by far the longest vehicle I have driven.

Brian and Kev were assigned to look over my shoulder as I climbed into the cab.

After just two rounds of the bus depot at Milehouse, I felt comfortable enough to get onto the road.

Driving a bus involves plenty of mirror work, as with quite a swing of the rear of the vehicle on turns, extreme care must be taken.

It was a joy to drive, and I did notice that other road users were more defensive, particularly when considering whether to overtake such a long vehicle.

If all fails in radio, I have been assured there is a job waiting for me at CityBus.

The latest episode in Plymouth Argyle's season saw the visit of Peterborough United to Home Park.

I was hopeful that a few ghosts could be laid to rest.

No home wins since March, and that last success was against Bristol City. It turned out to be the final game in charge of City for Gary Johnson.

As manager of Peterborough, he was making a quick return to Home Park. But, the omens were not good as Argyle met United in the final game of last season. I described that meeting on radio as 'The Wake'. Both sides were already assured of relegation from The Championship, but United were more than willing for a final hurrah before dropping into League One.

Craig Mackail-Smith scored twice that day. For this latest game, he was still in the side - and repeated his feat of two goals in the game.

Unfortunately, the Devonport End goal net, pictured, did not bulge. All the goals came at The Barn Park End during the second half, and Mackail-Smith left me in admiration of his overall performance and finishing.

An Aaron McLean goal sealed a 3-0 defeat and left Argyle fans to trundle home feeling somewhat deflated.

Without a game next Saturday, there is a period of two weeks before The Pilgrims have an opportunity to kick-start the season after the solitary win on the opening day at Southampton.

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