A great festival weekend - behind the wheel of a bus

Rick Jackson and instructor Hayley Gouge back in 2012
Rick Jackson and instructor Hayley Gouge back in 2012

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I’ve just had a brilliant weekend doing the Isle of Wight Festival my way – behind the wheel of a double-decker bus.

Let me explain. You see, festivals are not really for me.

I always wanted to get behind the wheel of a bus when I was a kid and so this is right up my street

In the VIP areas you’re remote from the stage and the atmosphere.

But I can’t stand crowds, so the ‘mosh pit’ is not my thing either.

I remember once watching the Foo Fighters about a mile away from the stage on a big screen.

The sound was delayed, it was cold and wet and we couldn’t be bothered to get a beer as the queues were massive.

I thought ‘I’d rather be at home watching this in HD on the telly with my surround sound on, a cold beer in my hand and no queue for the loo’!

I got my bus-driving ticket back in 2012 when I trained to drive one of the new Eclipse buses in Gosport.

On my radio show, we undertook a challenge.

Could the bus beat the car in rush-hour traffic?

It took a month to train for and pass the test and, when I drove the bus in service, we thrashed the car to Fareham one morning.

I’ve kept my hand in on the bus driving. I always wanted to get behind the wheel of a bus when I was a kid and so this is right up my street.

A fleet of old London buses are used on the island to bring thousands of people from the ferry ports to the festival site in Newport.

I do the late shift. After the last act finishes at 11pm, it’s all hands to the pump.

Dozens of buses with standing loads branch out to all four corners of the island.

I went all over during my three nights of moonlighting.

My favourite trip was out to the West Wight, with Freshwater my final destination, arriving at 3.30am.

Daylight was approaching as I drove back to Newport across beautiful countryside that was just beginning to appear.

It’s not a bad job you know, this bus-driving lark.

It’s only the drunk, smelly passengers that seem to ruin it. That’s why I won’t quit the day job just yet!

MAYBE I’LL GET THE PIPE AND SLIPPERS IN 20 YEARS’ TIME

It’s my third Father’s Day on Sunday, even though my eldest Freddie has just turned two.

He was born in May, so I’m quids in!

I’m hoping my pipe and slippers will be waiting for me after my breakfast in bed. Then football on the telly solidly from 2pm through to 10pm.

Boy I love Euro 2016!

The reality will, of course, be very different.

Up with the larks and out for lunch where there’s a children’s play area. If it’s not raining, a walk along the seafront.

I’m told things get easier when they get older.

But I have friends with teenagers and they disagree with this.

Maybe the pipe and slippers will be out for Father’s Day 2036?

I WONDER HOW RADIO MARKET WILL LOOK IN ANOTHER 18 YEARS?

This week I learned that Wave 105 is now 18 years old. Wow, that went quick.

I remember that day back in 1998. I was breakfast presenter at Power FM and this was our first commercial opposition.

The radio market in the area has changed massively over those 18 years. More stations have started, but then disappeared. Power FM, Ocean FM, The Quay, Jack, Coast. Anyone remember Original 106?

I wonder how the radio market will look in 18 years’ time?

Do you know what, I don’t care.

As long as Wave 105 is still there and I’m still on it!

It’s some feat when you consider Radio Victory only lasted 11 years.

Happy birthday Wave.