Has my old bus reached the end of the road? | Rick Jackson

Why, like so many others, didn’t I make my weekend runaround a classic MG or a 1980s’ Ford Escort XR3i?

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 8:59 pm
Rick Jackson's bus in happier days, while passing its MOT earlier this summer.

Why on earth did I decide to buy a 40-year-old double decker bus?

It now looks like her latest breakdown could be catastrophic after she crawled up Titchfield Hill at 5mph in first gear, holding up all the traffic.

It really does seem like every time I use her something breaks or fails to work – the starter motor, self-levelling air suspension value, breaking pumps... and now an engine which runs out of power.

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The irony is that last Sunday she performed perfectly at a vintage rally at Stokes Bay.

Many people stopped to remark how lovely her 11-litre ‘straight six’ Gardner diesel engine sounded. I puffed my chest out with pride.

On Tuesday, just two days later, I thought I’d make the most of bus ownership by taking all the family, which included seven kids, out for the day at a country park.

You can do things like that when you own a 70-seater bus that costs little to tax and insure. There’s loads of room for buggies, picnic baskets, even bikes.

So, the kids settled into their seats on the top deck and off we went and everything was fine for the first few minutes.

But after 10 something didn’t feel right and soon she was crawling up hills. Near Lowford she gave up the ghost. An engine with normally more than enough grunt to carry 10 tonnes of vehicle and four tonnes of people up any hill, was now gasping for breath.

I pulled into a bus stop and decided an emergency U-turn on the A27 was needed and a quick return to her yard. She just made it.

So what’s the problem now? Injectors? Fuel blockage? Head gasket blown? All I know is, I don’t know! Towing her to a garage will also be virtually impossible and even then how much will it cost to remove a huge diesel engine?

But that’s the least of my worries. I now have to tell my wife what’s happened and that the bill may mean no holidays for a while.

Whatever happened to the natural look of English Roses?

I’m baffled by what’s classed as fashion and what girls think looks good. Clearly they are inspired by the likes of Katie Price, Kim Kardashian and anyone on Towie as the natural look is well and truly out in 2021.

I’m in a Costa watching a group of twentysomethings. All have fake blonde hair with extensions, fake long fingernails, massive fake eyelashes that create a nasty draft every time they blink and, worst of all, lip fillers. They all look like they’ve been stung by wasps and have gone into anaphylactic shock!

It’s another sign of me getting old, but give me a natural beauty any day. More English Rose and less Frankenstein’s Daughter please.

Forget football, these humble Olympians have my heart now

I’ve lost interest in football right now. I overdosed during the Euros and like when you overeat chocolate, even the sight of a ‘wafer thin mint’ makes me bilious.

I’m loving the Olympics, all the different sports and those wonderful, humble Olympians just going about their business. How great were the scenes at Portchester when BMX bronze medallist Declan Brooks came home?

In July he could have got off the number three bus and gone into the Red Lion and no one would have batted an eyelid. In August, hundreds greeted him home. Now we have Hayling Island sailor Eilidh McIntyre winning gold and the celebrations continue. For me, it’s Gareth Who? at the moment.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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