Friday, 4 December 2009
Ticket to Ride
The National Express coach pulled in at Toddington Services because of faulty windscreen wipers. The wipers met in the middle-got into a tight embrace and after a clackety time they separated. The driver, a Yorkshireman (it's easy to tell from his accent) called in reinforcements. The passengers bound for Nottingham and Milton Keyes were picked up by another coach and the one passenger for Manchester was sorted out in another coach. That left us-the only two bound for Leicester waiting to be picked up. Knowing our luck-it was quite a wait. Luckily the fitter came and corrected the errant wipers and we became the only two passengers in that big coach to be driven to Leicester. Does that sound familiar pickled herring?
While we were waiting we stared chatting to the driver and his name had to be Wayne!
From him we learned that :
1. There is no such thing as a National National Express because the services have been contracted out to various private companies. The uniform is the same, all the coaches have the same 'decor' but it is not a national transport provider.
2. The conversation came round to the topic of drivers, of the foreign drivers in the service. Wayne volunteered the information that in his company for instance 85% of the drivers are Polish - 'far too many' said Wayne. When we looked surprised he gave us a wry smile and said, "The boss's wife is Polish"!
Got back home at 11am, had a cup of tea and trotted down to our favourite Charity Shop to say hello to our friends. They were very pleased to see us and the feeling was mutual. Of course after the usual 'how are you' and 'how have things been' it came round to the usual 'you know, England is not the same anymore'. The topic then changed to that of the immigrants etc etc-of course the worst lot were the Somalis, we were told.
Later I mentioned to the spouse about how selective people are in their choice of immigrants to castigate. There are far more (white) East Europeans working and living in Britain than there are Somalis -at one time they numbered between half a million and 750,000 - a population bigger than the local Pakistanis or the West Indians. Now that jobs in Britain have run dry, many of them have gone home to their safe and secure motherland. ( I can imagine the same flight of foreign workers leaving Dubai for home now that Dubai is in dire financial trouble.). But however much British Bumiputeras want to see off the 'coloured' immigrants, the Somalis, unlike East Europeans have only a war-torn and famine-stricken home to go to. The British, and that includes the non-white British nationals are far more grudging about Somalis in Britain and happy to turn them into perpetual scapegoats. They keep their heads down when it came to East Europeans. Why? It's the preferred colour and religion.
I can see the sun shining as I look out of the window and so I have to go now for a refreshing walk in the park. No sweat!!