Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Broadcasting by bus
I could drive, I suppose, using the not-so-mighty (chassis condemned by local garage)Isuzu, which is still working fine, if now a little wandery when it comes to steering. It's a bit like guiding a boat into harbour on a very stormy day. However, the £2.70 bus ride is a no-brainer in weather like this. Over a foot of snow fell on Shetland yesterday, and stayed put. More fell today and much more is expected tonight and tomorrow.
It's a perfectly ordinary wee bus, but (so far) it has never failed to get through in sometimes apocalyptic conditions. Operated by Johnson Transport, the 35-mile run between Lerwick and Hillswick goes through probably the most exposed sections of Shetland's landscape and connects with feeder mini-bus services from outlying areas such as North Roe, Ollaberry and Eshaness, and as well as passengers carries parcels of all description. On Monday night, in blizzard conditions, Gary Johnson, who owns the company, personally covered one of the feeder routes in a 4X4, while two council snowploughs led the other buses safely to their destinations. Tonight, things were more straightforward (clear and calm), but it still took a snowplough running ahead of us to guide us safely to Hillswick. That's it retreating into the darkness after I was safely delivered to the house.
As I write, it's freezing hard. There's no 10.00 am "shopper" bus tomorrow, so I have to decide whether to get the 7.30am commuter service or take the pick-up in. I was intending to park it on Lerwick's unofficial second-hand car lot at North Lochside with a 'for sale' notice on the windscreen. But as I say, with snow like this, it's a no-brainer. The bus it is.