Five years on from when our friend first barged into my world - bringing chaos like this, and this, and this, and especially this - it could be easy to forget the work that has brought us to a situation where the great Dave Guscott not only issues an MOT certificate without advisories, but also ends his inspection with a compliment: "It's in lovely condition these days".
Fortunately, I'm too much of a worrier to become complacent. Yet, there's been so much going on at 270 KTA HQ these last few months, there's been next to no time even to worry, let alone to reflect on our achievements.
Since the phoenix-like return of 270 KTA's throttle in time for the Exeter Bus Station 50th Anniversary, our friend has been enjoying himself, and helping others to do the same. (I did replace the slave cylinder in the end, along with the infamous throttle release spring [again, easy to forget trauma], to great benefit as far as the throttle is concerned.)
Firstly, a smashing day was spent with Terry Bennett and his Bristol LH, Devon General 88, recreating some of the routes that 270 KTA would have trodden during its time with DG at Newton Abbot. This is a period in our friend's history which, because of my allegiance to its 'green' days, I'm often accused of under celebrating. So a gang of interested parties was assembled, and celebrate we did - appropriately, 40 years to the month since 270 KTA was downgraded by Newton Abbot depot from 'dual-purpose' to 'bus' configuration.
And, of course, last weekend was the annual highlight of 270 KTA's year, Kingsbridge Running Day - a return to original territory which is often as emotive as it is bold and adventurous. This year, I revived the old Kingsbridge tradition of attaching a bunch of fresh flowers to the bulkhead of its coach, evident in all known photos of 270 KTA in its early days.
The running day and subsequent trip to Dartmouth and Westpoint is already well chronicled on the Thames Valley & Great Western Omnibus Trust's Workshop Blog, so I'll leave you with a few shots of our friend's adventures that speak for themselves.
Another far cry from those early days - astonishingly, now well over 5,000 miles ago...
|At Kingsbridge Bus Station (c) "Better Living Through Chemistry" on Flickr|
|At East Portlemouth (c) DTS|
|Kingsbridge (c) Sarah Anne Harvey|
|Crossing Gara Bridge (c) Peter Murnaghan|
|Sleepy Time (c) DTS|
|Kingsbridge line-up (c) DTS|
|Slapton Sands (c) DTS|
|Climbing beyond Slapton (c) Dave Growns|
|Between Slapton and Dartmouth (c) Oliver Silvester|
|Between Slapton and Dartmouth (c) Zoe Williams|
|Your scribe (c) Alasdair Page|