There is an old saying, “ Nostalgia Ain’t What It Used To Be”, as ever a clever play on words no doubt invented by a wag with a great sense of humour. I do not quite know how or why but somehow I have come to realise that actually I have become quite an old bloke. Now I am not merely talking about age, but maybe more worryingly I have noticed a tendency to adopt an old blokes mind set. No, I have not brought myself a hat and leather gloves so that I can suddenly go driving my car an annoyingly slow speeds in built up areas, so really aggravating those younger men and women in expensive Audi’s, Merck’s, and BMW’s, who literally Bubble over with anger and frustration when confronted by such driving skills.
No, I have quite got there just yet, but clearly I am getting closer, however. What recently made me realise that my best years were behind me was when I read some comments recently on Facebook from former friends and colleagues who I used to work with back in the mid eighties when I was the depot Manager at Hereford for the once mighty Midland Red West Bus Company. I read a number of comments about the fact that the old bus depot which closed three years ago, is now well on its way to becoming a block of flats. Odd to think that the very same place where for 95 years the good folk of Hereford were kept moving day in day out is no more. Reduced to rubble and now the foundation for a new chapter of use.
Interestingly, I discovered that before the building work actually stared some archaeologists were allowed onto the site, my understanding is that apparently evidence was found of Roman habitation. In some ways not surprising given that the depot was very close to a large bridge over the River Wye, where most early Roman settlements were created. This got me thinking, as it does about the fact that history is as ever repeating itself, each generation goes through the same cycles of growing, learning, and then making exactly the same mistakes as the previous generation. The bus depot itself was not simply a building that housed buses, it was a place that created its own community, call it a little family if you like, but that is exactly what it was or alt least it was to me.
What really struck home was the fact that those former chums who I grew up with were now indeed older men and women who I clearly remembered as young people, but guess what like me suddenly they were ere late middle aged or indeed now pensioners with a bus pass. I am not quite sure just how this process works but it kind of sneaks up on you, and before you know it, we are all old people. Of course some age better than others but it does not ignore the simple fact that the years and decades sneak up and move on, and before you know it ten, twenty, and thirty years have gone in the blink of an eye. Ironically, it would be a strange turn of fate if the flats that are being built became OAP sheltered accommodation,in which case former bus drivers could migrate, not unlike the salmon, back upstream to the site of the original bus depot. The home of the bus family, a bit like football it’s coming home. Well actually no it’s not, just a fictitious dream, the bus depot has gone and a new generation of people will reside in its place. In the precise same place where the Romans settled back in the day.
On a positive note, the banter that was generated suggested that some sort of reunion would be a nice idea. I am all in favour of such get togethers. The reason being that the former friendships are rekindled, and more important old memories are revived, of former friends who have gone before, and those anaecdotes and laughs that were once so prominent in the mind, are revived. Life is as they say, too short, and as you get older,and you witness the ravages of age , illness, and infirmity as they lie in wait for you and your mates it is imperative that you make the most of it, after all laughter as they say is the best medicine. As they used to say in the Readers Digest, for those who remember such a once massive part of middle clas Britain. As I said nostalgia Ain’t want it used to be, oh dear I appear to be repeating myself…..taxi for Birks