Monday 16 September 2013

Going the Yelloway

Driving into town the other day we found ourselves behind a Yelloway coach in its striking gold livery, and I was reminded of my very first coach trip as a child. That trip was on a Yelloway coach too - and we went from Manchester to London to stay with my father's family for a week's holiday at Northolt, just opposite the aerodrome.

When I was a child my father had a series of old bangers, none of which lasted very long, and certainly none would have been roadworthy enough for long journeys. So, it was decided we would go by coach. I must have been very young, less than seven, as my brother hadn't yet made an appearance in the world.

 I vividly recall the excitement of packing our small cases and boarding the coach from Manchester, and the long long journey down to London. The most abiding memory of that trip is of another family who had two or three small children, and who were travel sick much of the way, something I found quite astonishing as I did not suffer from that malady at the time.

 The journey seemed to take forever. We must have stopped for "comfort breaks", as they are called now, but I cannot remember how many or where they were. This would have been in the early 1960s, so much of the M6 was not then built - it was a series of by-passes that were later connected up to create the mighty motorway we are familiar with today. Much of the journey was on A roads, travelling through various towns and cities until we licked up the M1 and headed into the capital.

Arriving in London, we wended our way past all the places I had heard of but never seen, until we finally arrived at what I suppose was Victoria coach station, where we were met by the relatives and taken onward to Northolt, where we spent an enjoyable week observing military aircraft taking off and landing at RAF Northolt, and visiting the national museums in South Kensington.

Later, after my brother's birth, annual visits to the family at Northolt were made by hired car - usually a Ford Anglia (affectionately called an angle-box due to is shape), which my father drove steadily down the newly completed motorway, usually through the night so that we children slept through the journey!