Humour writer, Phil Lowe’s funny accounts of travelling on Nottingham’s buses and trams contains a mix of over a hundred local stories and overheard comments. The Total Joy of Travelling On Public Transport, is now available to purchase on Amazon as Kindle version £2.99 or as a paperback at £6.99.
Order your book HERE.
CUSTOMER COMMENT: Phil Lowe’s brilliantly funny, well observed and well-written book reminds us of why we never liked travelling on public transport in the first place! A great read which allows you to dip in and out of the stories. Totally un-putdownable! Five stars.
‘I am sitting on the top deck of the number ten bus back to my village. It is rammed with passengers as it always is around four-thirty in the evening. One young woman sitting at the front is in conversation on her mobile. She is loud and garrulous and so far she has been rabbiting on and on non-stop for twenty-five minutes. She hasn’t yet taken a breath. Most of her sentences start with “Sooooo…” and she must be religious because she keeps saying “Oh My God!” As we get close to my stop she says in a rather dramatic tone “Oh My God! Seriously? Oh MY DAYS!!! I am literally speechless!” The whole top deck of commuters, who have tolerated her insistent drivel, burst out laughing at the irony! She has no sense of satire and carries on talking and talking and talking.’
‘I sometimes wish I drove a car so as to be in a position where I didn’t have to listen to all the crap people gabble on about on public transport. One gets a percentage of people, men and women, who seemingly have no perception that they can be heard on their mobile phones droning continually, on and on, about nothing of actual worth. I’ve heard quite intimate arguments going off with the speaker noisily remonstrating with the listener about the sexual and social failures of their relationship. So much so, that the entire bus load of travellers should (in an ideal world) stand up en mass and tell the odious speaker to “Shut the f**k up!”
‘A man in a green top has just coughed violently. He has sent an arc of fine spittle over the heads of any passengers unlucky enough to sit in the front of him. He must have missed the lessons on holding one’s hand in front of the coughing mouth. Or maybe he just doesn’t give a toss. There are now several people unsure whether to wipe the wetness off themselves with their bare hand or just leave it. Gross.
‘This story isn’t just for today, but most days when I have been working on the supermarket fish counter. Although I wash my hands and take off my apron, overalls and ill fitting, feet destroying work boots, when I go home on the bus or tram, nobody wants to sit next to me. Do I smell vaguely of fish? I don’t think so but other passengers are virtually hanging off the side of the public transport rather than sit next to me. Perhaps it has nothing to do with my paranoia about whiffing of sea bass and octopus and more to do with the public need to have a seat of their own and spread themselves out so nobody can sit next to them. Getting a phantom whiff of trout now. It’s me isn’t it?’
‘I spy a man in his mid-forties dressed in a sharp suit and Liam Gallagher style haircut with sideburns that went out of fashion at least a decade ago, as did Liam Gallagher. The man has been on his phone for quite a while now. I think he must be talking to someone at his office – very loudly. Don’t they always? Myself and all the other passengers have heard all the private financial details of some housing deal including the names of the buyers and an account number. More details are spilling out of his mouth. He’s just finished (we can only hope) and the last words he said were “Of course, that’s just between us two.” Does he think all the other people on the bus around him are deaf?’
‘The kids are back in town! Well, more precisely they are on the tram without paying. It’s a game they can’t play on the bus where you have to pay the driver or show a travel pass. How do I know they haven’t paid? For a start they keep giggling, which is nothing unusual for a teenager. Then they get very attentive on their surroundings each time the tram approaches the next stop. Three of the gang are stationed along the length of the tram; one at each end and one in the middle. They know the inspectors’ uniforms by sight and they crane their teenage necks to look out for them waiting on the tram stop platforms. If they spot the inspectors, who tend to approach from each end of the tram like a pincer movement, the kids all gather in the middle and stroll off with a group air of nonchalance and a barely disguised undercurrent of smirking and ‘we got away with it again’ giggles. Just don’t get me started about when they swing like monkeys from the hand straps on the tram.’
‘The bus was busy tonight and I put my big plastic carrier bag full of shopping down by my feet, out of the way. It was safe until another jumbo sized male passenger got on the bus and lumped himself next to me. This had the effect of virtually crushing me against the window for the half hour, stale body odour, filled journey. Somehow the man managed to land his size fifteen distinctly grubby trainers directly in the centre of my shopping bag. My chicken now has a zigzag pattern over the chicken breasts. Did he apologise? Of course not.’
Overheard comment on the bus from a woman with an infant in her arms; “I think baby’s just pooed its pants again. It’s had the shits all day.”
‘There are no trams on all routes this morning because of a police incident near Nottingham Trent University. It was later revealed there was a man on the loose with no tram ticket and armed with a machete. Police and tram authorities warned passengers that it is dangerous to travel on the tram without a ticket.’
‘I really hate it when people bring hot or strongly scented food on the bus to consume on the homeward journey. Maybe I am just a food prude. Many a time my nostrils have been violently assailed with the abominable whiffs of flavoured crisps, hot pizzas, fish and chips doused in a gallon of vinegar, cockles in vinegar, Burger King burgers, pop corn by the sack load, and even curries. As if the smells aren’t bad enough, there is also the uncomfortable feeling that you have to watch some idiot chowing down on a scalding hot microwaved Cornish pasty. That’s happening right now! The pasty lover is now juggling it around their saliva drenched open gob to evade major tongue and palate burns. Ah The Total Joy of Travelling On Public Transport!’