Alec Alder Remembers/Remembered

I was saddened to hear of the death of 88-year old Alex Alder, in November who, when my late father was ill in hospital or at home in the early 1980s, would visit quite regularly. His generosity of time was very much appreciated. Although he was a regular in our lives, I had no idea he was a church minister. He lived at Westrip. The Stroud News & Journal has been publishing some of this memoirs. Here’s something on “old fashioned buses” in the days before the health & safety Volkspolizei.

“The second day of the year that we all looked forward to was the Sunday School Outing. We saved up all the year round for this day out. About six charabancs would line up, down at More Hall – they couldn’t come up towards Randwick any further, because the road wasn’t wide enough. Only a small bus would come up as far as The Stocks at Randwick.

“It would be there all day, every hour going down to More Hall and picking up the people from the service bus from Stroud. That was a joke – the people, especially towards the 1930s, coming from work would transfer to this bus, and it could never make it up Blenheim Pitch, because it was too steep, and the bus would be too overcrowded.

“Almost invariably, as the bus chugged up the hill and got as far as Westrip Turning, it stopped. But don’t worry, Plan B then came into operation. Just inside the bus was a block of wood with a handle, and as soon as the bus was on its last breath, one of the passengers would grab this and quickly push it under the back wheel. Simultaneously, the first half a dozen passengers by the door would all jump out and push and push and stop and push until it got to the flat at the end of The Change.

“Now then, there was another hill up by the pond and the church, so the driver, usually Poopie Smith, would accelerate along The Change as fast as he could. Sometimes he made it to The Stocks, sometimes he didn’t and then the process of blocking and pushing would start all over again.

“Now back to the charabancs. We would start off at 6am. Sometimes it was Weymouth, other times Bath, Cheddar or Weston. Another time Barry and Penarth, but wherever it was, it was a great day out. Except for these outings, the farthest we went was Stroud.

“Anyway, we would get home between seven and eight, tired but happy, and would you believe it, I doubt whether anybody had even locked their doors. What a difference to today.

“The third day was, of course, our Christmas party. Plenty of batch cake etc., and then our prize giving. Great fun – happy days.”


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