“Is this a singing bus?” he optimistically asks our driver. I've already experienced the school gates being locked, prompting an annoying detour to get to the bus stop, Since arriving at my departure point I've just missed a bus and two scheduled have been “Out Of Service,” so at this point, I'm pretty keen to get home.
There are three of us on the bus and the driver. The rather eccentric elderly gentleman who's keen to sing his heart out, is having a chat with the driver as we await for our departure time:
“But is this a singing bus?” he continues to gauge. The driver unsurprisingly insists he's never known a bus purely dedicated to “singing”, despite our gents apparent certainty that the “Halton Moor” bus is indeed a “singing bus”. Stories of the old Headingley route and rare occasions of whole bus performances of “Bohemian Rhapsody” are regaled as the driver continues to politely humour said gentleman.
It is not long before he's turned to face us unsuspecting three. We're desperately trying to keep to ourselves while trying not to appear too interested. “Do you mind if I sing?” he asks. The girl at the back texts away pretending to be too busy to hear, the girl in front is deafened by headphones and I nod, dazed from a long day at work, attempting to keep the peace.
He very seriously belts our, “As Time Goes By” unaccompanied by any musical backing as if auditioning for X Factor's OAP series. He actually boasts a reasonable singing voice and unpainfully completes the entire song, finishing to silence and expectantly looking around as the last note leaves his mouth.
No-one says a word. I'm trying to focus on my paper, attempting to not make it obvious I'm fascinated and amused by the whole spectacle. For the next few minutes, there's an awkward silence while our performer proceeds to sing random verses from a selection of big name tunes. As the bus fills and gradually proceeds towards my destination, the whole incident fades and soon I'm the only one still inwardly chuckling at the musical interlude.
An annoying journey was quickly transformed to a memorable story and now I'm tempted to catch the “Halton Moor” bus, if only to discover whether sing-along buses still really exist or whether they are firmly a thing of the past as my bus driver confidently affirms. As random Yorkshire trips are a more recent weekend activity, old Halton may well be on the cards...