Tim and I had always planned to go, but were given a real bonus when I was contacted on Friday by Ross Newman of Ensignbus, who told me my beloved MD60 was going to attend and would we like to go to the event on it. That seemed a good idea, so by 8am on Saturday I had the pleasure of giving Tim his first Ensign experience, which was typified by a burly fitter approaching us, breaking into a big grin, and making sure we had seen everything there was to see. That's what I love about the place. I know operators who make me take down anything to do with them, or depots where you may as well be met with a shotgun. I'm really happy Tim now knows I don't exaggerate about Ensign and their friendliness. Anyhow, our chariot was already in prime position, and soon Paul Almeroth, the Scania's Head Keeper arrived and did all the preliminary checks, and it was time to go.
|MD60 ready to leave Purfleet for Maidstone.|
We arrived at Maidstone in good weather for a change, and a showground already full of buses and visitors. As we pulled up the one other bus I was hoping would attend honed into view and my day was already complete. Former Maidstone & District dual purpose Leyland Leopard 2816, OKO 816G is another vehicle that holds personal memories for me, one journey in August 1983 in particular. Now owned by Seaford & District it is wonderful to see her looking so good. I tweeted that I needed Elaine Paige belting out "Memories" whenever I see her. I really do! Will anyone ever go as gooey over an E200MMC? Somehow I doubt it!
|Maidstone & District 2816|
|Ex M & D 3566|
|Reading Buses Levante FJ67 KJU|
|Ray Stenning taking questions after his lecture|
It was also good to meet up with my old friend (older than me by 8 months and always will be) Matthew Arnold of Stagecoach Southeast, and also Kelvin Pinnock, owner of stunning Volvo Ailsa 5385. Actually the green machine wasn't the only Ailsa in attendance, as former London Transport Ailsa V3 was also present.
|Ex M & D Volvo Ailsa 5385|
|London Transport Ailsa A103 SUU|
|Jersey Leyland Titan SV 6107|
And finally a couple of buses with East Anglian connections. Firstly ex First Norwich and Essex Scania 65586, now part of the Ipswich Transport Collection.
And finally ex Lothian and Ipswich Buses President SN51 AXF, now with Nu Venture of Maidstone.