Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Splash and dash

The premature end of racing on the North Coast meant an early and prolonged bus journey from Portstewart back to Coleraine; the normal 13 minute journey stretching to an hour.

And having been in the pub for a while, this posed a particular challenge for the notoriously small-bladdered me.

I was OK for the first 30 minutes or so. But the distant sight of the University of Ulster set off something deep within me. Put more simply, I feared I was about to add a new inside puddle to the many thousands that were now outside.

But it's not what you know, it's who you know. Or, more accurately in this instance, who my dad knew.

Cue Mark the Ulsterbus driver.

As we clambered onboard the bus at Portstewart Promenade, my dad's pal Mark asked him which of three hostelries he wanted to be dropped off at - the Railway Arms, Fairley's or Patsy's. A reputation to be proud of, I'm sure you agree.

So, as my bladder began to expand beyond what any man would regard as safe, I approached our man Mark and asked if it might be possible for me to momentarily hop off to spend a brief amount of quality time with a bush. I added that I would then attempt to catch him up and, if I managed it, would like to get back on. "No problem!" Mark announced.

And with that our hero opened the doors, I jumped off, found a hedge, transacted my business and hared back up the road in pursuit of the Ulsterbus.

A couple of minutes later, Mark re-opened the doors and I re-entered in triumph to smirks from my fellow passengers. One young man towards the back even gave me a small cheer.

Customer service at its best - Northern Ireland style.