"Today I go into hospital for another blood transfusion; the fourth in seven weeks. It's amazing what a difference in one's stride a few pints of fresh blood can make. I invariably walk into the hospital in the morning like an old guy and by teatime I bounce out like a young man on 'the pull'.
Speaking about 'Pick me up' experiences, I recently came across an old photograph on facebook which instantly took me back fifty years to the late 50s and early 60s. It is an image of the bus station in Cleckheaton, a place where the antics of our youthful night out on the town invariably ended.
The bus station used to be both pick-up and drop-off point for many a boy and his girlfriend; or occasionally where one secretly met the partner of another. If one didn't meet their new date outside the picture house (that's the cinema for you young ones), then the usual meeting stage was often under the clock or inside the waiting room of the bus station. The waiting room was invariably the place where relationships sometimes started and often ended (Remember the film 'Brief Encounter' of 1945?).
Behind the waiting room was the only dark spot where the beams of the arriving bus into the station couldn't quite reach. Consequently, it was the place where first kisses, last kisses, French kisses, heavy petting and all manner of goings on took place before the last bus home arrived in the station.
Indeed, one of my friends told the tale many times during his married life that had the last bus been on time that fatal night instead of ten minutes late, then he would never have had to experience his shot-gun wedding to his first and only girlfriend. Years later, he was still blaming the lateness of the number 67 bus for having curtailed his youth long before his time!
There are many occasions today when going through the town of Cleckheaton, I glance across at the bus station and think about happy days and nights of my wild youth. I have to admit that I also think upon the numerous affairs, forced marriages and relationship endings that the old bus shelter has contributed towards in its time by its very presence and 'away from the headlights convenience.'
The youngsters today rarely catch a bus. In fact, if truth be known, many a young man or woman wouldn't be seen dead on one. They just don't know what they're missing, especially on the back seat of the last bus of the night!" William Forde: November 12th, 2014.