I drive a handybus for the volunteer centre in Newbury and was asked if I would use one of the buses to deliver foodbank parcels in Newbury. So I took along Tony (another volunteer -the bus is big enough to allow distancing), first time was a trial of 12 deliveries the next was over 40.
This took some time ! A minibus is not ideal for delivering lots of goods packed in shallow trays. The first corner made us aware that we hadn’t tied down the trays as well as we thought and we had to stop and put stuff back in the trays.
Finding addresses was interesting, when you transport people they normally know where they are going and can tell you, whereas food parcels aren’t as helpful. The 4th delivery was in a block of flats, Tony disappeared into the flats and didn’t come back. I was getting concerned about an alien abduction but then spotted a yellow jacket some distance from the entrance behind a fence. Tony had taken the wrong turn, exited through a door and then realised he was in the garden and couldn’t get back into the flats. We rather hoped his fence climb wasn’t caught on CCTV.
Flats generally were an issue, a lot had been left with the doors open but in some you had to get let in which always seemed to be a problem. But even worse was an address that said Flat 3, 91A Bartholomew St (or similar). 91A turned out to be a closed Chinese chippy in a terrace, not a flat to be seen. After much investigation it turned out that the flats were in the back garden and were accessed through an unlabelled arch in a completely different road.
Tony was looking rather frazzled by this time, this wasn’t helped when we realised that we had an address in the pedestrianised area, all I could do was park as close as possible and send him on his way. Ironically his day job was as an HGV driver which of course didn’t involve much exercise.
Since then we’ve done a number of runs, and once you know where everything is it gets much easier. What did strike me was how many small houses and flats had been built as infill on gardens and just about any land that was available (and of course by splitting up larger houses). It was also evident that whereas Newbury looks prosperous on first appearance there are plenty of areas where that is not the case. In fact some deliveries where to the new apartment blocks built by the racecourse so I’m guessing that this lockdown has hit a lot of people quite hard.
But I shall now treat the humble delivery driver with a lot more respect (and maybe I could get a job as a Newbury taxi driver).