BIRDS EYE VIEW
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BY THE HAWK
• Variations on a theme have inspired the best of us, from Raclunaninov to emulsion paint manufacturers. We at Commercial Motor are no slouches in the art of esoteric mind games either, mind you, and last week's Leyland Daf link-up sent us into a frenzy of creativity.
The theme was how many anagrams could we make out of the new company name. Leyland Daf, we feel sure, will position its new factory in a FLAYED LAND, being the sort of masochists who enjoy ekeing a precarious living from the truck industry.
Perhaps the more uncharitable amongst you might consider the union of the two companies a sort of Dastardley and Muttley combination. We prefer to think of them as DEAF 'N' DALLY.
Distributors sited near airports will doubtless call themselves DEAL AND FLY, and the pessimistic will be attracted to FALL AND DYE.
Either way, the contract has been signed and the bird is home to roost — A LANDED FLY indeed.
Instead of doodling on your blotter, you might care to think up a better anagram. If you do, don't be shy: we have it from the horse's mouth that a Leyland Daf executive, DAN FLED-LAY, would love to hear from you.
But don't choke on your DEADLY FLAN while working on it . . .
• A PSV operator's life, it seems, is not always a happy one. After cooling their heels for two hours at a bus stop in downtown Stretford waiting for a 253 bus, irate passengers (or in this case non-passengers) were evidently enraged by the untimely arrival of a number 255.
The entire queue marched round in front of the bus and refused to budge until the hapless driver had radioed to call up the long-lost 253. Determined folk, those Mancunians.
Mind you, such action could be seen as a logical extension of deregulation. Many moons ago a school chum (yes, even the Hawk was a schoolboy once upon a time) came up with what could be called bus democratisation. This proto-anarchist, for no apparent reason, thought up a scheme that entailed a strawpoll of bus passengers at every crossroads to decide whether the majority wanted to travel left, right, or straight on.
Combined with the fast-expanding dial-a-ride network, enfranchising PSV passengers would certainly be another step in letting passenger demand mould service supply . . . and would add a delightfully Dali-esque aspect to our normally humdrum PSV industry, methinks.
• Did the earth truly move? Yes indeed: about 90 metres. It seems that one Edward Armal of Swadlincotes, Yorkshire was busily engaged in kissing his girlfriend goodnight in the time-honoured fashion, while parked in front of her house when a passing artic smashed the car and its amorous occupants halfway along the street and disappeared into the night.
The couple needed hospital treatment after crawling out of the wreck; the police are still trying to track down the lorry driver and say: "The driver may well have hit the car in a moment of inattention." A choice example of understatement, don't you think?
The young lady is now back at work . . . with a local haulage company.
El Doubtless equally romantic, but possibily more businesslike is Michael Hendrie, chairman of Stonefield, of Strood in Kent.
While on his honeymoon in the Far East, an after-dinner chat turned to the subject of CVs. One thing led to another. The three-week honeymoon was extended to two months for high-level government negotiations (the canny business man is not saying which government, exactly) and now Stonefield could have netted a 15-year contract to supply 6,000 two tonne trucks worth a cool £150 million. Did the new Mrs Hendrie complain? Are you kidding? With an unexpected two-month honeymoon in the Far East? Should the Hendries decide on a romantic springtime visit to the tulip fields, Daf had better look to its laurels. .
MI If you thought our boys in blue sometimes lack the quality of mercy, spare a thought for the two East German lads who risked their lives to find freedom in the West by smashing through the Berlin Wall in an HGV, and fell foul of the West German Polizei.
Their specially-reinforced lorry was laden with gravel to give it extra inertia as the brave pair burst through three gates and a steel barrier at the infamous Checkpoint Charlie, amid a hail of Eastern Bloc bullets.
I am pleased to report that they completed their one-way trip in one piece — but now face up to five years in the clink for traffic offences including driving through a red light and (possibly to avoid large numbers of bullets heading their way) swerving on to the wrong side of the road.
One wonders if they remembered to fill in the centre field of their tachograph before setting out?
• Following my colleague's disparaging reference to lady drivers in last week's column, I was hoping to avoid any more references to the driving foibles of the fair sex.
Sorry, ladies, I can't resist passing on the tale of a Devonshire lass who drove into her local garage to show them how well her driving was coming on and mistook the accelerator pedal for the brake. Well, it could happen to anyone, couldn't it?
Her momentary lapse left a Granada, Cortina, Talbot and Toyota with an aggregate V,500-worth of damage: the garage proprietor is proving himself a real gent by keeping her name a secret. "I think woman drivers are wonderful," he says, "so long as they don't learn on my forecourt".