The old bus stands in a field beside the Westbound carriageway of the A12 just before the Foxall roundabout. I’ve driven past it a thousand times. I’ve never stopped.
How differently life might have turned out if I had.
The circumstances which led me there today are too mundane to think about – a door handle, taking something back to the gym: This stuff doesn’t matter – but it did all put me on the A12 going west at lunchtime.
And at that moment the Bus Cafe hove into view.
It’s an unusual experience: You park in a lay-by and go down some steps into the field and then step up into the bus as if you were on a pensioners’ outing. There is a doormat at the top by the driver’s cubicle – and then a concertina door… and a different world.
With tables for two down one side and tables for four down the other, a kitchen at the end and a Calor heater to make the whole place cosy, it was a revelation.
Also, contrary to the impression that might be gained from a name as unprepossessing as “The Bus Cafe” it was all scrupulously clean.
This led to a conversation with the young man plying the spatula – which progressed to me into asking if he wanted to win a Mini or £10,000 and filling in the form.
Next, he looked at the piggy card and picked his “number one priority”.
By the time my lunch was ready, we were half way through a Martini presentation.
When I had finished the half-day breakfast, we carried on where we’d left off and I collected the number for his first distributor.
I’ve just called this guy. He turns out to be a gardener (aka entrepreneur) who liked the sound of what I had to offer. He’s now checking out the website while I ring his three friends. It will be interesting to see how far this string stretches.
And all because of a change of plan…