Where and when shall we go today?
You’ll find out when we get there, but I can promise you that we are going to have a wonderful time.
But somebody is missing!
Here he comes now: Howard and his five string guitar. His music is always perfect for our time-traveling coach.
“Don’t worry folks. I’ve got a full complement of six strings on my guitar today, and spares for all of them,” he cries out gleefully before he settles comfortably into one of the front seats.
It seems that a few people missed the bus last time, so they booked early for our second journey. They didn’t want to miss out on the excitement that we are sure to have today. Please welcome aboard Paul, Julz, Chick Piggy, Dominique, Hugh and the Faraday’s Candle Sisters.
The bus soon fills, but I’ll introduce some of the other passengers as we go. If we don’t leave Victoria Bus Station in London very soon, I can sense that we may have a riot on our hands. Strum that guitar, Howard, and off we go!
Within a few minutes the houses of west London are becoming a blur and our charabanc is morphing into something, well, let’s just say that it’s something a little older than the beautiful, air-conditioned, time-traveling coach that we were in when we left Victoria. But we all love the new shape and the feel of the ride.
This really is great fun!
And what is happening to the countryside? As the scenery gradually comes back into focus, we find ourselves crossing a huge iron bridge across a wide, muddy river.
“Wow! Take a look at that. It looks like a Mississippi paddle steamer,” exclaims Fiona, pointing excitedly towards the unusual craft.
“That’s because it really IS a Mississippi paddle steamer,” answers the Ordinary Wife.
“She’s right, Fiona,” says Almost Welsh Sarah. “This looks just like New Orleans as it was when I came here last year, but without the skyscrapers. We must have crossed the ocean and gone back several decades in the process.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” I announce, “Welcome to 1920s New Orleans. We’ll disembark in Decatur Street, and you’ll have a good four hours to take a look around. You’ll be able to sample the best music and food on the North American continent. At least in this era. Don’t be late back to the bus, unless you want to stay in the last century.”
And so it proved. A few hours later, as we made our way back through time and space, the passengers are chatting happily about the sights and sounds and tastes that they have experienced during our wonderful day out.
“The cuisine has a definite French foundation to it, but the Creole and Caribbean spice takes it up to unexpected levels,” states Bridgette.
“Wouldn’t it be absolutely wonderful if we could replicate those dishes when we get home?” adds Dominique, who was listening with interest.
“It was the best funeral you would ever see. A jazz band led the casket down the street.”
“We heard the most amazing young trumpeter I’ve heard in my entire life. I swear that he played notes that shouldn’t even be possible. We asked who he was, and they told us he was a poor boy from Storyville called Louis,” declares Boikanyo.
Charise backs that up with, “It just had to be Louis Armstrong; the one and only Satchmo. It couldn’t possibly have been anyone else.”
Howard, always the one to seek out a backstreet secret, had taken a whole crowd of his new friends to Bunk Johnson’s Club in Burgundy Street. Vonita, Jason, Rachelle, Michaela, Sassy, Amber, Steve and Allison had all witnessed the amazing piano-playing and voice of the young Emma Barrett.
“To think that, until Bunk spotted her jamming in a bar, she was just a barrow girl in the market place,” comments Steve. “Those songs of hers are so soulful, they brought tears to my eyes.”
“I think that they are much more than that. Maybe they’re even married. They’ve kept themselves to themselves. I overheard them speaking about their common interest and a desire to return to modern day New Orleans for the 2015 Marathon together. Perhaps they’ll come out of their shells a bit more on the next trip, if they come along.”
“Well, I’ll certainly be on the next one. These tours are amazing!”
As we pull into Victoria Bus Station at the end of the best coach tour to date, there is general consensus that “Lance’s coach tours are events that are not to be missed.” There is much debate about where and when they might go next. Somebody asks me the direct question.
“Ah! You will have to wait and see. I have a couple of good ideas, which I need to investigate further. Whatever I decide, I can guarantee you all that the next time my bus leaves 21st century London, we will be going much further back in time, and that we will meet a character who has influenced modern civilization for hundreds of years.”
Who wants to book a seat? Book now to avoid disappointment!
And you can choose where and when we’ll go by taking part in this poll.