Posted by Peter 2 January 2010
Here is an article from the Guardian newspaper which you may enjoy. It is the story of a man who steals buses. Or, rather, he used to steal buses – he stole buses many times but he does not do so now.
Here are some vocabulary notes to help you:
A double decker is a double-decker bus, that is a bus with an upstairs and a downstairs. Many buses in English towns and cities are double deckers.
To be behind the wheel means to be driving a vehicle like a car or a bus.
Hot-wiring is a method of starting a car engine without using the ignition key.
Driving the buses out of the depot was a breeze means that it was very easy.
The man ditched the buses means that he left them at the side of the road.
He craved a bigger thrill means that he wanted to do something even more exciting.
He was arrested and got a suspended sentence i. e. the court said that he did not have to go to prison now, but that he would automatically go to prison if he committed any more crimes.
He pulled up means that he stopped the bus.
He was taken into custody means that he was arrested and taken to a police station.
Going to prison was a wake-up call means that in prison he realised that he could not go on stealing buses for the rest of his life.
Now he is living in the slow lane. The slow lane on a motorway is the part of the road on the left (we drive on the left in England, remember!) where slow lorries and other vehicles go. Living in the slow lane is less exciting but safer than living in the fast lane.
Have fun! There will be a new podcast in a few days
I used to steal double-deckers.
It first happened five years ago when I was walking past my local bus depot. As a child, I’d watched bus drivers in awe, wondering what it felt like to be behind the wheel. Now I was about to find out. One minute I was staring at a red double-decker
bus, the next I just jumped aboard. It was as easy as that. I started pressing all the buttons until I found the master switch and got the engine started. I knew it was wrong but it gave me such a rush.
As a teenager, everything I did was on impulse, I didn’t think of the consequences. I’d been living with foster parents since the age of 13 and a year later I’d fallen in with the wrong gang. They taught me how to steal, and soon I was hot-wiring cars with them.
It felt brilliant, and after a while I’d take cars by myself, just for the fun of it. The idea of taking double-decker buses was like moving up to the next level for me, a new novelty, more risky but more challenging, too.
Driving them out of the depot was a breeze, surprisingly simple. You could say I was a natural. I used to take them out for a spin around Portsmouth, where I was living at the time. I’d drive them at such speed that people waiting at the bus stops wouldn’t even try to flag them down, they just looked confused; it was obvious something was awry.
They didn’t realise at the depot that the buses where missing until days afterwards when I’d ditched them at roadsides. At one point I was taking two or three a day. Even then, I craved a bigger thrill, so I moved on to lorries.
I got a job working in a warehouse and one evening I looked in one of the boxes in the office and found all the keys – each one with the registration number attached. I drove one to Liverpool. It was huge – a 37ft-long, 22-tonne juggernaut, and I enjoyed driving it. I abandoned it somewhere in the city. At the warehouse they had no idea who’d taken it, so I didn’t lose my job.