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ALOT of criticism has been heaped on Swansea's "bendy bus" and some of it by me. So imagine my surprise when I took a ride on the beast last week and actually enjoyed it.

Steve Dub in Carmarthen I still think the multi-million development costs and almost two years of disruption to the city centre were way over the top.

But after my car had to go in for an operation at a dealership in Plasmarl in the north of the city, I had to take the garishly purple "Swansea Metro" (as the council calls it) to pick it up.

This adventure started at another garage in Fforestfach where I had a long wait for my car's health problem to be diagnosed.

So I walked to the "nearest" newsagent.

We've been having what I call a classic British summer so far, showers, heat, rain, puffy white clouds against blue skies and occasional thunder and lightning.

So it was on a very hot, sultry day in Fforestfach I set out and walked, and walked and walked to find that newsagent.

The heat made everyone hang jackets on shoulders and the tar on the long, long road to the newsagent looked about to melt.

The heat radiated off the road and pavement, constant traffic only adding to the temperature.

I stopped a woman and asked where this newsagent was and this is when I realised how anything, and I mean anything, can become familiar even after just a few days (I am talking about the disastrous rubber fire at the old Mettoys factory at the western end of Fforestfach).

Dabbing her brow with a handkerchief, she told me: "Keep on going until you reach the fire and it's on your left."

I did get to the newsagent and I did get to the fire.

I don't know how locals have been standing it. I can still taste the burning rubber.

An hour later I got back to the garage to be told, where the customers were standing outside fanning themselves with leaflets, I had to take the car across the city to the dealers in Plasmarl.

The following day, after depositing it there, I rode the much talked about bendy bus to go and fetch it.

Turning up my nose at first, the first thing I noticed was that inside everything was quite cool, both in terms of temperature and style.

Outside the traffic was stacking up in the still blazing sun but inside all was calm, the chap taking tickets was pleasant and the bus roared past rows of drivers with loosened ties, open windows and fed up faces.

So, bendy bus, I sort of salute you.
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jul 5, 2011
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