#ChallengeCompleted: The Ghost Bus Tour
When? Wednesday 25th January
Nominated by: Portland
#ChallengeKate is officially off the ground – my first Challenge has successfully been completed!
My colleague Portland challenged me to hold her hand on The Ghost Bus Tour, an alternative London sightseeing trip billed as ‘taking you around the darker side… providing a spooky theatrical experience you’ll never forget’.
A chilly, dark January evening seemed the perfect time to board the bus: a classic 1960s Routmaster, once part of a 19th century fleet of private funeral buses. While looking like a regular double-decker (albeit with ‘spooky’ paint job), the upstairs deck – where we chose to sit – boasts red velvet curtains at each window and facing pairs of seats, between which is a small table bearing an old-fashioned lamp. It all created a wonderfully eerie atmosphere.
We were welcomed on board by the conductor, a young lady who produced a spectre-acular (see what I did there?) performance of someone obsessed with gruesome deaths, grizzly ghosts and all things spooky and supernatural quickly – a talent proved to be equalled by her knowledge and recall of historical facts and figures.
While we waited for other passengers to board, the driver – dressed in a skeleton onesie and disguised by a blinging skull mask – snuck up on people and made them jump. I was facing the stairs so had a clear view each time he made his way silently up the aisle. Portland, however, sat facing me, was an easy target for scaring. Three times the driver and conductor between them had succeeded in making her leap !
The Conductor kept up a thoroughly engaging commentary throughout the 80-minute or so ‘frightseeing’ tour, pointing out places of interest and recounting their tales of hangings, torture, murders, hauntings and all manner of other strange goings on.
There was a smattering of smutty innuendo (describing Nelson’s column as ‘a large erection with a little seaman on top did, I confess, make me titter), but the tales were always based in fact – such as the true story of the ghost of Scratching Fanny of Cock Lane (Google it). We discovered places of executions, murders, hauntings and more. Who knew, for example, that the statue of Sir Winston Churchill in Parliament Square has a light electric charge running through it to keep the pigeons off? Or that his cigar was removed to stop the pigeons using it as a perch and pooing on his face…?
The commentary was punctuated throughout the tour by a vignette acted out brilliantly between the conductor and another ‘cast’ member, running up and down the stairs and aisles and sharing dialogue with the Conductor. The scenario split our attention brilliantly between points of interest outside and the story taking place on board the bus. I won’t spoil your fun by revealing details.
OK, I admit I wasn’t scared. But I was amused. Very amused. And entertained. And I’ve learnt a few more new facts about London, which is always a wonderful thing.
Thank you, Portland, for a great first Challenge!
More #ChallengeKate proposals have come in – click over to my page listing The Challenges to see what I’ll be up to next. And don’t forget to send my your own #ChallengeKate!