Heard on the Bus…

The Nottingham vernacular can be a truly wonderful thing; it can also be entirely unfathomable and unlikely to people outwith the area. Just occasionally I hear statements which still take me aback and this was the case a few days ago when taking a bus home after a long day at work in the university.


I occasionally use a bus service that operates between the city of Nottingham, Mansfield and Chesterfield in Derbyshire. A lot of people from Mansfield in particular find the service useful for commuting to Nottingham, some fourteen miles to the south. As the rush hour approached, I settled down onto a busy, packed bus to head home. It’s impossible not to overhear people’s conversations in such circumstances and an interesting one soon struck up close by my own seat.

I’m an inveterate and incurable people watcher, I don’t mind admitting, I’m pretty curious about people and occasionally buses serve up fine fare for nosy people like me. One of the classic scenarios perhaps is the over-loud mobile phone user who appears to imagine that it’s necessary to shout through yet another puerile exchange in the mistaken belief that the recipient can’t hear them a few miles away via the aid of the latest Apple technology.

I’m sure if a ‘Glossary of Popular Mobile Phrases’ publication existed, the number one insertion would be ‘I’M ON THE BUS!’. We’ve all heard that one haven’t we. Closely followed by ‘I’M IN ASDA/TESCO/SAINSBURIES!’* This conversation however was not via the latest all-singing/dancing handset, no it was bellowed out for around sixty people sitting on a bus to listen to with great clarity. It concerned a young girl of around eight years, her young mum and her fortyish female friend. In tow was a little boy aged about three in his pushchair who at this point was honing a future burgeoning career in wanton vandalism by attempting to dismantle his buggy while his mum wasn’t watching.

Suddenly the little girl piped up, ‘MAM, WHEN WE HAVVIN US DINNOZ?’ (Trans: Dear mother, when will we be partaking of our evening meal, I am somewhat famished?).

‘WE GOOIN TUT TATTOO SHOP FOST!’ (Before our evening sustenance my child, we will be making a much needed visit to the tattoo parlour for yet another striking design to be permanently needled onto my skin).

‘YER AUNTIE’S HAEING IT, NOT ME!’, a further qualification rang out.

‘WOT YO EVVIN THEN AUNTEH? ARE YOU EVVIN A BOD?’ (Which design have you chosen to stamp on the three square inches of pink flesh still remaining? Might it be the dove of peace? Such a classic design for the discerning tattoo wearer, don’t you think?)

‘AM EVVIN ME BULLDOG!’ Auntie cried out in pride! Indicating that the time was long overdue for her to have England’s delightful ‘other’ national animal emblazoned across her person.

The conversation ground to a dull halt. In the meantime, junior in his stroller had practically demolished his only means of transport despite being warned of grave and violent retribution should he continue with this course of action. Well he was three. He was looking pointedly and mischievously at me as if to say ‘did you see what I did there? I’m going to be defacing Mansfield town centre in a few years you know!’

Very soon I stepped of the bus at my stop and not a moment too soon dare I add. I can tell you with some relief that the slight family scheduling issue was resolved and that they were all heading directly home for their ‘dinnoz’ as opposed to beating a path to the tattoo parlour and keeping the kids hungry as had been planned. Yes, that could wait until tomorrow. I wonder just how many pieces that buggy is in now?

*delete as applicable.

7 thoughts on “Heard on the Bus…”

  1. I just love Saturday’s Guardian ‘All Ears’ and I know I’ve heard similar conversations…

  2. I had a similar experience once while trapped in a broken down ski-lift gondola in France. Two Yorkshire lads were recounting an unrepeatably lurid story about goings on heard through the wall of their chalet bedrooms. It wasn’t until we eventually got out of the lift that they realised my friend and I were Scottish and could understand every word (well, dialect permitting). Imagine their surprise, etc…

  3. A broken down ski-lift gondola definitely trumps my story of a bus to Mansfield, Fraser! What a laugh that must have been. I’d love to have seen those lads’ faces!

  4. Classic! But I will say it for ‘The Mansfield Miller’ & the A60, they are preferable to the so-called ‘Robin Hood Line’.

  5. I once overheard one end of a mobile phone conversation on a bus, that went something like this:

    Girl on bus (very loudly): It’s what? How big? That sounds really nasty?

    Pause for reply

    Girl: I still don’t think it’s right. I think you should go to the doctors.

    Another reply

    Girl: Don’t be stupid; you can’t do that. Go to the doctors.

    The conversation continued in this vein for some time. I never did find out what her friend had but I’m glad I didn’t have one.

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