Only Fools And Horses

A Slow Bus To Chingford

INT. THE TROTTERS' LOUNGE. NIGHT. The lights are low. Rodney is seated on the settee with Janice. The record player is playing. Rodney You see, I mean, to me Janice, art, you know - art art, must by its very nature be self-indulgent, right. I mean as I said to, er, David Hockney once, 'The inherent element in all artistic contemporary mass appeal but rather one of personal symbolism.' Don't you agree Janice? Janice I dunno Rodney. Rodney Oh well, um, you know that's why I like talking to you, you're one of the few people who seems to understand me. Janice My brother Don paints you know. Rodney Really? Janice Yeah, for the council. Rodney No, that is cosmic Janice. No really - no that is cosmic that. That's probably why we have the same appreciation and understanding of true art. I mean, we have an affinity, an aesthetic bond, we are kindred spirits, Janice, seekers of beauty in a broken ugly world. Janice? Janice Yes Rodney. Rodney Get yer bra off. Janice I can't. Rodney Well of course you can, you must live and be free! Janice I can't Rodney, I'm not wearing one! Rodney Oh, well. He is about to move in for the kill when Del enters. Del It ain't half dark in here innit. (Switches light on) Oh put him down Janice, put him down, you don't know where he's been...Oh well, what we got going on here. Oh I'll have to drop off that - thanks. Here, look, we don't want all this rubbish on do we, eh? (Turns record player off) That's better. Oi Janice, mind his bruises won't you. Janice What bruises? Del He's covered in 'em, it's where the girls keep on pushing him away with 10ft barge poles. Oh dear, oh dear, that's better. Rodney You're in are you Del? Del Yes, yes, I'm in Rodders. Hope you've been behaving yourself, remember what I told you, not to do it on your own doorstep? Rodney We've just been sitting here discussing art that's all. Janice D'you like art Del? Rodney Oh yeah, Del used to be a cultural adviser to the Chelsea Shed! Del Yes, I like art Janice. I like art, I'm a Renaissance man myself. You know, I like them picture where the eyes follow you round the room. Rodney Last week, down the pie and eel shop, Del shook the international art world to it's very foundations by saying, quite openly, that Michaelangelo was a wally- brain. Del Well he was a wally-brain weren't he? It took him 12 years to paint one ceiling. That wouldn't do your brother Donald any good would it Janice, eh? Janice Well he's on bonus. Rodney I do not believe this, I'm gonna wake up in a minute! Del Here, look, I'll tell you another thing while we're on about it an' all. You know some of these artists you know, they're a bit sick if you ask me. Rodney What are you on about now? Del moves over to the sideboard upon which stand about 15 statuettes of the Venus de Milo. Del Well look, take a look at this right. Now this is a statuette of the world-famous Venus de Milo, right? Now who but the sick of mind would do a sculpture of a disabled person? Am I right Janice? Janice It's a bit sick innit! Del There you are. Rodney It weren't like that originally! Del No, no, no, this is the product of a twisted imagination this Rodney. Yeah here, talking of twisted imaginations are you still looking for a job? Rodney What in this country? Janice There's three million unemployed, what chance has Rodney got? Del Well, with his big brother looking after him he's got every chance in the world. Now take one of your purple hearts Rodney because I've got a surprise for you. I have managed to secure you for a position with a newly formed security company! Now they did want a man with previous experience and, as your last job was a milk monitor, I did have a bit of trouble persuading them but, however, I have managed to swing it for you. Rodney Are you putting me up Del? Del No, definitely, I've got a job for you Rodney! Rodney Hey that's great Del! Del Yeah, it's alright, you'll start off as a trainee NSO. Rodney No. Del Oh yes and who knows my son you know - you know, use your old filbert, keep your nose clean, a couple of years' time you could you could end up as a, well - I don't know - a senior NSO. Rodney Oh I will Del, I won't let you down son. Janice What's an NSO.? Rodney Oh don't be gauche Janice. What's an NSO.? Del They don't know they're born some of them do they? Rodney That's right! Tell her what an NSO is Del. Del An NSO Janice is a Nocturnal Security Officer. Rodney Yeah see it's a nocturnal security officer. That don't 'arf sound like a night watchman Del! Del It's nothing like a nightwatch- man! I mean yeah, yeah, you will have to work at night. Rodney And will some of my duties include 'watching'? Del No they won't, no I mean all you'll have to do is, you'll just have to - you know, you - you just have to well... keep an eye out. Rodney What is the name of this recently formed security company then? Del Oh well, you wouldn't have heard of 'em. Rodney Try me Del. Come on, let's have it. Del It's called...Trotter Watch! Rodney Trotter Watch, that's you innit? I'm working for you, ain't I? Del Yeah, you see the way I see it Rodney is that crime is a growth industry so I'm getting in while the going's good. It's a nice regular job - got a uniform - good wages. Rodney How good? Del We'll talk about that later. First of all let us try on your uniform eh? Del produces a blue serge jacket from a paper bag. The jacket is in fact a traffic warden's jacket. On the lapels are the initials 'TW'. Del (cont'd) Yeah come on, slip into. There it is. Oh look at that, colour suits you don't it, eh? Yes look at that fit, oh yeah, deja vu, it's like made to measure innit? Janice Yeah for someone else! Del Oh well the sleeves and that - well he'll grow into them. Don't worry about that, hey, let's have a look - that's it. Rodney (Indicating lapels) TW. Del That's right, stands for Trotter Watch. Rodney Could also stand for Traffic Warden though. Del Traffic well - yes it could, yeah traffic warden yeah. Rodney This is a traffic warden's uniform innit? Del It is not a traffic warden's uniform! Rodney You've got me done up as a bloody traffic warden! Del Look it is once and for all not a traffic warden's uniform! Now just trust me will you...Put your cap on. Del puts the cap on top of Rodney's head. It is blue serge with a yellow band round it. Del Well? Rodney I look like a traffic warden. I look like a traffic warden who hasn't been well! Del No you don't, you look stunning Rodders. Oh yeah, look at that, you're emitting authority all over the place. Rodney I'm not doing it Del. I don't want the job. Del Oh no, come on Rodney, you've got to do it, you can't let me down, I gave then your word. Rodney Gave who my word? Del The people down at the Tyler Street bus and coach garage. That's where you're gonna be based. Rodney No I'm definitely not doing it Del. Del Oh alright, yeah okay. Well of course if you're scared! Allemagne dix points, you could admit it, come on, Janice'll understand if yer bottle has gone. Rodney Me scared? You must be joking! Del Ah, that's the spirit, now I want you down there tomorrow night nine o' clock. I'm a stickler for punctuality right. Right then, I'm going to bed. Rodney Sorry Janice - Del By the way, your bondage robes there're in the garage - alright? And Grandad has washed your whip and he's put it in the airing cupboard. I don't think it's shrunk. Well I'll leave you two love birds alone. And shall I just say 'Buenos Aires'. Del exits. Rodney Janice he was only - you rotten git Del! INT. NIGHT. THE COACH GARAGE. It is a vast, dark, echoing cavern of a building. Del, all dressed up to the nines ready for a night out, and Rodney, now in the full uniform but still wearing plimsoles, walk from the office out into the centre of the garage. Del Well I'll leave it in your capable hands then Rodders. Rodney Yeah cheers realise this job's gonna mess up my love-life don't you! Del Yeah, that's why I'm giving you every second Sunday off, ain't I? Rodney Yeah but Janice is hardly gonna be happy with that is she? I mean while I'm down here at nights she could be going out with someone else. Del Now don't worry about that. What d'you think I'm all dressed up for like this, eh? I'm taking Janice out for a meal. Rodney You're taking Janice out?? Del Of course I am, for your sake, otherwise she might be going out with someone else! Rodney Yeah, yeah cheers Del. But if she's... Del Why are you wearing plimsoles? Rodney What? Del I said, why are you wearing plimsoles, don't you think they mar the overall symmetry of the uniform somewhat? Rodney I can run faster in these... Del You what? Rodney I mean give chase you know... pursue and detain sort of! Del No, nothing happens round here. It's as quiet as a grave. Well I'll see you in the morning then Rodders, take care now! Del exits. Rodney Yeah, don't worry about me Del, I'll be alright. Rodney hears the metal gates clang shut. He surveys the garage and begins whistling the tune to Oh Susannah. He hears the last two notes echo back. He whistles again and once more the last two notes echo back. He whistles the next line confidently and smiles to himself. But then he hers another whistle. Rodney, petrified, looks left and right then sprints like an Olympic champion. Del is at the gates of the coach depot laughing victor- iously. INT. DAY. THE TROTTERS' LOUNGE. Del and Grandad a cup of tea. Del Ah, here you are Grandad, there you go. Look at that. Look at that, eh? It's beautiful innit? Beautiful. It's gonna earn our fortunes this is Grandad! (Shouting) Come on Rodney it's ten to nine. Grandad I used to be a security officer you know, before the war. Del Blimey, do you mean to say that somebody actual trusted you with their property? It's like - like trusting a piranha fish with yer finger - or worse. Grandad Oh yeah, it was a big warehouse over Kilburn way, stocked everything from bedroom suites to kiddies' toys. Well, there was this fella used to work there, he used to arrive every morning in a big Wolseley car, he wore a camel-hair overcoat, kid gloves and he always carried a brand-new leather attaché case and he smoked expensive cigars. Well, call it intuition if you like, but I was suspicious of him. Del Yeah, why? Grandad Well he was only a sweeper-up! Del Cor, how do you do it Holmes? Grandad Anyhow, one night he was leaving I stopped him and I searched him and I searched his attaché case. It was empty. Still, unperturbed by this minor hiccup in my investigation. I stopped him and searched his attaché case every night for a whole year. Then he left. Del I wonder why? Grandad I don't remember. I think he claimed someone was victimizing him. No unions in them days see. Del No, well that is it - innit, eh? Grandad Anyway, a couple of weeks after he left the auditors come. D' you know what they discovered? We was missing 348 attaché cases! Del What do you mean you had been searching stolen gear? Grandad Yeah and I got done for it. Finger-prints. There's a moral to that story Del Boy but for the life of me I can't find it. Del I don't think I'm even gonna bother to look either Grandad. Rodney enters. Del (cont'd) Hello the son of the bride of Dracula. Here he is. Rodney What time is it? Del The time is nearly nine o' clock. Rodney Nine? I'm gonna be late if I don't get a move on. Del No, no, it's alright. There's no hurry - no - no, go on, sit down. Take it easy, that's it, go on. Let me get you a cup of tea, alright? Rodney Oh yeah. Del Here you go then. Rodney Are you still taking my part with Janice? Del Yes, don't worry, I won't let you down. Rodney Oh cheers Del...How am I doing? Del Very well, very well. Yes one more steak meal could crack it. Rodney Yeah? I haven't done this well with a girl for a long time. Grandad You're like me Rodney, I never ever found it easy to get girlfriends. Grandad slurps his tea from the saucer. Del I wonder why. Rodney Here it's still light out. It's broad daylight! Del Yeah, of course it would be wouldn't it, nine o' clock in the morning, what do you expect? Rodney Nine o' clock in the morning?? I thought it would be nine at night. I've only been in bed 20 minutes! What d'you wake me for? Del Sit down. Sit down. It's alright, alright, don't exaggerate, 20 minutes. Listen, I want to discuss something very important with you see. Rodney What could be that important, eh? I haven't got Janice into trouble, have we? Del Don't be silly, least I hope not. I want to talk to you see. No, listen now, this night security job of yours is merely a tiny part of my immaculate scheme. Rodney What immaculate scheme? Del The Tourist Trade Rodney. The Tourist Trade. Did you realise that over 2,000 are pouring into London every day? And I happen to know, despite the fact that tourism has never been so high, the coach party trade is falling off. Now, why you may ask, is that Del? Well, since you ask, I will tell you Rodney. The reason is yer average tourist gets fed up, don't he, of seeing the old places. Like the Houses of Parliament, Buck House, the National Gallery, er, you know. Once you've seen one Rubens, you've seen them all. Now this is where a dynamic person like me steps in. Rodney is dropping off asleep. Del (cont'd) Wake up while your brother's being dynamic! Rodney So, go on. Del Yeah, right, you see out there Rodney, out there is a new vibrant exciting London waiting to be discovered. Rodney Is there? Del Yeah of course there is. Ethnic London. Rodney Ethnic London? Del Yeah, yes, you know all those romantic places that you've heard about in fairy tales. You know the Lee Valley Viaduct, the glow of Lower Edmonton at dusk, the excitement of a walk about in Croydon, yeah, look what I've had printed. Del shows Rodney one of the leaflets. It reads: 'Trotter's Ethnic Tours.' Rodney Oh I don't believe this. Trotter's Ethnic Tours. What's all this squiggly stuff and the Chinese? Del The squiggly stuff - the squiggly - that is Arabic and the Chinese is Japanese. It's a well-known fact that 90 per cent of all foreign tourists come from abroad, so we've got to speak the lingo, ain't we? Rodney We? Del French I like it. Already you're picking up the lingo. It's what I call enthusiasm Rodney. Rodney I weren't speaking French Del, I meant what do you mean 'we'? Del We, us - you know, us - here you know - 'cos it's a family enterprise innit. Grandad, he'll sell the programmes, I shall be the courier and you, Rodney, you have got the best job of all 'cos you will earn a wage, hold tight everybody Rodney's coming, eh? It'll be another wage Rodney. Rodney I've already got a wage Del. Del Yeah but you can't afford to live on what I pay you, can you! Rodney I don't know Del, how much you paying me? Del Well not a lot, not a lot. You see I can't afford to. See, well I, I done a deal with the bus garage - what happened was I provided them with a nightwatchm...a nocturnal security operative, see, and they provided me with an open- topped bus. That saves the exchange of any cash. You know, stops any paperwork and... Rodney And income tax? Del Income tax yeah. Eh? Well, come on, what about it Rodney, a lot of work and effort's gone into this enterprise. I mean, Grandad, he was up town this morning at the crack of dawn distributing all those leaflets to every hotel, boarding house and hostel he could find. Grandad, he believes in this scheme, don't you Grandad? Grandad Ethnic tours, it's the most stupidest thing I've ever heard of. Del (To Rodney) See. Rodney Del you can't expect me to work all night then, in the morning, drive a bus load of tourists round ethnic London? I've got to sleep Del. My whole body is crying out for sleep. Del Yeah, yeah, I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll get you some assistance at the garage then you can have a kip, I'll get you, er, I'll get you an ex- police dog. Rodney An ex-police dog? Del Yeah, now do you fancy some breakfast? Rodney I wouldn't say no. Del Good, great, come on then, off you go, there you go - in there. He leads Rodney into the kitchen. Del (cont'd) While you're in there make me a bacon sandwich, alright? Grandad Where are you gonna get an ex- police dog from? Del I'll get him - I'll get him Nero. Grandad Who's Nero? Del Nero, Janice's corgi! DAY. LONDON BACK STREET. The coach is parked. The door to it is open and leaning against the side is a hand-painted sign that reads: 'Trotter'S Ethnic Tours. Departure Point.' Del appears at the entrance and looks up and down the street. Inside the coach Rodney is laid out on a seat fast asleep. Del We clearly stated on our leaflets nine o' clock was departure time. Here we are eleven-thirty , no sign of 'em! Grandad I've told you before no one will turn up. Del Yes they ill, soon as the word about it spreads, they'll be here in droves. No the only thing that worries me is, is a 59-seater bus gonna be big enough? Perhaps we should have had two, you know maybe three. Grandad A tandem would be too big. Del Leave it out will you. Grandad I'll bet not one single tourist arrives. Del I'll bet you, 50 quid they do. Grandad Right, 50 quid, you're on. Del Right then. Grandad Alright. Del Right. Grandad Right. Del Right. Grandad Right. Rodney Shut up you two will yer. I didn't get a wink of sleep last night taking that rotten dog for walkies...and what 'ave yer. That's a funny kind of police dog that Del, it saw a cat and run a mile. Del Ah well, cats aren't Nero's strong point. But show him a burglar and it becomes a tower of strength. Rodney Where's all the tourists then? I thought we'd be having an ethnic look round Chingford by now. Del Don't worry, they'll be here. Grandad Huh. Del Shut up you... Rodney How much you charging them for this tour then? Del 17 quid each. Rodney 17 quid for a walk-about in Croydon? Del Well that includes lunch don't it. Traditional doner kebab, something like that. Rodney A doner kebab. For 17 nicker I'd want Donna Summer. Del You would wouldn't you, you tight wad. No, these tourists, they don't mind splashing out, providing they're getting value for money. Del produces a couple of the Venus de Milos from a card- board box. Del (cont'd) Now look at that, they'll snap these souvenirs of Olde London up they will. That's a snip that is at a fiver a go, almost alabaster, you know. Rodney You're going to sell 'em models of a Roman statue now housed in the Louvre gallery Paris for souvenirs of Olde London? It's the Venus de Milo, Del. Del No, that is Boadicea that is innit? Rodney Boadicea rode round in a chariot with big swords sticking out the wheels. Del Alright, so she fell off her chariot. Rodney You're just trying to rip 'em off, aren't you? Del Au contraire Rodney, au contraire. No, I don't want to leave them potless. I want them to have some money in their pockets, at least enough for us to have a tip. Rodney As a courier what do you actually know about these places you intend to drag 'em to? Del Know? Nothing, which means twice as much as they know. Don't worry, I shall bluff 'em Rodney. I shall use the old spiel. If there're questions that I find a bit dodgy to answer, I shall just say I can't understand their English. Don't worry, it'll be a doddle. I mean, today I shall take 'em down Shoreditch and show 'em the house where Sherlock Holmes was born. Rodney Sherlock Holmes was fictional. Del Was he? Oh well, I'll just say his house was blown up during the war. Tomorrow I shall take them to the summit of Mount Pleasant. Grandad The summit of Mount Pleasant! Del What's the matter with you Grandad, can't you stand heights or something. Grandad Mount Pleasant hasn't got a summit. All it's got is a big post office sorting depot. Del Well that's ethnic innit, eh? We can give 'em a guided tour of the depot, you know show 'em the workers getting the most from our post. I should stay awake if I was you. They'll be here in their hundreds in a minute. NIGHT. LONDON BACK STREET/COACH. The voices are heard out of view. Del I'll take 'em over to North London, you know, show 'em where Jack the Ripper was buried. Rodney Nobody knows where Jack the Ripper was buried. Shall we give 'em another five minutes then go Del Del Yeah, alright. Take the bus back to the garage then you can begin your night shift, alright? I want you back first thing in the morning though. And don't forget to take Nero out so that he can do his business, alright? DAY. LONDON BACK STREET/COACH. Grandad approaches the coach carrying a tray containing drinks and a packet of crisps. He enters the coach and hands the drinks around. Grandad A pint of lager Rodney, they'd sold right out of Pina Coladas Del, so I got you a Mackeson instead. Del Oh that's good thinking yes, thank you Grandad. Rodney What are you going to do if the tourists start asking about the history of the places. I mean, say one of them wants to know how the Elephant and Castle got it's name. Del Well I'll just, once upon a time Richard the Lionheart or Coeur de Lion as the French used to call him - which he did not like one little bit - see where a little bit of intimate knowledge goes a long way in impressing people. Well, I'll say that he had a castle situated roughly near the roundabout. Rodney And what about the 'elephant' bit? Del I'll say er, Hannibal and his elephants lay siege to the castle and Bob's yer uncle. Rodney But Hannibal crossed the Alps. Del I know, on his way to the castles, and the natives who had never seen an elephant, they were sorely afraid. And that is how it became know in that area as the Elephant and Castle. Grandad If they'd never seen an elephant before how did they know it was an elephant? Del For Gawd sake Grandad, a elephant's a bloody elephant, innit? I mean you can't odds that! I mean, you can't look at an elephant and say, I know we'll call this place the Cow and Castle, you can't do that can you? Rodney But you're not telling them the truth are you? Del The truth? The truth, you're so naive, Rodders. The truth is only relative to what you can earn from a lie! Einstein. Grandad I'll tell you one truth that you won't earn a brass farthing out of. No one's gonna turn up. Del (desperate) They will turn up. They've got to...This time next year we'll be millionaires. Grandad You said that this time last year! Del You're eating, ain't yer? No. I wanted to do this for years Rodney. I always thought if we could make a success of it, that eventually we would go legit. You know, we would register the name Trotters Independent Traders as a proper McCoy company. I have this dream where you and I own this skyscraper office block on the South Bank. And we're standing on the balcony in a penthouse suite with a couple of sorts, Gabrielle, Bianca, bra-less but with class - here did you know your Janice doesn't wear a bra. Rodney Yeah, I know. Del Oh you know. Anyway we're in our penthouse full of rubber plants and pine tongue and groove - and we're sipping red drinks. And above us on top of this skyscraper in 50ft neon letters are the initials of Trotters Independent Traders! Good innit, eh? Rodney Triffic Del. Del They've got to come. My dream starts the way every success starts, with a big rip-off. Rodney Del. Grandad's right, no-ones gonna turn up. Del Yes they will, you wait and see. Rodney I think that dream of yours contains a subliminal message. Del Yeah, you what? Rodney A sort of subconscious truth. You see this skyscraper belonging to Trotters Independent Traders right! Del Yeah! Rodney And on the roof is the company's initials and you're standing on the penthouse balcony? Del Yeah! Rodney Well don't you see what the dream's trying to tell you? As you're standing on that balcony with your red drink - just above your head, in 50ft- high neon lettering, is the word 'Tit'. Del Come on, let's call it a day. Grandad You owe me 50 quid on that bet! Del Eh? Alright you old pessimist! Del appears at the coach door. He has one last longing look up the street. Rodney (Out of view) What about our wages then Del? Del picks up the sign which is leaning against the coach and carries it onto the vehicle. Del Oh yeah, I meant to talk to you about that! DAY. THE ESTATE. PARKING AREA. The coach pulls in and stops. Rodney climbs down from the driver's door. Del, carrying the sign, joins him. Del I thought that was going to be the big one Rodney. I thought I was gonna become the Freddie Laker of the highways. Rodney It was a nice try Del. Del Yeah, I don't understand it though, I just don't understand it. Grandad distributed a thousand leaflets, a thousand. You'd have thought that one, just one punter might have been interested. Still, as dear old Mum used to say 'Its better to know you've lost than not to know you've won'. Dear old Mum, she used to say some bloody stupid things... (indicating the sign) I'm gonna chuck this down the chute. Grandad Well that weren't too bad was it Rodney? I've had two days away from the housework, a nice little drink and I've won meself a 50 quid bet. Very nice, very nice indeed... Where's Del Boy? Rodney Oh he's just gone to chuck that sign down the dust chute. Grandad The dust chute? Oh my Gawd! Del comes away from the dust chute clutching hundreds of Trotter's Ethnic Tours leaflets. Del Grandad! Come here, you senile old parasite. Grandad It wasn't me Del, it was me brain! Del It was your - I'll brain you if I catch up with you. Come here. Get him! Oi! Del chases Grandad into the flats.

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