Today I showed a group of people from a conference round the MAGIC and GTC telescopes. I left my car at the residencia and got on their bus so that I could chat to them via the microphone as we drove along, which worked very well. Then as we left GTC I realised that a) they were probably going to the Roque and b) my car was still at the residencia, about a kilometre away.
Oh well, I thought. The exercise will do me good. Then I thought it would be more fun to go to the Roque, since it's stunning and I haven't been up there for a while.
As it turned out, they hadn't planned to go there, but liked the idea. After all, it's almost a sin to go up as far as GTC ( 2,300 m and 200 or more hairpin bends) without going the extra half-kilometre to the Roque itself. So up we went.
Now the bus park at the Roque is rather interesting. The bus backs in, with a decidedly attention grabbing drop to the left and behind the bus. You can hear the punters react, every time.
I now have a new bit of patter for these occasions. "Lady's and gentlemen, I have every confidence in our driver. He's done this several hundred times before, and I know for a fact that he's planning on going home tonight because he's got a family and everything."
It worked. I heard nervous laughter coming from the back of the bus instead of the usual gasps and small screams. I think I'll be using it again.