I had a lot of thoughts for this CMMC – Some statues of English Queens perhaps. Or a couple of Chiltern Queens buses. I could have shown a couple of Squirrels but Cee has that covered and then there’s the Mushrooms growing in the garden! In the end, I’ve decided to go with some Public Houses šŸ™‚

The Public House is a part of British culture that finds itself under threat from changes in society over the last half century. Many Pubs have closed down – sometimes because the high street they used to serve has moved, taking the shoppers with it to another part of the town. That’s certainly true of East Finchley where the old Market Place is now a children’s playground and the two pubs that served the centre of the village pre-war are now long since gone. A couple of shops on the new high street have become pubs in their place – though in many areas, once the pub has gone, it’s gone for good. The Red Lion and The Dick Turpin serving my local area have gone and not been replaced – Here’s a photo of the ‘Turpin during demolition…

…However, there are still lots of pubs around. Celebration of the Monarchy is one of the commonest themes in pub names. The Rose and Crown, The Royal Oak, The King’s Head and The Queen’s Head are popular choices. We used to have a Queen’s Head in Church End, but that’s yet another pub that has closed and been repurposed. However, in New Barnet there is The Queen’s Arms…

…Staying with the royal connection, this is an unusual one, The Queen’s Head and Artichoke in Marylebone…

…An unusual combination! Reputedly the original ale house on the site was built by one of Queen Elizabeth I’s gardeners, which may explain the odd name. The pub / restaurant closed during the pandemic and is currently under builders sheeting – I wonder if it will re-emerge as a pub or if it has joined the long list of permanent closures.

Another popular theme in Pub names revolves around pagan customs and beliefs. The Green Man is common – we used to have one in Finchley but that has also gone – a community centre stands on the site now. There are lots of pubs which reference the Sun. In Notting Hill there is The Sun in Splendour – a pub I visited occasionally when I was working in the area as a young trainee but sadly don’t have a photo of. Instead, here’s The Sun Inn in Barnes…

…See, just when you thought there weren’t going to be any Buses… Oh, and there’s a brace of Bus Stops too! šŸ˜‰

A final Public House and another odd name, The Auld Triangle…

…This is a reference to the Harp – an indication of it being an Irish public house. Usually a sign of excellent Guinness. However, it was originally The Plimsoll Arms. It has changed ownership during the pandemic and will again be called The Plimsoll. On a Saturday, you’ll find it full of Gunners fans, because it’s close to the Emirates Stadium…

…I digress šŸ˜‰ Hope there’s enough Q’s and U’s in that selection šŸ™‚

I could hear the muted sounds of gaming machines and the occasional elated cry. We were in a small room out back of a casino – I’d asked Carmel to organise and I shouldn’t have been surprised in her choice of a venue on Shoshone territory. It made sense for us to meet here in a company central location – a very important announcement to be made and I wanted as many of the lead drivers and dispatchers to be present. I noted that there were some missing – notably John from the Olympia office – but I was pleased to see that many had made it either with rides on company deliveries or in their personal cars.

It was a great to see that Frank was there – a spotty faced youth that we employed as an accountant 6 months back. He had all the tickets to be a fantastic accountant and then he goes and demonstrates a natural ability to be possibly the best dispatcher ever… We’re left looking for an accountant again while he has control of our Colorado operation!

I swept the room further and spied Rodriguez hiding in a shadowed corner – His reflective shades gave him away! He’s one of our characters and is the lead driver for New Mexico. He never takes off his shades or his Stetson and his boots are pure western – he also chews an unlit cigar! Most companies have a uniform policy that he would never fit in with, but we don’t. As a big company that retains its small company persona, it delivers dividends – Rodriguez is known and loved by his customers and they keep coming back to us, so why would I ask him to change?

Our longest serving driver, Mille, is here too and I’m pleased to see her. She hung up her gauntlets a year back and took on the dispatcher’s role for Northern California and South Oregon. I note that she’s glowing – a child on the way, so the change is going well for her. Of course, that means we’re going to have a maternity leave issue sometime soon, but that’s going to be Jed’s concern because I won’t be here…

…And that’s the reason for this meeting…

I’ve been getting stale of late and I need to have a fresh challenge. I broached the subject with Jed a couple of months back – time for me to sell out and go elsewhere. Jed, being the level-headed one, talked me through it over some beers. There’s no need to sell-up at all, just create a division in the company. Jed always has an answer for everything! After much debate – it’s amazing how much ground you can cover in a couple of beer fuelled evenings! – a plan was formulated. Jed would buy half the company from me and I would start the new division. That’s what I’m here to announce and it’s a lot easier than saying “I’m leaving”…

So I told them the story. Republik of Bakersfield is no more – long live the King – The company will become Republik General Haulage. We’ve spread too far to be ‘of Bakersfield’ anyway! So, it’s just a change in name and no change for any of the employees – things carry on as normal… with one caveat. I will be setting up Republik Plant and Supplies. Over time the lowboy trailers and possibly some of the trucks will be transferred across to the new subsidiary. But to start with I’m on my own, which is just how I like it to be šŸ™‚

The announcement went down pretty well – I guess it wasn’t too much of a shock and maybe some of our employees know me a lot better than I know myself! I called Carmel to one side as the meeting broke up… “Would you be willing to come across in a few months time to be my dispatcher?” I asked, “You see I’m setting up in Twin Falls and that’s northern Shoshone territory – I’d really appreciate your expertise.” “I’ll see…” – well that’s about the most positive I’m likely to get from the ever enigmatic Carmel šŸ˜‰

The next day I moved into a dilapidated shed in Twin Falls. It wasn’t like home but I guess I can make it one and I fired up the first truck in our new division – say hello to Motown Dog…

Post script – Let’s talk reality – This is a change in American Truck Simulator that came about as a result of my split profiles experience in Euro Truck. The benefits of running 2 profiles outweigh all the complications. But in ATS it’s a little bitter-sweet. Bakersfield has always been my home – now, for my main profile it won’t be. Unlike Euro Truck, the expansions have made California almost peripheral to where the action is. Additionally, as I am specialising in general cargo and refrigerated loads in Euro Truck, going for open cargoes and machinery as dedicated loads in American Truck makes for a good contrast in my gaming experience šŸ™‚ Republik General Haulage still exist in my other profile, so I haven’t really left šŸ˜‰ ps – In Euro Truck my non-company profile is based in Stuttgart while my Company remains in our Montpellier home – that won’t change šŸ™‚