It’s not the sort of thing you do on a whim but back in 2006, very spontaneously, I bought a London Routemaster double-decker bus.

This surprised me as much as it did everyone else.

I’m the sort of person that ponders long and hard on which type of kitchen roll to buy. And then walks away 20 minutes later without buying one.

So to go out for a pint of milk and come back with a double-decker bus wasn’t exactly what was expected.

But life is full of surprises and when I got her home I had to think what to do with her.

First thing I crossed off was the idea of picking up strangers, driving them along an advertised route and dropping them off at the other end. Stopping along the way to let people off and on. What a ridiculous thing to do with a bus.

Once I got that absurd notion out of the way, a myriad of other possibilities opened up before me. No sooner had I began to ponder these than I found myself in the driver-seat heading north for the Edinburgh Festival .

The passengers on board were a motley collection of poets, performers, dancers, hipsters, jokers and general show offs. All of which made up the cast for the venue we ran on the bus that year. The routemaster had become Dr Roberts Magic Bus.

After that the bus popped up in Manchester, Bristol, London, Norwich, Birmingham.

When I got the job at Firstsite I had the splendid idea of painting her gold and sitting her outside as extra seating for the cafe! Problem was she didn’t really go gold, after the paint job she emerged as a kind of mustard. Not a good look for an old London bus.

We parked her where we thought she was safe in the old bus depot while we thought what next for our beautiful bus. But she wasn’t safe. Far from it.

She has been systematically vandalised, every window, I mean every window has been smashed, even the speedometer dial. She sits battered, defaced and forlorn.

But hope it’s at hand in the form of the Aviva Community Fund! If you vote for us we can access £25,000 to make her beautiful again. Operation bus restoration has begun.

Please vote for us! Go to ‘Aviva Community Fund”, register to vote and search for “Colchester Arts Centre”. You get 10, that’s right TEN votes each.

Any problems voting call me directly 07814 695598. Hold very tight please. Ding ding.