Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Coolangatta Sands

What a difference 18 Months can make. The above photo was taken April 06 and the one below today. It's changed inside as well. It used to be, to quote a customer, a real pub. There were Rugby League Shirts and photos of teams going back to the 1950s that had gone on tour to the UK and the furniture was old but comfortable.

Now it's all chrome and concrete and reminds me of a train station waiting room with a TAB in it. Sorry Coolangatta Sands but you are no longer in my top ten favorite pubs. I am also sorry to say the a couple of pubs in Sydney have dropped out of the top ten for the same reason. Please some one, save the Aussie Pub before it is too late and they all turn into Train Station waiting rooms.

By the way, the last photo was taken from Coolangatta at Point Danger. Sorry Jeff, I was at least 2 feet away from Twead Heads.

Nasty Letter 1 About the Blog

Nasty Letter 1 About the Blog.
About how Christina Ratcliffe mis read a tour of a bus as "a tour on a bus" I was in Australia and took a picture of the Cook Memorial on the boarder of New South Wales and Queensland and offered a prize of a free tour of one of our buses to the first person who told me where the photo was taken.

I was told we don't do "free" at Stagecoach.

It was only when I got the letter after the interview I realized the Depot Manager, C Ratcliffe had though I was offering a free tour ON a bus where as I was offering a free tour OF a bus. A free tour of a bus would go something like this. " This is the door, the big round thing is for the driver to hold onto while going round corners so he doesn't fall out, this is the seating area done tastefully in mostly blue cloth upholstery which is better than the post modern plastic of the eighties. These are the stairs which you can use to go upstairs Etc, etc.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Still On Holiday

Still on holiday, the usual prize of a free tour round one of our number 12 buses to the first person who can tell me where I was standing when I took this photo.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

London Transport in the Blue Mountains

I had a day out in the Blue Mountains yesterday and this bus turned up. London Transport get everywhere. It did have Atlantian on the back.

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Stagecoach bus services are wonderful.

Stagecoach bus services are wonderful. I mean on Sunday I got on this 31 at 11 am, the driver asked me where I was going and I told him Sydney and at 9 pm UK time on Monday I was in Sydney.

OK. Ok I did get a National Express to Heathrow and then a Boeing 777 to Singapore and on to Sydney and then a Sydney City train out to Eastwood but the trip started with the 31 seen here. It's warm (24C) and sunny here. I tried to take a photo in the Cactus Garden at Singapore Airport but the humidity was so high the camera lens fogged up.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Going Away

Well it's Sunday morning and I am just about to go down to Cary Parade bus stop to catch a 31 to the coach station on the first leg of a 33 hour journey to Sydney.

Next post will, i expect be from Sydney.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Lost Property?

No need to go to Lourdes for the miricle cure, just get on one of our buses.
Seriously though, how can you get on a bus with a set of crutches and forget them when you get of?

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Bus Queues

A question about bus queues. Why do certain bus queues manage to block the pavement? In some places the queue forms parallel to the edge of the pavement leaving plenty of room for passers by to pass by. But here on the Debenham's side of the strand all the bus queues form at right angles to the pavement and as soon as there are more than 15 people there the way is blocked. It's an X46 they are waiting for, my X46. I hope it gets here soon or the end of the queue will be in the men's department in Debenham's.

Second question. Spot the police car. It isn't one of ours, it has the web address of Sussex Police on the side so either they are in a long distance, high speed chase (not very successfully for all the high speed gear) or the have come along the coast for a day out. Believe it or not there are actually two policemen in the car, which is a Lotus, model not known.
One more duty to do then away on holiday for 3 weeks 2 days. I think I will got to Australia. Having mentioned that, here is a 3rd question. I was looking at the Sydney Train timetables to see how long it would take to get from the Airport to Eastwood where my sister lives and I noticed that the times are still in 12 hour clock when just about every where else uses 24 hours times in bus and train timetables. I just wondered why.

Exciting Days?

Some days are really exciting. Some..... well mundane is the only word that springs to mind. Up to Exeter, arrived a few minutes early, left on time. Got to Torquay 5 minutes late but left on time. Back to Exeter, arrived a few minutes late but left on time. Down to Paignton, arrived 10 minutes late, well there are still road works in Livermead and it was rush hour when I left Exeter. Back to depot for lunch (at 19 05!). Then a round trip on 34. Left on time, arrived on time. Back to depot, cash up, down to main road to catch bus home; but, handy, an other driver was just taking a bus down to town so I got a lift with him and arrive home 15 minutes early. Don't let the Traffic Commission know. Like I said mundane.

Only 2 more days and then holidays for 3 weeks 2 days.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007


I have tried to avoid using word verification in the comments section, it makes it harder to leave comments and I love most comments but over the last week I have been hit with over 60 spam comments.

I will remove the word verification it in a few days.

Sorry for any delays in your journey.


X46, The Exeter Express.

The conversation with that nice allocations controller went something like this,
"You know the X46 don't you?"
"Yes, just about."
"Good, you're on it next week. OK?"

So yesterday I did, for the first time in about 2 years, the Exeter Express. The first trip up to Exeter I did was lunch time. No problem with that. It all looked familiar all the way to the County Town. Actually only the stretch out of Torquay is busy, after Penn Inn it is a duel carriageway with few bus stops all the way. I didn’t pick anyone up but kept an eye one for the stops. I haven’t been there all that often, mostly on the 85, also known as the coast route, a completely different kettle of fish. Then back to Paignton load up and start the trip of back to Exeter but I change drivers at the depot for my break.

After lunch, a school run, Cuthbert Mayne in Hele to Paighton running as a 30B. Only one difficult passenger who got on at Livermead and wanted Tweenaway. I explained that I didn’t go anywhere near Tweenaway so he opted for Paignton Bus Station. When we got to the bus station and all the children got of he was still sitting there demanding to be taken to Tweenaway. He wasn’t moving from his seat till the bus got to where he wanted to go. I told him he could sit there if he wanted but the bus was going to Exeter, then back to the depot for the night and if he was lucky might end up as a 12A the next day and so take him to Tweenaway. He got off. Once more back to Exeter. Not many people on and good time was made up to the Penn Inn Roundabout. By now it was getting dark. I had never been up this road in the dark and it all looked different, especially going through Peamore. I knew there was a stop somewhere but not exactly where. I did notice it as I went past. Only because there was someone dressed in very dark clothes jumping up and down and waving franticly in the streetlampless stretch of road where the bus stop has been placed. Two hundred yards up the road there is a petrol station illuminating the road but not where the stop is. I stopped a 60 yards down the road and a young lady came running up. “I’ll have to get on of them yellow jackets” she said. I nodded and headed on to town.
On the way back I came onto the A380, the road not the airbus, at Kenford. I also knew there was a stop here at the side of the road. Once again there is a petrol station illuminating half of Devon, unfortunately not the bit with the bus stop in it. Again frantic waving and jumping up and down attracted my attention, getting a bus out here is like going to aerobic sessions, and I managed to stop a little distance down the road. This passenger was dressed from head to toe in BLACK, just what you need to be wearing on a dark night at the side of an unlit road when you are waiting for a bus. A bit further down the road approaching Ideford Dip the bell went. This stop is hard enough to see in the day light, no chance here so I asked the bell ringer to come forward and give me a few clues. Which he did. Then on with out any more drama to Torquay, Paignton, the depot and home. Only four more days to go. Then holidays for 3 weeks and two days.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Is This Why The Work Is Expected To Take 39 Weeks

Below is a press release from Torbay Council regarding development of a new business park in Paignton.
We all though it was just repairing the road down to the college. Now it seems it is a little bigger than that. I expect when they have spent 9 months building the business park they will dig up Long Road for a few weeks just to make us feel better.

For Immediate Release
Milestone for Torbay as work starts at White Rock
Work is due to get under way this week (Wednesday 31 October) at one of the most important sites earmarked to drive forward the future economic growth of Torbay.
Builders and highways engineers are starting site preparation and work to build new roads and services as the first stage of a high quality business park development at White Rock, in Paignton.
White Rock will provide more than 40,000m2 of much-needed offices on a new business park which is expected to create 2,000 jobs for Torbay. The start of work comes after the South West of England Regional Development Agency (RDA) announced earlier this year it would invest £2.9 million to buy land and bring forward the development of initial site infrastructure in partnership with Torbay Council.
Landowner McAlpine and developer Abacus have also committed £3.5million to the White Rock project and it has also received £3.5million from EU Objective 2 funding.
Nisbett of Plymouth have been employed by Torbay Council as quantity surveyors and project managers for the contract with South West Highways Ltd of Exeter carrying out the infrastructure works including clearing and preparing the site and installing new roads and sewers. The work is expected to take just under a year, during which time the developers will be preparing detailed plans for the redevelopment of the site.
James Wilson, Operations Manager for the South West RDA, said: "The start of work at White Rock is a major milestone for a project which has been recognised for several years as being key to Torbay’s economic future.
"White Rock is an important part of our work with partners to unlock the business potential of Torbay by putting in place the right infrastructure to create good local jobs, attract investment and create long-term economic and social benefits locally and for the wider region."
The Mayor of Torbay Nick Bye said: "This latest announcement is fantastic and really puts Torbay on the map with the potential to attract significant investment into the area and provide much needed jobs.
"Torbay needs to embrace new ideas and encourage higher value job opportunities if we are to realise our vision of economic prosperity for the area. This is reflected in the new Mayoral Vision "The New English Riviera" which encourages us to be ambitious whilst also protecting our traditional industries associated with tourism and our beautiful location.
"Once again the RDA has demonstrated its confidence in the future of Torbay and it reflects the strong working relationship that they have formed with the council and local partners."
Cabinet Member Councillor Derek Mills said: "I am delighted work has got underway at this site. The council and its partners have always had the vision that the Business Park would be a great base for private sector investment and enterprise. Now local people can see that things are really starting to happen.
"With the new innovation centres at Lymington Road and South Devon College things are really on the up for Torbay and this latest news is a fantastic boost in our fight to turn the Bay's fortunes around.
"Over the next few months South West Highways Ltd will be preparing the site and carrying out excavation works. It is inevitable that there will be some distruption to traffic in the area during the works and we will endeavour to keep local residents and commuters up to date with the progress and necessary arrangements. I am confident that the long term gain of such a development will outweigh the short term inconvenience and would kindly ask that people bear with us."
The decision to invest in White Rock is part of the RDA’s commitment to supporting economic regeneration and development throughout Torbay and as part of the Agency’s wider agenda, The Way Ahead, which looks at the growth and improvement of the region’s major towns and cities
The RDA has already supported projects such as the new South Devon College, Lymington Road work space and Torquay’s harbour regeneration, with more projects in the pipeline such as Brixham regeneration.

Photo opportunity
The Mayor of Torbay Nick Bye will be accompanied by, Mike Yeo, Strategic Director for Community Services, James Wilson, RDA and representatives from Abacus at the White Rock site on Wednesday 31 October at 10.30am to help dig the first foundations of the site.

For further information please contact: Nicola Moorhouse, Communications Officer on 01803 208850

Working Shifts

Friday night just before I went to bed I set the alarm clock for 06:41. I had only got home from work at 21:45 so I did a little calculation and worked out that I would have been home 8 hours 56 minutes before I would have to get up again to catch the 07:25 bus to go back to my second home. Lots of people have a second homes down here in the South West, they give them nice names like Dunroaming and Inglenook or Pirates Cottage. Mine is called the Bus Depot, Regent Close. Anyway, in the 8 hours and 56 minutes I spent at home I got changed, had some supper, a brief chat to my partner, watch a bit of telly and set the alarm clock. Then, hopefully a good nights sleep. At 06:41 it didn't really feel like a good nights sleep.

Still of to work, I got there 10 minutes early, if I get the later bus I would be 10 minutes late. I would not have minded an extra 10 minutes sleep but I like being late even less. Because I had a few minutes before going out I was called as a witness. One of my colleague’s name had come up for a random drugs test. No don't worry, the depot isn't used at night by drivers for mad rave parties where everyone parties till the small hours of the morning before going out on the road in an 11 tonne bus. Most bus companies conduct random drink and drugs tests just to reassure themselves that we aren't actually using the depot as mentioned above. Which we aren't. Actually my staying up all night days are long gone, so for all I know there might well be all night parties in the depot. No body has ever told me differently. My colleague tested negative and away we went.

As I went out I wondered if there was a test to see if drivers had had enough sleep. Actually there is. It's called the Red Traffic Light test. You have to stop at a red traffic light and if you don't pull away when they change to green and there are snoring sounds coming from there driver’s cab you have failed. I managed to pass this test OK.

Rest of the day was busy for the first Saturday in November, crowds of people in Fleet street, very sunny and warm.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Photo of a Couple of Police Persons

He should have checked his zip before the photo shoot!

When I went to the Herald Express recently I asked the reporter if I could read through the article before they printed it just to make sure there was nothing in it that would
embarrass either me or the company. The reporter said no, that's not our policy. Now I have turned into a john. I wonder what PC On The Back Of a Bus gets called.

Thanks to Dave at cimba7200.blogspot.com for the photo.