Saturday, 22 May 2010

Part Time Coach Driver?

Been a busy week. Monday was an easy day on paper, a trip up to Gordano services just south of Bristol, according to my satnav 90.4 miles. I had 25 passengers all returning to their homes in the West Midlands. I don't take them all the way, just to Gordano. There I meet a coach coming down from the West Midlands and usually we just swap coaches. First problem was the flashing 50 mph advised max speed sign about 20 miles before Bristol. Not much happened for about a mile then I noticed a truck carrying bricks was wedged on to the south bound side of the central crash barrier. I also noticed it was facing north. For the next 3 miles I could see traffic going south slowing down. Usually a big queue of traffic going the other way on a motorway is of little concern but in an hour and a half I would be back with 55 passengers heading for Torquay. Maybe it would be clear by then. Fingers crossed. Then in the coach park at Gordano I was told by my colleague from the Midlands that we would have to do a baggage swap. He had fifty five suitcases plus a wheelchair and a trolley to move. I only had 20 cases in my coach. Not the best way to spend lunch time on a motorway service station.

Anyway, the crashed truck had been moved by the time I got back to the place where it had had it's little run into the crash barrier. The barrier was a little bent but had survived.

Tuesday was trip to Plymouth with a stop at Endsleigh Garden Centre on the way and Lee Mills for a whisky tasting on the way back. I don't join in with the whisky tasting for obvious reasons. It was sunny in Plymouth but a cool wind took the edge off the day.

Wednesday included a trip to The House of Marbles which most enjoyed, Trago Mills where a lot of money was spent and then on to Buckfast Abbey for a bit of spiritual uplifting. Supposed to be a half day trip but still took 6 hours due to traffic problems all over the place. Please Mr Cameron, can we have a by pass round Kingskerwell?

Thursday was a long day, started at 9 am with an other trip to Gordano and back just like Monday. I had been assured there would be no baggage swap. There was a baggage swap. At least it wasn't raining. Then back at the hotel by 2pm and home for a few hours before a trip to Babbacombe Theatre in the evening. While the guests are enjoying the entertainment I go and refuel the bus. It usually takes about 250 litres of diesel, glad I don't have to pay the fuel bill. Mind you I do get to keep the Green Shield Stamps.

Friday an other trip out. 35 of the guests decided to see what Teighnmouth and Dawlish and Exeter looked like. And it was the hottest day of the year so far. And we crawled home from Exeter, broken down truck on Telegraph Hill, a long tail back at the Penn Inn roundabout and ages to get through Kingskerswell. Please Mr Clegg, can we have a by pass, I did vote LibDem.

Saturday is a day off, except for taking Hector and Ginger to see the vet. Always fun.


Anonymous said...

i guess your moaning about this smash

Mustang Key Chains said...

Nice its very good post.,

bouncertqy said...

Hello All

It would be interestimg to know what time you went through Kingskerswell because I have gone through mid Saturday Morning on the X46 and returned on an ealy evening No.12 same day and there were NO HOLDUPS.

David Banks said...

I hit the Kingskerswel Crawl at 15:35 on Friday.

Thanks to the reader who sent me the link to the truck smash. Picture on next post

Lord Hutton said...

You get to go to all the best places. Why do people want to go to Trago?

Anonymous said...

Inevitably Trago will not suit all tastes and I am not a great lover of the main shop complex. But I probably don't warm to any shopping area!

However to be fair the outdoor recreational facilities are really quite something when the nooks and crannies are thoroughly explored on a decent day! Quirky some of it may be but that air of brilliant thought, bold investment and forward planning have surely to be admired?

Where else can adults shop for just about anything at a reasonable price indoors and have the benefit of free parking (far less congested if you go right around the back of the site) whilst younger members (and many adults!) have the extensive outdoor narrow gauge railway, the fantastic 00 gauge indoor one(probably one of the best in the country, especially for just £1 admission), the caged and free roaming pets, boating lakes, ponds and wildlife, etc. etc. In addition there are shops and eating areas outside, both covered and uncovered.

I wonder if readers have taken the trouble to visit the garden centre (only accessed from the main store) recently? Frankly it is worth a visit in its own right let alone seeing any of the afore-mentioned attractions! Whilst reasonably extensive inside it is absolutely stunningly laid out externally, well stocked, reasonably priced, and has a host of lovely features at the top near the mock Roman arches. The individuakl features are not that obvious until you climb the steps to the rear and then follow the paths, the individual features only then revealing themselves. The Devon thatch, Cornish cob setting, lock gate complete with barge, Japaneese garden, etc. all readily spring to mind - and there is much more with streams and a lake included. It really is quite something - albeit best viewed on a lovely day such as I enjoyed earlier this week when visiting there.

Sorry Lord Hutton but I really can see why people do go there but they need to properly explore it all to gain the benefit and it is far best seen on a dry, pleasant day. I do appreciate planning a coach itinary in advance with unpredictable weather is a lottery but if a flexible programme is available to the operator then Trago might not be such a bad bet after all. No doubt readers will judge for themselves if they care to make a visit in the near future?

I am not connected with Trago in any way whatsoever I must add.

retired driver Peter said...

I have heard of Trago but never been -in fact it is quite some time since I visited Devon but after your glowing recommendation I feel it is a 'must visit'before very much longer even if the only money I spend is in one of the outdoor eating areas.

Anonymous said...

Just to clear up any ambiquity if my comment regarding the attractive features in the vicinity of the mock Roman arches may give the impression access to them is up steps behind the arches, the steps are in FRONT of the Roman-type feature and the features mentioned then accessed from paths to the left, right and behind. Apologies if my initial description of how to gain access could have been read a different way.

Driving School Gloucester said...

Great post! I can say that customer care is at the heart of being a bus or coach driver. You are not only responsible for a safe ride, but also a smooth ride avoiding clunky grear changes and potholed roads where possible.

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