Saturday, 31 December 2011


It will be 2012 in 3 mins, hope you all have a good year.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day Bus

Today, Boxing Day, Torbay Vintage Bus Running Day are running a free bus between Torquay and Paignton. It leaves the Strand on the hour until 4pm, Paignton Library at 17 mins past the hour and calls at Union St at 43 mins past the hour. The bus at Paignton Library at 16:15 will only run if there are passengers aboard for Torquay. I caught the 11am bus and travelled as passenger to Torquay and because I didn't have any money to pay my fare back to Torquay I was forced to drive the bus back to Torquay at 11:15. Bit like washing dishes in a restaurant if you can't pay the bill. Actually it was much nicer than washing dishes. It was very nice to be driving a Stagecoach bus once again even if,
technically speaking it is an ex Stagecoach bus.

One of the photos is the bus in Paignton and the other is me in Union St Torquay. Reminds me of the good old days.

Sunday, 25 December 2011


I've just been out for my customery afternoon walk. What's going on? Everywhere is shut, all the shops, cafes, bars, there are no taxis on the ranks, no buses on the bus stops, only one or two pedestrians walking aimlessly about. It's like a sceane from Survivors. Either that or it's Christmas.

If it isn't Christmas then we are all in deep brown sticky smelly stuff.

If it is Christmas, then Merry Christmas to you all.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Hello London, There are people in the UK who don't live in in the South East.

The government spends more money on transport projects for Londoners than on those for the rest of the country combined, a think tank says.

The Institute for Public Policy Research North says £2,700 is spent per person in London compared with £5 per head in the north-east of England.

In a report out this week IPPR North says there is a "sharp disparity".

London - £2,731

South-east of England - £792

East Midlands - £311

West Midlands - £269

Yorkshire and Humberside - £201

North-west of England - £134

Eastern England - £43

South-west of England - £19

North-east of England - £5

The government says its investment strategy is to maximise economic benefits for the country as a whole.


I have posted this just in case anyone had any ideas in their heads that the Government actually knows that life exists outside London and the South East, or even cares for that matter. Remember, the futher away from the seat of power the less you get. The people living in Brixham would agree with that.

The photo of new bus for London is purely a coincidence. Where exactly did Boris get the money from to build that thing?

Lots of Photos

The fire started at 21:30 on Monday evening but I didn't find out untill 2 hours later, hence no dramatic pictures with flames leaping hundreds of feet into the air.

Conway Court Hotel Fire'>Click here for more photos mostly showing the hotel being demolished in double quick time. The hotel was on the top of a cliff and the road below, Torbay Rd, is the busiest in the whole of the Bay. Torquay has had mega traffic jams for the last two days. The road opened this evening so well done Gilpin Demolition for such a speedy job. from fire starting to building safe took only 42 hours which is a bit of a miricle for Torquay.

Conway Court Hotel

A couple of photos from the former Conway Court Hoter. Gilpin have been down there since last night working hard to make the sea front safe from falling bits of hotel. At a guess the road below should open some time tomorrow. Torbay council officials will evaluate the situation at 15:00 today. Meanwhile Torquay roads have ground to an almost complete stop. Still no inclincing of who or what started the fire. 12/12A bus service badly disrupted.
Don't forget, Longest night tonight. 

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

More photos from the Sea Front

This is the wall that has to be demolished before any one can drive along the sea front between the Pavillion and Belgrave Rd. (Also pictured sans traffic). If it did fall down it would land on the old toilets, also disued and slightly delerict; killing two birds with one stone. Well quite a lot of stone really.
Demolition is expected to start Wednesday and rebuilding in 2019, providing planning permission can be obtained. This is Torquay after all.

More photos of the hotel (day time)

These photos were taken at midday on Tuesday. Warren Rd is still blocked but you can drive along as far as Cary Rd which takes you on to St Lukes and so on to Shedden Hill. The Sea Front between the Pavillion and Belgrave Rd is closed due to concerns that the rear wall of the hotel might fall down Rock Walk and onto the main road. All that is left are the walls and chimney stacks. Several parked cars are presently trapped by the hotel and one car owner I spoke to said he didn't know what state his car was in or when he would be able to drive it away. I don't expect, from what I have been told, that the roads will be open any time today

An other delerict hotel goes up in flames

These photos were taken at 00:30 on Tuesday morning as an other of Torquay's long abandoned and delerict hotels burns down. The hotel was situated on Warren Rd where it overlooks Torbay so I would imagine it would have been visable from both Paignton and Brixham.The fire started at about 10:30 (22:30). A police officer I spoke to said he wasn't aware of any casualties though the hotel is surrounded by appartment blocks on both sides. I would imagine the road will be closed for traffic all night and a good portion of Tuesday day time. More photos some time around midday if the police let me get close enought.
PS Thanks Terry for letting me know.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Preston Sands in Winter

In the summer Preston Sands is a busy place. Beach huts by the hundred adorn the place and holiday makers by the thousand turn up here. But in the winter it's only the dog walkers and the odd photogrpher that turns up.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Abnormal Bus Stop

Just seen this picture on Fix my Transport's twitter site. From the imformation given in the photo's properties I am gussing it's in Bristol somewhere. Anyone any idea what is abnormal about this bus stop as I am fairly sure it isn't a spelling mistake.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

An Other Ordinary Week!

What a week that was, first on Monday, my birthday, I had to take the cat to the vet. He needed to have a couple of teeth out so it was an all day job. I had to get him there for 9:00. Years ago I used to take the last cat we had to the vet on the number 32 bus but this new cat weighs in at 5.5kilos plus basket is abit too much so a taxi was booked for 8:45. After he had been booked in it was still too early to use my bus pass so I walked home. Well, walking is good for you and alright I am a skin flint. At half pass two a phone call to the vet, yes teeth were done and cat was up and about head butting the bars of his cage, could I come At Once Please and collect him. So bus ride (free) to vets. Cat seemed fine but looked like he would never talk to me again. I talk to him all the time and he understands every word I say to him providing I only words say are, "Would you like something to eat?" Another taxi home. That was Monday.

Tuesday my partner complained he was having trouble with iTunes on his laptop. Playlists were all over the place and lots and lots of tunes just wouldn't play. iTunes kept saying it couldn't find the tunes even though they were still where they had always been. So plan A was put into operation. Delete iTunes and reinstall. Usually works. But then Apple kept saying "iTunes.exe Entry Point Not Found" A quick surf through Google found 27 984 007 responses in 0.037 seconds. Lots of people having problems. Picked on "How to Geek" for the solution. I've used this page before and seems OK. Finally got iTunes working again but to be safe I copied everything, all 27GB, from the iPod to my desktop computer using Copy Trans. Took hours but worked perfectly which is more than I can say for the laptop which still had play list all mixed up. So iPod was copied again and is now OK. Took all day.

Wednesday both Man U and Man C decided they didn't want anything to do with Europe and voted by playing well below par. If this had been cricket I would have suspected match fixing but that doesn't happen in football does it.

Thursday there was an item in the Herald Express about the council here in Torquay. Not are they not doing well, fat chance, they are actually getting worse. The only areas where there is a positive improvement are Tor2 waste management and recycling, the sell-off of council assets and the Hele's Angels community project. The rest are either just holding their own or going down hill fast. We only voted this lot in in May and we are stuck with them for years yet. An other item mentioned that regeneration of the sea front from the Grand Hotel to The Imperial Hotel had started and cited the gate houses at the rugby club as work so far carried out. (See photo). Just the Palm Court Hotel, The Princess Theatre, The Banjo, The Pavilion, and the Prom to get done yet. In my life time? I hope so because it would mean I will have to live long enough to get a telegram from the Queen.

Then Friday the New Leader of UKIP when for a match in Europe. At least when Man U and Man C got kicked out of Europe the players did the decent thing and stayed on the pitch till the game was over. David C made an undignified exit from the playing field well before half time and didn't even look back. When I first heard what he had done my first thought was that he was buttering up to his anti Europe back benchers, then I decide he was looking after his friends the wankers, oops sorry, bankers. Now I have decided that what he has done is brilliant. He's going to set up the UK as an off shore Tax Haven. Marvellous. More money for the wankers.

Saturday night I missed the Luna eclipse by not living in Australia or North America. Never mind, there is another in 2014. Oh and Torquay United won one nil at home to Brentford.

Sunday I went to watch Torquay U14 Rugby team. I have been watching these lads for a few years now and I can safely say that today's game was the worst I have ever seen them play. It can only get better.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Friday, 2 December 2011

Medical Time Again

I was in Teignmouth this morning taking my annual bus driver's medical. The appointment was for 11:15 at the West Bay Medical Centre with Dr Rosalind Cooling. It's the second year running I have been here for my medical and long may I continue to go there. Dr Cooling is quite a few years older than me and is a most remarkable woman. And she likes to talk. She now only does D4 medicals and only charges £45 and the whole experience, unlike most medical examinations, was a pleasure.

Once the medical was finished I went for a walk around town. I had 50 minutes before the next number 11 bus came along. Here are two of the photos I took.

1st of December and there were no pleasure boats out at sea, just this small dredger all on it's own. Then back in town there was this big lorry trying to unload outside WHSmiths. There is a loading bay but some idiot who thinks a blue badge means he can park anywhere was occupying the bay. Teignmouth came to a stop for a while.

Just in case you didn't know, even disabled drivers can't park in a loading bay. Not unless they are driving a commercial vehicle and loading or unloading. That's why they are called loading bays.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Torquay Pension Protest

Three photos from yesterdays pension protest march in Torquay. I have some symphathy for the protesters but I don't think they will get the government to change it's mind on this issue. I have a feeling it's because most people realize that the tax payer can not afford to continue paying for public sector pensions at the rate we have been doing so until now. 
And as one bystander said, "I stack shelves in a supermarket. Tell me, what exactly is a pension?"

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Moving Day

This is a photo taken on the day the buses left Princess Rd Depot for the last time. I have almost cirtainly riden on the front two buses at some time in the fifties and early sixties but the 53 at the back brings back memories too. Extremely long circular route starting from Brookes's Bar. Just can't remember where it when to at the moment.
No more on Princess Rd depot until I next go up to Manchester.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The Government has at last realized the South West is part of the UK

At 12:59 the chancellor announced that the A380 Kingskerswell bypass would be built. At last. The south west also got a small gift in that our water bills will go down by £50 per household. South West Water is the most expensive in the country and even with this 50 quid it will still be the most expensive in the country. On the down side (there always has to be a down side) my heating allowance arrived to day and is for £200 which is 50 quid less than last year. You can't win them all.

Ken Russell

Ken Russell died a couple of days ago at the age of 84. He made several films that were called controversial such as Women In Love, which featured Oliver Reed and Alan Bates wrestling nude. I never went to see that film as I can not stand DH Lawrence. I was forced to read Women in Love at college and decided that if ever Britain was to go on a book burning frenzy I would be first in line with an arm full of Mr Lawrence's tedius and apperently unending work. I call it unending because I never did get to the end of any of his books. I gave up on Sons and Lovers by page 17. But I digress. In all the mention on the news relating to Ken's career we got men wrestling naked again and again but not one mentioned his favorate film and the one he considered to be his best. If you haven't seen The Music Lovers yet then add it to the list of 100 things to do before you follow Ken into the great unknown.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Pensions Justice Event Walk

Public sector workers ( some of them ) are going put on strike on Wednesday. The ones that will effect the most people , unless you happen to be travelling in or out of Heathrow, are the teachers. Parents of younger children will be effected if they are working as they will have to either pay for extra child care, stay of work or risk letting their loved ones spend the day on the streets. Other disruptions will be to rubbish collections and to parking attendants. Piles of uncollected rubbish littering the streets and cars parked anywhere their owners feel like parking them will be an added hazard to anyone trying to move about. To add insult to injury Union St and Fleet St will be closed from 10:00 am to allow the striking workers to march through town to force home their message.

And what exactly is that message? Well I'll tell you. It is that supposedly well educated and allegedly intelligent people haven't got the brains they were conceived with never mind born with. Funds for public sector pensions have been paid for, until now, out of a seemingly bottomless pit called the tax payer. When I was a teacher the government took 6% of my salary to pay for my pension. When I worked for Stagecoach they also took a percentage of my wages to pay for my pension. The difference is Stagecoach invested the cash they took from me and put the proceeds into a pension fund. So when I get my pension from Stagecoach it hasn't been paid for by some one who got on a bus and paid his fare sometime last week. But the 6% the government took from me all those years ago wasn't put in a fund to grow and pay my pension. The money the government collected from you and me last month in the form of income tax is what is used to pay my teachers pension and I am getting a little concerned that us tax payers might not be able to sustain the level of giving required to keep all us public sector pensioners in Pensions. So is the government, twenty years too late in my opinion, but better late than in 10 more years. Hopefully they will manage for the next 20 years, after that I probably won't care. But what about the long term future, it isn't a problem that will go away unless the effects of global warming come upon us faster and much more savagely than most people expect.

So; don't go on strike, manage with what you get or eventually you won't get anything.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Arriva in Malta

I know that Transport Malta and Arriva have recently amended the routes, but do we really now have a Sliema-Enfield Town link, as spotted on this bus on the Strand in Valletta?

And when they get to Enfield I assume there is a return journey. Would my bus pass get me there? It'd be cheaper than Ryan Air even if it did take a day or two longer. Well done, once again to Arriva because if nothing else, they really are having fun in the sun in Malta

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Home Again from the North

I've just got back from a week in Manchester where the weather was fine except for the day I chose to take a drive up into the Peak District. That day it was thick fog, down to 15 mph at times. But a good time all the same.

So lunch time to day I went down to the Harbour for a walk round and a couple of pints and maybe take the odd photo or two. These are a couple of the ones I took. Three men were arrested for driving a car, possibly not theirs, onto the pavement to get some cash out of the ATM at the HSBC. I know parking can be difficult here in Torquay but this is an extreme way to avoid car parking fees.

There is a item in the paper about a call centre that was coming to Torquay and hopefully providing 500 out of work people with a job. Seems the place they wanted isn't big enough but they can't have their call centre in a bigger building because there isn't planning permission in place. With 500 hundred jobs at stake you would think the Mayor would drive round to all the homes of the councillors on the planning permission committee, take them to the Town Hall and say," You aren't leaving here until planning permission is granted for the call centre. You've got 20 mins before the shotgun comes out and blood will be shed."

But this is Torbay so there might actually be a meeting some time next summer to set up a working party to discover if Torbay does in fact have a planning permission committee. Usually people who apply for planning permission give up and go somewhere else or die of extreme old age or boredom.

And in Complete Contrast and an example to our beloved but apparently inapt council. An other item in the same paper is about Elliot Massey a

Torbay Boys' Grammar pupil. Elliot, helped by a group of friends, run a website TorbayBusRoutes which has around 35,000 visitors a month. It has timetables and information on all six local bus companies.

He has also been concentrating on developing MyStop, his revolutionary new computer/phone app to help local bus users. The simple mobile-friendly MyStop service allows users to check on the next bus from their mobile phone and all departures by logging on and selecting where they are. All this from a young man who collapsed on the Strand a few months ago and spent over a week in intensive care where he was diagnosed with heart-stopping ventricular fibrillation. That's something most people don't know they've got until it kills them. He now has a defibrillator implant to stop another cardiac arrest and takes beta blockers. None of this stops him though and I for one am waiting to see what turns up next.

Click here for the MyStop web site.


and here for Torbay Bus Routes

sorry I got the link wrong last time round and thanks to Simon for mentioning it.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

What's Happened to Princess Rd Bus Depot

On Monday I borrowed my brother's car. I wanted to go somewhere in South Manchester so drove down Princess Rd. Now ever since I can remember there has been a bus depot in Princess Rd. In fact in 1948 I went to the school, Bishop Bilsborrow Memorial School, that was right next to the bus depot. From time to time our football would get kicked over the wall for the school playground into the depot and I used to go round to collect it. The bus drivers usually made us wait at the entrance while they went and got the ball but now and then we went for it ourselves. So this was the first and as it happens the only enclosed bus depot I have ever been in. It was huge, smelling of oil and full of noise and loads of mysterious machinery and a few buses. Always an exciting place to visit.

So there I was driving down Princess Rd looking out for the big clock tower. Under the clock tower was the original entrance, very high for the trams to get in but by the time I started school the trams had all been taken up to Hyde Rd depot, had petrol poured over them and set on fire. Sad. Past Clarmont Rd and no sign of the clock, I was getting worried, what had happened to it?

I was soon to find out, sadly.

It has been pulled down, demolished, flattened, turned into a pile of rubble to make way for 200 houses. The has school suffered the same fate. Is nothing sacred? Have all the buses been taken up to Hyde Rd depot and set on fire like the poor trams?
PS 62 years after setting foot in Bishop Bilsborrow school I decided to look him up and find out why he had a school named after him. he was Bishop of Salford in the last quater of the 19th century and a strong advocate of eduction for all, rich and poor. He died in Babbacombe in 1903. You learn some thing new every day. (I hope)

Princess Rd Bus Depot Manchester

On Monday I borrowed my brother's car. I wanted to go somewhere in South Manchester so drove down Princess Rd. Now ever since I can remember there has been a bus depot in Princess Rd. In fact in 1948 I went to the school, Bishop Billsborrow Memorial School, that was right next to the bus depot. From time to time our football would get kicked over the wall for the school playground into the depot and I used to go round to collect it. The bus drivers usually made us wait wt the entrance while they went and got the ball but now and then we went for it ourselves. So this was the first and only enclosed bus depot I have ever been in.

So there I was driving down Princess Rd looking out for the big clock tower. Under the clock tower was the original entrance, very high for the trams to get in but by the time I started school the trams had all been taken up to Hyde Rd depot, had petrol poured over them and set on fire. Sad. Past Clarmont Rd and no sign of the clock, I was getting worried, what had happened to it?

It has been pulled down, demolished, flattened, turned into a pile of rubble to make way for 200 houses. The has school suffered the same fate. Is nothing sacred? Have all the buses been taken up to Hyde Rd depot and set on fire like the poor trams?

Saturday, 12 November 2011


Nothing particularly striking or special about this photo. It was taken on the Snake Pass in The Peak District on a cool foggy morning at a place called Nether North Grain. The one thing that marks it out against all my other photos is when it was taken, on the 11 November 2011 at 11 minutes past 11, or to write that time and date out using the following system, yymmddhhmm, it comes up as 1111111111. The world didn't end, a chorus of angels didn't burst into song, the pyramids didn't take off and vanish into space to rejoin their makers, a new world order didn't start in which all debts were wiped out (Pity). It just a time and date that won't turn up again for a hundred years. But the same could be said for any such date.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Green Buses?

I am up in Manchester for my annual family visit. Very warm day for the time of year so I went in to town to take a few photos, Never seen a green Stagecoach before and here are two in Piccadilly Bus Station. Did some colour blind painter get hold of the wrong can of paint or is there some reason for this new colour scheme?

I travelled up to Manchester yesterday by train instead of by coach. It took 3 hours less and travelling by train is much more comfortable than by coach. The lower ticket price on the coach used to be worth the extra time and discomfort but our wonderful, much loved government recently removed the subsidy they paid to Nation Express to provide us over 60s with half price coach tickets and now the difference in fares is almost insignificant. Still we must all make some sacrifices other wise the country will end up like Greece and Italy, sadly about to go broke.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Two Tales of One Tree

On Saturday I took this photo of the rather bare looking tree on Abbey Gardens.

Then I went by on Monday only to find the tree surgeons had cut the tree in to small pieces so it could be removed from the site more easily. Turns out it had been blow down some time in the early hours of Monday morning, fortunately the elderly couple weren't still walking by.

Torquay United won again on Saturday and won the midweek game. That's 2 games won out of the last 8. Plymouth Argyle aren't doing too well, still stuck at the bottom of the Table. At least the saga of administration is over now that local business man James Brent has taken over the club. Well done Mr Brent.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Clocks going back

So Whitehall is considering running on Summer time in the winter and double summer time in the summer. For us south of the border it will mean longer brighter evenings but slightly darker mornings. It wont increase the actual daylight hours just move the time it gets light in the morning and dark in the evening. Problem is up in Scotland it will mean for a couple of months it will be dark till well after 8 am but it will still be light well beyond 4 pm. Anyway the Scots are objecting to this idea but it would seem that most people down here in the south are in favour of the idea. Well if the Scots don't like the idea they don't have to put up with it. They don't like our bank notes so they print their own, which incidentally aren't even legal tender in Scotland never mind down here in the rest of the UK. So have your own time, we don't mind.

Beautiful sunny day today here in Torquay.

Want to know what time the next bus is from somewhere in Torbay then try this new website out

Click on the link even if you don't live in Devon just to see how good it is.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A couple of photos

If you look carefully you can see the marks on the window where a seagull flew in to it. Made a bit of a bang and the poor thing didn't know what had hit him. He was still in juvenile plumage so has a lot to learn about windows. After a few seconds looking very bewildered he flew off somewhere safer. Also in the same photo, which was taken on Sunday, you can see the vegetation on the cliff. At the top there is a big sycamore tree. One of it's branches got blown off during the gale on Monday afternoon. I watched it fall at about 4 o clock when the wind was at it's most blustery. Then at 4:15 the wind died away and it stopped raining and the sun came out. Shame the branch couldn't have hung on a few more minutes.

A little comment about the swiping of bus passes, I was talking to a bus driver and he said people had got used to the idea fairly quickly and better still, he hadn't changed a ticket roll in weeks.

Basil's Visit to the Vet

A few months ago our elderly cat, Ginger, went out one night and didn't come back. We put the usual notice up and asked neighbours to keep a look out for him. After a week we decided he wasn't going to ever scramble in through the cat flap again. So we went on the internet and looked for a new cat. The first one we made enquires about had just gone to a new home. The next phone number on the list of cats seeking a good home turned out to be an answering machine that didn't do what the voice said it would do, i.e. ring back. So we tried the next number and we got this handsome cat. He was called Ginger, for obvious reasons, but we decided to rename him as we had just lost a cat called Ginger. Basil was decided on because he has a permanently bushy tail. Just like the fox of the same name.
Anyway today I took him to the vet for his inoculation. The vet took one look at him and declared that he was a Maine Coon cat. I'd never heard of the breed so when I got home I had a look on the www. He may not be a pure Maine Coon cat but a lot of his ancestry is. So it looks like we have an American living with us.
A couple of days after we got Basil, a neighbour a few doors down knocked on the door. Between our back gardens and the cliff face there is a 15 foot wide stretch of wild ground. He’d been looking over his garden wall and noticed a ginger cat lying in the weeds. At first he thought it was asleep but some realised he wasn’t. He came round and told us so we were able collect Ginger and bury him in his favourite corner of the garden.

Monday, 24 October 2011

111 Say Yes but 485 say No; So No Referendum.

So we aren't going to get a referendum on Europe but what David Cameron has got is about a third of his MPs giving him the finger (pardon my french). It will be interesting to see what he has got to say about that.

What we will get some time next week is a baby being born who will be, in a way, special. No star will rise above his/her place of birth, three wise men are unlikely to arrive with gifts for the new born child, the Pope isn't likely to make a big announcement about the second coming. So why is this child going to be special? He or she will bring the population of the planet up to 7 000 000 000. That's seven billion in case you can't work out what all the noughts mean. Because it is difficult to conceive exactly what a billion is this should give you an idea. Imagine a clock which ticks every second, in 11 days 13 hours and 18 minutes it will click a million times, your heart will beat a million times in about same amount of time. We can work that out in time because we can have a good guess at what we will be doing in 11 and a half days. But the clock keeps ticking for an other 31 years 251 days before it has ticked a billion times. That is a long time to sit next to the clock and count the ticks so take my word for it. It's a long time. 7 billion ticks will take 210 years by which time we have no idea what the population will be, that's if there is any human population left.

When I was born the population was just over 2 billion, so it's gone up by 350% in just under 70 years. That's an awfully big increase. Can the planet continue to support this seemingly ever increasing population explosion or will it all end badly?

A Referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union

Monday 24 Oct 2011

MPs are voting tonight on the right of us poor Joe Blog members of the public to vote on out staying in or leaving the EU. If they decide we do have that right to a vote which way would you vote. You have two boxes to tick but can only tick one.

Box one asks, Do you want to leave the EU?

Box two asks, Do you want to stay in the EU?

Me; I think there should be two more boxes;-

Box three would ask, Do you give a toss?

Box four would ask, I don't really know enough about the extremely complicated ins and outs of what membership of the EU entails and how I would be effected if we did leave the EU. I feel that if you ask me to decided I will be strongly influenced by the newspaper I read so why don't you just ask Rupert Murdoch what he thinks and save the cost of this referendum?


Now if we had a referemdum on should we get rid of putting the clocks back next week then one one box would be required.


Man U 1 Man C 6

If you live in Manchester then there is someone near you who is either over the moon and about to bore everyone they know for the next ten years about how they were there or they are thinking of jumping in the Mersey or the Ship Canal. I can not think of a worse game to lose by 6 goals to 1 than at home to Man City. In the years I went to Old Trafford to watch Man U I can remember them scoring 6 goals but never conceding that many. In school playgrounds and shop floors and high rise office blocks through out the city Blues fans will be chanting six one all day long and I wouldn't be surprised if the absentee rate amongst Man U supporters reaches an all time high for the next few days.
If you're a blues supporter then enjoy, if you're a reds supporter then it's only a game (sic).

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Devon Loch did me a big favour.

During the summer, sat at the stop in Torbay Rd I was asked lots of questions, mostly, Where is the bus station? I could always answer that one. One question I did get asked only once was where is the nearest betting shop? Now many, many years ago I was persuaded by my Uncle Dan, GRHS, to invest my pocket money on a horse by the name of Devon Loch. If you aren't familiar with the name then Google it and find out how many years ago it was. So we went down to the betting shop which in those days was in derelict house, off course gambling was illegal then, and "invested" (my Uncle's word) all my pocket money. Nine pence in old money, about 4p in new money and then home to listen to the race on the wireless. TV had been invented buy then but we were old fashioned and didn't have a set. I remember the commentator getting very excited about Devon Loch. " 200 yards to go and Devon Loch is a hundred yards clear. Devon Loch is going to win. Yes, Devon Loch will win no problem, Oh Devon Loch has fallen over. Last time I had a bet on a horse; ever.

So when the passenger asked where the nearest betting shop was I didn't know. A bit later on I spotted it just across the road from the bus stop. (see photo).

This story brings me on to an item on last nights news. A group of people were going on strike because the governing body of their industry had decided to limit the number of times they could beat some poor dumb animal in order to make it go faster. The new rule allows Maximum seven strokes in flat races and eight over jumps. Imagine the outcry if your boss could whip you to make you work faster. Recently the use of performing animals was banned in circuses because of fears that some trainers might be cruel to their animals but we can still watch grown men and women beat in a cruel way their horse. If the horse doesn't want to run fast then forcing it to do so must be cruel. How long before the Jockey Club goes the way of greyhound racing and bans whips completely. Some time next week I hope.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Sherwood Hotel Reopening Soon

I went for a walk this afternoon and decided to have a look at the Sherwood Hotel in Belgrave Rd. I used to work there, driving a coach until it closed down in August last year. Company ran out of money and went into administration. The Administrator told us all that the hotel would stay open until a buyer was found and we would all get paid and keep our jobs. That was on a Monday. One week later, after the firm dealing with the company's books decided that there wasn't enough money left in the bank to keep going. I expect the bank who the mortgage was with decided not to risk sending good money after bad keeping the place open. Anyway a couple of days ago a reader told me the place had a Sold board outside so I went for a look. When I got there the front door was wide open so I wandered in to see what I could find out. No sign of anyone in the entrance hall, just evidence that a lot a work was going to be needed. There was enough building material lying around to keep B & Q going for a week. I then had a look outside and saw someone with a harassed look on his face and decided he must be the new owner so I introduced myself. We had a quick chat, he was very busy, I told him I used to drive the coach for the hotel and asked him when he planed to open. "As soon as possible. Once all the repairs are finished". I said I would pop round tomorrow (Tuesday) and pass one any information about the place that might be a help to him.

I hope the place gets up and running quickly and he makes a go of it. He has a lot of hard work ahead and I can only wish him all the best.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Still sunny even though summer has ended

The summer timetable has now ended and I am on the holiday and sickness rota for 6 months. I have one days work coming up in a couple of weeks while the other driver has a week’s well earned rest. After that we shall have to wait and see. First thing I did was set the alarm for 08:30, no more getting up at 7 o'clock which suits me. I went into Paignton this lunch time to do some shopping, couldn't find what I needed so I'll have to go on Amazon and get it through the post. Big road works happening in Hyde Rd and Torbay Rd and the roads are closed for this Sunday and next Sunday. Massive diversion in place for traffic heading through Paignton towards Brixham. While I was at Victoria Park waiting for a number 12(for a long time I might add) this artic drove past the two signs which read "Diversion" and "Road Closed Ahead". Obviously these signs didn't apply to him. Then when he got to the left turn that goes into Hyde Rd and found the signs did apply to him. Great big barriers blocked the road and he had no where to go but back. I suppose he could have sat there until the barriers were taken down some time tonight but he chose to reverse all the way back to Cecil Rd which is where he should have turned in the first place. Caused chaos. Before his little reversing stunt the traffic had been coming out of Paignton without any problem but the 5 minutes it took him to reverse far enough to be able to turn up Cecil Rd caused a tail back half way to Brixham ( only guessing but it could have done) Any way it gave me something to watch in the 35 minutes I waited for the 12 to arrive.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Nice Horse

There is a shop called Affordable Art in Torbay Rd just near the bus stop. It sells wood carvings, mostly ducks but now and then something extra turns up. Like this horse.
Lots of people stopped and looked and took photos. PS it took 3 weeks to make and has been sold and it was made to order.

The other thing that turned up unexpectedly the same day was less welcome and almost turned into an RTC happened as I was driving out along the Totnes Rd between Midvale Rd and Winner St. There is a medical centre on the bend on my left and there was a large truck parked across the road, the driver was probably delivering goods to the centre. Now it is a long, fairly gentle bend but the road isn’t too wide and the truck was blocking my view, anything coming the other way would need to be well over the centre line and would be hidden from view. So I slowed down and kept well into the left. While I was still a little way back a car, travelling quiet slowly emerged past the truck. No problem, I didn’t even have to slow down any more. Then, from nowhere as it were, a white car shot round the truck travelling well over 30 mph. A pull to the left on the steering wheel took the bus out of this maniac’s way and a firm press on the brake peddle stopped the bus before it hit the wall at the side of the road. The white car continued along Totnes Rd without bothering to slow down, it’s blue lights flashing and siren blaring. Ok, the police officer driving it was, I hope, on his way to a life threatening emergency where every second counted but he does need to remember the second most important rule in the Highway Code which is, “Always drive at a speed at which you can easily stop in the distance you know to be clear.” Don’t rely on your siren to alert approaching motorist that the last sausage roll in the staff canteen could be gone very soon, they may be driving noisy vehicles and be a little hard of hearing.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Call 101

Here's something I came across the other day completely by accident. In case you haven't heard about it, dialling 101 on your phone, mobile or land line, cost 15p per call, irrespective of how long that call may last. People who are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired can Textphone 18001 101.

And who will you speak to when you dial this number? A police officer that's who. It isn't replacing 999 and it's not for emergency calls. Use it when you want to call the police for something that isn't an emergency and it will work anywhere in the country.

Here in Devon it replaces 08452 777444 as the non emergency number, lets face it 101 is easier to remember and quicker to dial. Mind you the last time I dialled the 08452 777 444 I got through straight away and was asked which police station I wanted to speak to. "Torquay" said I and hung up 20 minutes later without getting any response. It is only a 15 minute walk to Torquay police station but it was raining at the time so in the end I didn't bother.

Hopefully 101 will have better response times that 08452 777 444.

Bus Ride to Teignmouth

Had a ride out on Stagecoach service 11 to Teignmouth today. The times and route have been changed for the winter. The buses now only run every 90 minutes instead of every half an hour and the route now finishes on The Strand, not Castle Circus like before. On the way back to Torquay we caught up with a 32 in Babbacombe. I noticed that one of the people waiting at the stop had ignored the 32 that had already stopped and flagged down the 11. I was a bit puzzled at first as both buses were going to The Strand so why get the 11 to stop when the 32 was at the bus stop. Maybe the passenger wanted to go upstairs (the 32 was a single decker) and look down on everyone. No, he stayed down stairs. The same thing happened at the next stop and I began to work out what was happening. These passengers were expecting the bus to go to Castle Circus. Sure enough when the bus got to The Strand they remained seated until the driver told then the bus wasn't going to Castle Circus any more. I had a quick glance at the destination blind and it read, "Torquay Castle Circus". Some one hadn't been round the buses with the little black box changing the routes in the bus's destination blinds. Careless, confusing and annoying.

Could do better, Stagecoach

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Saturday 1 Oct

The day started with a slight problem. Torbay council publish a Public Transport Guide every 6 months, one in June and the other in October. The date on the front of the latest Guide is 1st Oct 2011 to 31st May 2012. Our winter time tables are in the guide but they don't start until Oct 11. However several people looked at the timetables and were expecting us to be running the winter times today. So the first 3 trips I was explaining to passengers that I wasn't going where the time table said I was for an other 10 days. We have been handing out copies of our timetables to all our passengers for the last two weeks with the start date clearly marked on then but one or two people would sooner believe the council who don't run the bus service than us who do run it.

Then on my last trip of the day I was going along the Totnes Rd when the traffic came to a grinding halt. Now we have had problems with Tweenaway Cross but we were a long way away from the lights at this point. When it became clear we were not making any progress I told my passengers I was going to find out what was happening. The large white truck in the photo had grounded while attempting to turn right out of a narrow side street and one of the back wheels was off the ground. This means the truck had no drive as the wheel that was not touching the ground was free to turn but because the way the differential in the back wheel works the wheel on the ground wouldn't turn. Attempts were made to put planks under the wheel but it wasn't high enough off the ground to get the plank under the wheel so the only way the truck was going to move was an expensive breakdown truck giving it a pull. Now there wasn't space for the Stagecoach double decker to get past but I could, if the decker moved back a bit. Eventually I got past and continued on my was 15 minutes late.

Only one more week to go.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Friday 110930

I sometimes go on about people parking on the bus stop in Torbay Rd. Most drivers move on when we turn up in the bus some don't. The ones that do move on tend to be car drivers who have just stopped to drop someone off or are having a quick chat to a mate. I don't really have a problem with this though in an ideal world it wouldn't happen. The ones that haven't moved away include a Devon and Somerset Fire Brigade vehicle, the driver crossed the road in front of the bus, got in the van and started eating his chips, then there was the police car, unattended, next came the ambulance crew. When I told them they couldn't park on the bus stop they ignored me and walked away. I sent photos to their boss with a strong email of complain. Today it was the turn of Tor2, who are rubbish collectors here in the Bay. The truck was unattended which left me out in the roadway causing chaos and it's me the passing motorist blame not the rubbish collectors who weren't even collecting rubbish. They were collecting coffee and coke (the drink, not the other kind of coke. See Photo below). When they came back 5 minutes later they claimed they had been collecting bins from down a side road. Some one must have dumped a few cups of coffee and bottles of coke and sandwiches in the bin for them. I've been working from that bus stop for 6 months and have never seen them collecting bins in the bus stop, they always stop in the roadway and drive away as soon as possible.

I have been on Tor2’s web site to see where to email my photos but the site is devoid of any way of emailing complains. Just a phone number. Last time I tried phoning Tor2 I listened a recorded voice telling me my call was important please hang on and we will get to you. I eventually hung up before my phone bill began to resemble the National Debt.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Torbay Road Closed

As you can see from the photo, Torbay Rd in Paignton will be closed at the level crossing a week on Sunday and the Sunday after that. Now we drive over that level crossing 17 times a day. In fact to leave our bus stop we have no option but to drive over the level crossing. Are we worried by this closure? Well, actually no because our summer services come to an end on Oct 8 so we wont be to bothered by the chaos this closure is going to cause. We will be operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays during the winter and my services will only be required to cover for holidays and sickness so I will have more time on my hands for the next 6 months.
If you want a ride on our open top bus then Friday 30 Sept is the last chance as it is coming of the road at the end of Friday's shift. I have enjoyed my 6 months driving round Paignton and hope to be back next year.
We are having some good weather this week, sunny and quite warm, passengers were actually getting on the bus today complaining that it was too hot, there's no pleasing some people.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Only Three Weeks to Go

Only thre weeks left of the summer season and then it's the winter sheduals which is only 3 days a week with only one bus running. So it's back to enforced idleness for the part time driver, poor sod. Hang on. I'm the part time driver. Never mind, 6 month off will give me plenty of time to get all those little jobs do around the house that I have been meaning to do for the last 10 years. Plus I have several hundred photos I need to catalogue before there gets too many for me to bother with.

It's Sunday morning and I am at work which is unusual as I don't normally work on a Sunday. The forecast was for white cloud but no rain. The Met Office have millions of pounds worth of equipment up there in Exeter and they can't even get the forecast right for Torquay which is 23 miles down the road because it's grey clouds and they are leaking lots of rain. Either that or the fire bridge are following me around spraying water all over the bus to make me think it's raining. Not only is it raining but there is a cold wind coming in from the North West which is very unpleasant and keeping all the visitors in their hotels.

I heard yesterday that the road works predicted by the paint marks in the road just before the level cross are to take place on Sunday 9 October and the road will be closed all day. As we finish on the 8th I don't give a damn. Should be fun for everyone else though.

The new winter service runs Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and starts on Tuesday 11 October. For full details click on the Devonian Timetables link on the right.

A steam train special came down from Bristol and through Paignton today at 2 minutes to 12. It was pulled by an engine called King Edward I. It stopped in the station for 12 mins before heading off for destinations unknown. As the train is longer than most trains that stop here the level crossing barriers have to stay down till it's gone; some obscure Health & Safety rule I expect. This meant I was ten mins late setting off on my 12 noon trip. I don't know why we have to wait so long, surely who ever runs Paignton rail station could sort something out that would allow the barriers to go up. These steam trains run fairly often and it can be a bit tedious waiting for nothing. I've just heard that today is the last of the steam train specials for this year.



Friday, 16 September 2011

Water Bills and Nick Glegg

From the BBC

Proposals to help consumers struggling to pay their water bills in the South West may be announced shortly.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who was on a visit to Cornwall, said he was "pretty hopeful that pretty soon" a package of measures would be revealed.

That's pretty good Nick.

I'll believe it when I see it.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Parking and a Couple of Animals

About the photos first. The one of the roadway with the paint marks in doesn't look too good. These markings are usually put down by someone from the Highways Department about a week before someone else comes along with a big machine and rips up the road. The markings are on both sides of the level crossing and the idea of temporarily traffic lights controlling the flow of traffic at this spot might not make it to my top 10 worst nightmares list but it isn't something to look forward to with much enthusiasm either.

The one of the ambulance parked on the bus stop shows that ambulance drivers, or at least the one driving this ambulance are able to park anywhere they like. Actually this isn't the case and this photo is on it's way to West Country Ambulance Service with a little note asking the boss to have a word in the driver's ear; and I don't care if it not a very polite word either. I also mentioned the arrogant attitude show by the second crew member who I spoke to. She told my they weren't on a call as she got out of the ambulance and headed for the shops. I told her they couldn't park on the bus stop and she just walked away saying nothing. Neither the parking nor the rudeness were a good advert for the West Country Ambulance Service.

A couple of animals caught my eye the other day. Just near the Sands Rd level crossing there is a small patch of grass. On this grass a pet owner was taking his pet for a walk. not a dog or even a cat but a polecat. It stared at the bus as I drove by. About half a mile down the road I turned into Torbay Rd and a squirrel suddenly appeared in front of me running desperately up the centre of the road. I matched his speed and followed him, resisting the urging of one of my passengers to "flatten the little vermin". It continue running up the middle of the road the whole length of Torbay Rd so I can report that squirrels can run at 15 mph for 300 yards. Finally he spotted a tree and vanished into the top most branches never to be seen again; not by me anyway.

PS sorry I couldn't take a photo of either.


Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Merry Christmas

This was taken last week and once again this pub wins the first prize for the first "Book you christmas party" advert.
There should be a law against even mentioning christmas until at least December 1st at the earliest.
Mind you last year it was up in August so a bit of an improvement there.