Saturday, 30 April 2011


Started dull and cool then rain by lunch but brighter in the afternoon but only just. The rest of the country had wall to wall sunshine. The space in front of our bus stop is for loading and unloading and is clearly marked "Loading Only. 8am to 6pm". Nothing about, unless you are from out of town or you are only going to be five minutes or you don't thing rules apply to you. Nothing about not being able to read either. I have tried warning a couple of motorist not to park in the bay but I'm only a bus driver so what would I know. I have given up warning people, it doesn't work. Anyway the photo shows the car with a parking ticket in the loading bay. The last person I warned had a Blue Badge and told me he could park anywhere, which is true, anyone can park anywhere. Some places however the risk of getting a ticket is pretty high. Like here.

What you can also see in the photo to the right are a few Motor Bikes. There are hundreds of them in town this weekend, most parked on Paignton Sea Front but if you stand still long enough they will all ride past. Don't worry, It isn't the Wild Ones in town for some mayhem, it's just a social gathering that takes place this weekend and every Wednesday through the summer. Got a bike; bring it to Paignton and say hello. It's run by BMAD .

Tomorrow there is a gathering of old open top buses at Quaywest, a mile from Paignton Town centre. Catch a 12 heading towards Brixham and have a ride round on one of these old masters. Car drivers can park, not for free in Torbay Leisure Centre just across the road.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Wedding, What Wedding?

There must have been something big on telly this morning because we were dead quiet until about 1 o'clock then it got a bit better. Seriously though, best wishes to Kate and what's his name and I hope all those traders in London made an absolute fortune today and if they did would they mind sending some of it down to us poor sods out here in the far south west. Please be generous or I'll set my cat on you.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

One of my many pet hates.

The day started OK, lost a little time on the 11:10 Galmpton trip and was a few minutes late starting the next trip but not too long, should be back on time after a couple of trips to Cockington. Headed up Manor Road and turned right towards Torquay and came to a dead stop. I wasn't too worried at this point, Preston can slow the traffic down at the drop of a hat. Went past Preston shelter, here is where traffic usually picks up speed once past the lights at Headland Park Rd. But not today. We continued towords the Gas Works at 0.5 mph and it became obvious that there was an industrial sized tail back. At first I thought it might be something to do with the planned change over of the traffic flow past Rock Walk but later a Stagecoach driver told me it was due to a manhole repair at the Grand Hotel.
I envisioned running late all afternoon and at first I, and every other bus driver in the area did just that but about 4 pm the traffic began to get back to normal and I managed to be on time for my last trip which is good. It like being on time, especially on the last trip. Got home feeling like I had done a day's work.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Photos from the Route

On Saturday I went for a ride round the route to take some photos. My days of taking photos whilst in the driving cab are definitely over. I particularly wanted some from Penwill Way, the views there of Torquay and Berry Head are quiet impresive. But I let all the paying passengers get on first and end up sitting at the front of the bus trying to take good photos through the window. Doesn't work. So on Sunday I caught the bus again and got off in Penwill Way and took a load of shots with a tripod. Some (31) can be found here on Flickr. Under the user name of torquay trivia
One shot I did get was the bus coming up from Broadsands under the rail bridge designed and built by I K Brunel. No steam train passing at the same time, sorry if you are into steam trains. I'm working tomorrow (tue) on the Cockington Clipper between paignton and Cockington.
The other photo was taken from Penwill Way on Sunday. Rock Walk is clearly visable.


Last night I watch a drama program on BBC TV called United. It covered the story of Manchester United between 1956 and 1958 concentrating on Jimmy Murphy, the assistant manager, and Bobby Charlton. It started just before Bobby made it to the first team. In those days the team were called The Busby Babes because most of the players were younger than the average footballer. One player, Duncan Edwards, played for England when he was just 17.

The story started with Bobby Charlton wondering if he would ever make it to the first team. Duncan Edwards and he became friends and Duncan encouraged him to fight for a place in the team. Bobby finally got his place in the first team against Charlton in a home game at Old Trafford and I was there. When I got home after the game I told my dad that United had a new player good enough to play for England. My dad smiled and say "Yeh, right." I don't think he believed me. Bobby went on to play 105 times for England.

The story moved on to February 1958. United had travelled to Belgrave to play Red Star in the second leg of the European Cup quarter final. United hired a plane to make the trip to and from Belgrave which in those days was still behind the Iron Curtain. The game ended 3 all with United through on aggregate 5-4. On the way back the plane stopped at Munich to refuel and crashed trying to take off from a snow covered runway.

The program brought back the memories of that time in Manchester, So many players lost, the sadness and the sorrow seemed like it would last for ever.

In the program it suggested the Manchester United Board even contemplated closing the club down for the rest of the season, something I never heard at the time. But Jimmy Murphy got a team together to play Sheffield Wednesday in a cup game at Old Trafford, again I was there and we won 3 nil. For the rest of the season United played and managed to reach the final of they FA Cup losing to Bolton. Bobby Charlton came closest to scoring for Man U when he hit the post with the score nil nil but Bolton scored twice Nat Lofthouse scored the second by bungling Harry Gregg out of the way. Had the game been played now he would have got a yellow card or even been sent off.

I'm still saddened when I think back to Munich and the program evoked so many memories, one more I will mention here. Duncan Edwards, who played wing half and my favourite player in the team (probably a lot of peoples favourite player he was so good) survived the crash but died on 21 Feb as a result of his injuries. A second sad event in a time of much existing sorrow.


Saturday, 23 April 2011

Devonian Motor Sertvices

Well I have done a week now at Devonian Motor Services. Only 4 days but that gives me plenty of time for other things like sleeping and taking photos. The first day, last Monday, I drove the Cockington Clipper which provides a service from Paignton to Cockington complimenting the existing Local Link service 62 from Torquay. Parking is permitted on the lane into Cockington until Good Friday so that made for one or two tight squeezes. Easter was late this year so in future years it shouldn't be a problem.

The other bus I drove was the open top service, the 500. This runs from Torbay Rd near the Level Crossing (only a couple of minutes from the bus station) and follows a circular route which includes the World Famous Paignton Zoo ( show your bus ticket at the Zoo and get a £1 off the entrance fee), down Penwill Way for stunning views of the South of the Bay including Berry Head and onto Broadsands for equally stunning views of Torquay and the North of the Bay. It passes under the South Devon Rail line at the huge bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel before a short trip along the ring road with views of the green Devon countryside before picking up at Beverley and Hoburne Holiday Parks. Tickets can be bought for individual journeys or a day ticket is available, Hop on Hop off for £4.00 and can be used on both services, or if you just fancy a round trip then it is £3.50. Children's fares a work out at 60% of adult fare and English Concessionary passes are accepted on all out services.

One of the things I have done is look up the bus which is a Leyland Olympian, ECW bodywork and reg number A 146 OFR. This bus first entered service in March 1984 with the Ribble Bus Company. It was one of four, 144 to 147 but it has moved about quiet a lot since. the other 3 buses seemed to have vanished but put the reg number in your search engine and you will find several photos of this bus in various liveries from different parts of the country. I'm working Tuesday on the Cockington Clipper and Wednesday, Friday and Sat on the Open Top this coming week. Hope the weather holds up.

Devonian Motor Services Website is here

Wednesday, 20 April 2011


That's me behind the wheel of one of Devonian Motor Services' buses. We aren't a big company compared to Stagecoach but we go where they don't so that makes us better. That's my opinion any way. It's good to be back driving a bus again and better than coach driving.

Mostly I drive the 500 which runs up to Paignton Zoo and then out to Broadsands, coming back to Paignton via Beverly Park and Hoburne Park. The complete round trip takes about 45 mins and takes in many great views that are best seen from the vantage point of an open top bus. The 50 service also runs from Paignton. This service goes to Cockington Village, a place so old it was mentioned in the Doomsday Book and a very attractive village with a park to wander round and a historic manor house and because you got there by bus you can enjoy a pint or two in the Drum Inn (designed by the famous architect, Edwin Lutyens).

Both buses run from Torbay Rd, Paignton just near the entrance to Rail Station and only a minutes walk from the bus station. Just cross over the level crossing and head for the sea and you will the bus stop 50 yards down the road. Hope to see you all.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Smaller Bus Services in the Bay.

I see there is now a bus service direct to Cockington Village from Paignton. In the past the only bus service to Cockington ran from Torquay from outside the Pavillion. This service is provided by Local Link and runs every half hour from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm and takes 10 mins to Cockington Village, service number 62. For Local Links web pages click here . When you get to the time table page it is printed on it's side so you will need to right click on the timetable and rotate it to read it.
The new service, the 50, from Torbay Rd, Paignton(near the train station) is run by Devonian Motor Service and runs every 20 mins. They also run a 500 service from Paignton to Broadsands, the only bus to go to Broadsands these days and well worth a visit. Their time tables are to be found here.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Simulated Duck Pond

Torbay council would never go for something so modern, beside it would probably start leaking in a week.

First Relay the Road Then Dig It Up.

The top photo was taken on Monday in Abbey Rd here inTorquay and shows the top surface of the road being laid down.

The bottom photo was taken on Wednesday, also in Abbey Rd where a couple of road engineers are checking and replacing pipes. This isn't an emergency repair but scheduled work that has been in the pipe line for weeks. Really it should have been done a week ago so the nice new road surface wouldn't have been messed up. Is it any wonder we tend to dispair slightly at times here in Torbay?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Torbay Loses an Other Duck Pond

This is me a few days ago enjoying the beautiful spring weather presently griping Torquay. And most other places I have to admit. I am actually standing in the duck pond in Torr Abbey Gardens, right in the centre and I'm not getting my feet wet. Neither are the ducks for all I know because they have long since flown. The parks department haven't drained the duck pond with the idea of cleaning it. No, the water just slowly vanished before our very eyes never to be seen again. The police are baffled, sorry, that should read the Parks Department are baffled but they are looking into the matter. They aren't looking for the actual water, just the villain who made off with it. Some low life hole in the ground. Situated somewhere in the duck pond. It's not as though it's the first case of it's kind round here, no Torbay is getting quiet notorious for it. Only last year and two miles down the road the Gas Works Duck Pond also vanished, as did the ducks but it is believed they flew of on their own looking for a new pond.

Now as far as I know there is only one duck pond left in the nearby area, if that one goes then it is probable that fresh duck will be off the menu this coming Christmas.

PS. If you quack, sorry click on the label "Duck Pond" below it will take you to the other duck pond story. DCB

Candidates Web Pages

I mentioned a few days ago that I was having difficulty finding various candidates web page. Some one has sent me a link to the web page of Martin Brook after I said I could not find one. Here is the link, . I spent less than minute there, I have to admit I find web pages that wander about and have shooting stars all over the place a 100% put off. I couldn't care what the message is if I find it that hard to read. Nick Bye at is better but still too cluttered. Just too many photos on the opening page and too little content, but what would you expect from Nick. Susie Colley is here, her web site is unbalanced with part of one page intruding and obscuring other pages. If you are going to publish something it is a good idea to read it first. susiecooeyindependant That's it for web pages. I can't set up web pages, I don't have the expertise but I know a decent web page when I see one. Shame I didn't see one.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Devonian Motor Services Timetables

The Cockington Clipper
Service 50

Times From Paignton to Cockington

Monday to Friday
09:55. 10:30 11:45 12:25
13:35 14:15 14:55 15:35 16:15

Saturday and Sunday
10:05 10:45 11:25 12:05
13:35 14:15 14:55 15:35 16:15

Journey takes approximately 15 mins via Sands Rd, Esplanade Rd, Marine Drive, Manor Rd, Torquay Rd and Cockington Lane.

Times From Cockington To Paignton
Monday to Friday
10:10 10:46 12:02 12:40
13:52 14:32 15:12 15:52 16:32

Saturday and Sunday
10:20 11:00 11:42 12:22
13:52 14:32 15:12 15:52 16:32

Journey time is approximately 15 mins and travels to the end of Cockington Lane, (Change here for Torquay), Turns right along Torquay Rd, then Marine Drive, Esplanade Rd to Torbay Rd, in the centre of Paignton.

Route 500

Paignton To Broadsands
via Paignton Zoo, Morrison's
and Quaywest

Also calls at
Waterside, Beverly Park, Ash Vale and Hoburne Park.

Monday to Saturday
10:00 11:00 12:00 14:00 15:00 16:00
And at 17:00 To The Zoo, Holbourne Park, Ash Vale and Beverly Park only

11:00 12:00 14:00 15:00 16:00
And at 17:00 To The Zoo, Holbourne Park, Ash Vale and Beverly Park only

Sunday, 10 April 2011

News of the World and Phone Hacking.

OK, I can finally admit the News International didn't hack my mobile phone. Bastards. But they did hack the phones of the rich and famous who are now set to sue for every penny they can get. Which is why I am annoyed that my phone wont be on the list the police must by now compiling so I will be unable to make some money out of this long running sage. Hopefully those who do sue get loads of money out of the paper's owner, he can afford it. Hopefully this little episode of law breaking by News International will persuade the powers that be to block the sale of what's left of BSkyB to News International even if more logical arguments fail. That too much power in one media mogul's hands is a very bad thing. Think how long the News of the World got away with phone hacking by blaming someone else in the company. What they could get away with in a company the size of BSkyB and NewsInternation. For years News International insisted there had been just one "rogue" reporter involved in the hacking of phones. Now they have come out and said that just isn't in fact actual true. If they can avoid telling the truth about this for years what else are they prepared to do for a story.


The constant stalling by the News of the World is going to cost them dear, it would have been better if they had admitted it years ago. The size of the damage do would have been much less. I'm thinking here of the cost to us poor tax payers (yes I do pay tax), the man hours of wasted police time and effort. The diverting of all that expertise of the officers who have had to investigate this scandal could have been spent else where on other more serious crimes. I hope the CPS give some though to asking News International for a really big contribution towards those costs.

PS. The photo is nothing to do with the above. For years Stagecoach have run a bus service, the 111, from Torquay to Dartmouth. It ran via the Willows, Torbay Hospital, Marldon Berry Pomeroy and Totnes. Well on the 9th April they changed the route slightly. It now runs from Paignton to Totnes and then to Dartmouth missing out the Willows, Torbay Hospital, Marldon and Berry Pomeroy. I have never been on this route so on Thursday I took a ride from Torquay to Totnes. I then had 30 mins in Totnes and caught the next bus back to Berry Pomeroy. From there I walked down to Longcombe, taking a few photos as I went. I was planning to catch a bus back to Torquay from there.

I knew there would be a choice of thee buses along that road, X80/81, 88 and River Link's 100. Not knowing what time the ran I clicked on the little bus stop symbol which takes me to, useful for getting bus numbers and times if a bit of a pain to use. It turns out there is ferry from here to Paignton ( the nearest river is in Totnes 5 miles away). It's run by the Dartmouth Steam Railway & River Boat Company and it arrives on Stand L in Paignton Bus Station. In fact according to the transport direct site a ferry should arrive in the bus station at 10:52 Monday morning. I think I will get down there with my camera, should get some good shots.

Anyway the photo is of Berry Pomeroy.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

It was a sad day for staff at Paignton Zoo

It was a sad day for staff at Paignton Zoo today as a crocodile was found dead.

Staff said the 35-year-old Nile crocodile had been acting strangely for several days and was under observation by staff, but was found dead on Wednesday in its Crocodile Swamp attraction.

Mike Bungard, curator of lower vertebrates and invertebrates, said: "Crocodiles are very good at hiding illness and very difficult to diagnose.

"He was seen to be lethargic the other day and he was under observation by our in-house vet team because he was not eating normally – though crocodiles can go for long periods without eating."

The crocodile was one of a pair that came to the zoo near Torquay from Wroclaw Zoo in Poland in 2008.

It was born in a zoo in the Czech Republic.

A post-mortem examination on the 10ft crocodile will be carried out to find out the cause of death.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The nominations for the mayor's job are

Gordon Oliver, Cons,

Dennis Brewer, Lib Dem;

Patrick Canavan, Lab;

Fiona McPhail, Voice 4 Torbay;

Sam Moss, Green Party;

Martin Brook, Ind;

Paul Clifford, Ind;

Susie Colley, Ind;


Nick Bye, The Devil we Know Party.

Three of the candidates stood in the last election, Mr Bye who won, Mr Oliver who came third and Mrs Colley who came in fourth. The Lib Dem candidate came 2nd but isn't standing this time. The first 3 candidates in the above list have all expressed a wish to see the post scrapped so I expect that if one of them does get elected they will do nothing, not even draw the £65 000 salary that goes with the job.

I have googled some of the candidates to see if I can find out anything relevant about them. Sam Moss needs to work much harder on his web page, content is negligible. Fiona McPhail's Voice 4 Torbay doesn't seem to have a web site, at least I can't find it. Martin Brook is a 46-year-old financial adviser from Barton, Torquay. Again no web site I can find. Paul Clifford only comes up in the Herald Express as being a candidate, have to do better. Susie Colley is a former nurse who runs her own medical insurance business but nothing about her ambition to be mayor.

Remember boys and girls, it's the internet where people get information from these days so get on your computers pdq.



Sunday, 3 April 2011

Photos, One Good One Ugly

Here are a couple of photos taken recently to show Torquay as it looks to the visitors. The top one is of the flower beds in Torre Abbey Gardens, carefully planted and tended to almost perfection.

The bottom one is of The once famous Palm Court Hotel, the world fame was long ago. What it is famous for at the moment is the burnt out shell that disgraces the sea front and the town council for their inability to actually do anything about this mess. Put it in any other seaside town that makes a living from summer visitors and this mess would be just a memory but Torquay is a 3rd World Town and has just given up. Now it sits there and is likely to remain there for at least this coming summer; and for how many summers to come.

For the 5 years before it became a burnt out shell it was a derelict dump. Closed long ago and up for sale but with no planning permission no sale. The only real difference are the 10 foot tall unpainted hoardings failing miserably to hide the fact that Torbay council would sooner hide behind rules than spend some money and tear the place down and turn it into a small park for the holiday makers to sit in. Even a car park would be better than this, then Town Hall would get some income at least.

PS. The fire was in mid December.
PPS. Please don’t let this put you of coming to Torquay, there are plenty of other attractions here to enjoy, it’s just this one blot we don’t seem to be able to get shut of.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Elected mayor system will stay in Torbay until at least 2019

There is much talk in the local paper, the Herald Express, about the position of elected mayor. We had a referendum 5 years ago to decide if we here in Torbay want an elected mayor. I suspect that those who voted for the setting up of such a position did so because they thought it would be better than letting the then, and still is, ineffectual council run the place. I know I did. If the first elected mayor, Nick Bye, is anything to go by we were wrong, Nick has managed to upset lots and lots of people without seeming to please very many. Being a politicion is a balancing act and Nick hasn't been very good at it. He has been deselected by his party and is planning to stand again in May as an independent. Good luck to him.

Now as far as I can tell from reading the Herald Express and the comments there in that those against having an elected mayor don't seem to like the present elected mayor very much. So we now have a not very good elected mayor so lets hope the next one is better, because we have to have at least two more elections, one in May and one in May 2015. Then we can have an other referendum to decide if we want to keep the position. It's up to us voters to pick the right person in May and then decide in 4 and a bit years if we want to get rid of the position of elected mayor.

I think it's too soon to decide, the next holder of the post might be wonderful, who knows we might even what to hang on to an elected mayor.