Monday, 28 February 2011

2011 - Day Out 6: Dudley Action Heart 5

Date: Sunday 27 February 2011

The runners line up just before the start
Following yesterdays exploits around Worcestershire, it was time for another outing and also time for my first ever run, the "Dudley Action Heart 5" Run, five miles of different gradiant starting and finishing at Russells Hall Hospital, and raising money for Action Heart. After a colleague from work entered for this race, he challenged me to do the same and enter, this was after saying I could beat him hands down,  and considering that I have never run in my entire life, I foolishly accepted - I think there is times when you should keep your mouth shut! 

Its 8am and its time to meet up with Mr UK Buses, that is after I purchase supplies of energy drink, one of which I drank whilst walking into Stourbridge to ensure that the drink kicks in just in time for the start, the other one to run with and give me much needed liquid. We end up at the bus stop located on the Stourbridge ring road just before 8.30, ready to catch National Express West Midlands service 246 to Dudley, dropping us off at Russells Hall Hospital along the way. According to the real time information, the first bus was due just after 8.45am, so a little wait ensues. The bus arrives on time, and away we go, I purchase a One Day NBus ticket, priced £3.80, and we sit down with me dreading what will happen in the next hour. We pass through Brierley Hill, so I do a strip on the bus, down to my race gear, and get some surprised looks off a person sitting opposite. Mr UK Buses uses this chance to take a photo of me donned up, that is after he has stopped laughing. Its not long after and we arrive at Russells Hall Hospital, and for some reason, I don't want to get off the bus, but it is for charity, so I alight and psyche myself up in preparation for the race, that is after a quick visit to empty the bladder from my first energy drink. It seemed that a lot of other runners had the same idea.

We leave the hospital reception, and make our way round to the back, where the start / finish line is situated, as we make our way, past Accident and Emergency - a place where I may end up after, there are quite a few people in running gear emerging, so it is a good sign that we are heading in the right direction. We turn the corner and we didn't realise that Mr Lunn was coming, but his needs were catered for - two rows of portaloos. We head around the next corner and I can see the start / finish line, the fear is kicking in, only fifteen minutes to go. We walk towards the start, and John from work spots me and comes over to give me his advice, and tells me what Mr UK Buses said earlier, do it at your own pace, try and do as much as you can, and don't worry if you can not complete the course. Only a few minutes to go, my nerves are twitching, but I think I'm having Mr Lunn trouble, I need the loo again, so John and I walk back to the portaloos, and join the queue of runners who have the same idea. Bladder emptied and back round to the start, I take my position and after a "before" photo (see below left) by Mr Wood, I do a few stretches and warm up, only a minute or so to go.

Before the race
The start: In place, and the klaxon sounds, we're off. Just as we start off, the clouds open, quite quickly it turns from spots into a downpour - good timing! I make my way through the back of the hospital onto Bushey Fields Road, the marshals are holding back the traffic, I run up a slight hill to the main road at the end, I make my way onto the pavement, where I turn left into Kingswinford Road, I pass a few runners along the way, and the going is good. I am now at the main island at the end of Kingswinford Road, and I turn left into Stourbridge Road, heading uphill towards Dudley.

1 mile: Halfway up Stourbridge Road, and I see the first mile mark, it seems like I have run two, this put doubts into my head, will I be able to run the whole course? I'm not feeling any fatigue yet, so I carry on up Stourbridge Road, I am now at the traffic lights and it is a left turn into Wellington Road, running up to Dudley Leisure Centre. I'm halfway up the hill and I am now starting to struggle. I am now at the top of Wellington Road, where I turn left into Stafford Street, I am now gasping for breath, I make it to the end of Stafford Street, turning left into Wolverhampton Street, it is at this point that I am suffering, fatigue has kicked in, and my run turns into a walk, I take this time to have a drink and I am just coming to the main island.

2 miles: I am at the island and this is where the 2 mile marker is, I turn off left into the Himley Road. After my drink, and the worst of the course is out of the way, I begin to run again, and at least it is down hill. I make my way past Grange Park, and feel that my body is running faster than my feet, but with renewed energy, I manage to pass a few runners (the ones who past me on Wolverhampton Street, plus a few extra), I've got a good rythmn going now. I carry on along Himley Road, and am now coming accross the backmarkers who decided to walk the course, and left Russells Hall Hospital at 9am.

3 miles: I am now at the island at the end of Milking Bank, I think just past here was the three mile marker, my running is good now and haven't noticed, so this is a guess at the three mile mark. Anyway, I go straight on at the island where Milking Bank meets Himley Road, and I carry on up Himley Road, which is slightly uphill, and now a marshal is standing there with a sign telling us to turn left, at this point I shout out to him "When is the coach arriving to pick us up?", the marshal laughs. I now turn left into Coopers Bank Road, and it is another road that is going downhill, so on I go. I'm two thirds of the way down Coopers Bank Road, and I see the sign for Gornal Wood Crematorium, the way I'm feeling at this point, I don't feel like I belong there, which is a different thought I had at the start of the run. I carry on down Coopers Bank Road, the road now becomes Smithy Lane. There is a slight uphill gradient to this bit of the course, and towards the end of the road, my legs are starting to suffer again. I come to the end of Smithy Lane, and it is a left turn into Tansey Green Road. I can see the mile marker up ahead.

4 miles: I manage to run to the four mile marker, and that is when I begin to suffer and fatugue kicks in again, so it at this point my run becomes a walk and from here to the main road, Pensnett High Street, it is chance for me to have another drink. I turn left into Pensnett High Street, and it is not far to go till the end, so I try an muster up the energy and try running again. It is currently a bit of a steep gradient, so I'm still in a bit of a crawler run, but as I get past the "High Oak", my legs are beginning to come back to life, and it is just a straight road from here to the hospital. I'm now gathering pace I pass a few more walkers, and I am now by the "Fox and Grapes" - How I wish this was open now, this is the last gasp bit of the course and also another steep gradient. Just before I attempt to run up the hill, it looks like the front runners have come back to give us at the back moral support, so with shouts of encouragement I manage to give a last splurt of energy, I'm past Vicarage Road and I can see the turning ahead, I can also hear the marshals shouting "Come on, not far to go". I turn into the hospital road, the end is near......

After the race, wet and knackered!
5 miles and the finish: I haven't managed the five miles yet but as I turn into the hospital road, I'm on the route to the back of the hospital, I'm passing some more marshals and they are giving claps of encouragement.  A few more corners to go, first corner down and I spot Mr UK Buses to my right  - he seems shocked, so do I when I look at my watch, it is just before 10.20am. This gives me a major boost of adrenaline, two corners to go. One corner down, and I make my way past the portaloos, and the final corner is coming closer, final corner down, and the finish line is in front of me. This morning, I didn't think I would see this sight, a few more metres to go, and my number is mentioned by the hospital radio broadcast, "202, come on, keep going, don't give up now". A few more steps and I cross the finish line, and my run goes back to a walk. I crossed the line at 50 minutes and 58 seconds, I'm totally surprised at my time - my original thought this morning would be 1 hour 15 minutes! I see John ahead and he congratulates me, and he is also shocked at my time. John ran the course  in 42 muntes, if I didn't have those two breaks whilst on the course, I could have only been a minute or so behind him.

We walk a bit further and get my free t-shirt for completing the run, something I'm glad of as I am soaked. Speaking of rain, it is stopping, so some more good (or is that bad) timing by the clouds. We walk back down past the finish line, where we meet up with Mr UK Buses, and he gives me much needed congratulations and expresses his surprise at how fast I completed the run. The adrenalin seems to be calming down, and I have a little rest (see above right). John says his goodbyes and a couple of minutes later, I put my jeans back on, and swap my totally soaked running top with my free t-shirt and I'm ready to go. Mr UK Buses and myself  walk down towards Bushy Fields Road to get back to the front of the hospital, spotting the t-shirt stand, Mr UK Buses asks if I could get one for him, I tell him they are only for runners who have completed the course. We carry on, and finally get round to the front of the hospital, I spot the smoking shelter, and take this opporunity to have a well deserved cigarette before getting our bus to Dudley. We walk to the bus stops and not long after we get a service 246 to Dudley, which takes us on a short ride to Dudley Bus Station.

We arrive at Dudley Bus Station and after about ten minutes we get a National Express West Midlands Service 527, which makes it's way through Wrens Nest, Gornal Wood and The Straits before reaching Sedgley. We alight in Sedgley, and pain is starting to take over, my ankle is starting to throb, but it is only a few hundred yards and we get to the J D Wetherspoons, "The Clifton". Mr UK Buses gets a well deserved drink in, and we sit down enabling me to rest my now weary legs. Mr UK Buses gets his normally hidden wallet out to pass his sponsor money onto me, he passes me a tenner, and as I go to give him his fiver change, he tells me to keep the rest and add it to the sposnorship fund - big thanks to Mr UK Buses for that. We finish our drinks after a chat about the run, and how surprised I was with the timing etc, and we have a little walking to do, but I manage it as we go a few metres next door to "Montys". We have a window seat, and Mr UK Buses keeps an eye out for a work colleague who is known to visit Monty's. After we finish our drinks here it is decided to catch the Midland 297B service back into Stourbridge.

We go back to the bus stops in Sedgley and wait for our 297B which is due at 1310. We have about 10 minutes to wait, and the temperature has dropped and the wind is getting up. With a few minutes to go, we see a Midland bus turn out of a side street up ahead and it seems to drive straight on. A few minutes have passed and the bus is late. It is now 1315, and a National Express West Midlands service 558 appears so we decide to jump on that, and make our way to the top deck, something which is hard for me to do as the aches are starting. The bus pulls off and Mr UK Buses looks out of the back window and sees our 297B pull up! We are now heading towards Dudley, and as we pass Upper Gornal, we come to the Himley Road Island, where I point out that it was the 2 mile mark and that is where I had my first "walking" break. Not long after and we arrive back in Dudley. We are both suffering "Lunn syndrome" and walk through the bus station to find out that the toilets are shut. We have a bit of time to kill before our bus back to Stourbridge arrives, so we head to "The Castle Inn", to use the facilities, but seeing as the pub is empty, the eyes are staring from the landlady, so a quick half is purchased before we make use of the loo!

After we are emptied, and a quick walk back to the bus station and we wait for our service 246 back into Stourbridge. A few minutes late, we board and we make our way, back through Russells Hall Hospital, a place which I'm not too keen on now, and then the last part of the journey through Brierley Hill and Amblecote, before arriving at the temporary stands in Birmingham Street. A little walk up the road, and we are at our stand to catch our final bus of the day, Black Diamond's service 276, which takes us back home to Norton. I say my goodbyes to Mr UK Buses and after a little walk, I arrive back home, where I have a well deserved rest.

Another cracking day out, and also an achieving day. I accomplished something that I wouldn't have thought I could do - a five mile run. I'm proud of myself for completing the course and still can not get over the shock of what time I did the run in. After the event and a little more training next time, I think that I may enter the run next year. Perhaps Mr UK Buses will enter next year?

Sunday, 27 February 2011

2011 - Day Out 5: Whittles Worcestershire

Date: Saturday 26 February 2011

Time for the second outing of the year for the WARP's and we aim to have a little ride around Worcestershire travelling on local Whittles routes. Time to meet up and I make my way to Stourbridge Town to meet up with the rest of the gang. After purchasing my £2.60 return ticket to Kidderminster I catch the Parry's People Mover, or as I like to call it, "The Dodger" up to Stourbridge Junction. Upon arrival, I wait a few minutes on Platform 3, when Mr UK Buses and Mr WME arrive after finding out that they were on Platform 2 for a few minutes. Our "normal" train arrives on time at 0919 and we board and find Mr Lunn towards the back end of the train. After stopping at Hagley and Blakedown we arrive at Kidderminster, where after alighting we have a walk down Comberton Hill and through the town centre, with a brief diversion to the toilets close to the library for Mr Lunn, to the bus station situated by Tesco's.

It is just a short wait until we get our first bus, and we board Service 11 and purchase our Whittles day ticket costing £5.50 for unlimited travel all day on Whittle services, and after a short journey, passing the Severn Valley Railway station along the way, we arrive in Bewdley. With a bit of time to spare we head off for our first visit of the day to "The George Hotel", a Wetherspoons, and entered via a door we did not know about. A bladder stop is needed by myself so I go to the back of the establishment and up the stairs and realise that I have walked into the ladies, so I quickly exit and find out the gents are at the front of the building, and I must admit that the ladies in "The George" are quite posh. We finish our non alcoholic round and make our way to the bus stop to visit our next location of the day.

Its not to long before our next bus arrives, and it is Whittles service 125 to Bridgnorth. We board and we are on our way with a bit of "D9" driving being demonstrated by Mr Lunn as we make our way through Button Oak and Kinlet before reaching our destination of Highley. We alight at Highely and as we walk up the road, we discover that we got off a stop early, Mr UK Buses is up to his tricks again - I can remember him doing this on our last visit to London, with me getting the blame again. Anyway, we make our way up the main street and it starts to rain, so we time it right to take cover underneath the bus shelter, the one that we were supposed to get off at, with Mr WME walking ahead to see if he could make any discoveries. After a few minutes he returns and he states that there are no open pubs in that direction, so to kill about half hour, we have a little walk round the village, eventually popping up by the church, and Mr Lunn has a sneaky "visit", we then find out that we have done a loop and arrive by the bus stop we alighted at earlier. We see a sign for the Severn Valley Railway station at Highley and have a little wander in the direction and find out that it looks quite a distance, and with time getting on, we make our way through the village again and wait for our Service 125 back in to Bewdley. After waiting an extra few minutes, the bus arrives and we make our way to Bewdley via Kinlet and Button Oak after our "Highley  Disappointing" visit to the village.

Upon arrival in Bewdley it is time for lunch and we make our second visit to "The George" where we get a table sorted ready for our lunch. After a perusal of the menu we make our choices and we guess each others choices before Mr WME and myself make our way to the bar to get our food order, which is delayed by the fact that Mr UK Buses choice is not available, Mr UK Buses mentions that a letter may be arriving soon at Wetherspoons headquarters. It is not too long before our food arrives and we munch away. Stomachs have been fed, so just before we leave it is time for Mr Lunn to take his customary bladder stop and upon enquiring, I point him in the direction I went earlier - he is out of sight, and the gang can let out the laughs, but fair play to Mr Lunn he takes it in his stride and does inform us that he did his business before he came back down to us, I also ask him if he used the sofas that are provided in the ladies room, how come they can get all nice mod-cons in their loos - I think a letter to Wetherspoons is on the way from myself and claims of sexism!

We make our way down Bewdley High Street and wait outside The Angel, for our next bus, Whittles Service 11 to Stourport. The bus makes it's way to Stourport, when Mr UK Buses comes up with a good idea, and we alight the bus just before one of Mr UK Buses previous places of employment, The Brinton Arms. Mr WME decides to have a walk into Stourport to have a look around, whilst the rest of us settle down for a while in this establishment. Whilst in the pub, I try and get a cheap round in whilst Mr Lunn is taking a bladder stop, but he soon pipes up and I get him a drink, when he emerges from the toilet, the correct ones this time! We soon get a text off Mr WME and we make our way into Stourport to meet up with him, and we end up at the bus stop by The Wheatsheaf public house, with Mr WME emerging from the bottom half of the town. We have a few minutes to spare before our return Service 11 arrives to take us back into Kidderminster. A quick journey ensues, with the swapping of drivers along the way.

Enjoying the lounge at The Queens Head, Wolverley.
We arrive in Kidderminster and we wait by the town hall for a few minutes before our next bus arrives. What's this? Mr Lunn hasn't made his usual visit to The Swan to make his customary use of the facilities. Whittles Service 5 to Franche arrives and we board to get to our next destination of Wolverley. After a quick journey we arrive and alight by Wolverley Church, where we take a little walk and we arrive at one of our favourite drinking establishments, "The Queens Head". Drinks are ordered and it is decided that we make use of the pool table. A few games are played, with Mr UK Buses deciding to try his hand at magic and mysteriously makes the black disappear, this seems to answer a question from our last outing where the black ball had once again disappeared. With the pool games out of the way, we find out that we haven't got enough time to visit the "other" Wolverley public house, "The Lock", so a "half round" is ordered and we spend a bit of time in the lounge, a room that we have never used in this establishment on previous visits, and find out that we have missed out on comfort. Time for a "cheers" photo (see left), and we make our way back past the church to get our final bus of the day, Service 5 back to Kidderminster.

We arrive in Kidderminster just in time for tea, so we alight the bus just by The Swan Centre, where a short cut is used through the centre to get to our next Wetherspoons, "The Penny Black". A quick bladder stop is needed before we make our way down to the bar to order our drinks. The pub is quite busy during the early part of the evening and we find a table where it is down to Mr WME and Mr Lunn this time to make our food order. A short while after our food arrives and Mr UK Buses recovering from the shock of myself having something different off the menu, modestly priced Fish and Chips. Whilst we are busy eating our food we hadn't realised that the staff are in fancy dress - Police woman, fire woman - and we also distracted by a show of legs from other customers in the pub. Food is going down well and after another bladder stop, we make our way through Kidderminster and crawl back up Comberton Hill to the railway station for our train back home.

Disaster strikes, we arrive a couple of minutes late, so we have just under half an hour to wait for the next train. We think it is a bit stupid to wait in the cold, so it is decided to visit "The King and Castle", the public house and one of my personal favourites, situated at the Severn Valley Railway station at Kidderminster. After our little warm, we make our way across the forecourt to the modern day station and whilst waiting the final few minutes, the gang decide on dates and possible locations on our next outing. The train arrives and we board for the short journey to Stourbridge Junction, stopping off at Blakedown and Hagley along the way, and it is a good night to Mr Lunn who stays on board to alight at Rowley Regis, whilst Mr UK Buses, Mr WME and myself quickly swap platforms for our "Dodger" back into Stourbridge Town. Not too long to wait and a brief journey gets us back into Stourbridge Town, where Mr UK Buses spots our Black Diamond Service 276 back to Norton waiting by the railway station, so after a quick goodbye to Mr WME, we get a bit cheeky and ask to board, which the driver lets us, thus saving a walk down to the stop situated in  Birmingham Street. We give a little wave to Mr WME as we go past, whilst he makes his way to his bus stop.

Another good outing, with a bit of a let down courtesy of the weather, and a bit of disappointment with our visit to Highley. An April date has been set for the next WARP outing, the first one of the year in British Summertime, lets hope the weather has a summer feel to it.

Monday, 14 February 2011

2011 - Day Out 4: Staffordshire

Date: Saturday 12 February 2011

It is time for my first planned trip in February and Mr WME and myself have decided to visit locations in Staffordshire. So to start the day off I walk into Stourbridge to get my first bus of the day, National Express West Midlands 256 to Wolverhampton. Whilst waiting for the bus, I look at the 256 timetable and am surprised that there are only three buses on Saturday mornings before the half hourly frequency kicks in at 0930. The 256 arrives and I'm on my way to Wolverhampton. After a pleasant journey it is not long where I alight the 256 in Wolverhampton and wait in the temporary stop in Queen Street for Mr WME to appear, which he does after a couple of minutes. We have a bit of time before catching our first bus, but I seem to have taken over the bladder duties from Andy for today, and we head to the nearest toilets which are located in the Mander Centre. I was so desperate, I did not notice the sign that the female attendant was cleaning, nor did I see her in the toilets cleaning, but I could not have stopped once I had started.

After my little visit, we make our way to Stafford Street to catch our first bus of the day, so we head across Queens Square, where we seem to spot more discarded garments along the way, this time being a pair of tights, and it is not soon after we arrive at our stop to catch Arriva Midlands Service 76 to Stafford. Our bus arrives just slightly after its intended time of 1016, and we make our way to Stafford, hoping to catch our connecting bus to our first proper location of the day. After a pleasant ride, in which there seems to be members of CAMRA sitting next to us stating the pubs they have or have not visited, we arrive close to Stafford where we go around some local estates (with Mr WME informing me that these will no longer be served in upcoming Arriva service changes), before we get to Stafford town centre. With a bit of a build up of traffic and the fact that I cannot take any more of the female CAMRA member screaming at every pub she see, Mr WME and myself decide to get off just after the rail station and walk it through town to Gaol Square hoping to catch our connecting bus. We arrive at Gaol Square at nearly 1140, and we realise that the Arriva Service 432 which we need to catch is actually the same bus that we caught from Wolverhampton, even with the same driver taking us! It seems that our seats had been warmed up (by ourselves previously) and we start off on our journey to Eccleshall.

We arrive at Eccleshall, where we alight the bus. We have a walk around the village with Mr WME taking his customary photographs of public houses and libraries. After our tour and visit to the library where I seem to have upset the librarian by turning the speech on the information machine (not on purpose!), we visit our first public house of the day, The George Inn, where we decide to have our drinks by the roaring fire, until Mr WME gets too hot and we then move to our big table at the window to watch the world go by. After our drinks have been supped, we walk up the high street to The Bell, a rustic public house, which seems to be the locals pub of choice. We take our seats by the bar, where we are greeted not one but three barmaids serving. After a while, one barmaid enquires if the Bank's bitter is alright after she has changed the barrel, so it is up to me, The Bells previous cellar man (Not in Eccleshall, but Stourbridge), to have a look at the beer and even sample a sup to make sure it is okay, and it seems to be a lovely drink. After our drinks have been supped, in which Mr WME had to have two halves because he could make his mind which drink he wanted, and our opinion on the changed barrel, we make our way to the bus stop to catch our service 432, which arrived a few minutes later than the advertised time of 1320, to take us back to Stafford, it also seems a shame that this lovely village may be losing its public transport link with Stafford, after hearing the news from Mr WME that Arriva are cancelling the buses they operate there.

The games commence at The Spittlebrook
We make our way back to Stafford, when the bladder that Andy has loaned me today needs emptying, so we get off just before Stafford town centre, in which Mr WME remembers a public house that he spotted in the area on our way to Eccleshall earlier, and he cannot find it, which is great seeing that my legs can't move much farther with the fact that they are nearly crossed twice over!! With the bladder requiring immediate attention we spot The Hop Pole Inn, in which the bladder is serviced and Mr WME gets the drinks in, plus a bar snack of Scampi Flavour Fries. With time to pass whilst supping our drinks, we cant beat a bit of bully, and have a go on Bullseye on the quiz machine, which we leave empty handed, he beat us! After our visit to The Hop Pole, we walk through Stafford, pass the jail and Mr WME needs to make sure he gets past quick before any guard thinks he has broken out, to get to Gaol Square and catch our next bus, Service 3 to Queensville, to get to our next public house. We are not long on the bus from the town centre, when Mr WME spots our next public house, so we alight the bus sharply and walk over the railway bridge to visit The Spittal Brook, a public house that is situated on the end of a block of terraced houses, it was also recommended by a colleague at work. The Spittal Brook is a lovely pub, with saucy postcards adorning the walls and is also included in the Good Beer Guide. We spot a collection of board games in the corner, so whilst having our drinks we decide to have a game of "four in a row" with myself beating Mr WME 3 games to 2! (see picture above) After his beating Mr WME decides he needs to get some fresh air, so we go out into the beer garden, which is nice peaceful surroundings, at least until the trains behind the hedge go roaring past! Whilst in the garden we see quite a few buses go past, and it is not long before we make a move, that is after the fact that Mr WME has been arrested by two young kids who are playing in the garden for "punching their dad". Whilst he can, Mr WME makes a break for it and we head off to the nearest bus stop to catch our bus into town, he may have escaped the police kids, but I later find out that my colleague spotted us leaving. We wait a while, which may give the reason why we saw so many buses go past in The Spittal Brook, so we decide to walk, that is until we spot a Service 825 heading towards us and we make a quick dash to the bus stop which the driver spots us and kindly stops. We barely make it to our seats before we alight outside our next public house, The Sun, which is the latest opening of the Titanic brewery. We only have a little time in The Sun, before we have to catch our next bus, which stops right outside.

In The Sun at Penkridge
We catch our Service 76 bus, which takes us to our next location, Penkridge, and after our return visit to the local estates on the suburbs of Stafford, it is not long before we alight at Penkridge, and we visit The Horse and Jockey, a pub in which Mr WME finds out the final score of the match between Wolves and Arsenal, bad news is, it is Wolves which have lost with a score of 2-0 at Arsenal. After a quick drink in "The Jockey", we make our way up Market Street, and visit The Star Inn, a pub that Mr UKBuses and myself have spotted on a previous visit to Penkridge. We have a quick half in The Star Inn (see picture left), where hunger is kicking in, so we head back to the bus stop with a visit to "Jasper's", a bakery which we purchase some pasties to nibble on, and also cakes for our journey ahead. We catch the Service 76 again, with a short journey to our next location, Brewood.

We arrive in Brewood, where we visit the next Public House, The Swan, where it is my round and get some more bar snacks, some Pork Crunch, to nibble on whilst watching the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Scotland, with Wales having a good lead. The pub seems quite busy and we found a table in the corner by luck. After resting our legs, we decide to visit another public house in the area, and it is a short walk to The Admiral Rodney, in which we take our pews at the bar, even though there is a vast amount of tables to choose from. It seems a shame that the pub was quiet, as it seems to be a nice little place. It is nearly time for our next bus, so we sup up and make a move and walk past the church and graveyard to the bus stop which is situated opposite The Swan. We are nearly there and I spot the bus coming so another quick sprint is needed to get to the bus stop before the bus does. I manage to, Mr WME seems to just walk at a leisurely pace. Despite the running, the bus is actually early so it is a few minutes before the bus departs on its way to Wolverhampton.

After our last journey of the day on Service 76, we arrive in Wolverhampton, and with a bit of time to spare, we have a drink in The Posada, a lovely little place situated in Lichfield Street close to The Art Gallery. A bladder stop is also needed, so whilst in the toilet, Mr WME finds us a seat, and we rest our legs a bit. Its not long before we revisit another pub in Wolverhampton, The Wheatsheaf. It seems to have been taken over since our last visit, and the pub does not seem as busy as it once was, which is a shame. We end our night playing darts with a game of 301, which Mr WME takes the game, even though i just needed a score of just 1 (No finishing on doubles as we would still be playing!), with Mr WME having a big score to finish, he managed to win! I scored the victory of the second game, this time playing a game of 101 to make it more quick to finish the game, and I beat Mr WME with a final score of 13. So a decider is needed, but due to the time and the dart board oche being taken over by a disco, it is a game for a future trip. It was also time for myself to catch the Service 256 back to Stourbridge, with Mr WME accompanying me to the bus stop in Queen Street, before he makes his way back home.

Again, another good trip with Mr WME, and there seems to be no let down on the trips with it seeming to be a good start to 2011. My pub of the day would have to be The Spittal Brook in Stafford, and the barmaid of the day goes to three! The barmaids were all good in The Bell in Eccleshall, but they alas do not beat the barmaid at The Swan on our recent visit to Chaddesley Corbett. Looking forward to our next trip, that's if Mr WME does not get caught whilst being on the run from the police kids!