Tuesday, 31 May 2011

2011 - Day Out 13: Two Museums Days

Date: 30 May 2011

Two Museums Day 2011
It is Bank Holiday, and the last trip of the action packed day out month of May. The WRP's decide to meet up and visit our first bus rally of 2011, The Two Museums Day at Aston Manor Road Transport Museum and The Transport Museum at Wythall, both situated in Birmingham.

First I meet up with Mr UKBuses, at the temporary stands in Stourbridge. We arrange to meet up at 0930 and I get there in time, albeit a bit (sorry make that a lot) wet. As you expect from a typical Bank Holiday, it is teeming with rain, and looking at the clouds it seems that this rain is going to be around all day. Mr UKBuses turns up in time, and we wait to catch National Express West Midlands Service 9 to Birmingham. The bus has arrived waiting for the beginning of the journey, but the bus driver takes pity on us (or it could be that the Pensnett garage driver recognised his colleague Mr UKBuses), so he lets us on and it gives us the chance to get the best seats on the bus upstairs at the front. We are on our way, and as we turn around at Parkfield Road, we get a nice view from the top deck of the interchange redevelopment as we go past. We are on our way and we head through Lye, Colley Gate, Halesowen (and it's brilliant bus station!) and Quinton. We head towards Bearwood, but we are diverted due to a building fire in Hagley Road, so I text Mr WME to let him know that we may be a little late arriving in Birmingham. Mr WME duly rings me to tell me that he will be late as he realised that his local bus service didn't start until 1000 and is just about to get the train, he decides to catch the train through to Witton and we will meet up with him at Aston Manor instead. Our journey carries on and we are not held up as much as we thought in Bearwood, so we venture further up Hagley Road, and as we arrive in Birmingham, we choose to alight at Broad Street.

We make our way into the city centre, but I make a quick visit to the nearest J D Wetherspoons at Paradise Place to make use of their toilet, and we now have to find our stop for the bus to take us to the Aston Manor Museum. With the rain still coming down, we make our way to Suffolk Street Queensway, where after a little wait, our first vintage bus of the day, a Birmingham Corporation Daimler CVG6 arrives to take us on our way. We decide to play a little joke on Mr WME and send him a text asking where he is, as we are at Wythall. He takes the bait and rings us and I tell him to stay at Aston Manor - we didn't want him to catch the bus to Wythall and further delay our day, so the joke sort of backfired! After about 15 minutes we arrive at The Aston Manor Transport Museum, and we also meet up with Mr WME, who is walking to the museum as we pass him on the bus. So our gang of today is complete and the WRP's venture inside.

Problems at Aston Manor
After meticulous ticket checking, we have a little wander around the museum and check out the stalls, where I grab a few pictures of Hanson's buses, and with the rain still teeming outside we decide to have a look around the museums shop at the back of the building. With Mr UKBuses knee still on the mend, I am polite and ask him if he wants me to call and operate the stair-lift that is available for use. He declines, I'm not sure he trusts me with these mobility aids. A browse around the shop over, we make our way back downstairs to the main museum, with Mr UKBuses still refusing to use the stair-lift, and as we are back on the ground, we walk past the big doors at the side of the museum, and notice that the rain has stopped, so we take our chance and have a look at the vehicles on display and take a few photographs, but these strange people always end up getting in the way, see right. The break in rain is short lived, and we make our way back indoors to shelter, that is until we notice that one of the museum bus rides is about to depart, so we jump aboard the AEC Routemaster providing the journey and have a ride around Erdington and Gravelly Hill before arriving back at Aston Manor Transport Museum. With the rain still coming down, and our stomachs starting to rumble, we decide to head back into Birmingham and have some lunch. A museum shuttle bus to Birmingham is about to depart, but everyone else has the same idea and there is no room left for us, so we have a damp walk around Witton to catch our normal service bus back into Birmingham, kindly supplied by National Express West Midlands Service 7.

It is not long before we arrive back in the city and we head to J D Wetherspoons "The Briar Rose" where we dry off and sup a couple of pints with our dinner. After ordering our dinner, we have a rare view of Mr UKBuses wallet, and Mr WME has timed it right to get a picture of this rare occurrence. The gang has their usual with Mr WME and myself opting for the usual "Beer and Burger", and Mr UKBuses opting for his usual Chicken Tikka Masala. As we dry off we chat about our upcoming break in June and what we have planned, but our food is eaten and we still have another museum to visit, so we make our way back through Birmingham, with the rain calming down for a bit and back to Suffolk Street Queensway, where we see another Birmingham Corporation Daimler heading towards the stop, so we make a run for it, well Mr UKBuses makes a hop for it, and the bus is about to pull away from the stop without us, until a passer by taps the drivers cab window and alerts the driver that we are waiting to get on the bus. At this point, as the conductor is upstairs, I take over his conducting skills, and undo the safety rail, thus allowing the others on, before I board and reattach the safety rail. At this point the "real" conductor makes his way back downstairs and nearly catches me in the act. We find seats and this allows Mr UKBuses to rest his knee after his impromptu run down the street, and the bus pulls off taking us past the cricket ground and through Kings Heath to The Transport Museum in Wythall.

Vandal, I always thought that Mr WME was guilty of grafitti
We pass the "50" terminus at Maypole which means that we will shortly be arriving. We arrive at The Transport Museum, and whilst on our journey the rain has started to come down faster. We are asked politely to show our tickets, which we oblige, and the first port of call for me is the toilets. This is a chance for Mr WME to get his own back on me for the trick I played on him earlier, and after my toilet stop, I search for the pair, and search. Even thought I was wondering where they had got to, they were just inches away from me and were hiding in the cab of the milk floats on display at the museum. I eventually spotted them. I did think that the milk float contained waxwork dummies, and I was infact correct, a pair of dummies were found in the milk float!! We were situated by one of the sheds that house the many buses that the museum has, and so we went to have a look around the stalls situated there. This shed was home to model exhibitions and stalls, there was even one model display that closely resembled "Coronation Street". After looking around the models, we head into the museum's shop. I think Mr UKBuses preferred this museum shop as there was no flight of stairs to climb. Scouting round the shop over and we head to the other shed to have a look at the stalls set up there, this shed was home to photographs, timetables and other bus memorabilia. The rain was still coming down, so we see the "baseball bat" on the car park, which was operating on the event day car park shuttle, so we had a ride on this converted Leyland Fleetline to stay dry, where we have found the culprit - GUILTY as charged, see left. Whilst on "the baseball bat", Mr UKBuses was reminiscing about this bus being used on Services 242, 294 and 295 around Stourbridge in the late '90's. After a brief ride to the event car park (which was half flooded) and back, we decide to try and dodge the rain, and we had an ice cream to cool us down on this wet day, taking shelter in the doorway of the new exhibition hall, whilst having a lick or two of a Mr Whippy. There is a brief respite in the rain, so it time to take a few photographs, but as the camera is out, it is not long before it is put away again as the rain starts pouring again.

With the rain stopping play again, we decide to cut our losses and catch the next shuttle back to Birmingham, and our bus to take us back is pulling up on the car park, a BMMO D9, so we are the first on, and we get prime seats on the lower deck, at the front. I think I grab the best view as I can see where I'm going and also see the driver manoeuvring the vehicle back to Birmingham. After about ten minutes, the bus pulls out of The Transport Museum, and we are on our way back to Birmingham, back through Maypole, Kings Heath and past the cricket ground, one of Mr WME's favourite places, back to Suffolk Street Queensway where we are dropped off. Where I was seated on the bus, I could see the actions that the driver was making whilst driving the bus and I must say the Mr Lunn has got his D9 driving down to a tee, which is quite scary! Luckily, a National Express West Midlands 87 is right on cue, and we jump aboard to take us to Corporation Street where we decide to have a pint in our second Wetherspoons of the Day, "The Square Peg", one of our regular pubs when we visit Birmingham. Mr WME and Mr UKBuses try and get to the bar first to get the round, but Mr WME is kind to let Mr UKBuses save a bit of money (he likes saving money where possible) and have the cheap round and Mr WME will get the more expensive round at the next pub. We have a chat again about Weymouth and after finishing our drinks it is off to the next and final pub.

We head out to Corporation Street, but our normal door has been changed to an emergency exit / disabled access, so we head through the only entrance to The Square Peg now, and walk past the disabled access door, which we then realise that Mr UKBuses is currently classed as disabled - we could have saved a bit of a walk there! We head up to Colmore Row and onwards to Bennett's Hill, to a pub that we have visited before, and one of Mr WME's favourites, "The Wellington". I find a table while Mr WME gets this round in, and they order a number (the pumps are numbered with the corresponding choices listed on a TV screen), and we have our final chat about how the day has gone. Pints supped, we head to Colmore Row, via the back entrance which turns out to be a short cut and to our stand ready to catch our bus. Mr WME's bus turns up first, National Express West Midlands Service 126 to Wolverhampton, and driving it is a colleague of Mr UKBuses, so a brief conversation ensues. Mr WME departs and we wave him off and virtually behind is our National Express West Midlands Service 9, which takes us back to Stourbridge. After a journey of approximately forty-five minutes, we arrive back in Stourbridge, where the sun has decided to make an appearance (typical now that we are heading back home), but we have a while to wait, so make a diversion to the Lloyd's bar "The Edward Rutland", to sneak in and have a crafty toilet break. We sneak in the front door, and use the front toilets which Mr UKBuses didn't know about, but unfortunately for him, there are a couple of flight of stairs to climb. Toilet break over, we head back to Stand F in Birmingham Street to wait for our bus back home, and after five minutes of waiting, our Black Diamond Service 276C arrives to take us back home. I alight at Wollaston for a well deserved chinese from my regular chinese takeaway, a perfect end to the day.

Another brilliant day out with good company, apart from the rain, and a good start to the 2011 rally season. Out of the two museums, The Transport Museum at Wythall pulled out all the stops and made a good effort for The Two Museums Day, and as always makes me feel welcome wanting to return. Less can be said about Aston Manor, a visit that was not a lot of difference from my last visit. It is my personal opinion, that as it was Two Museums Day, they could have made a bit more of an effort and after my visit today, it did not really make me want to go back for a return visit this year. The first rally out of the way, and another one in just under two weeks....

No comments :