Friday, 17 June 2011

2011 - Day Out 14: Weymouth

Date: Friday 10 June 2011

It is nearly a full turn out for the WARPR's, but we have the WRP'S for this whole weekend in June. This may be a long blog post, so sit tight, you may have to make a cup of tea in between, I hope that I summarise our outing for the weekend. Lets start it off....

I make my way to Wollaston for the 0756 journey on National Express West Midlands Service 276, where roughly six minutes later, and a trip across High Park, I meet up with Mr UKBuses, who boards the bus ready for our first train journey of the day. We just miss the Chiltern Railway journey, but it is not long before we get the next train, London Midland. A quick journey into Birmingham, we make our way from Snow Hill and decide to have a breakfast lunch in McDonalds, where Mr WME makes his appearance. Breakfast over, we decide to make our way down to Birmingham New Street, to catch our next train, but before that I have to make a fag stop due to a long journey ahead. The rest of the gang get a sandwich for the train journey, and as I finish my fag, we make our way back inside New Street, to catch our 10:03 train.

We make our way onto the train, and get our seats, ready for the long journey ahead, we look forward to our weekend, and we enjoy our journey, and once in Southampton Central Railway Station, we have to make our change. After our long journey, I don't have enough time to have a fag break, and it is on our next train, which takes us to Weymouth Railway Station. After another train journey, which takes us about 1 and a 1/2 hours, we arrive at Weymouth, and whilst I make my way to the outside of Weymouth Station for a long overdue cigarette, Mr WME takes a few photo's in the station.
Welcome to Weymouth
The Pilot Boat, Lyme Regis
We are in Weymouth, with the sun shining, and we make our way to The Fairhaven Hotel, to drop off our bags, and have a quick freshen up, before we make our way for a couple of rides this afternoon. With the receptionist expecting us, we sign in, and Mr UKBuses signs his life away making him responsible for the rooms for the weekend. We drop our cases off, and we soon meet up downstairs. I make sure that I get a taste of the good weather, and have a fag outside the hotel, with a lovely view across the beach and the main esplanade, a view that I will enjoy for the whole weekend. With the rest of the gang ready, we make our way across the sea front and decide to have a quick drink in the JD Wetherspoons - "The William Henry", before getting our next bus. We catch the Jurassic Coast bus, First in Dorset's X53, where we go through places, such as West Bay, Bridport and Charmouth, passing through country lanes and coastal views before we arrive in Lyme Regis. Upon arrival in Lyme Regis, a few photo's are taken by Messrs UKBuses and WME before we take shelter from a shower in "The Pilot Boat", after which it is a climb up the hill to the bus stop for our bus back. A drop in weather, with Mr SBI shivering, a late First 31 arrives, taking us back to Bridport. Upon arrival in Bridport, and with the weather not showing much sign of improvement, a quick break on the bus route whilst the driver change takes place, we decide to get back onto the bus, and make an early visit back to Weymouth.

The Lovely Zane
A quick freshen up back at the hotel, and we make our first visit to the top bar in the hotel, being served by the lovely Zane, see picture left, before we make our way into town. A walk through the back streets and alleys, we arrive at our first pub of the night, and it is "The Duke of Albany", where we choose to sit close to the resident parrot, who talks away. Drinks finished, we make our way around to have some tea, and we go to "Chillies" for a curry. Poppadoms first, then the main course, I can't manage the whole course, so Mr WME decides to take over and get the value for money. Food finished, and we decide to walk up the road to "The Brownlow", where upon arrival, in a not so busy pub, we notice the pool table is vacant, so we decide to have a few games, with myself taking the victory tonight. After celebrating my victory, we decide to choose Mr WME's and Mr UKBuses final stop of last year and into "The Cutter" (although the sign looks like it is The Gutter), where they have Fosters this year but not Mr UKBuses choice of tipple, Mr Guinness. After the late night drink, we make our way back to the hotel, where Mr WME and myself sample the bottom bar with Gigilo providing the entertainment, and we bump into some residents who come from Wolverhampton. It is getting late and decide to retire after a good first day on the south coast.
Date: Saturday 11 June 2011

Poole and the "glorious" bus station. Luckily it is not a long stop and we catch Wilts and Dorset's M1 service to Bournemouth, a journey that takes just over half an hour. This is our first Wilts and Dorset bus, which we are told, will accept our FirstDay Explorer's which we purchased on the X53 - No problems so far.

We arrive in Bournemouth, and the first thing we do is take photographs, but a few spots of rain start falling, and then even more, so it is off to the nearest Wetherspoons, "The Moon in the Square", and it seems everyone has the same idea, as this large pub is quite packed. A quick drink, and we head out for a bite to eat, so we head around the corner, where we sample a Burger King, I choose the "plain" burger option, it means I have to wait a little bit longer than the others, but at least I know that my burger will be fresh off the grill.

The rain seems to have stopped so we jump on the "Purbeck Breezer" service 50, which takes us to the railway station, and another opportunity for some photo's to be taken outside. After a little break outside the railway station and the Purbeck Breezer still waiting for its next journey, we decide to hop back on, and we have a short journey back into the town. There is a little wait in the town, so we take the opportunity to take some photographs of the buses in the main street from the (open) top deck. It is nearly 2pm, and we make our way on a long journey, and we pass through places such as Westbourne and Sandbanks before we have to catch the ferry to our destination of Swanage. We have a little time to wait, so Mr WME and myself ask the driver nicely if we can have a little break, and so Mr WME takes a few photographs, and I have time for a cigarette, eventually I did as the wind was giving me trouble to light it. Break over and we board the bus and make our way onto the Sandbanks ferry. It is only a short journey of about five minutes on the ferry, but the open top deck and the swaying of the ferry make me feel a little seasick. We have a little journey to make now before we get into Swanage, and as we leave the bus, Mr UKBuses has to put a cap on as his hair as moved quite a lot in the wind.
Having a piddle in The White Swan
We arrive in Swanage and have time for a few photo's at the station, home of the vintage railway, and then it is time for a walk into the town, and once we get there, we have a break in "The White Swan", where it is time for a "Piddle", see picture left. After a piddle, we walk back to the station where we catch the 40 Purbeck Breezer service to Wareham where Mr UKBuses thinks it is time for a spot of driving D9 style. The service is running late, so we decide to skip Wareham and carry on the service all the way to Poole and arrive at the bus station that we loved earlier. Mr UKBuses and Mr WME take a few photo's while I spend a penny, or twenty of them to be precise and when I come back out, Mr UK Buses is at the depot for more photo's. We now have a walk through Poole town centre where we find the local JD Wetherspoons' "The Lord Wimborne". After spending a bit of time there we make our way back through town and arrive back at the bus station, ready to catch our bus back to the hotel.

After a day on Wilts and Dorset's buses of no problems with our FirstDay Explorer, we alight the First X53 service back to Weymouth. We go through the countryside once more and with the journey taking just over an hour, about forty minutes into the journey, I'm doing an impression of Mr D9, and cannot wait for the bus to get back to Weymouth. After crawling off the bus, I have to crawl a bit further into one of the toilets along the sea front. Bladder emptied, we make our way back across the seafront to The Fairhaven Hotel where we freshen up before the night ahead.
The Chapelhay Tavern
A quick freshen up and we head to the hotel bar where we have a quick drink served by the friendly member of staff, Zane. Quick drink in the lounge finished, we head back to the Kings Statue and the Wetherspoons for a bite to eat, before we walk through the town and across the bridge and up some steps from the harbour, where we find "The Chapelhay Tavern", see picture left. We have a quick drink in the pub, where we are sitting amongst a decoration of maritime objects and listen to the coastguard on the radio whilst we have the company of the pubs' German Shepherd. We head back into the harbour and it is time to be introduced to another one of Mr WME and Mr UKBuses favourites from last year, "The Boot".
In The Globe served by friendly staff
Whilst in The Boot, we log onto the pubs wireless network and surf the net whilst we sup our drinks. I realise that I am still logged into my google account, where Mr WME updates my blog with the last post. At this point, Mr UKBuses retires and Mr WME and myself decide to have a visit to "The Globe" and sample a pint of Dartmoor "Jail Ale", see picture right. This is a friendly pub with a very friendly landlord who makes us feel welcome. After our drink is finished, we walk back to the hotel past The Cutter and retire ourselves after a glorious sunny day.
Date: Sunday 12 June 2011

Today is the day of "The Weymouth Vintage Bus Rally", and so we awake and I go down to breakfast, but decide to have a cigarette on the beach first, but I realise that I will have to stay in the doorway of the hotel as it is throwing it down with rain, and this is the day that we wanted it to be sunny, but alas we have no control of the British weather. Cigarette finished, I wait in the reception area for the breakfast room to open, and I am joined by the rest of the gang, and we sit down for our grub, with extra bacon as I don't have an egg. Breakfast finished, orange juice drunk, we go upstairs to get ourselves ready for the rally.

With us all kitted out appropriately for the rain, we make our way across the rain lashed sea front to the King's Statue ready for the bus down to the rally site, but we realise that the stop has been moved and we don't know where it is. A Leyland National 2 drives past us towards the harbour, so Mr UKBuses keeps his eye on the area and can see it parked up as we try and shelter from the rain. After about ten minutes, it makes it way towards us, so we flag it down, and the driver kindly stops, even though it shouldn't stop where we were standing, and we alight out of the rain. The bus drives down to the scheduled bus stop and after a few minutes and a ride through the streets, we arrive at the rally ground, which is located by The Premier Inn hotel. With the rain still lashing, we jump on and catch a newly preserved Stagecoach South West Volvo B6LE which is going to Portland Bill. After 30 minutes we arrive at our destination, but the rain is still lashing down so no photo opportunities here and we stay on the bus, which after about 15 minutes staring out at the lighthouse, we make our way back and we are back again at the rally ground. A Ford Transit minibus is at the stop now, so to avoid the rain, we catch this which is on a route around the town centre, so we shortly arrive back at the ground. Still trying to keep dry, we make our way onto a Bristol RE which takes us to Bowleaze Cove and around Weymouth before going back to the ground.
Sheltering from the rain in The Lodmoor
With the rain still pouring, we decide to have a drink at "The Lodmoor", which is just a couple of minutes walk away, and duly we shelter from the rain. After about half an hour, we head back outside, it is slowly stopping raining so Mr UKBuses gets a few photo's of the buses parked up, and the rain starts pouring again. After a brief wait on the control bus, we then jump onto a Volvo B10M coach, which will take us for our second visit to Portland Bill. After another half hour journey, we arrive, we brave the wind and rain and stay dry at "The Pulpit", where it is Mr UKBuses round, and it nearly looks like I may have to make use of my first aid training as he nearly falls to the ground when he is asked to pay £10.20 for the three drinks ordered. After finishing the drinks, Mr UKBuses needs the fresh air to get over the shock, and we walk into pouring rain and breath-stopping wind, but a Leyland National is parked up ready to take us back to the rally ground. We still have a bit of time to wait, so I brave the rain, which has eased slightly for a cigarette, which I eventually beat the wind to light it.
Just before the race in The Wellington
We make our way back to Weymouth, where we catch the Ford Transit minibus we caught earlier to take us to The Nothe Forte, and upon arrival, we turn round in the Forte and make our way back, and the driver kindly stops off at the seafront in Weymouth, where we decide to visit "The William Henry" for a bite to eat, before we head back to the hotel to freshen up. After an hour we meet up in the hotel bar, and make our way through Weymouth, where with the rain eased, we find "The Wellington Arms", which has the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix on the television and we arrive with the race about to start.

It looks like the weather has made its way from Weymouth to Canada and the race starts behind the safety car, and after a few laps the race is red flagged. With the race stopped and no sign of it starting any time soon, Mr WME and Mr UKBuses decide to call around to "Chilles" again for a curry, but I stay at The Wellington for the race to restart. After about two hours, the race restarts, and we are go go go again. Mr UKBuses and Mr WME return whilst the action is still going on. After a long race and a quite a few pit stops (including a drive through penalty), the action keeps on going to the last lap, where in his best victory to date, Jenson Button overtakes Sebastian Vettel to take the chequered flag and win the race in a total time of four hours and four minutes and thirty nine seconds! When Jenson goes on to the top step, I get a bit emotional after one hell of a race. It takes a few minutes for me to dry the eyes, and then after spending nearly five hours in The Wellington, we have to leave.

Mr UKBuses retires back to the hotel, but with the adrenalin still flowing, Mr WME and myself decide to stop off for a couple of more drinks, and first of all we go into a pub that has been on Mr WME's radar, "The Duke of Cornwall", where there is something I have never seen before - "Live" karaoke. Basically a customer selects a song to sing, and the live band play the tune for them to sing to! After a couple of songs are heard, we head back and finish off in our favourite from last night, "The Globe". Some more Jail Ale is sampled, and with the adrenalin calming down, we retire back to the hotel, but not before the staff at The Globe wish us the best, I think that this pub will on the list for next year when we return for the rally.
Date: Monday 13 June 2011

The final morning has come and after my now usual cigarette on the beach front before breakfast, I meet up with Mr UKBuses and Mr WME for our final breakfast. The full English is standard choice, but Mr UKBuses seems to have a bit less on his plate than the rest of us. Breakfast over, we go back to our rooms to pack our bags, and after this is done, we head back down to reception to hand our keys over for the final time, even though I didn't want to hand my key over! We say our goodbyes to The Fairhaven, a hotel on the seafront which I can definitely recommend to anyone and have no complaints about. We make our way back to the railway station, past The Kings Statue and through the back streets, with our train due, I decide to have a cigarette whilst I get the chance, and not long after we board our train.

We get ourselves comfortable in our seats and the train starts to move and we finally have to say goodbye to Weymouth, and we make our way to Southampton Central, where we have to change trains, but I do get a chance on the return journey to pop out front and have a quick cigarette, whilst Mr WME gets a few photographs. Break over, we join Mr UKBuses back on the platform, where our train arrives and we find our seats before anyone else lays claim to them on a really packed train. This train takes us back to Birmingham New Street, where we say our goodbyes to Mr WME, whilst Mr UKBuses and myself make a change onto the London Midland train to Smethwick Galton Bridge, where we change once again, this time onto the Snow Hill line for another London Midland Train to takes us back to Stourbridge Junction. Upon arrival, Mr UKBuses senior is waiting for us and kindly gives me a lift back home.

It was a cracking weekend, with the best company, and mainly good weather. I thoroughly recommend Weymouth to anyone, and also the rally, which was my second visit to the rally, and even though it was raining, it did not disappoint. After a weekend away like this, it takes me a couple of days to recover and go back to normal life, just one thing left to do is check my lottery ticket I purchased from Weymouth, I'm sure that there was a house for sale overlooking the harbour......