Monday, 5 September 2011

2011 - Day Out 20: Torquay

Date: Friday 02 September 2011

The view of Torquay from The Corbyn Head Hotel
After a weekend away in Weymouth in June, The WRP's (Woody, Roger and Paul) decide to spend a weekend just down the coast in Torquay, for the annual Torbay Bus Rally.

It is an early start and I meet up with Mr UKBuses just after 8.00am, where we get a quick lift of Mummy SBI, to Stourbridge Junction. We only have a few minutes to wait before a London Midland local service takes us to Smethwick Galton Bridge, to transfer to the Birmingham New Street London Midland Service. We make our way to the first carriage, where we meet up with Mr WME, who fails to notice us as he is checking his mobile phone, so he is shocked to see us as he looks up, and was expecting to meet us in Birmingham City Centre. With the weekend gang complete, we make our way into Birmingham New Street, where we decide a quick walk is needed through the Pavilions Shopping Centre and to McDonald's, where we all opt for a Bacon Roll to fill us up for our journey ahead. Breakfast over, we make our way back into New Street, where I get a "fresh air" break in and a visit to WH Smiths before our long journey down to Torquay.

Refreshments for the journey sorted, we make our way to Platform 3A, and as the train pulls in, Mr UKBuses realises that we are at the wrong end of the train and a quick rush to coach F, which is the other end of the train, is needed to get to our seats. We board the train and Mr UKBuses and myself find our seats, but Mr WME upsets a woman who is in his seat. He asks politely and she does move, but the look on her face wasn't nice. It is 09.42am and we make our way on the Arriva Cross Country service to Torquay where we will pass through Bristol Temple Meads, Weston-Super-Mare and Taunton along the way. We start off our journey by having a read of the newspaper, Mr WME opting for The Metro, and myself The Sun. Mr UKBuses has brought along a book to read, "My Story" by Ronnie Kray, and he does find the reference to our London Regular, "The Blind Beggar". The journey is going quite good, even though a passenger boarded along the way and nicked a seat of a mother and child whilst she was in the toilet, and refuses to give her back the seat when she points this fact out, and these old people wonder why the young don't respect their elders. We know the end of the journey is in sight when we pass through Dawlish and experience a pleasant part of the journey when we have a ride along the coast. It has taken three and a half hours, but we do arrive at our destination, Torquay Railway Station. I soon make a dash to the front of the station and have a well deserved "Fresh air break".

We have a little walk and after about a five to ten minute walk we arrive at our hotel of the weekend, "The Corbyn Head Hotel", where we are checked into our rooms by the receptionist, Claire, who decides to laugh out loud when we tell her where we are from, it turns out she comes from Dudley, so no wonder she laughed. We make our way to our rooms, where we have a freshen up before meeting back in reception for a little look around the area in the afternoon.

Vigilant in The Vigilance!
Luckily, the bus stop is situated right across the road from the hotel, and we will be catching Stagecoach South West buses throughout the day and opt for the Stagecoach "Explorer Ticket", which is priced at £6.90. We catch the Stagecoach South West Service 12, which will first take us to Brixham, and after a journey time of about forty minutes, we arrive at Brixham, and after a few photographs have been taken, we have a little walk around the town. A newsagent is found enabling Mr UKBuses and myself a chance to purchase a Euromillions ticket, which hopefully after the draw tonight, we could be a £100 Million pounds better off, we can only wish. Before we become a multi-millionaire, Mr UKBuses soon finds a JD Wetherspoons, "The Vigilance", see picture right, we take our seats by the open window looking out onto the street, with the fresh air breeze keeping us awake. Whilst in the Wetherspoons, a local seems to be interested in Mr UKBuses hair, he stands up and walks across to look out of the window, but he seems to be interested in looking at Mr UKBuses hair and then giving Mr WME a strange look, perhaps he has found out why there is a Brylcreem shortage in the area. We make our way into the town and walk up the main high street, and we find a public house that Mr WME is on the lookout for, a little corner pub, called "The Hole In The Wall". We enter and it is a nice cosy pub inside, and seems to have a good atmosphere. The time of day we were in, approximately 3.00pm, it is a bit quiet, but seems that by the evening, it will be a busy establishment. A quiz machine is found in the corner, and after a quick game of Bejewelled Blitz 2, we have a go at the pub quiz, unsuccessful, Mr UKBuses decides to have a flutter, and he hands me his wallet, I seem shocked at this, and as he looks at my response, he soon realises that national security has been breached, and quickly takes it back out of my hand twice as fast as he put it in, I was also shocked at the weight of the wallet, so he must have had a good few days previously spotting discarded penny's. After a thirty pence flutter, his heart can't take anymore expense and we soon leave the pub and get some fresh air to restore Mr UKBuses colour. On our way out we pass by the harbour, before walking up a street to takes us back to the bus stop.

As we arrive, our bus is waiting for us, and we make our way to Paignton back onto Stagecoach South West's service 12, and after twenty minutes we arrive at the bus station in Paignton. A few photographs are taken by Mr WME and Mr UKBuses, whilst I try and find a toilet as Mr D9 seems to have lent me his bladder. There are none in the bus station, so I make my way to the railway station opposite only to be told by a member of staff that I can't come in as it is now being locked up. I make my way towards the town, and I realise that there is a pub opposite, "Winston's", and sneak in and out to use the facilities without purchasing a drink, Mr UKBuses would have been proud! We make our way into the town and find our second Wetherspoons of the day, "The Talk of The Town". We are asked if we are drinking outside, but decide not too as we would be drinking out of horrible plastic glasses. A relaxing drink, we make our way opposite the pub, where Mr UKBuses has spotted refreshments to cool him down, so Mr WME and Mr UKBuses sample an ice cream, we are by the seaside, so it is a good reason to indulge. Whilst they are cooling themselves down, we make our way back to the bus station, where our bus is waiting for us again, Stagecoach South West's, Service 12.

We board, and make our way to the top deck, Mr UKBuses sits at the front of the bus, and as Mr WME and myself are making our way upstairs, a standard "toot" is given by the driver, signalling that he is reversing, and Mr WME makes his way to the top deck, but is starting to move involuntarily down towards the back of the bus, and I seem to make my way back down the stairs. After clambering back to the top deck, Mr WME and myself settle into a seat close to Mr UKBuses. Just under twenty minutes pass, and we also pass the hotel, going for a quick wander around Torquay. We walk round the corner and we catch Mr UKBuses outside of his shop, before looking above the shop to find our third Wetherspoon's of the day, "The Green Ginger". Drinks ordered we grab a window seat looking down onto the main street, sipping from our plastic glasses, a bit of a let down for a Wetherspoon's establishment, something which I think takes the taste away. Drinks finished, we make our way back downstairs and towards The Strand, where we catch, you guessed it, Stagecoach South West's Service 12, for a couple of minutes journey back to our hotel.

We have a freshen up, and after an hour we meet back in reception, to go back to Torquay for a bite to eat. We don't have a long wait before our "12" takes back for the short journey into the town. We alight at Cary Parade, and I spot a toy crane machine, where I try and "grab" a "Woody", a pound after, he is unable to be pinned down, must run in the family!. We have a short walk along The Strand where we spot our fourth Wetherspoons of the day, "The London Inn", a good classic Wetherspoons pub with decor that is the chain's standard, we realise that "The Green Ginger" is probably an ex-Chicago Rock Cafe style of establishment. We seem to make our way to the sky, as we are on the top level of the pub, up in the heavens, and after perusing the menu, we order our standard Wetherspoons fayre, with Mr UKBuses returning to his Chicken Tikka Masala, but after half hour of waiting, our grub arrives and Mr UKBuses doesn't seem to be happy as there is a lack of poppadoms on his plate, and he has paid for these!!! We soon finish our grub, and we make our way back on to solid terra firma, and virtually opposite is Mr WME's pub that he was after, our second visit of the day to another "The Hole in the Wall".

It is a little climb up a side street, and we are in the pub, a bit bigger that the Brixham version, but there isn't a lot of room as the pub seems to be a popular establishment. We make our way outside where it does seem to be a bit windy, but we are not talking the weather here, Mr UKBuses seems to move a lot outside of the pub, he must have ants in his pants, see picture left. We soon finish our drinks and we head back towards Cary Parade with Mr UKBuses still muttering about his lack of poppadoms, and decide to make a second visit to "The Green Ginger", but before we do, we visit the pub opposite, just to check on the score of the England Euro 2012 qualifier against Bulgaria, I think that we are through as we are toward the latter stages of the match, with the score being 3-0 in England's favour. We are on the lookout for Mr UKBuses "Uncle Dave", who is in the area on holiday, but alas after checking this Wetherspoons he is nowhere to be seen, and so we seem to be forgetting something as we are still being served in plastic glasses, which also does nothing to enhance the flavour of the purchased "Abbot's Ale", which is half left as we decide to go back to the hotel.

We make our way to the stop opposite in The Strand, where we wait for our final Service 12 of the day, but Mr WME decides to opt for the journey on foot, and after a short wait, Mr UKBuses and myself catch the bus. We keep a lookout for Mr WME along the way, and as we pass The Pavilion Theatre, Mr UKBuses spots Mr WME, who is waving at the bus, I don't know if he can see us, but he still waves. I don't spot him however, as when I turn round into the direction of Mr WME, we are half a mile up the road and all I can see is pitch black. Mr UKBuses and myself arrive back at the hotel, where we grab our room keys, and Mr UKBuses decides to call it a night, I go outside for a "fresh air break", and Mr WME appears walking out of the darkness up the hotel drive. We get a drink to end the night being served by Sylwia, and opting for seats in the quiet coffee lounge, sitting in the window overlooking a dark pool area. A little while later I decide to pop out for my last "fresh air break" of the day, and since the temperature has dropped considerably, we spend the last ten minutes sitting in the bar area, before we decide to go back to our rooms to catch up on some much needed sleep after a nice relaxing day and introduction to the Torbay and Brixham area, hoping that the glorious sunny weather of today will stay for us over the weekend - Night Night!

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