Thursday, 22 March 2012

2012 - Day Out 06: Nottingham / Mansfield

Date: Saturday 17 March 2012

After our first visit to the city of Nottingham in February, it was decided that we would return to further explore the city and surrounding area, this time going further afield.

I nearly don't make the trip as I suffer from eczema and a couple of days before the trip I have a bad flare up which is affecting my knees and I'm in pain when I walk, but after the tickets have been paid for I decide to give it a go, so I shuffle up to Wollaston where I catch the 07:36 National Express West Midlands Service 276 which takes me to Stourbridge Junction, I send the customary text to Mr UKBuses to tell him that the bus is on its way towards him and he boards in Norton, as I boarded the bus in Wollaston I received a text from Mr D9 stating that he won't be able to make the trip today (hope to see you soon Mr D9), so it is a good job that I did decide to come on the trip as Mr UKBuses would be on his own. Mr UKBuses and myself alight our bus at Stourbridge Junction which we arrive at the station earlier than planned. We decide to catch the earlier service and alight at The Hawthorns just in case Mr D9 can make it, but as the planned train arrives, there is no sign of Mr D9, so we board  and we then alight upon arrival at Birmingham Moor Street. We have a short walk to get our next train at Birmingham New Street, and Mr UKBuses leads the way (as he will be for the rest of the day as I try and can keep up with my sore legs), and upon arrival at New Street, I spot that the CENTRO travel shop is open, so I pop in and renew my NBus pass for another month.

After popping into W H Smiths for some refreshments for the next leg of our journey, we look at where our train will be pulling up and we make our way to Platform 9A and catch our CrossCountry Train to Nottingham. As we wait for the train to depart, I have nearly eaten all of my chocolates for the journey ahead. Our journey takes us through Tamworth and Burton, where Mr UKBuses has a nap whilst passing through, he is woken by the passing refreshments trolley and the first thing that he sees when he opens his eyes is a hot water urn staring him in his face. After Mr UKBuses brush with hot water, we pull up at Derby railway station, where our train decides to have a rest for a while as we wait for a train to pass before we can leave for the rest of our journey passing through Beeston before arriving at Nottingham. Upon arrival at Nottingham, Mr UKBuses decides to take me on a "wild goose chase" as we walk up the stairs on the platform and then back down onto the platform to get out of the station. Mr UKBuses then takes us back up the stairs and we then find the exit, turning up in Station Street. We head to the top of Station Street and turn right, where we have a short walk to Broadmarsh Bus Station, where Mr UKBuses takes a few photo's before we board the Centre Link bus which will take us across Nottingham to the Victoria Bus Station, another place where Mr UKBuses gets a few more photographs.

Cheers from The Court House
We wait in Victoria Bus Station for about 15 minutes before our first bus of the day arrives, Trent Barton's Rainbow 3 Service which will take us to Mansfield. As we board we purchase our "Zig Zag" tickets which will cover us for our travel for the rest of the day. We make our way to the back of the bus where we get comfortable for the journey ahead which will approximately take just over an hour. The bus passes through Hucknall, Kirkby and Sutton before reaching our destination. At 12:30 we arrive in Mansfield and we alight at the bus station, which is a pull in-pull out layout so Mr UKBuses gets a few shots as we walk around the perimeter of the bus station. It is time for dinner, so we have a walk around Mansfield passing a cafe along the way called "Woody's Diner", so Mr UKBuses is enjoying his visit to Mansfield already. After a further five minutes we arrive by the outdoor market, where the J D Wetherspoons "The Court House" is situated. I hobble to the bar to purchase the drinks whilst Mr UKBuses manages to get us a table. After a quick visit to the toilet, I am then informed that "Whilst you are up, go and order the food", so after waiting at the wrong bar for a few minutes (it was the right bar, but the staff didn't seem to want to serve anybody at this end), I make my way to the other end of the bar and place our order - "Beer and Burger" for me and the BBQ Chicken Melt, without "the melt", for Mr UKBuses. The food is served quickly as it is not long after sitting down, the food arrives, not long after it arrives it also disappears into our stomachs. As we were right by the door, we could not take a cheers photo, see picture left.

We have a few minutes to let the food go down properly before having a walk around Mansfield to find W H Smiths and Mr UKBuses leads the way again and finds it a few streets away from the outdoor market. As we arrive outside, Mr UKBuses enters, where he purchases his latest copy of Buses Magazine, at least I put a smile on his face by saving him one penny and giving him a W H Smiths bag before he entered the shop. We now make our way through town and back to the bus station. We have around a quarter of an hour before our next bus arrives, so Mr UKBuses gets his camera out and adds more photographs to his tally today and our next bus pulls up, Service 9.3 which will takes us to Alfreton, passing through Sutton and Kirkby Cross along the way. For this journey we miss out on the views as we both nod off only waking just in time to see Tesco at Alfreton and the bus station opposite. We wake up fast and alight, we hang around the bus station where Mr UKBuses adds even more photographs to his tally today and at 15:00 our Rainbow 1 Service turns up and takes us back from Alfreton to Nottingham, a journey which takes approximately 1 hour twenty minutes, something that Mr D9 might have enjoyed! As we make our way to Nottingham we pass through places such as Underwood, Eastwood, Newthorpe and Kimberley, and I am kept awake with Mr UKBuses asking "How much to Alfreton?", "How much to Alfreton?" and "How much to Alfreton?" after the TV advert filmed in the area in the 1980's.

Cheers from the Bentinck Hotel
We arrive back at Victoria Bus Station in Nottingham, where there is a Centre Link bus waiting to take us across the city to Broadmarsh Bus Station. As we arrive back in Nottingham and me not feeling my normal self, we decide to catch an earlier train back to Birmingham, so we get some refreshments ready for the journey back from the newsagents in the bus station, with Mr UKBuses having a panic attack as he has to pay two pence for his carrier bag. We take the short walk back to the station to see what time the next train back to the station is, and we have a little time to spare so we decide to have a quick drink in the pub situated opposite to the main station entrance, The Bentinck Hotel. We walk in and the pub is quite busy, but I spot a table in a corner and take my seat whilst Mr UKBuses gets the drinks. He decides to have a Guinness to celebrate St Patricks Day, my drink has been served but whilst the Guinness is being left to settle, the barman serves other people. After five minutes of standing at the bar, Mr UKBuses has to ask another barman for his drink. With drink in hand he sits at the table and enjoys his Guinness - well worth the wait. Due to the some of the clientele in the pub, it is decided not to take a cheers photograph, see picture right.

After our drink we walk across the road and into the station to catch our 17:11 CrossCountry train back to Birmingham New Street. After walking through the carriages we manage to get a table seat so that we can put our feet out and have a good rest on our journey back. The table was reserved from Birmingham New Street to Cardiff, obviously other passengers did not read the tickets, thus managing to sit at the table. The journey runs to time, but we do have a wait in Derby again for a late train to pass through. We arrive back in Birmingham New Street where we change platforms to catch a local London Midland train to Smethwick Galton Bridge, where we alight and change platforms to connect with the Snow Hill line train. We have a wait of about twenty minutes, so this gives me time to leave the station for a "fresh air break", after finishing we return back to the platform where after a wait of about ten minutes our train arrives. We board and stop at all stations along the way where upon arrival at Stourbridge Junction, we again change platforms to a waiting "Dodger" taking us back to the Stourbridge interchange. Even though the interchange looks complete and ready for service, we still have another month of using the stops situated in Parkfield Road and Birmingham Street, so we have a quick walk down to Birmingham Street where after a couple of minutes wait, our Black Diamond Service 276A turns up to take us back home. Instead of alighting at my normal stop in Wollaston just outside of my Chinese takeaway, I surprise Mr UKBuses and alight further along the route at South Road Playing Fields leaving me with a short walk back home where I can rest my aching limbs.

Another good day out exploring more of the Nottinghamshire area, good company with Mr UKBuses who planned the day out perfectly, it was a shame that I was not well enough to enjoy it more - rest is now being undertaken to get better for our next trip.

Monday, 5 March 2012

2012 - Day Out 05: London

Date: Saturday 03 March 2012

It is time to visit the capital again, so with the Oyster topped up, train tickets in the pocket and the plan in Mr UKBuses pocket, the early morning alarm has gone off and it is off we go to London.

London and one of its many buses operated by numerous operators
We have an early start and after waking at 05:30, I get myself up and ready before leaving the house at 06:20 to make my way to Wollaston, where I will catch the first bus of the day. As I arrive at the bus stop, Mr UKBuses breaks with tradition and sends me a text enquiring if I am on the bus yet. The bus is due to arrive at 06:36, and at 06:39, I text Mr UKBuses to let him know that the bus has not turned up yet, the text seems to have done the trick, as at 06:40, a National Express West Midlands Mercedes 0.405N comes speeding around the island, pulling up to let me on board. As I sit down, the bus pulls off and I send the traditional text message to Mr UKBuses to state that the bus has arrived and is now on the way to his stop. With the bus driver realising that he finished his cup of tea a bit too late at the depot, he catches up time with his foot on the pedal pressed a bit further down, and it is quicker than normal that we get to Mr UKBuses stop and he duly boards the bus and takes his seat. As I "threw" the money across the car to him last week to pay for the rail tickets, he responds by getting my tickets out of his pocket and "throws" them across the bus to me. We arrive in Stourbridge and after a couple of minutes layover at the stop in Parkfield Road, we do a loop passing the nearly finished Stourbridge Interchange, and head up Church Street again, this time heading straight on up Red Hill. At the end of Red Hill, we turn the corner into Brook Road where we alight the bus and walk up towards Stourbridge Junction. At the junction we make our way to Platform 2 and get some supplies for the journey ahead, I opt for a Mars Bar Duo seeing as it is a long journey to London and after the supplies have been purchased I notice that we have enough time to spare, so we head to the main entrance of the station where I have a "fresh air" break enabling my nicotine levels to be topped up until we arrive in London, once the break is finished we make our way back to Platform 2 where a big number of passengers are awaiting the train to arrive.

Our Chiltern Train arrives on time at 07:22, and we board towards the front end of the train, where we spot that a table seat is available which gives us more leg room and comfort and somewhere to lay our refreshments out for the journey ahead, also being close to the drivers compartment it also means that we have not got far to walk when we arrive at London. As we are on the Chiltern Railways, it means that we can get comfortable without having to get up and change at Smethwick or Birmingham to change trains as this train is one of the few that leave from Stourbridge Junction travelling all the way through to the Capital. We stop at Cradley Heath, Rowley Regis, Smethwick Galton Bridge and The Hawthorns before arriving at Birmingham Snow Hill, where the train starts it second leg of it's journey, by the time we are at Birmingham we are now snug making the journey more pleasurable knowing that we have not got to get out into the early morning cold. After a few minutes we leave Birmingham Snow Hill where the next stop is Solihull and the train gets quite full, which means that the table has to be shared. The train can now reach top speeds now, only slowing down to stop at Warwick Parkway, Leamington Spa and Banbury. As Mr UKBuses gets more comfortable and has had an early start, he has a nap, which enables me to load the Kobo application on my BlackBerry Playbook Tablet and read some of my book, The London of Jack the Ripper: Then and Now, a book which gives information about the murders as well as information on where they took place and where they are / would have been located in today's London. As I start reading, The Ten Bells public house is mentioned along with another pub, The Princess Alice, which after using the trains free Wi-Fi to do a little research, is not too far from the previously mentioned Ten Bells, this has been noted and could be visited on future trips. After a few chapters read, I find it hard to concentrate as there seems to be a loud noise coming from the train, sorry my mistake, the people around our table including myself are having to suffer from Mr UKBuses snoring, our guests seems to have a smile on their faces when Mr UKBuses stirs from his nap. I do have to interrupt the person sitting next to me as I need to make a little visit to the on-board facilities, once completed, interrupting her again. Mr UKBuses decides to follow suit interrupting the person sitting next to him.

The restaurant which Del becomes a copper, and Boycie becomes a Doctor.
We have been on board for just over two hours and at 09:37, our trains pulls in on time at London Marleybone, and we only have to take a few steps on the platform to reach the station's concourse. The first port of call is outside the front of the station for a "fresh air" break, whilst I am doing this Mr UKBuses has walked down the street to take a few pictures of buses laying over. Cigarette finished and now it is time to make a start for our day around London, well it would be but I cannot find Mr UKBuses, and if anyone remembers the shop keeper in Mr Benn, as if by magic he suddenly appears from out of nowhere. With us reunited, we head back into the station and go onto the underground and we have our Oyster Cards out ready, the first tap will allow us to get through the barriers and also "physically" add the money that we paid when we topped up, well Mr UKBuses card wont as he is told to "Seek Assistance" (something I have been telling him for years), but his second tap lets him through. Down the long escalator we go and onto the Bakerloo line, where we only go a few stops to Oxford Circus where we change onto the Central Line for a long journey underground to Ealing Broadway. Upon arrival at Ealing Broadway, we walk out of the station and have a walk around the streets to get us to our first planned location. The walk says eight minutes on the plan, but it seems longer and Mr UKBuses himself seems to think we are lost, but he spots "The Grove" and we are back on track. We walk further down and arrive at Windsor Road, this means we are at the first location and we carry on our tradition of finding out filming locations, this time "Only Fools and Horses". Our first of two Only Fools locations today brings us to a shop, pictured right, which appeared in an episode called "The Chain Gang", in which Del and company invest in some gold chains and are also part of a scam when the seller gets taken ill in a restaurant where he is selling the gold on behalf of the gang, and is taken off by ambulance (his sons) with the gold still handcuffed to him. The shop was actually used as the restaurant in the episode and we take a couple of minutes to look at the surrounding area, looking at where Del Boy's van was parked and Mike's car was parked. The blue car in the picture is where the phoney ambulance would pull up. As with all filming locations that we have visited, I notice that the road seems smaller than what it appears on screen. Filming location number one out of the way, we carry on up the street and have a short walk to Grange Road and a bus stop where service 65 will turn up to take us towards the next Only Fools filming location.

The original Nelson Mandela House
A few minutes pass and a London United Service 65 pulls up, we board and don't have far to go and after a journey time of approximately seven minutes, we arrive at South Ealing Underground Station, well we nearly passed it after one of Mr UKBuses short notice stops was in place. A few photographs are taken and we make our way inside the station, as we walk in a couple of ladies are handing out "Co-Op" leaflets and inform Mr UKBuses that they normally charge for a photograph, Mr UKBuses responds but I am unable to tell you what he said on here. We make our way down to the platform and we are on the Picadilly Line, our train arrives and we only have one stop to go and soon we arrive and alight at Acton Town, the local area serving us up with another "big" location used in Only Fools and Horses. Again we have to do a bit of walking to get to the filming location, and after aproxiamately ten minutes, and walking down a number of streets we arrive on a street called Avenue Road and as we walk further down the road a familiar sight appears, all thirteen floors of it, and it is a place called "Harlech Tower", but for many people they will know it as "Nelson Mandela House", see picture left, this was used as the block of flats that Del Boy, Rodney and Grandad lived at in the first couple of series (filming later moving to a location in Bristol). With no sign of Grandad, Rodney or Del Boy and after a few photographs are taken, we carry on and after five minutes we arrive at Mean Road, and we time it right as we arrive at the bus stop as a First London Service E3 bus turns up and takes us for a little journey, before arriving back at the Acton Town Underground Station. We alight the bus and  head back down to the platform to get back onto the Picadilly Line, where we head for Picadilly Circus, but as we are on our journey in the depths of London, we decide to get off a station early and alight at Green Park. Back to ground level we walk to the bus stop located outside the tube station, and after a couple of normal service 9's pass us, our "Routemaster" operated by London United, Service 9 pulls up and we step onto the platform and up the steps where the conductor comes towards us and produces his Oyster Card scanner, with mine working this time on this type of scanner, and it takes us for the short journey (we get a shorter journey due to a diversion towards the end of the route), and we arrive at Trafalgar Square, where we decide to have a spot of lunch. Our normal dinnertime public house is located just around the corner and after a short walk we arrive at J D Wetherspoons "The Lord Moon of The Mall", and as I wait at the bar to get the first round in, Mr UKBuses searches for a table, after a couple of minutes walking around the pub, he comes back to say that there are no tables, and luckily I hadn't been served, so we decide we have to search elsewhere for food.

Cheers from the Willow Walk
We make our way to the bus stops opposite and we wait a few minutes for a Go-Ahead London General Service 11 to arrive which will take us to Victoria, where a J D Wetherspoons we have sampled food whilst in London before, is situated. After alighting the bus close to Victoria Bus Station, we take a short walk, taking pictures of buses laying over along the way, and walk into J D Wetherspoons "The Willow Walk", this pub always offering a friendly and polite service as we can vouch for on previous visits. I make my way to the bar, and Mr UKBuses says that he will find a table. After a couple of minutes I am served, and judging by the lack of Mr UKBuses by my side, I gather that he has found a table, which is a good thing for him but not for me as I have no idea which direction he took, as I scan the pub from where I'm standing, this gentleman at the back seems to be waving his arms around frantically. Sorry, my mistake as it is not a gentleman trying to take flight, it is Mr UKBuses, so I walk towards the "back of the Wetherspoons", and take a seat. I alert to Mr UKBuses that I am about to take a "Bladder Stop", with the crossing of my legs pointing out that I am desperate for this stop. Mr UKBuses comes up with the good idea of me ordering the food first as "I'm up" (theoretically a good idea, but the gents is a few steps away from the table, the bar quite a few more steps further). I wait a couple of minutes at the bar and order the food, with Mr UKBuses opting for his BBQ Chicken Melt, without the "Melt", and myself the Beef Burger. I take my free drink to the table, and luckily there are no wet patches on my trousers, but before Mr UKBuses suggests me getting the condiments as "I'm still up", I make a dash to the toilets first, getting the sauces and salt and vinegars on the way back. The food does not take long to arrive and we tuck in and after we have devoured the food, we give it a few minutes to settle in our stomachs before we make a move, see picture right, the sign is ready to inform Mr UKBuses of the dangers ahead. We are now ahead of the plan, and also at the location which we should of caught the bus to after lunch from Trafalgar Square. We head out of the door and thanking the sign for the advice, Mr UKBuses does not fall down the steps and we have a short walk around the corner before we arrive back at the next photographing location, we just have to walk around half a mile of fencing to actually get to it, the location being Victoria Bus Station.

Those photo idiots are getting in the way again!
The bus station is currently undergoing a redevelopment which is also causing a few delays to services because the buses have less space to move as normal and are causing a little congestion, this also means that the main bus station is more busier with passengers which can ruin your photographs when people walk in front of you, as can be seen in the photograph, left, with a stranger  walking in front of me, who is a secret fan of the TV show "rainbow" as he is displaying it on the back of his coat. Photographs taken (well what I could), we decide to move on and we need to get aboard a Service 38, which is also the route that the currently solo "Borismaster" is running on, but with four Arriva London Service 38 buses in a group at Victoria Bus Station, it is not due any time soon, so we board the bus at the front of the pack, and make our way to Angel, Islington. We are on board our service 38 bus for approximately forty minutes when Mr UKBuses does his now famous "short notice" stops, and we get up out of our seats quite quickly and get off the bus before it has chance to pull off again. We cross the road, where we get a chance to take a few more photographs before getting on the tube to our next and final filming location of the day. Well, we would get there if we could find the Angel Underground Station, according to the bus stop we are outside of the station but we cannot see it, until we spot the "Roundel" up the street, so we make our way back underground again onto the Northern Line where we have a ride to the Chalk Farm Underground Station. As we alight at the station we follow the "way out" signs and come face to face with a lift, we enter into the lift and assume that we are deep underground, but as we leave the lower level, it takes about a second before we are at ground level. To get to our next filming location we have to walk a distance, well about five steps. We are standing outside a dry cleaners, which Mr UKBuses takes a few photographs of. It turns out that we are standing outside of what was one of the few locations that were used for "The Winchester Club" in the TV Show Minder. As we couldn't see Arthur or Terry, we make our way back into the lift at Chalk Farm and in the short time ever in the lift and back onto the Platform and back on The Northern Line. After about fifteen minutes we arrive at Moorgate, where we change onto the Hammersmith and City Line where this will take us to our London regular, "The Blind Beggar".

As we arrive at Aldgate East, we decide to have a change of plan, and we alight and go in search of the "other" pub that was supposed to have been used by Jack The Ripper, and with the name still stuck in my head from the book I read on the train earlier, we go hunting for it. We have to walk up Commercial Road to get to the pub, a road that we are used to from previous visits to The Ten Bells. As we come back into the light from Aldgate East Underground, we realise that we have come out of the wrong entrance, and once we get our bearings, we locate Commercial Road and start walking. After a few minutes we spot a pub sign and have found the our second Jack The Ripper pub, "The Princess Alice", but we won't be trying it out today as it is shut, it doesn't look like it has closed down, so perhaps on a future visit we will try again. Whilst we are in the area, we decide to walk further up the street for our third visit to our original Jack The Ripper pub, "The Ten Bells". We can tell it is busy as we spot customers with drinks in their hands outside. Our last visit found that the bar has been moved into the centre of the pub, which means it also uses more space, and as we are in daylight, the pub looks different from our last visit in November when it was pitch black, inside and out. Drinks served, we make our way outside, after a few minutes, the landlord comes out and tells us that we are "out of line", quite literally, we are out of the line, a faint white chalk line that, due to his licensing agreement, customers have to stay in if holding drinks. We move into line, and finish our drinks off and then I am treated to a very rare experience. Mr UKBuses has his wallet out and I'm able to see inside and the contents. At this point Mr UKBuses informs me that he is starting to get tired, probably because of the weight of the wallet. Drinks are finished, which means that with no drinks in hand, we can leave the confines of the line and we make our way down Commercial Road to the nearest bus stop. We wait about ten minutes before a First London Service 67 turns up and takes us the short distance to Aldgate Bus Station. As we are dropped off around the back of the bus station, it gives us a chance to get a few more photographs of the station and the vehicles using it. After the photographs are taken we decide to make our way back to London Marylebone, so we walk along the main Aldgate High Street to wait for our bus to take us their. After a few minutes waiting, a Stagecoach London Service 205 turns up and takes us all the way back to London Marylebone, after passing Liverpool Street, Kings Cross and Euston railway stations along the way. We arrive and alight outside of London Marylebone and we have just under thirty minutes before our train is due.

I pop into Marks and Spencers Food which is located inside the station to get my refreshments for the journey back, Mr UKBuses decides to go to Burger King so that he can have his meal on the train just after we board. Whilst Mr UKBuses is waiting for his food, I pop outside for a "fresh air" break, the last one of the day in London and just as I am finishing Mr UKBuses finds me outside, his meal in hand, and we head inside to find out what platform we have to board our train. As we make our way inside we see something that is very rare and I don't think I have seen this before on my prior visits to this station - loads and loads of passengers hanging around the departures boards awaiting platform announcements for their trains back home. We are in the same prediciement, our platform has not been announced yet. The train to Harrow-on-the-Hill is announced and that halves the passengers waiting as a mass exodus is taken to Platform 1. Our train is next and it has been announced that our train will be leaving from platform 6. With this announcement, Mr UKBuses makes his way in the direction of Burger King as he assumes that the way to the platform is this way, he doesn't notice that as the train has been announced, everyone seems to be coming past us to get to their train. As Mr UKBuses spots this, he starts to make a run in the station towards Platform 6 (he is giving rare showings of things today), and we arrive at Platform 6, where I have a blonde moment and notice this empty carriage with a table seat available. I press the button on the door and nothing seems to be happening, looking further up the platform I notice that we are trying to board the wrong train. Mr UKBuses gives another sprint and we finally board the train and as we do, we luckily drop into a table seat which will give us more comfort for the journey ahead.

Our train leaves London Marylebone, and after the announcer informs us that the delay in platform information was due to a passenger taken ill at Wembley, affecting services entering the city, it answer the question as to why there were loads standing at the departure boards. As we get comfortable, Mr UKBuses consumes his Burger King meal, and I boot up the Playbook to look at booking tickets for our next trip. First off I choose, but as Mr UKBuses finishes his tea, he recommends going onto, finally giving away his secrets as you don't have to pay a booking fee. After completing the wrong registration, I register for the booking side of the website and with the account created and after about thirty minutes, tickets are finally booked for Nottingham in a couple of weeks time, which will also see a welcome return in 2012 of Mr D9. With the tickets booked it is time to relax for the rest of the journey and Mr UKBuses has a play on my PlayBook. We have suffered a few delays on the train journey back, and as we arrive late back at Birmingham Moor Street, we alight and I find out that I have time to go to the front of the station for a "fresh air" break. With the break over we head back inside and wait at our platform for the 19:51 train which takes us back to Stourbridge Junction stopping at all the local stations along the way. We arrive back at Stourbridge Junction and make our way to Platform 1 where we wait for "The Dodger" to take us to Stourbridge Town, or Stourbridge Interchange which is what it will be called once it has been completed. We board "The Dodger" and it looks like we will be treated to the driving of Mr Phil Tonks, but as we take our seat he comes over and says his hello's and that he is off to go for a break and eat his Pot Noodle, a king sized one at that. With Mr Tonks gone, we will have to wait another day for his driving experience, "The Dodger" takes the short line taking us back into Stourbridge Town, where we have a quick walk past the new interchange and down to our stop situated on Birmingham Street where Black Diamond's Service 276A takes us back home on our final journey of the day. We arrive at Wollaston and I say goodbye to Mr UKBuses, and have a little chat with the bus driver about the forthcoming F1 season before alighting the bus and going to Lucky House for my now traditional Chinese supper to eat once I arrive back home.

Another brilliant day out with yet another cracking plan by Mr UKBuses, which I give a big thanks to for finding the filiming locations and a good day out. With the tickets booked for March 17, it looks as though we will have another cracking day out if today's antics are anything to go by.