Sunday, 5 May 2013

2013 - Day Out 04: Worcestershire

Date: Saturday 04 May 2013

It was time for another trip with Mr UKBuses and this month we decided to do a local trip and visit the county of Worcestershire, and seeing it was a local trip we didn't have to get up early so a lie in was had before we had to set out.

The Golden Cross, Redditch
 I meet up with Mr UKBuses at the shops on the Norton estate in Stourbridge, and we have a short walk to the main Norton Road to catch our first bus of the day, and on time Whittles Service 125 arrives from Stourbridge and picks us up, sadly Mr D9 was not on board as planned and after sending a text, he replies saying sadly he cannot make it - see you soon Mr D9. We carry on through the countryside, briefly passing through Staffordshire before arriving in Worcestershire and in Kidderminster. Upon arrival in Kidderminster, we have a bit of time to spare so after a few photographs are taken at Kidderminster bus station of Whittles and newly taken over operator of First buses in Worcestershire, Diamond, a visit to J D Wetherspoons, "The Penny Black" is undertaken where breakfast and refreshing drink is consumed. After our little break, we have a walk around The Bullring which is located just outside The Penny Black and see one of the old clay bus stops which were once a common site in Worcestershire. We make our way back to the bus station where at 09:30 we catch our first Diamond bus in Worcestershire and also we buy the new multi-operator day ticket for Worcestershire called the "Connecta". We board our service 295 bus which takes just under an hour, passing through Stourport along the way and arrive at Worcester Bus Station, where after a few photographs are taken, we board local Worcester service, First buses service 35.

We alight just around the corner from First's Worcester bus depot where a few pictures are taken in the yard opposite the main garage building, mainly School buses were parked up, and we walk back around the corner where, as we arrive a Service 31 bus turns up which we promptly board, taking us back to Worcester bus station. We are due to catch First's service 144 at 11.00am but the driver decides to take his time to board and log into his fare machine, so we depart a few minutes later than planned. We also suffer more delays when a festival being held in Droitwich Spa causes the driver to divert off the normal route and we are stuck for a while in a queue of traffic. The driver picks up speed to claw some time back as we leave Droitwich and we arrive just slightly late in Bromsgrove where we alight and we are due to catch our next bus just after 12:00, we have time to visit the 24 hour toilet where I stand in for Mr D9 and allow Mr UKBuses to take the now standard Bromsgrove photograph. We make our way to our stand and wait for our next bus, Diamond's service X3, which turns up approximately ten minutes late and the driver still in First uniform. The bus departs from Bromsgrove bus station and after some speedy driving we arrive safely in Redditch.

Cheers From the Royal Enfield!
Upon arrival at Redditch, I don't need to visit the toilet and upon past experience I would have a long wait, so we head around to the now Diamond's depot in Plymouth Road, attempting to take some photographs but the vehicles that were in the depot were parked right towards the back of the site. We head back around towards Redditch, past the bus station where we decide it is time for lunch, so we head to J D Wetherspoons, "The Royal Enfield", see picture right, where as if by surprise, I am the first at the bar, so a couple of pints of Old Thumper are ordered. As the pints are pulled, the beer runs out so we have to opt for ??? instead. Mr UKBuses finds a table and its not obvious where he is sat, so after a walk around the pub I eventually find him and then peruse the menu to see what I fancy for lunch. Mr UKBuses opts for his BBQ Chicken Melt without the melt and I opt for a Hot Dog which I had a couple of weeks previously which was nice tasting and in a soft bun. We had to wait a while for our food to arrive and when it arrived I was disappointed. I ended up eating my hot dog sausage on its own and my chips as not even my teeth could stand the force of the rock hard bun (which was actually a baguette) that my hot dog came in. After consumption, we let our dinner go down for a few minutes before venturing out.

Cheers From The Golden Cross, Redditch!
Situated around the corner from The Royal Enfield is Diamond's original Redditch base, Church Lane Depot, which has now been transformed into the Engineering Depot since Diamond now operate from another depot in Redditch. A couple of photographs are taken and we head back towards the bus station, but before we get our next bus, we have time to visit our old Redditch favourite, "The Golden Cross", see picture left, and as we enter I find a table whilst Mr UKBuses orders the drinks. The drinks are poured and payment must be made and as Mr UKBuses handed over his crisp note, the barmaid started to have a sneezing fit which must have been from the dust that appeared in the air as Mr UKBuses opened his wallet. Drinks finished, we head over the road to the Redditch bus station, taking more photographs along the way and at 14:10 we board Diamond's service 143, waving to a fellow bus enthusiast as we leave the station. We head back towards Bromsgrove and pass "Birmingham Central Railway Station", sorry I meant Bromsgrove Railway Station before heading through Charford and arriving back at Bromsgrove where, luckily Mr UKBuses has woken up from his afternoon nap and we both alight. We have a few minutes to spare before we get our next bus of the day and have certainly got good value so far out of our Connecta day tickets.

We have found a babysitter for the problem child!

Cheers from The Wheatsheaf!
Just before 15:00, we board Diamond's service X3 where we pass through Chaddersley Corbett and Kidderminster along the way. As we arrive on the Rifle Range Estate, "Old Vera" boards and the driver kindly waits until she takes her seat before heading into Stourport. Just over fifty minutes after we board, we arrive in Stourport and after letting Vera alight, we alight and make our way around the corner to the High Street and we make a visit to "The Wheatsheaf", see picture left, where we sample a pint of Banks's Bitter. As we rest our legs, Vera slowly enters the bar to have her half  and from the sound of it, she must be a regular to the pub. We finish our drinks and we decide to go off the plan and catch an earlier bus back to Kidderminster. At 16:10 we board Whittles 192 service which takes us briskly back to Kidderminster where we are in time for the earlier bus back to Stourbridge. As we wait at Kidderminster bus station, a Whittles driver decides to have a break and it is an old Diamond driver that I know very well, Geoff, who used to be a regular driver on the 276A/C service when it was operated by Diamond. A quick chat is had and as he goes for his break our earlier 16:45 Whittles service 125 pulls up.

We board the bus and after going through The Broadwaters and through the countryside we decide to alight by "The Greyhound", the driver kindly letting us alight early, where we decide to have a drink and food before heading home. The beer monster strikes again when two different beers I order decide to run out, so I have to opt for the Smoothpour, which I'm not too keen on. Food and Drink finished we walk back towards Norton and as we get near the estate shops it is time to say our goodbyes, and Mr UKBuses makes his way home and I decide to pop into the newly refurbished "The New Inn" located on Cherry Street before heading home and I can say that there is a vast improvement and especially with the friendly nature of the new management, I wish them all the success in their venture. Pint finished I head back home to rest my weary feet.

A good visit to Worcestershire was had, a county that we hadn't visited for a while. The weather was good, the company was good and the pubs visited was good. Lets not forget the bald spot viewing, which can be seen below.

The Bald Spot visits Worcester Bus Station.

The Bald Spot is at First's Worcester Bus Depot.

The Bald Spot is back at Kidderminster Bus Station.