Sunday, 23 June 2013

2013 - Day Out 07: Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day

Date: Sunday 16 June 2013

Our third day in Weymouth and today is the reason for the visit, The Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day. So far we have had really good sunny weather, but you can guess as the day we most want it to stay dry, the weather changes and decides to rain.

Weymouth Beach
I wake up and i decide to slide out of the bed and actually fall out to avoid the first pain of the day of standing on my swollen leg, knocking my head against the wall, so I still get pain when getting up. After getting dressed, I make my way to the front of the hotel for some "fresh air" and as I make my way outside, the weather has decided not to play the game today and it is drizzling and a bit windy bringing a chill to the air. After my break, I meet up with Mr UKBuses and make our way for breakfast to have a full English (no egg, extra bacon and sausage) to fuel us for the day ahead at the running day. After breakfast, we quickly head to the rooms to get our camera's and make our way across the sea front, where Mr UKBuses is way ahead and I hobble my way and take a seat whilst he is taking some photographs, and also purchase an umbrella so photo's can be taken at the running day. To get to the Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day Rally HQ (Lodmoor Country Park), we have to catch First in Dorset service 503 which is luckily being driven by Clive, a driver who used to worked with Mr UKBuses, Clive is our driver on the route to rally HQ.

A classic BMMO Bus
We arrive at Rally HQ and as we hobble to the vehicles on display, the umbrella goes up and photographs are taken, it is Mr UKBuses turn to take photo's whilst I hold the umbrella (unfortunately I missed his head when trying to hit him with it a few times) ensuring that the bald spot is kept dry and then it is my turn to get the camera out and take a few pictures. We still have a bit of time before the rides commence so we have a look around the stalls, and whilst Mr UKBuses is browsing the photographs on sale, I head to the bus stops and take a seat to rest my leg. The rides are about to start and we board our first journey of the day:

Journey 1: Service 454 - Weymouth to Railway Station Circular. This journey was operated by an Ex-Southdown Leyland National 2 HFG 923V.

Journey 2: Service 23 - Weymouth to Bowleaze Cove. This was operated by South West Coaches Mercedes-Benz 709D L317 AUT. This bus would be haunting us throughout the day on our rides. Whilst at Bowleaze Cove there was time to take photographs, so I decided to stay on the bus for obvious reasons whilst Mr UKBuses got off and took a few photographs, see picture below. The rain was stopping and the sun was starting to make an appearance.

Watch out there is a bald spot about.

Watch out there is a bald spot about.

Journey 3: Service 22A - Weymouth to Portland Bill. This was operated by South West Coaches Volvo B6LE YEZ 6691.

The famous lighthouse.

Good old Portland Bill

Whilst at Portland we alighted and as is now customary we have a liquid refreshment break in the expensive Pulpit pub, see picture below, I was looking forward to this as this year it was Mr UKBuses turn to buy the round and even though he tried his old trick of going to the toilet, he didn't get away with it and purchased the round. With a little rest of the leg and drinks finished we make our way back to the bus stop for the return journey and disaster strikes. The journey is being operated by the dreaded Mercedes Benz minibus and obviously there was no room, so we had to wait a further 30 minutes for the next bus to arrive and a big queue was forming for this journey. Unfortunately the arriving bus was packed and no-one got off so there was no room, it looked like quite a wait but the owner and driver of this bus went beyond the call of duty and let us on to stand (at our own risk, which was fair to be honest) and we arrived back at Rally HQ. The return journey was operated by Ex-Wilts and Dorset Bristol VRT JJT 437N.

Cheers from The Pulpit!

Mr UKBuses round this year!

Journey 4: Service 23 - Weymouth - Bowleaze Cove. Another visit to Bowleaze Cove, this time on an Ex-Devon General Bristol LH POD 8300H.

Inside the depot at Weymouth.
It was time for our final journey of the day and we catch the 454 Service to Weymouth Railway Station, where we alight at The Kings Statue and decide to go back to the hotel for some rest and put our feet up. I did nod off for a bit, luckily waking in time for me to visit the shops to get some sweets for work (a tradition when we go away) and a sneaky pint in J D Wetherspoons "The William Henry", avoiding the lift this time. After my pint, I make my way back to the hotel and Mr UKBuses has made an appearance earlier than planned as he is sitting in the hotel bar. I drop my stuff off upstairs and make my way to the bar to enjoy a pint before we go to get tea, this time we sample a curry at our Weymouth favourite, "Chilli's", stopping off at First in Dorset's Weymouth Depot to take a few photographs, see picture left. Mr UKBuses opts for the Chicken Tikka Masala and myself the not so hot Chicken Tikka Korma, and it was a lovely meal too, thanks to the chef.

With our stomachs fed, we decide to have a walk around Weymouth to visit old favourites that we didn't manage to visit last night. First up is The Wellington Arms, a pub first (and last) visited on our trip in 2011, and a pub that I stayed in for five hours after watching the longest Grand Prix ever when the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix was being held in very wet weather (and also Mr UKBuses and Mr WME left me in whilst they enjoyed a visit to Chilli's) and was won by Jenson Button who came from last place to take the lead and the win on the final lap. This visit wasn't that long this time, and we enjoyed a pint of real ale and it was a nice pint too, kept right by the Landlord.

Cheers from The Chapelhay Tavern!

Cheers from The Chapelhay Tavern

Next place to visit was a distance away and luckily my leg wasn't as sore as it was during the day (I found out that the pain wasn't to bad on the evening's) so we hobble across the bridge and up some steps to The Chapelhay Tavern. I've always liked this pub as it has good memento's covering the walls, friendly staff and friendly regulars, but this time was a bit of a let down as the bitter that we purchased tasted a bit vinegary and would've made a good use if we had some chips, see picture above. Luckily we only purchased half and after a quick visit to the toilet (with glass sneakingly in hand), my drink had gone and Mr UKBuses decided to leave his.

A lovely night to sit outside The Boot

A lovely night to sit outside The Boot

We only had a short walk and luckily it was downhill so I didn't have to clamber up steps. Another favourite of ours, The Boot Inn. Again the staff and regulars are always friendly and every visit to The Boot makes you feel very welcome and part of the place. This pub is owned by The Ringwood Brewery so it has to be said that we have top sample a Ringwood Bitter, which was again as always kept right and it went down very nicely, we opted to sit outside again this year in the evening sun, see picture above, and we accompanied by a visit from a ten week old boxer dog.

Stan says Cheers from The Globe!

Stan says "Cheers from The Globe"

One more pub to go and we make our way back to what is Mr UKBuses favourite pub in Weymouth, The Globe where we sample the nicely kept Jail Ale, see picture above, and Mr UKBuses does get his favourite seat in the pub tonight, a bar stool right next to the bar. We get talking to the people we met here last night and Mr UKBuses calls it a night and makes his way back to the hotel. I'm not too far behind and about ten to fifteen minutes later I make my way back to the hotel, where a couple of pints are had for a nightcap for the final night's stay at Weymouth, before heading for bed, I have a last "fresh air" break of the day and have a look across the road to the moonlit sea and also spot that the lasers are on for the first time this weekend. After the fresh air is finished, I make my way to my room where I rest my tired leg, which is now getting very swollen, including my toes which I can now not bend and get one final night's sleep in Weymouth.

A good final day and congratulations to the organisers of the Vintage Bus Running Day. A tiring day but well enjoyed it is nearly time to go back home, but even though the Running Day won't be taking place next year (it is Torquay's turn to host the event), I'm pretty sure that Weymouth will still be visited at some point next year.


Date: Monday 17 June 2013

Sadly it is our last few hours in Weymouth before we head back to the Midlands.

I wake up early and hobble around the room on by now a very swollen leg and ankle and ensure that everything is packed. Once everything is packed I make my way downstairs for some "fresh air" before meeting Mr UKBuses for breakfast. I go for the healthy option today and opt for cereal. Once breakfast is finished and Mr UKBuses enjoys his fifth cup of coffee, I have a fresh air break before going to my room to pick up my bag and we make our way back downstairs and hand our keys in and say goodbye to The Royal Hotel. There is one last thing to do whilst still in Weymouth and that is to have a final pint in J D Wetherspoons, "The William Henry", see picture right, which is now customary before leaving Weymouth. Pint finished, we make our way, or in my case, hobble to Weymouth Railway Station and after a final "fresh air" break in Weymouth we say goodbye to Weymouth and board our 10:03 South West Trains train for our first leg of the journey.

We arrive at Southampton Central Railway Station and I have time to sneak outside for some "fresh air", and as I make my way back into the station, our train arrives and we board the 11:46 CrossCountry train which is heading to Newcastle, but we will be alighting halfway. Time for a nap for both of us and as we head through Banbury, we realise we are getting closer to home and as we arrive near Birmingham New Street, we get our bags and stand by the doors, it seems to be an eternity as we wait for a platform but eventually we arrive and alight and we have a rush to get our connecting train to Smethwick Galton Bridge on Platform 3B, having a quick glance at the new concourse at New Street along the way.

We arrive at Platform 3B and just about get on our Arriva Trains Wales train which takes us to Smethwick Galton Bridge where after alighting we have to get to our platform for the Stourbridge bound train, but instead of climbing the stairs and my leg, we get the lift to get us there. At 14:43, we board our London Midland train and as we make our way back home, Mr UKBuses rings Mr UKBuses senior to arrange a lift and upon arrival at Stourbridge Junction we get into the car where Mr UKBuses senior kindly drops me off right on the doorstep.

After dropping the bag off and slightly worried about how swollen my ankle is, I head straight off to Russell's Hall Hospital where I am admitted for 9 hours to get two drips pumped straight into my blood to help alleviate the swelling. It was not a fitting end to the weekend, but at least I'm now on the mend.

The weekend was really good, it would not have been possible without the planning of the days by Mr UKBuses. It is a shame we had to come back, but the weekend was really enjoyable with thanks to Mr UKBuses and his company for the weekend. A big thank you to Mr UKBuses who had to put up with my slow walking and my dodgy leg all weekend, who would have thought that I would struggle keeping up with Mr UKBuses. Sorry for the lack of bald spot photo's but Mr UKBuses was too quick for me and I needed one hand free to hold a walking stick to keep me upright.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

2013 - Day Out 06: Weymouth, Swanage and Bournemouth

Date: Saturday 15 June 2013

It was the second day of our weekend break in Weymouth and as I wake up and clamber to the window on my poorly leg, the weather looks like it will be fine for a day of riding around the Dorset region followed by a night of sampling Weymouth's pubs.

Normally my first night's sleep in strange surroundings means that I don't sleep well on the first night, but the aching leg and long distance travelled yesterday must have helped me get a very good first night's sleep. I wake up and after the initial pain in my left leg and clamber around the room, I get ready and make my way downstairs for some "fresh air" before sampling our first breakfast in The Royal Hotel. Normally when staying away, I go for a walk around the area before breakfast, but due to my leg problems I decide to sit outside the hotel for a while in the morning sun whilst waiting for Mr UKBuses to make an appearance. He soon appears and we make our way to the breakfast room where we take our seats and wait to be served. We do wait a while as it seems everybody has come down for breakfast at the same time, I try and get up to get some pre-breakfast orange juice but as I struggle, Mr UKBuses comes to the rescue and gets it for me. We finally get served and order the full English breakfast, both of us opting for no eggs and beans but we wished we asked for extra bacon as we find out the size of the meal after it has been served to us. We consume our meals ready for the day ahead and after Mr UKBuses has his fifth cup of coffee, we return to our room to get our stuff and out we go.

Mr UKBuses is first out and walks ahead to the King's Statue so he gets a few photographs before our first journey as I hobble up to the bus stops, after purchasing some pop for the journey ahead, I rest in the bus stop whilst Mr UKBuses clicks away. Our first bus arrives early and the driver kindly lets us board and after 10 minutes resting my leg the Damory 09:10 Service 183 pulls away, leaving Weymouth passing through Dolchester and Puddletown (something that Mr UKBuses missed as he was asleep) before arriving at our first destination of Blandford, where there is also a river called the river Stour, at approximately 10:10. We have to wait just under 15 minutes before getting our next bus, which is Wilts and Dorset Service X8, which will take us to Poole, but first we have a ride around Blandford Forum, before arriving in Blandford again to get us to our destination (Mikey, you are taking me around in circles!).

At 11:23 we arrive in the lovely Poole bus station (not one of my favourite locations), we don't have long to wait for us to catch our next bus and after hobbling across the station we finally arrive at Stand G where we can catch "The Purbeck Breezer" service 40, which departs on time at 11:30. We arrive at our destination of Swanage and Mr UKBuses is on the search for two things, chips to feed his hunger (I couldn't have any as I was on antibiotics and had to have them on an empty stomach) and a cap to stop his bald spot getting sunburnt, so we decide to walk down the main high street, as we reach the bottom of the high street we realise that for the last few years, we have been walking the long way to get us to The White Swan, we had no time for a piddle this year and we made our way back to the railway station to get our next bus. At 13:20 we board another Purbeck Breezer, Service 50 which takes us to Bournemouth passing through Sandbanks along the way. We make our way on top to the "open top" and as we board the ferry at Sandbanks and it being a bit windy and cold we make our way downstairs for the rest of the journey before arriving at Bournemouth at 14:25.

I pop into W H Smiths to get a drink (and a free packet of crisps as part of a deal), whilst Mr UKBuses goes missing whilst taking a few photographs. With no bald spot in sight, I make my way to the bus stop for our next journey and Mr UKBuses finally turns up. We are ahead of schedule and decide to catch the earlier Wilts and Dorsets "More" M1 service to get us back to Poole, departing Bournemouth at 14:48. It was a good decision to catch this bus as there was a bit of traffic along the route, so we arrive at Poole bus station close to our original time anyway. Upon arrival in Poole I decide to rest my leg whilst Mr UKBuses goes to the nearby Wilts and Dorset bus depot to get a few more photographs and I get in a "fresh air" break whilst he is around there. Upon his return we decide to get to our stand at the stop in the station as the queue is getting large for our final journey of the day. We board First in Dorset's Service X53 which takes us back to Weymouth, passing through Wareham along the way with Mr UKBuses having a little nap on the journey before awaking and arriving back at our base for the weekend, Weymouth at 17:23.

We make our way back to the hotel so we can have an hours rest of my leg, which is now starting to swell, and a freshen up before having a night sampling the local pubs in Weymouth, oh and some tea of course. We meet up in the hotel bar where we sample a quick pint before making our way to J D Wetherspoons "The William Henry" where we decide to have some food, Mr UKBuses opts for his BBQ Chicken Melt without the "melt" and I surprise Mr UKBuses by having something different for a change, Scampi and Chips. The obligutary Horse Radish Sauce picture is taken, but we have no horse radish and have to choose the mayonnaise instead, but I don't have none wiped around my face this time. With our food eaten and gone down and drinks finished we make our way further into the town but not before trying out the lift again but as I make my way down the lift gets stuck and the staff have to help me get down to the lower level.

Cheers from The White Harte Tavern!
Cheers from The White Harte Tavern

I meet up with Mr UKBuses who is waiting outside after my lift ordeal, and all he can do is laugh. We walk down towards Weymouth harbour, with my walking getting easier, it seems I may have got used to the pain threshold and walk a few steps without the aid of my stick. As we are walking we spot a pub that we haven't been in before, which is "The White Harte Tavern", it looks good from the outside so we pop in and we are not disappointed. We order our drinks and we take a seat by the window so we can watch the people of Weymouth walk past, see picture above. Before we leave a visit to the small room is needed and even though my leg seems better, I discover that I cannot cope with stairs very well as with most new pub refurbishments, the toilets seem to be upstairs. Half an hour later I'm back on ground level and we head to our next public house.

The Duke Of Cornwall
A pub visited (and spotted on his pub radar) a couple of years ago with Mr WME but last year I could not find it, so after walking close to the harbour we walk down a back street and lo and behold, the pub is found and we partake in having a drink at "The Duke of Cornwall", see picture right ,a lovely little cosy pub and still seems to attract a lot of custom, Mr UKBuses was impressed with this one. Drinks finished we head for our penultimate pub of the evening and one of Mr UKBuses favourites, luckily it is not too far away, basically around the corner which makes me not understand why we couldn't find the Duke of Cornwall last year. A couple of minutes walk and we make a visit to "The Globe", there are quite a few people in here so Mr UKBuses can't get his usual bar stool, so he couldn't recreate the "Stan Ogden" look. We do find a couple of seats available at a table and get talking to other holidaymakers visiting Weymouth, whilst drinking a pint of Jail Ale.

The Cutter Hotel, Weymouth
Pint finished in The Globe, we head around the corner and visit "The Cutter", see picture left, who have all draught beers on tonight. As we near the pub, there is a bit of a commotion going on outside, but as it was last year we still head inside and the argument with a woman follows us inside too. We drink our pints quickly and make a visit to the small room before we leave to head back to the hotel. Mr UKBuses bids goodnight and I have a nightcap or two in the hotel bar, supping whilst looking out to sea before a final "fresh air" break of the day and heading off to bed. As I get ready for bed I look down at my leg and despite it feeling better and being able to put pressure on it tonight, the lower half, ankle and foot are swelling even more, so it is straight to bed to rest it so I can hopefully enjoy the Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day the following morning.

Despite my poorly leg, the day was a success especially with the dry weather and nice evening sampling the ales of Weymouth's finest hostelries, lets hope the weather is perfect for the Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day for our final full day in Weymouth.

Friday, 21 June 2013

2013 - Day Out 05: Weymouth and Poole

Date: Friday 14 June 2013

It is time for our yearly weekend away to Weymouth, with the Vintage Bus Running Day taking place on Sunday, we always pop down for a few days to explore the local area and also the town's public houses on the evening. It seems to have been a long time coming, but the time has finally arrived and we are on our way to the seaside.

Our Weekend Base
Bags packed and finish work early on the Thursday, all ready and prepared for the weekend away, but disaster strikes before we even leave Stourbridge. On Wednesday, my leg started to ache and on the Thursday it was a bit sorer, as I was making my way back from work I was finding it hard to put weight on my left leg, so after a visit to the Walk-In Clinic, I'm told that I have a skin infection and to keep weight off it and rest it as much as I can and am given Antibiotics, it makes a good start to the weekend break in Weymouth. Luckily I manage to get hold of a walking stick to help with keeping some weight of my leg.

The day arrives and it is time to make our way to Weymouth, the leg is still sore to walk on, so after ringing Mr UKBuses, we get a lift to Stourbridge Junction (seeing Mr UKBuses new puppy as we pick him up) and upon arrival a "fresh air break" is taken ready for the first leg of our journey. Our first train arrives and we board the 07:38 Chiltern Railways train which means I can rest my leg as we have to go all the way to Banbury passing through Birmingham Snow Hill, Birmingham Moor Street, Solihull and Warwick along the way and we arrive on time at Banbury at 09:00. The original plan was to have breakfast at J D Wetherspoons and with directions in hand we make our way. Due to my leg hurting and walking slowly we decide to pop into a McDonalds instead to have a bacon roll and I get waitress service and it is bought to my table while Mr UKBuses has to wait for his and carry his own across. After breakfast is consumed it is time for the second leg of our journey and we slowly (well I do) make our way back to Banbury Railway Station, where upon arrival, a quick "fresh air" break is taken before making our way to the platform to get our 09:55 Arriva CrossCountry train to take us to Bournemouth, passing through Oxford and Reading along the way. As the train fills I can't rest my leg on the opposite seat as someone takes the place and as she falls asleep, her legs stretch out underneath the table which means I have less and less room to keep my leg rested and it soon starts to ache. We arrive in Southampton Central and normally we would alight here for our final part of the journey, but we stay onboard and shortly after we arrive in Bournemouth at 12:12.

We have a bit of time, so we make our way to the front of the station enabling me to look after the luggage and have some "fresh air" whilst Mr UKBuses takes some photographs of the vehicles parked opposite the railway station. Photographs taken and we make our way back inside the station where we find that our final train we have to catch is already at the platform, so we board and take our seats and rest my leg. Our South West Train pulls out of the station on time at 12:24 and we pass through Wareham and Dorchester South before arriving in Sunny Weymouth at 13:10. Normally I would run down the platform to the front of the station to get some much needed "fresh air", but I hobble outside to get my fix before returning to the ticket office to get our return tickets to Poole for our evening out. Tickets purchased and we make our way to the hotel to see if we can check in. We arrive at our lodgings for the weekend, The Royal Hotel, situated on the seafront and not too far from The Kings Statue and as we enquire about booking in, we are told that we can't check in until 3pm, but they kindly let us leave our bags at the hotel.

We decide to have a little walk around the Weymouth (a slow walk for me), and our first port of call is J D Wetherspoons "The William Henry" where our first pint of the weekend is sampled. Drinks finished and we make our way into town, but first I sample the lift in The William Henry and decide it is faster to hobble down the steps. As we walk around the town, I decide to get some painkillers to help ease the pain and after taking a couple we make an unexpected visit to "The Cutter", normally we visit this on the evening, but we break with tradition and sample the public house in the daytime. The place was quiet but the friendly banter between the regulars and the bar staff kept us amused. After our drinks, we hobble back to the hotel where we check in and we have a rest for a couple of hours giving me time to rest my now aching leg.

Good to see that Mr D9 and Mr UKBuses are promtoing local attractions (Mr D9 is on the left, with his more balder head)

Time to meet up with Mr UKBuses in the hotel bar before we go to Poole for the evening to meet relatives of Mr UKBuses, as I awake and get out of my bed and put pressure on my leg, I find it unbearable to put a lot of weight on it, I hobble my way down to the hotel bar and after ordering my drink, the barmaid takes pity on me and carries it across to the table I want to sit at. Mr UKBuses makes his way down to the hotel bar and has to carry his drink from the bar himself. I'm in a bit of pain at the moment, so I decide reluctantly to stay at the hotel and rest my leg a bit more. Mr UKBuses makes his way to the railway station and is off to Poole sadly alone. I finish my drink and go to the nearest chip shop, which luckily is only a few doors away before hobbling down to the railway station myself to see if I can get a refund on the tickets I purchased earlier, sadly I could not, so make my way back to the hotel, but do see and advertisement on the way back with Mr D9 and Mr UKBuses promoting the local zoo (even catching Mr UKBuses favourite person Claire Balding in the background), I do get back to the hotel and rest my leg for a few more hours. As I'm resting Mr UKBuses rings me as he has this suspicion that I have "sneaked" someone into my room while he is at Poole, sadly he was wrong.

After resting my leg for a bit, I decide to try a pub that is only two doors away and have walked past for a few years without stepping foot inside. The only problem is that when I get there, I do have to make my way down a flight of stairs and I set foot into "Moby Dicks" for the first time, and as I get a seat to rest my leg again, I am treated to entertainment from a local trio who performs a few songs for us customers. I text Mr UKBuses to let me know where I am and if he wants to join me for a nightcap upon his return from Poole, as the time nears when he is due back in Weymouth he sends a text to say that he is going straight back to the hotel and what time to meet for breakfast in the morning. After a couple of pints in the Moby Dick's pub, I make my way back up the stairs, stopping at the hotel bar for a nightcap before hobbling back up to my room for a well deserved night's sleep.

A tiring and painful day, bit disappointed that I didn't make the trip to Poole in the evening with Mr UKBuses. A bit of rest of my leg will keep it healthy enough for the trips tomorrow, or so I hope