Sunday, 22 September 2013

2013 - Day Out 10: Showbus International

Date: Sunday 22 September 2013

This year the biggest bus rally in Europe was being held in central England, with the destination being Long Marston Airfield which is close to Stratford-Upon-Avon and it also meant that it was a cheaper admission fee to pay.

Showbus 2013
 Mr UKBuses is kindly on driving duties today and just after 08:30am he picks me up from home and as I get into the car and belted up, away we go. There is no need for maps or directions today as he has a woman giving him directions (well a woman's voice on the SatNav) so as we head out of Oldswinford and through Hagley and Bell End, we make our way to the big traffic island at Junction 4 of the M5 Motorway where we are told to "take the next left", Mr UKBuses follows the instructions given saying thanks to the woman after each instruction (I didn't want to tell him that there isn't a dwarf woman inside the plastic case telling him where to go). We are not on the M5 for long as we split off and join the M42 to get us to Stratford-Upon-Avon, we do have to have a little spin on the M40 before we arrive there. As we leave the motorway, we make our way through Stratford-Upon-Avon and then it is only a few miles to go until we get to Long Marston Airfield, but the woman gets us lost and sends us a different way, I knew he should have chosen a man's voice as I knew a woman would get us lost. We do finally get on the right road and arrive at Long Marston after a drive of approximately one hour.

We make our way into the airfield and I pay our admission fees to get us into Showbus (Only fair as Mr UKBuses is driving and using his fuel), after we have paid, we are directed to the car park (well a field) where we are shown where to park, Mr UKBuses decides to nearly run over the marshal as he backs into the space to get out easier. Parked up, we make our way from the car park to the show, but then I realise something about the parking, the way everyone else is parked, Mr UKBuses would have had to reverse out of his space, so we go back to the car and he turns it round to leave in the right direction (no wonder the marshal was giving him a funny look!). With the car the right way we now make our way to the showground and as we have arrived early we decide to check on the stalls first to see what we can find, well that's if Mr UKBuses would stop thinking it was a disco as he seemed to be dancing to "Kung-Fu Fighting" most of the time, this was due to a large number of wasps that were flying around the airfield. I did find a few photographs including a rarely spotted scene in Wollaston Farm with a Midland Red D9 operating the local S53 service. Stalls scouted and Mr UKBuses legs aching we head back to the car for a break before looking at the buses on display today, but we did make a diversion to a Routemaster kitted out with a grill for a bacon roll (Phil Tonks would be proud), we took this back to the car and ate and rested for a bit.

Foxy Bingo! Carol showing off her gongs!

Break over and we make our way back to the showground to have a look at the buses and take some photographs. Bizarrely there are two different sections where the buses and coaches are being exhibited one area close to the car park and another area which seems like a mile away, we have a look around the buses and coaches parked up by the car park first with Mr UKBuses clicking away on his camera. Whilst looking around we decide to have a break before going to the other area and I have found a place to have a good rest, the bar! Before resting we have a look around the coaches where I spot the coach that is used in the Foxy Bingo adverts (See picture above left) and I also see a special liveried National Express Coach which has a big picture of Carol Vorderman with her gongs out, sorry it was her holding some Pride of Britain awards (See picture above right). The coach section finished we have a little rest in the bar, well Mr UKBuses decides to pop in their first as we lose each other whilst taking photo's, I spot him coming out as their was no way that he would put his hand in his pocket to buy the round! Mr UKBuses has a coke seeing as he is driving and I opt for a pint of Magner's Draught Cider, there was bitter available but I wasn't keen on this as it was smoothpour (see picture right). We rested our feet under cover at the bar, but we still were being joined by the wasps!

Who is this bloke?
With the rest break over, we make the walk to the other area where the buses are parked up and this area is the one I like as it is playing host to many vehicles from the Midlands. We start clicking away with our cameras and also in this section are a few buses that we have seen and sampled a ride on from previous visits to the Weymouth and Torbay Vintage Bus Running Days. We make our way around the airfield looking at Midland Red D9's, S23's and 101 - Midland Red's first Leyland National, also in this area we come across old WMPTE Fleetlines, MCW Metrobuses and BCT Daimler's as well as current vehicles in the National Express West Midlands fleet. Even though I got some good shots, some bloke kept getting in my way (See picture left). After loads of clicking camera's, we have a last look at the stalls before another visit to the bar (and the wasps) to give our now aching feet a well deserved rest for a few minutes before making our way back home.

Just before 15:00 we get in the car and as we leave the airfield, sitting at the entrance is "Mad Ron", so we shout our hello's and goodbye's out of the window at him before making our way through a now busier Stratford-Upon-Avon and a trio of motorways to arrive back at Stourbridge, where Mr UKBuses takes a little detour to kindly drop me off at for a quick liquid refreshment before heading back home.

A good day was had, with the weather being good for us and we didn't have to travel too far to get to the rally and back, and we had good company with the wasps turning out for us. A shame that Showbus will be returning to Duxford War Museum next year. I nearly forgot, there were some bald spots at Long Marston:

Bald Spot 1 at Showbus 2013

Bald Spot makes an appearance for Central Buses.

Bald Spot 2 at Showbus 2013

Bald Spot makes an appearance before a rest in the bar.

Bald Spot 3 at Showbus 2013

The Bald Spot can clearly be seen making appearance for Midland Red.

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