Thursday, 6 February 2014

2014 - Day Out 01: Worcestershire

Date: Saturday 01 February 2014

It is time for the first outing of 2014 and we decide to stay local and visit a few towns of a wet Worcestershire.

The floods in Bewdley
It is our first outing and as I wake up I have a very sore throat and also a nasty cough, a brilliant start to the day. After devouring breakfast, I ensure I have everything for the day ahead including the camera and plan and make my way out up towards Norton to meet up with Mr UKBuses. As I make my way across Swan Pool Park and even though I'm wrapped in many layers of clothing, I can still feel the chill and make my way up The Broadway stopping off at The Broadway shops to get myself a bottle of still Vimto to help soothe my sore throat. There is no sign of Mr UKBuses, so I make my way towards his house, sending him a text along the way to "Get Out of Bed!", I am just around the corner and he appears. With the morning greetings out of the way, we make our way to Norton Road to wait for our first bus of the day and as we are waiting my mom and dad pass by so an obliquity wave is handed out by both of us. We are not long at the stop when Whittle's Service 125 arrives from Stourbridge and we board paying our £3.20 return fare (we can't buy the Connecta Day Ticket until we get past the Old Waggon and Horses at Iverley) and make our way to the back of the bus where Mr D9 is waiting for us (and it is good to see him again). We pass through The Broadwaters on our way to Kidderminster, where at 09:30 hours Mr D9 is pleased when the Cash Counter reports to Mr UKBuses, and after the recent wet weather, the local stream has turned more into a river, up the hill we go from The Broadwaters past The Land Oak and down Comberton Hill past The Railway Station into Kidderminster Town Centre and Kidderminster Bus Station, where we alight.

Cheers from The George Hotel
We don't have long to wait for our next bus, which is good considering the chill in the air, so we hang around the bus station taking a few photographs and also get commandeered by an old man wearing a Severn Valley Railway jumper informing us of the buildings we are standing by which used to be part of one of the biggest employers in Kidderminster, Brintons Carpets. We do eventually get rid of him and make our way to Stand 7 where we board Whittles Service 2C which takes us to our first location of the day Bewdley, to get us there we first purchase our Connecta Day Ticket from the driver. We head past the Safari Park ensuring that no-one mistakes Mr D9 or Mr UKBuses as one of an escaped monkey, before arriving in Bewdley, where as we head towards the river we can see that the recent wet weather has taken its toll on the River Severn and the flood defences have been employed. We alight in Load Street and as it is cold, we make our way to J D Wetherspoons "The George Hotel", see picture right, where we purchase our pints and keep warm. Once the drinks have been supped, we leave enough time to have a walk down by the riverside where we can see that the river has already started to burst its banks, see picture below, slightly before making our way back to the bus stop to get our next bus back to Kidderminster. We wait for our bus, but instead of our original service (292), we catch an earlier bus, Whittles Service 2A which gets us back into Kidderminster a few minutes earlier than planned.

The river Severn breaching the banks at Severn Side North, Bewdley

The river Severn breaching the banks at Severn Side North, Bewdley

We alight at Kidderminster bus station, where we all decide to make a visit to the nearby Tesco, not to do shopping, with the drink at Bewdley and the chill in the air, we make use of the toilet facilities and make our way back to Kidderminster Bus Station where Mr UKBuses makes a run across the Tesco car park as he spots our bus on the stand. There was no need to panic as the bus was not due out for a few more minutes, so we take our place in the queue at Stand 10 before boarding our 11:25 Diamond Service 303 which will take us to Worcester. We travel through Hartlebury, where after passing through a tight spot, the bus sets off a car alarm without even touching the car and Ombersley and we have a slow arrival into Worcester, we alight at Worcester Foregate Street Railway Station at approximately 12:15 which means we only have a few footsteps before we make our way into J D Wetherspoons "The Postal Order" where we have dinner. Whilst I have visited this place before, it has always been a pleasurable experience, but this time it was different. As Mr UKBuses found a seat, Mr D9 and myself stand at the bar waiting to be served. Other people (also known to the staff) came to the bar after we had and got served first, so it seems that now, regulars / local people seem to get preferential treatment. We eventually get served and take our seats, with Mr D9 deciding to elbow some of my drink over me along the way. We peruse the menu, with Mr D9 and myself taking the normal bet about what Mr UK Buses is going to eat. I win as Mr UKBuses opts for the BBQ Chicken Melt (without the melt), Mr D9 has the Gourmet Burger and myself the Chicken Burger. Food has been ordered and it arrives quicker than the first time we waited to get served at the bar. The food is devoured so we have a few minutes to let it go down as we finish our drinks off.

Andrews News at Worcester Bus StationWe now make our way to Worcester Bus Station where a few photographs are taken before catching First Worcestershire's Service 35, which takes us to their depot at Padmore Street. As soon as we alight, the rain starts pouring down, we still have a look around whilst getting soaked, but no photographs are taken by myself as it is too wet to get the camera out. We walk back around to the bus stop and a little sprint is required as another service 35 bus is pulling up. We board and make our way back to Worcester Bus Station where Mr D9 takes a little visit leaving his newsagent shop unattended, see picture left. We now make our way to Stand P, luckily undercover, where we wait a few minutes for First's Service 144 to pull up and we board to make our way to our next destination. We make our way through Droitwich Spa, where some D9 driving takes place and Mr UKBuses has a nap and arrive at Bromsgrove Bus Station at 14:46. We only have a few minutes here, so Mr D9 makes another visit and has the usual photograph taken before we have to catch our next bus, whilst Mr D9 is making a visit, Mr UKBuses sneaks off and returns with a cone of chips, due to his sneakiness Mr D9 and myself nick a couple of chips, as they were tasty it could have turned into a "Chester" incident. Diamond's service 145 turns up at Stand 4 at 14:58 and we board to make our way to Redditch.

Diamond Church Lane Depot, Redditch
We arrive in Redditch after 20 minutes on the bus and after the bus driver makes us dizzy by going around a roundabout a couple of times and our first port of call is Diamond's Plymouth Road Depot, the rain starts falling again as it did when we were at the First depot in Worcester so no pictures can be taken. Next we decide to take cover and we scupper Mr UKBuses round plans and visit J D Wetherspoons "The Royal Enfield" first, once we have had a rest and finished our drinks we visit Diamond's Church Lane Depot, see picture right, and after photographs are taken, we head to the bus stop and wait and wait. I decide to walk it and beat Mr D9 and Mr UKBuses to our next port of call, "The Golden Cross", I wait outside for the pair to arrive as it is Mr UKBuses round and whilst Mr D9 makes a visit to use the facilities, Mr UKBuses gets the round in and he surprises us by having a whiskey, and after his round plans were scuppered, his round at The Golden Cross turns out to be cheaper than what we have already paid in Wetherspoons. Our time in Redditch is nearly up, so we make our way across to the bus station, stopping off at the newsagents along the way to get a couple of snacks for the journey back. Mr D9 makes a visit to the dreaded toilet in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre, this time with no waiting. We wait at the bus stop whilst Mr D9 is undertaking his business and we decide to wind him up as he rejoins us by saying that we have just missed our bus and that we are now stranded in Redditch. A few minutes later our bus does turn up at Stand F and we board Diamond's Service X3, which departs at 16:48.

We are on the bus for about 45 minutes passing through Bromsgrove and Chaddersley Corbett along the way and discussing Mr UKBuses turkey which he gets off the farm in Chaddersley Corbett each year. We arrive in a dark Kidderminster at 17:33 and after getting value for money on our Connecta tickets, we make our way back around to the bus station where we have to wait about fifteen minutes for our bus back to Stourbridge. It is getting rather cold now and on time Whittle's Service 125 bus turns up at stand 8 and after showing our return ticket, we depart Kidderminster at 17:52 passing through Iverley and Norton before arriving back in Stourbridge at 18:13. We have time for our last drink of the day and it is my round which Mr UKBuses gets his own back by going to J D Wetherspoons "The Chequers Inn" rather than "The Edward Rutland" where I can get a discount off the pints with my CAMRA Card. We get in the warmth and Mr UKBuses finds a table whilst Mr D9 and myself purchase the drinks. We have a thirst on and Mr D9 evens the rounds total up by purchasing a second round and whilst we finish our drinks off, we log onto the phone to see what times Mr D9's connection at Dudley will turn up. Drinks finished, we make our way back to Stourbridge Interchange and whilst we say goodbye to Mr D9 who makes his way to the 246 stand, Mr UKBuses and myself makes our way to our stand to catch the final bus of the day, National Express West Midlands Service 276, with Mr UKBuses bidding farewell and alighting at Norton, and I continue to the terminus at Wollaston. Before I make my way into the warmth at home, I stop by the Chinese to order my meal and whilst it is getting cooked, I sneak next door for a crafty pint of Bathams Bitter at "The Unicorn" before picking up my meal and getting back to a nice warm home where I rest my feet after a good, but cold, day out.

Despite the cold and damp weather, the first outing of 2014 was a success, which was in part of the company of Mr D9 and Mr UKBuses, this outing should set the precedence of the rest of the outings for 2014. Even though it was chilly, some bald spots did make an appearance (the heads must have been cold), these are below.

Bald Spot 1

Bald Spot 1: Mr UKBuses bald spot makes an appearance outside Diamond's Church Lane Depot at Redditch.

Bald Spot 2

Bald Spot 2: Mr D9's bald spot investigates the flood waters at Bewdley.

Bald Spot 3

Bald Spot 3: Mr D9's bald spot looks at Diamond's Chruch Lane Depot in Redditch.

Bald Spot 4

Bald Spot 4: Mr D9's bald spot has another look at Diamond's Church Lane Depot in Redditch.

Bald Spot 5

Bald Spot 5: Mr D9's bald spot receives medical attention at Redditch.