Sunday, 1 June 2014

2014 - Day Out 05: Swanage and Poole

Date: Monday 26 May 2014

Day three of our mini break and after a long journey across to another county to Exeter and back yesterday, we are staying in Dorset today, visiting a few places and having an evening away from Weymouth.

Weymouth Beach
After a good nights sleep, I awake for our final full day in Weymouth and Dorset and after a "fresh air" break as soon as I wake, I make my way back up to the room to have a lie down and watch the morning news before it is time to meet up with Mr UKBuses for breakfast. We have chance to have a bit of a lie in this morning so we meet up a bit later today in reception for breakfast and as we meet up, we make our way to the "breakfast room" to fill up to keep us going throughout the day. Mr UKBuses makes his coffee and gets his toast whilst I get the cranberry juices ready before making a dash and filling my plate up with loads of bacon, sausage, hash browns and beans. We start eating once Mr UKBuses gets his breakfast assortment sorted and after devouring our cooked breakfast we wash it down with a few yogurts, but disaster strikes, there is no vanilla today, so we have to make do with Strawberry and Raspberry. Breakfast eaten, I make my way for some "fresh air" whilst Mr UKBuses finishes off his coffee and once he has supped up his coffee, we make our way back to the rooms to freshen up and get ready for the day ahead. We have to make our way up to the Kings Statue to get our first us of the day, but we decide to have a look at the bus stop opposite and find out that a First Wessex service 503 is due and we decide to get this into the town, especially when we see who is driving it, Clive a former work colleague who used to work with Mr UKBuses in the West Midlands. We arrive early for our bus and Clive has a bit of time for his next journey, so we have a chat about old times and what is happening fleet wise with First in Weymouth. Clive has to depart so we say our goodbyes and make our way to the bus stop at Kings Statue, stopping off along the way to pick up a bottle of pop to keep us refreshed whilst on the bus.

We have to venture onto First Wessex's service X53 again today, but we are travelling in the opposite direction to Poole which means that we will be on the bus for approximately an hour and a half and not three and a half hours as we were yesterday when we caught the X53 to Exeter. Before we board I notice that my trainer is falling apart and the sole is actually hanging off, with no time to go back to the hotel, I hope that we can find a Shoe Zone in Poole to get a cheap pair of trainers as a replacement, so we board at 09:57am and our on our way, I cant quite remember what villages we pass through to begin with as Mr UKBuses and myself had a nap, I know that we passed through Wool as we were stuck for a while at the level crossing whilst a train passed through, which meant that an idiot driving behind our bus was constantly beeping his horn even though it was impossible to move anywhere. We are nearly in Poole and we get confused as it seems that the route has changed as we head down by the harbour area, which also meant we had nice views before arriving at Poole bus station at 11:27am. We have about fifteen minutes to wait, so whilst Mr UKBuses takes a few photographs, I go in the nearby shopping centre to find a cheap shoe shop, but with time not on my side, I have to make it back to the bus station so that we can catch our next bus, even though Mr UKBuses was standing at the wrong stand to begin with. With the bottom of my trainer now becoming worse, we board More's service 52 confusing the driver as we board when asking for the day ticket, which we are on for less than half an hour before we have to alight at Sandbanks at 12:09pm, walking from the stop around the corner to the stop by the Sandbanks Ferry boarding point.

We have a twenty minute wait at Sandbanks, so a bit of "fresh air" is had and we take a seat at the bus stop watching the ferry crossing the water a couple of times. We can see our next bus, but obviously it is the other side of the water, so has to wait for the ferry to go across to bring it to our side. By the time the bus gets across the water, the bus is running approximately 10 minutes late so we board "The Purbeck Breezer" service 50 at 12.35pm, and make our way to our next destination of Bournemouth, we are only on the bus for 25 minutes, and the bus has caught up time. We alight in Bournemouth and Mr UKBuses decides to watch a show that is going on in the main square, with me starting to walk off. He tells me to stay here for a bit, with him thinking I was making my way to the pub, but when I point at my now totally useless trainer, he understands what I'm looking for and we go off in search for a cheap shoe shop. We spend about twenty minutes looking and decide to give up, especially when we find T K Maxx, which doesn't have a good selection of trainers, I decide on a pair of pumps which cost me nearly twenty pounds (and I thought T K Maxx was supposed to be cheap!) and with me not planning on buying replacement shoes, I have to get the credit card out again to pay for them. We make our way back to the bus stops where Mr UKBuses takes a few photographs, whilst I visit W H Smiths to get some more refreshments for our next journey. We take a walk down to where the old bus station used to be (now a car park), before making our way to the bus stop for our next bus, we did arrive nearly twenty minutes early which is a good job as the bus turns up twenty minutes earlier than planned.

Cheers from The Anchor, Swanage!
We board "The Purbeck Breezer" service 50 again which for some reason the open top buses aren't being operated today and make our way back to the Sandbanks to catch the ferry, but before we depart I change from my one and half trainers I have left, into my new pumps. We board the ferry and it is a good job we aren't on the open top as I can see the ferry bobbing about, which would have made me felt a bit more sick if I was in the open air. We make away across the from Sandbanks and make our way towards our next destination. After a journey of an hour and twenty minutes, we arrive at Swanage and after a few photographs are taken at the railway station, we head around to the depot to take a few shots before walking into the town centre, and it felt so good to walk around properly with out a trainer hanging off as we walk into the town centre, I find a big bin so I can dispose of my old trainers, but I can't complain as I had a lot of use of them over the last couple of years. We decide to have a break and we have a change and head into The Anchor this year, see picture right, and Mr UKBuses takes his seat whilst it is my turn for the round (I don't know how that happened!), and after a pleasant service from the landlord, we take our seats and rest our legs for a bit and mourn the passing of my trainers. We look at the time and notice that as we arrived in Swanage earlier than planned, and we make it back to the railway station on time, we can catch the earlier bus service into Poole which means we can have more time to take a visit to the depot to take a few photographs. So we head back to the railway station and at 3.30pm, we board "The Purbeck Breezer" service 40, even though people tried to push in, we still get good seats and we depart on time and have a journey of an hour an ten minutes, passing through Corfe Castle and Wareham along the way before arriving back in Poole.

As we have more time to spare, we make our way around to the depot to take a few photographs, before going back to the bus station and through the shopping centre to the other side of the depot to take a few more photographs. We are getting hungry and decide to visit J D Wetherspoons "The Lord Wimbourne" for some food and also to meet Mr UKBuses relative. Before we do, we make a visit to the railway station so we can buy our train ticket to get us back to Weymouth tonight. We make our way back to the town and into The Lord Wimbourne and as we are early we order a drink and wait before food and after a while Mr UKBuses brother arrives and more drinks are ordered and food is also ordered too. Mr UKBuses opts for his Chicken and Bacon Melt, "without the melt" and I opt for the Scampi and Chips again as it is soft food as my tooth is still a bit sore and playing up. Food is eaten and we stay at The Lord Wimbourne for a few hours and also a few pints and catch up with Mr UKBuses brother and how he is getting on and what he is getting up to in the area. It is just before 9.00pm so we finish our drinks and make our way to the railway station.

Cheers! on the train
As we are near to the railway station, we say our goodbyes to Mr UKBuses brother and make our way to the platform and wait a while for our train to arrive. It is 9.14pm and our South West Train arrives on time and we board and take a seat and get comfortable for the journey ahead, as no cheers photo was taken in The Lord Wimbourne a selfie was taken on the train on the way back, see picture left. As we make our way back into Weymouth we pass through Parkstone, Hamworthy and Wool, arriving at Weymouth Railway Station at 10.00pm. We alight our train and make our way out of the station and as there are no buses running back to the hotel this time on a night on Bank Holidays, we decide to go for the easy option and visit the taxi office opposite the station. We order a taxi and we wait about five minutes before it arrives to take us back to the hotel. It only takes a few minutes to get us back to the Premier Inn, but it did save us the walk as it had been a long day and we were both tired. Mr UKBuses opts out of a nightcap in "The Lodmoor", but I decide to have one, but have to pop to my room first before popping back down to the bar and having a couple of pints before I retire. After enquiring about what time the bar closes, the barmaid on duty does me a favour by taking for two pints which means that I don't have to rush to down the first pint in time for last orders. I repay the favour when she mentions that she has to bring the big board in from outside, so I bring it in for her before she pours my second pint and after my nightcap is finished, I pop across the road to have some "fresh air" whilst watching the sea in the dark, and also the town illuminated in the distance before I retire and hopefully get a good nights sleep ready for the long trip back tomorrow.

Another beautiful day was had, and a nice final night in Dorset (Poole and Weymouth) was a fitting night to end the mini break.


Date: Tuesday 27 May 2014

It is our last morning in Weymouth and with our bags packed ready for the trip back home it is nearly time to say goodbye to one of my favourite locations in England.

The Premier Inn, Weymouth
It is our last few hours, so I wake up early getting some "fresh air" before going back to my room to ensure that everything is packed away ready for departure after breakfast, which I meet Mr UKBuses in reception of the Premier Inn at 08:15am and make our way to the breakfast room / The Lodmoor public house for our final feast in Weymouth. I get the juice in for us whilst Mr UKBuses gets his coffee and toast sorted before making our way to the buffet to load our plates up with bacon, sausage, etc to fill us up until we get back to the West Midlands. We devour our food and the traditional yogurts are had, with Vanilla back in supply today. I nip outside for some "fresh air" whilst Mr UKBuses finishes off his coffee before we go back to the rooms and ensure that everything is all packed up and nothing is left behind. After the final check is done we meet back in reception and make our way to the bus stop opposite the hotel.

We only have to wait for a few minutes before a First Wessex service 503 turns up to take us to the Kings Statue in Weymouth and it is Clive driving again today. It only takes a couple of minutes before we arrive and with not a lot of time left, I leave Mr UKBuses chatting with his past work colleague, saying my goodbyes to Clive myself as I alight to have my now traditional last pint in J D Wetherspoons "The William Henry". I have finished my drink by the time Mr UKBuses arrives and we make our way back to the railway station, but before we arrive we make our first visit of the long weekend to the First Wessex Weymouth depot to take a few pictures, it is situated virtually opposite the railway station so don't have too far to walk. We arrive at Weymouth Railway Station and Mr UKBuses visits the shop so he can get a drink for the journey back, but is frustrated that a few people in front of him are wanting coffees which slows up the process of him getting served (and only a couple of minutes left before we have to board our train). Luckily we have a minute to spare and we board our South West Train which is heading for London Waterloo (we are not going that far), and at 10:03am our train departs and we say goodbye to Weymouth for another year. We have to change for our next train at Southampton Central, which means we are on the train for just under an hour and a half, passing through, Parkstone, Poole and Bournemouth before arriving at 11:28am. We have a bit of a break here so I decide to pop out to the front of the station and have some "fresh air" before we have to catch our next train.

After my break is over I rejoin Mr UKBuses on the platform and at 11:46am our Arriva CrossCountry train arrives and we board and take our reserved seats, which are not occupied this time, ready for our journey back. As soon as we leave Southampton, the refreshment trolley makes it way down our carriage and I opt for a bottle of Sharp's "Doombar" to keep my throat wet during this leg of the journey. We are on this train for approximately an hour and a half passing through Oxford before arriving at Banbury, where we have to change for our third leg of the journey back home, again we have a bit of time to spare so I head outside for some "fresh air" before heading back into the station for our next train.  At 13:43pm, our next train arrives and we board a Chiltern Railways train which will take us to Birmingham Moor Street, luckily as we board we spot a table seat straight away so that we can stretch our legs out and we are on this train for 50 minutes before arriving in Birmingham and we pass Warwick, Leamington Spa and Solihull along the way before arriving at Birmingham Moor Street at 14:34pm.

We only have a few minutes to wait, which luckily I can make use of the facilities before our next train arrives. At 14:39pm our London Midland train arrives and surprisingly it is being pulled by a Class 153 train, a train which used to be used on the Stourbridge Shuttle service. We make our way to Birmingham Snow Hill, waiting at the station a few minutes before it carries on along the homeward bound journey. Mr UKBuses has arranged a lift so as we arrive and alight at Stourbridge Junction at 15:08, we say our goodbyes and I head into Stourbridge via the Stourbridge Dodger visiting the bank and shops and also a sneaky pint in J D Wetherspoons "The Chequers Inn" before I make my way back to Stourbridge Interchange and catching a National Express West Midland's service 276 to Wollaston Junction and after alighting I have a short walk home before I can put my legs up for the rest of the day.

The break in Weymouth has been a brilliant few days with fantastic weather, fantastic company and a big thank you goes to Mr UKBuses who had planned all the bus journeys we went on, if it wasn't for the plans, we may have been stuck in the middle of nowhere. No doubt that Weymouth will be visited next year and hopefully there will be a Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day in 2015. I didn't manage a lot, but there are a few depot bald spot photo's below from our holiday in Weymouth:

Bald Spot 1

Depot Bald Spot 1: The bald spot is seen outside Stagecoach South West depot at Exmouth.

Bald Spot 2

Depot Bald Spot 2: The bald spot is seen at Wilts and Dorset's depot at Poole.

Bald Spot 3

Depot Bald Spot 3: The bald spot is seen outside First Wessex's depot at Weymouth just before it caught the train back home.

2014 - Day Out 04: Exeter and Exmouth

Date: Sunday 25 May 2014

Day two of Weymouth break 2014, today sees us visiting another English county and a long time on the buses.

The King's Statue, Weymouth
I wake up early and not having a good sleep, I head outside for some "fresh air" before going back to my room and having a lie down and watching the news before getting ready to meet Mr UKBuses for breakfast before we head out for the day. We meet in reception just before 8:00am and make our way to the "Breakfast Room", which is in fact The Lodmoor public house. Its our first breakfast in Weymouth and as is the case when we stay at Travelodge Docklands, it is an all you can eat breakfast so we can pile up as much as we want on our plates. To start off with I get the Cranberry Juice and Mr UKBuses wants some too, I get this for him whilst he gets his coffee and he makes his toast ready for the feast. While Mr UKBuses waits for his toast, I make my way towards the bacon, and I pile on loads of bacon, sausages, hash browns and beans to fill me up for the day ahead. I start whilst Mr UKBuses gets his selection of food and after finishing the feast, I make my way to the yogurt and help myself to a couple including Strawberry and Vanilla flavours. With the Vanilla being very tasty I get a couple more and it looks like I'm nicking all the yogurt when Mr UKBuses yells across the room to get him a couple. With breakfast finished, we let it go down whilst Mr UKBuses finishes his coffee, and before going back to the rooms to get ready for the day ahead, I have some "fresh air". Once we are ready, we meet back up in reception and make our way to the bus stop opposite the hotel.

Which one is the dinosaur?
When we reach the bus stop, being a Sunday service, we find out that there are no services into Weymouth before we have to catch our bus from the Kings Statue, so we head onto the coastal path and walk by the sea, eventually ending up along The Esplanade and after about a mile we arrive at the Kings Statue ready to get our bus, before we do though, we head into the cafe for a bottle of pop to keep us refreshed on our journey ahead, which will see us cross the border from Dorset into Devon. I keep our place in the queue for the bus as it is starting to increase, whilst Mr UKBuses takes a few photographs. Just before 09:20am, our bus arrives and we board First Wessex's service X53 which will take us three and a quarter hours to get to our next destination. The X53 is branded for The Jurassic Coast and as can be seen in the picture right, there is a question to be asked, which one is the dinosaur? We head off into the direction of Bridport and I copy Mr UKBuses and decide to have a nap to try and catch up on sleep that I lost out last night. Before we arrive at Bridport, we pass through Burton Bradstock and West Bay and whilst I'm enjoying my nap, a passenger next to me decides to wake me up to say how wonderful the views of Chesil beach are as we pass it, thanks a lot I was enjoying catching up on my sleep. Wide awake now, I keep my eyes open whilst Mr UKBuses snores away and just over an hour after boarding the bus, we arrive in Bridport coach station. The driver turns off the engine and shouts down the bus that we will be stopping here for about five minutes, so we can get off the bus and stretch our legs if we want. A perfect opportunity it is then, so I decide to alight and grab some "fresh air" as we have another two hours on the bus before arriving at our destination. Break over, I board the bus and retake my seat and we depart Bridport and before our next destination, we pass through Lyme Regis, Beer (yes, there is a place called Beer!) and Seaton before arriving at 12:32pm at Exeter Bus Station. We have about eight minutes here so I grab some "fresh air" whilst Mr UKBuses pops down to the lower level, as being a Sunday there are a lot of Stagecoach vehicles not in service and parked up.

We make our way to Stand 8, and at 12:40pm on time, our Stagecoach South West service 57 bus turns up, so we board buying our Explorer Tickets and take a seat for our journey of just over half an hour, where Mr UKBuses catches another nap before we arrive in Exmouth at 1:16pm. The sun is shining and seeing as we have been on the bus most of the day, we decide to have a break and Mr UKBuses takes me to J D Wetherspoons, "The Powder Monkey" for a drink (even though he took me there, it turns out to be my round!!!!), Mr UKBuses waits at the bar, with my money, to get served whilst I make use of the facilities, and when I return he still hasn't been served even though there are five members of staff behind the bar. Mr UKBuses copies me and makes use of the facilities and when he returns, we are still waiting to be served. Eventually we do get served and seeing as it is a nice day, we decide to sit outside soaking up the rays of the sun in the beer garden located at the entrance to the pub. Drinks over, we go on a short walk and to Stagecoach's depot in Exmouth, taking a few photographs. Photographs over, we head back into town and to the bus stop, we are ahead of schedule and decide to catch the earlier bus back to Exeter so we can spend more time there before travelling back into Dorset.

We board Stagecoach's service 57 again at 1.58pm and make our way back to Exeter, arriving earlier than planned at 2.35pm, which means we have just under an hour to spend in Exeter. Mr UKBuses takes some more photographs and on the plan is a map showing the locations of two J D Wetherspoons pubs in the city. We head off in what we think is the right direction and even though we have walked halfway around Exeter, we are by the Cathedral where one of the pubs are supposed to be located but we cannot see it and give up the search and head for a pint in "The Ship", where we take a seat and give a little fuss to a black Labrador sitting with his owner on the next table. Rest over we make our way back through the city to the bus station and after taking a bladder break (another three and a half hour journey ahead!!), we make our way to Stand 14. We know when our bus will be turning up as we can see it parked up on the lower level and when it is nearly time, we can see it moving and coming up to the bus stop and we board and take our seats ready for the long journey back. We head back through Lyme Regis and have a bit of trouble in Beer when an old bus is at our bus stop where we have to turn around, the bus moves for us and causes a bit of problems for the traffic, once we pick up the passengers, we are on our way and arrive at Bridport at about 5.30pm, where the driver stops the engine, so I make a bolt for the door and whilst he is in the outstation, I get some "fresh air", before boarding and retaking my seat. The driver has been gone a long time and Mr UKBuses worries that he has done a runner and that we are stuck in Bridport, I offer to drive us back but before I can get in the cab, the driver turns up and we are on our way again and just over an hour later, we arrive back at the Kings Statue in Weymouth, where we alight and run up to the next bus stop which means that we catch First Wessex's service 4 back to the hotel, arriving back at 6.53pm.

Cheers From The Chapelhay Tavern
We have just under half an hour at the hotel, so we quickly freshen up and meet up in reception and make our way to the bus stop opposite where we catch the final bus of the day into Weymouth, First Wessex's service 4, with the same driver who took us to the hotel previously and being as this is the last bus, it doesn't take him long to arrive at the King's Statue dropping us off before going back to the depot around the corner. We are feeling hungry so we head to J D Wetherspoons "The William Henry" and we make our way to the top bar, Mr UKBuses gets the round in and I search for a table. Two trips around the pub and there are no tables available so it looks like we won't be eating here until Mr UKBuses spots people leaving and faster than a bolt of lightning I get the seats before anybody else has the chance to. Mr UKBuses brings the drinks over and we peruse the menu before I go to the bar to order the food. Mr UKBuses opts for his usual BBQ Chicken Melt "Without the melt!" and as I have a sore tooth I need to eat something soft, so I surprise Mr UKBuses and opt for the Scampi and Chips. Seeing as the pub is quite busy it does take longer than usual for the food to arrive but when it does arrive, we soon get to work devouring it. We give it a few minutes to let our food go down and once we finish our pints we head out and sample a couple of our favourite pubs in Weymouth, we make our way down to the bridge and stop there a few minutes as there is a music festival going on, we then continue over the bridge and up the steps to our first pub, "The Chapelhay Tavern". When we arrive the pub is quite busy and Ringwood's Forty-Niner is ordered and we are pleased this year as the pub is being used a bit more and the beer doesn't taste like vinegar, see picture left. We take our seats close to the bar and listen to the coastguard radio.

The Boot, Weymouth
We spend a bit of time here and give the pub's German Shepherd dog a bit of fuss, she is starting to look a little old now, hopefully she will still be around when we visit next year. Drinks supped and we leave The Chapelhay behind and take a short walk to our next favourite pub and a few minutes later we are walking down the hill and we can see "The Boot", see picture right. As the sun is till shining, we decide to take a seat outside and I go into the bar to get the round, which seeing as it a Ringwood's pub we opt for the Forty-Niner again, when I come out I realise that I have purchased the last two rounds, here and at The Chapelhay, so no wonder Mr UKBuses has to get a seat quick, as his wallet must be getting heavy for him to carry around. In the space opposite there are a few people enjoying the sun and the pub must have been and still is quite busy with live music blaring out from the pub, seeing as it sunny and also a Bank Holiday tomorrow the people are celebrating the fact and this can be seen with the people enjoying themselves opposite. Whilst we are outside it is rude not to have some "fresh air" and once the break is over we finish off our drinks and head to the next favourite of ours.

The Globe, Weymouth
We make our way down to the harbour bridge and also try and spot where the webcam is situated and across the bridge we go and down one of the side streets where we come across another one of our favourite pubs and it is also our second visit this year to "The Globe", see picture left. Mr UKBuses purchases the drinks, which are Dartmoor Brewery's "Jail Ale" and once I come round after passing out when he got his wallet out, the pub celebrates his purchase and seeing as his "Stan" stool is not available tonight, we spot the pool table, so decide to have a game. With the balls racked up, we have a good game which sees me being victorious. Whilst we were playing, a young woman put her money on the table and seeing as I was the winner, it is up to me to take her on. She breaks and she gets off to a bad start, but as the game progresses, she starts potting her colours and eventually she gains the win, Mr UKBuses is in the corner having a giggle and being the true gentleman, hands are shaken and congratulations are handed out to her. It is starting to get late now, so Mr UKBuses and myself decide to finish our drinks and make our way back to the hotel,

Cheers from The Lodmoor, Weymouth!
As there are no buses running to the hotel on Sunday nights, it is decided that we get a taxi and I dial one and we only wait a few minutes before it arrives. I also know what to look out for as when I ended the call to the taxi office, a text came through telling me what colour and kind of taxi is coming to pick us up. We get in the taxi and it doesn't take too long for us to get back to the hotel. With the taxi driver dropping us outside "The Lodmoor", we decide to have a final pint of the night in the Brewers Fayre chained public house, see picture right.  With the bar not closing until 11pm, I decide to have one more for a nightcap whilst Mr UKBuses retires to his room. I bid him goodnight and after I finish my drink, instead of going straight back to the room, I cross the road and take a seat by the sea and have a final "fresh air" break listening to the waves and looking at the lights in the town. Once my fresh air has gone, I make my way back to the hotel room, where I decide to keep Mr UKBuses awake by coughing as I pass his door. I get into bed ready to get some sleep for the next day and I am glad to say that the sleepless night the previous evening had caught up with me and I went straight to sleep and had a good night's kip and due to the later start in the morning it was good knowing that I could have a lie in.

With brilliant weather and a visit to some favourites on the evening, day two has been a brilliant day, and better sleep was had that night.

2014 - Day Out 03: Bridport and Weymouth

Date: Saturday 24 May 2014

It is time for our yearly visit to Weymouth. Due to no Vintage Bus Running Day taking place this year, we have decided to still visit the Weymouth area but have changed our days we usually stop and have also decided to visit Weymouth a bit earlier in the year than we normally have our break.

Weymouth Harbour
It is time for our yearly visit to Weymouth and after months of waiting, the time finally arrives for us to make our way down to the south coast. This year there are no Vintage Bus Running Days in Weymouth or Torquay this year but we still decide to have a break in Weymouth and also we decide to visit over the Bank Holiday weekend, a few weeks prior to our normal dates of visiting. It is 07:20am and making sure that I have everything packed, I make my way to Wollaston to get our first mode of public transport and catch National Express West Midlands 276, which arrives promptly at 07:36am and I board sending Mr UKBuses the standard text telling him that the bus is on it's way (which he did not receive until we boarded the train at Stourbridge Junction - Vodafone giving good service again!) and to make sure he is at his stop. The bus departs and we make our way through Norton, picking up Mr UKBuses before arriving at Stourbridge Interchange to get the Stourbridge Dodger to Stourbridge Junction where we have to change trains for our first leg of the train journey and as we make our way to Platform 2, we discover that our train to Birmingham Moor Street is in actual fact waiting at Platform 3 (the normal platform for Worcester bound trains), so we rush under the platforms to get to Platform 3 and out of breath, we board our London Midland Train, which virtually upon boarding, departs and passes through Smethwick Galton Bridge and Birmingham Snow Hill, before arriving at Birmingham Moor Street, where we have to change to start the second leg of our train journey. We have a bit of time to spare so we make our way out to the front of the station where I have some "fresh air" and Mr UKBuses pops to the shop to get refreshments for the journey ahead. We make our way back inside the station where, at 08:55am, we board our Chiltern Railways train which takes us via Solihull to Leamington Spa, arriving at 09:24am, where we alight to change for out third leg of our train journey.

We have a bit of time to kill in Leamington Spa, so we make our way out of the station for some "fresh air" and the rain from Stourbridge has followed us here, we hope that we leave it behind in Leamington Spa as we make our way back to the platform to get our next train. As we arrive at the platform we look at the departure board and notice that disaster strikes and our Arriva CrossCountry train is going to be late by 11 minutes. Fortunately we had a break of 14 minutes at our next destination and hopefully this train would be able to make up time, so at 09:49am, our Arriva CrossCountry train arrives and we board coach F looking for our reserved seats, luckily we had a table seat, unluckily though we had squatters, but they soon moved with a few dirty looks off other people who knew them. We were on our way now and after a two and a half hour journey passing through Oxford and Reading plus a snoring Mr UKBuses, with me keeping awake and sipping a bottle of Sharp's "Doombar", we arrive on time at Bournemouth at 12:11pm. With the break now at 14 minutes before our next and final leg of the journey, we head outside the station where myself has some "fresh air" looking after Mr UKBuses bag whilst he pops over to Bournemouth bus station opposite to take a few photographs, that is after Mr UKBuses has to "Seek Assistance!". Pictures taken and break over we head back inside Bournemouth Railway Station where Mr UKBuses makes use of the facilities and as he comes back onto the platform our last train of the day arrives and we board knowing that we are only 50 minutes away from the seaside and our final destination. The train departs Bournemouth on time at 12:24pm and we pass through Poole, Parkstone, Hamworthy (An award winning chip shop is situated here, I have been informed) and Dorchester South before we arrive on time at 1:13pm at Weymouth Railway Station. We alight the train and make our way to the front of the station and the sun is shining on our arrival.

Our first pint at Weymouth at The Waterloo - Cheers!
We cannot check into our hotel until 2:00pm, so we make our way towards the residence of the weekend and have a well deserved pit stop and first pint in Weymouth at one of my favourite back street pubs in Weymouth and one that we didn't get to visit last year, "The Waterloo", see picture right. Two pints of Knob were ordered and whilst I'm at the bar, Mr UKBuses finds a comfy sofa to sit on, I know he has found a seat as I hear him scream as he falls into the sofa as he didn't realise how soft it was. Pints ordered and taken to the table we have a well deserved break before checking in. With our drinks over and nearly time to go to our rooms for a freshen up, we make our way to the seafront and walk to the hotel situated next to "The Lodmoor Pub" and also the next to the site where the rally normally takes place, we arrive after a five minute walk at the Premier Inn. We have to wait a while as there is no one on reception and when the receptionist finally arrives we have to wait even further as the person in front is trying to pay for Wi-Fi access but the receptionist has no change to give her. It is our turn now and Mr UKBuses gets his room sorted and my room isn't even ready for me to check in yet. We also decide to book our breakfasts for the days we are stopping and our forced to pay by credit card, as money seems non-existent in this reception. Seeing as my room won't be ready before we leave for our trip this afternoon, Mr UKBuses kindly lets me drop my bag off in his room and seeing as I don't have anywhere to freshen up, I make use of "The Lodmoor" next door for a refreshing pint, whilst Mr UKBuses prepares himself ready for our journey this afternoon. After about twenty minutes Mr UKBuses meets me in The Lodmoor and we make our way to the bus stop virtually outside the hotel, I enquire about his room and he informs me after having a wash, they had left no towels in his room, luckily a cleaner was outside his room as he was preparing to make his way to reception. This doesn't look like a good start for our stay at the Premier Inn group of hotels.

Cheers from The Greyhound in Bridport!
We only have a few minutes to wait before we catch our first bus in Weymouth, our First Wessex service 31 arrives at 2:49pm and we board and get our return tickets and take a seat towards the back of the bus. This is the last day of operation of service 31, which will resume tomorrow in service as X31 (starting from Dorchester instead of Weymouth). We are on the bus for just over an hour, passing through Dorchester and Winterbourne Abbas before arriving at our destination of Bridport, alighting at East Street. We have a short walk and arrive at J D Wetherspoons "The Greyhound", see picture left, and after drinks are ordered (Mr UKBuses round this time), we take a seat and have a rest. It is whilst sitting down that we decide that we are getting a bit hungry, so we decide to have our tea here instead of waiting a couple of hours before arriving back at Weymouth for a bite to eat. Mr UKBuses opts for a Chicken Tikka Masala for a change and I opt for my usual Chicken Burger and Chips. It doesn't take that long for the food to arrive and we soon tuck in, also having our free pint that comes with the meals. With our food devoured, we wait a few minutes before finishing our drinks and walking down to the coach station to take a few photographs, when we arrive there, we find out that there is no vehicles at the First Wessex outstation situated here and also they have knocked down a couple of buildings opposite from the last time we visited. The buildings were a bit rundown and the demolition of them makes the area look more pleasant. The rain has followed us from the West Midlands and a downpour ensues, which means we take cover in the bus shelter. A few minutes later our First Wessex service 31 arrives to take us back to Weymouth and at 5:11pm, we depart Bridport and make the return journey stopping outside the hotel at 6.16pm. We make our way to reception and my room has become available and I can now freshen up before we go around Weymouth for the evening. We make our way to our rooms and luckily my room is opposite to Mr UKBuses, so I pick up my bag and make my way to my room and freshen up and unpack my clothes for the weekend.

Its Stan Ogden at The Globe
With me now freshened up, I decide to have a sneaky pint in The Lodmoor whilst Mr UKBuses finishes getting ready and I opt for a pint of Budweiser as I found out they had it on draught earlier. I make my way to the hotel reception to meet Mr UKBuses and he spots me coming out of the "Breakfast Room", as he comes out of reception to meet me, he informs us that we have just missed a bus five minutes previously so we both make a visit to The Lodmoor (Budweiser's all round), whilst we wait for our next bus. After finishing our drinks, our next bus is due and we make our way to the bus stop opposite and catch First Wessex service 4 this time which takes us to the Kings Statue, where we alight. A few photographs are taken before we head into J D Wetherspoons "The William Henry", but as we make our way to the top bar, we find the place really busy and decide to go to another pub to start the evening off. We decide to walk to "The Clipper" which is not too far away but as we arrive we find out that the pub has closed down, but looking at a notice in the window, it looks like it will only be a temporary closure. With two pubs down and no drinks purchased, we decide to visit one of our regular pubs in Weymouth, "The Cutter", drinks are purchased and we find out that in the back bar there is a Karaoke taking place, so it would be rude not to have a song and I opt to take the Microphone and sing Metallica's "Nothing Else Matters", with Mr UKBuses taking a seat nearby, I found out that he is videoing the performance. With the song finished and our drinks finished we head to another pub and we decide to walk around the corner and make a visit to one of our favourite places, "The Globe" and after purchasing a "Jail Ale", Mr UKBuses takes his "Stan" stool, see picture right, and gets himself comfortable for a pint or two.

Drinks finished, we make our way back to The Cutter to have a few more songs on the Karaoke with Mr UKBuses hearing going, he decides to call it a night and heads back to the hotel whilst I stay for a couple of more pints and songs, calling it a night just before midnight, I finish off my drink and have a slow walk along the Esplanade taking in the sea air and head back to the hotel and straight to bed to get (hopefully) a good nights sleep ready for day two of our Weymouth break.

Apart from a short downpour of rain in Bridport, the weather has been quite good for our first day in the Weymouth area. Hopefully a good nights sleep will be had before our visit to Exeter tomorrow.