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.

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