Saturday, 19 September 2015

2015 - Day Out 09: Portmeirion

Date: Saturday 12 September 2015

We are on the coach yet again for the fourth time in four weeks, this week sees us stay in the country of Wales, but we head up to North Wales and our destination today is the lovely village of Portmeirion, home to The Prisoner.

Jan, Our Coach for the day!
I make my way to Wollaston, where at 07.35am the National Express West Midlands Service 276 bus pulls up and I board and take a seat, sending Mr UKBuses the normal text to tell him that we are on our way. The bus goes through Norton, where Mr UKBuses duly boards and then we make our way into Stourbridge, alighting at Stourbridge Interchange and taking a short walk down to the coach shelter opposite Stourbridge Tip. We wait about ten minutes wondering if we were told the right time, our worry lessens when another couple turn up and "Herbie" the Greenline minicoach turns up and we board, luckily we only have a couple of pick ups in Lye and Halesowen to do before we make our way to Dudley. We arrive in Dudley and pull up outside of the entrance to Dudley Zoo, we have a few minutes to wait before our main coach pulls up, so I get off and have some "fresh air" whilst waiting. "Jan" turns up and Mr UKBuses gets off "Herbie" and we make our way to the main coach with our regular driver, Mike sorting out the seats. As we are waiting the rain starts to pour down on us and we cannot yet board the coach due to other passengers blocking the aisle, so we get slightly damp, but we find out we have the same seats as last week and get a drivers view of the journey to and from Portmeirion.

Breakfast Number 7!
We make our way towards Wolverhampton, me slightly damp as my bottle of pop for the journey decides to explode over me as I open it and get onto the M6 Motorway, just for a short while before we join the M54 Motorway. We are on the coach for less than an hour, where Mike informs us that we are going to have a quick convenience stop at Telford Services as some of the passengers have been on the coach far longer than those who joined at Dudley. We duly pull into Welcome Break Telford Service Station where we have time to make use of the facilities and also a quick breath of "fresh air" before boarding again and making our way back out onto the M54 motorway. We then head onto the A5 and head towards Wrexham, where we have a longer stop at Moreton Park Garden Centre, see picture top left, where we decide to have some breakfast in the restaurant. Mr UKBuses is a number (Number 11 to be exact) after ordering his traditional breakfast (no egg or beans, but mushrooms and black pudding as a replacement), I order mine (I am Number 7), asking for no egg and black pudding as a replacement. After about 10 minutes our breakfasts arrive, see picture right, Mr UKBuses is first and without his beans and egg, a lot of plate can be seen. Mine then arrives, with egg on, which I duly put to one side, but I also get my extra black pudding as well, with my plate looking fuller than Mr UKBuses. Food eaten, we have a quick look around the garden centre and decide to have another pit stop, with Mr UKBuses getting confused as he nearly goes into the ladies. We make our way back to the coach with some "fresh air" had along the way back to the coach and Mike returns after having his breakfast and we duly board our coach "Jan" again and take our seats to get us to Portmeirion.

Welcome to Portmeirion!
We make our way from Moreton Park and Mike takes us on a scenic route as we bypass Oswestry and Chirk and go through Llangollen, spotting the canal and steam railway as we pass through. We then pass through Corwen and Bethel before driving past the glorious looking Bala lake. We are not too far from our destination now, but we get stuck behind a "Sunday Driver", which adds time to our journey as we cannot get past the driver who doesn't know what an accelerator is for. The driver finally pulls off and we pick up speed again and after passing signs for Ffestiniog, we only have to go through the little village of Minffordd and I keep an eye out for the steam railway station at Minffordd as about twenty years ago I stayed in the Ffestiniog railway hostel when I was in the Venture Scouts, I do spot it and memories come flooding back, right opposite, we turn down a road which is the entrance to Portmeirion, if only I had known that all them years ago, I could have made a visit then. We go down a small road and we are at the entrance to "The Village", Mike gives a toot on his horn and the gates are open so that we are allowed into the coach park, arriving just before 1.30pm. Mike pulls up and as we alight another coach drivers rudely asks Mike to move as he wants to leave, why he couldn't have waited a few minutes, Mike would have dropped off all the passengers and would have got out of his way. "Fresh air" is had before we make our way to the village, see picture left. A trip to Porthmadog is abandoned as we would have had to walk about a mile and a half to the nearest bus stop.

Cheers! From Portmeirion
We make our way down towards "The Village", so far so good, there are no big white balloons following me around, Mr UKBuses refers to them as "Rovers", just a person who looks like Stan Ogden with a camera clicking away behind me is the only thing following me around. We have a walk around "The Village" and with Mr UKBuses clicking away, I move further into "The Village". A woman is taking a picture behind Mr UKBuses and as he hears the camera click, he turns around and tells her to "P*** Off!", I think he may have been a bit paranoid about his bald spot. We carry on around the main part of Portmeirion, where we arrive at The Town Hall and we decide to rest our legs for a bit, see picture right. We make our way inside, and Mr UKBuses leaves me at the bar whilst he goes to find a table (good excuse again!) and a pint of cider and lager is ordered. I wake up once the barmaid gives me the change, with the round coming to a staggering £8.55, with Mr UKBuses pint being the more expensive at £4.75 a pint. I take my seat and drink my pint slowly to ensure I get the best out of it and my monies worth. There are a few drops left and I make sure that the glass is left very dry and we make our way back into "The Village".

After visiting the toilet (this building will be used a lot today), we make our way down to the hotel and Mr UKBuses plays about on the Stone boat located next to it. With Mr UKBuses back ashore, I feel ill when Mr UKBuses decides to go on a walk through the woods (yes, I did say a walk!), so we make our way past the lighthouse and onto the forest trail. Luckily, for Mr UKBuses, about three-quarters of the way around there is a bench available which Mr UKBuses decides to have a seat for about ten minutes to recover, which also meant I could get some "fresh air", before making our way back into "The Village". We have another quick look around and we arrive just in time for The Forest Train, we climb aboard and after everybody is on, we set off taking us around a different part of the forest situated in the grounds. We could have walked the route about three times as the train was quite slow, we do eventually get back into "The Village" and alight by The Town Hall. Mr UKBuses spots the ice cream shop, so we head in and decide to have a single scoop cone, with Mr UKBuses opting for Strawberry and myself Cranberrie Cream flavour. Mr UKBuses gets his first and heads out of the shop and then I get mine, but it looks as if I have had an extra scoop judging by the difference in size. I may have had more, but seeing as my ice cream was soft to begin with, it doesn't take long before it starts running all down my hands and by the time I've  finished, my hands are entirely covered in ice cream. Luckily for me, we are right by the toilets, so another visit is made to give them a wash.

Goodbye to The Village!
We have a further look around "The Village" and then we head to "Number 6" house, which is now home to The Prisoner gift shop. Mr UKBuses wants to get a mouse mat, but after looking around the shop a couple of times and enquiring, he is out of luck and comes away from the shop empty handed. We have a bit of time left and decide to have a look around the other shops just in case there are any floating around in the other shops. We decide to take another break and it is back to The Town Hall where we decide to have a seat outside and Mr UKBuses does go to the bar and pays the same amount. After drinks we decide to make our way back to the coach a bit early just in case we can leave early, we make our way via the pottery shop, see picture left, just in case there is an elusive mouse mat hanging around in there. Unfortunatley for Mr UKBuses there isn't so we board the coach after I have had some "fresh air" and with the coach two-thirds full, we get comfortable and wait for the stragglers. At least we haven't been chased around by a "Rover", but we did get followed by a couple off our coach a few times today, were they "Rovers" in disguise? The last few stragglers board and we leave Portmeirion twenty minutes before planned departure. We escape "The Village" and make our way down to Minffordd, where I say goodbye to my once hostel from years ago and we hit the road.

A few miles into the journey and it looks as if we have come across the same driver as we did this morning, in a different car, as we are stuck behind him for quite a while and he seems to be doing only half of the speed limit. He eventually turns off with a loud cheer from everyone in the coach as he turns off. We eventually get close to our comfort break and have ten minutes in Welshpool, where luckily the toilets are still open, time for some "fresh air" before we set off along the rabbit run and back into Dudley, where we say goodbye to Mike and swap onto "Herbie" again which takes us straight back into Stourbridge, arriving at 9.04pm, which gives us a minute to run from the drop off point to Stourbridge Interchange, where luckily, our National Express West Midlands Service 276 is still on the stand. We board and as we reach Norton, its time to say goodbye to Mr UKBuses and upon arriving in Wollaston a quick nightcap is had at Graham's Place and The Unicorn before heading back home for a well deserved rest.

Another brilliant day was had thanks to our coach driver Mike and to Mr UKBuses for the company, luckily, the weather improved upon arrival at Portmeirion. Speaking of Mr UKBuses, he came away without a mouse mat, but he did have a bald spot, all but one spotted in Portmeirion:

Bald Spot 1

The Bald Spot is seen on its way to the Coach at Moreton Park Garden Centre, all below are in and around Portmeirion.

Bald Spot 2

Bald Spot 3

Bald Spot 4

Bald Spot 5

Bald Spot 6

Saturday, 12 September 2015

2015 - Day Out 08: Cardiff

Date: Saturday 05 September 2015

Yet another coach trip is undertaken, today we visit South Wales and the glorious Capital City of Wales, Cardiff.

Cardiff Castle
It is the third trip on our month long coach excursions and today it is the turn of Greenline Coaches and a visit to Wales. I make my way to Norton to get some supplies for the coach before meeting with Mr UKBuses where he has provided transport and has got his dad out of bed to drop us off to the pick up point. Arrival in Stourbridge and we get chance to jump out of the car and only have a few steps to get to our destination and there are quite a few people joining us on the trip from Stourbridge. The coach arrives just after 09:00am and we are the last but one pick up point so we do not have to do a tour of the Black Country first. With everyone aboard, we take our seats, this time right at the front of the coach, so we do have the drivers view and we make our way to the last pick up point.

We don't have far to go as we pull up outside The Foley Arms in Pedmore to pick up our last two passengers and once they are sorted, our coach driver off the day gives his safety information speech. Rita has given our coach driver Norris the day off (see Coronation Street post), sorry Mike, who tells us where we will be stopping along the way and roughly what time we will be arriving in Cardiff. With the safety information passed on, I tell Mr UKBuses to belt up and we are safely on our way. We pass through Hagley and Bell End to make our way onto the M5. We are on the coach for just under an hour where we arrive at our pit stop, Strensham Services. After some "fresh air" is had, we make our way indoors and decide to visit McDonald's as they are still serving breakfast, there is a queue so we take our place and as Mr UKBuses waits to be served, I sneak into the next queue where I get served virtually straight away. A few minutes wait and I have my bacon roll, Mr UKBuses is still waiting to be served let alone get his food. Whilst he is waiting, I find a table and start tucking in. I may have been laughing at Mr UKBuses having to wait, but instead of brown sauce which I asked for, tomato ketchup has been applied to my bacon roll. I finish off my food just as Mr UKBuses arrives and starts eating his.

With our breakfasts finished, Mr UKBuses pops into W H Smiths to get a drink and also some Pick-And-Mix (£3+ worth of sweets) and then we make our way back to the coach having some "fresh air" along the way, once boarded, we have a banksman to guide us out of the parking space and we make our way back onto the motorway, we entered via the M5, but we are leaving on the M50 which takes us about twenty miles before we come off the motorway at Ross-On-Wye, with our coach driver Mike informing us that Noele Gordon used to live here, which starts everybody on the coach humming the theme to "Crossroads". We then make our way through Monmouth and as we approach Newport, we go back onto the M4 Motorway for a short time before arriving in Cardiff at approximately 11.45am. We are dropped off just opposite the entrance to Cardiff Castle, see picture above left, which is good as I know this part of Cardiff  seeing as it is just down the road from the hotel I stop in when down this way on works business. We are told that we are being picked up opposite at 05.30pm so we just have over five hours to spend in Cardiff.

On the way down here, we find out that there is a bus strike on and also that a International Rugby match is taking place in Cardiff. This is emphasised as we make our way round to the main pedestrianised High Street, where there are a lot of people trying to sell Wales scarves. As we make our way further down the High Street and onto St Mary Street, we here a lot of shouting ahead and we think it maybe the Rugby supporters starting to kick off. As we get nearer, we realise that there is a demonstration taking place by the striking Cardiff Bus staff. As they pass, we make our way into Brewery Quarter and Mr UKBuses starts to moan as he can't see a pub, that is until we get to the corner and find a J D Wetherspoons. With the Rugby taking place, there are bouncers on the door, but Mr UKBuses is allowed in and we enter J D Wetherspoons "The Prince Of Wales". Mr UKBuses conveniently goes to find a table leaving me at the bar to get the round in. He finds a table reserved for "Diners Only" and after getting served I grab the pints without realising that they were flimsy plastic glasses and nearly spill half of the contents. I make my way to the table and inform Mr UKBuses that there is about a 45 minute wait for food so we decide to skip the food and we drink up as quick as we can.

Cardiff Sight Seeing Bus
We leave in search of food, but take a few minutes to take a few photographs of buses that are running before making our way down to Cardiff Central Railway Station, where another JD Wetherspoons, "The Great Western" is situated. We make our way in and see that the drinks are being served in the same flimsy glasses so we decide not to stay here. We are getting hungry and we have a walk through the main City Centre and close to the Castle we find yet another J D Wetherspoons (There are five in Cardiff), "The Central Bar", which is quieter than the previous two and also looks like proper glasses are being used. We decide that this is the place where food is going to be taken and we head to the bar upstairs. Its Mr UKBuses round and whilst I find a table he goes to the bar and orders a pint of "Doombar" each. He comes back with two pints in what looks like a proper glass, but they are in fact durable plastic glasses, looks can look deceptive, but at least they don't spill half the contents when picked up. Time for food and I opted for the Chicken Burger and Mr UKBuses makes me faint as he didn't go for the usual BBQ Chicken Melt, without the melt, he opted for the Chicken Burger, probably as he got a free pint in a plastic glass!!

Dinner over and we make our way back through the City, we decide to go on the open top tour bus, which costs £12 each, see picture above right, as we board the driver says that they will only be doing half a tour with upcoming road closures but still wanted the full price, we politely decline and carry on through Cardiff going past the now busier Millennium Stadium (capacity is 74,500 people) to Cardiff Central Railway Station. We spot a train that we need to catch and only have a few minutes before it departs so we hurry to the ticket hall and purchase a return ticket and make our way to Platform 7. Our train arrives and we board and after four minutes we alight at the next station, Ninian Park. We have a slow walk round the corner where we are greeted by another sporting ground, Cardiff City Football Ground, and by the looks of shuttle buses operating and a full car park, it looks like a game will be played here today. Situated right in front of the football ground is Cardiff Buses depot so a few photographs are taken here and situated right opposite is a huge covered garage, which is also home to Cardiff Bus so a few more photographs are taken, see picture below left, We don't go too far as the striking drivers are picketing a bit further down the road, so after photographs are taken, we make our way back to Ninian Park Railway Station where we only have a few minutes to wait for a train which takes us back to Cardiff Central, where we alight and staff are on hand to guide us to the exit.

Cadriff Bus Depot
After leaving the railway station, we go in search of a public house to have a rest. There are a couple that I have visited before on earlier visits to Cardiff but they are both situated opposite the Millennium Stadium and upon entering and also looking through the windows, they are packed to the rafters and serving in plastic glasses (the flimsy kind) only, so we head further towards the Castle. To have a rest we go to the Holiday Inn Hotel situated opposite the Castle grounds and we sample a beverage from the hotel bar. People must have had the same idea as the bar seems to be a bit busy on this visit, but at least we can rest our legs and sup out of a proper glass!! After watching the end of the England Rugby match on BBC (not being played in Cardiff), we finish our drinks and make our way back up towards "The Central Bar", where we spot a McDonald's and decide to grab some food before having to get our coach back. Before we get there though I ask a couple of policemen what time the road is reopening and we are told it will be closed until 08.00pm. Our coach has no way of getting to the pickup point so I decide to get in touch with Greenline, but after a couple of attempts I have to leave a voice mail hoping that someone may pick it up before the coach is due. We enter McDonald's and I do the same trick and get served before Mr UKBuses. Our orders are taken and after paying ten pence more than what is advertised in the window, we are told to go to a collection point. So we wait there and our receipt number is called out and food is collected. I take my Argos, sorry McDonald's purchase and we dine alfresco and choose a table outside.

After our food is eaten, we have a bit of time to kill before our coach picks us up, so we head to a public house opposite the pick up point and a couple of our fellow coach passengers stop us to ask about being picked up, we just tell them to go to where they said we would be picked up. We enter the Dempsey's Bar and have a last drink in Cardiff and Mr UKBuses asks the question "Where's Makepeace?"  making reference to a bygone television programme. We drink outside of the pub keeping an eye out for fellow passengers and hopefully our driver. We finish our drinks and cross the road and join our fellow passengers, which by now is half of the coach. Our pickup time has passed and we are still none the wiser and about 05.45pm, a fellow passenger comes round the corner and tells us to follow him and on the way I have some "fresh air" and when we round the corner we can see our coach parked up. We board and as we take our seats we can see an irate passenger complaining and before we leave, Mike apologises (even though it was 100 per cent not his fault) and Mr UKBuses belts up and we make our way out of Cardiff towards the M4.

We make our way back along the route we came, via the M4 to Newport and then main roads to Monmouth before getting back onto the Motorway, The M50, and stopping for a short break at Strensham Services again. As we make our way back to the coach, I spot the McDonald's advert by the coach and cotton on that this is the same services that we stopped at on the way back from Weymouth last week. With everybody back on board, Mike makes his way back onto the M5 and its only an hour before we leave the Motorway and make our way back through Hagley, dropping off our first two passengers at Pedmore opposite The Foley Arms and then onto our stop in Stourbridge. We say a quick goodbye to driver Mike and find out he is driving us again next week and make our way towards Stourbridge Interchange where hopefully we may just make our National Express West Midlands Service 276. As we get near, our service 276 bus pulls away, but Mr UKBuses uses his power and hails the bus down and luckily the driver lets us board. We get to Norton and its time to say goodbye to Mr UKBuses and I carry onto Wollaston where a quick nightcap or two is had at Graham's Place and The Unicorn.

Despite the road closures, bus strikes and plastic glasses, a good day was had, thanks to our coach driver Mike and also Mr UKBuses for the company on the day. Speaking of Mr UKBuses he has a bald spot:

Bald Spot 1

Bald Spot 1: The Bald Spot is enjoying the view of Cardiff Castle.

Bald Spot 2

Bald Spot 2: The Bald Spot at the overfill depot of Cardiff Bus.

Bald Spot 3

Bald Spot 3: The Bald Spot outside the main Cardiff Bus Depot.

Friday, 4 September 2015

2015 - Day Out 07: Weymouth

Date: Sunday 30 August 2015

Following on from last week's coach trip and with there being no Weymouth Vintage Bus Running Day this year, we decide to still visit glorious Weymouth for a day trip on this August Bank Holiday Weekend, this week courtesy of Whittles.

The Kings Statue, Weymouth
Its dark and gloomy as I make my way to Wollaston where we are going to be picked up. Mr UKBuses said he would get a lift to Wollaston, so I wait at the bus stop on the island and just before 07.00am, a taxi pulls up and Mr UKBuses falls out of it, which doesn't do much for his already bruised and battered knees. We cross the road to our pick up point and we are second to be picked up and at 07.10am our Whittles coach pulls up and we board. We have a few more pickups to do along the way before setting sail onto the motorway. We make our way through Wolverley, Kidderminster, Bewdley where we have a bit of a problem with the coach door closing, after a few attempts, the door finally closes and we make our way to the Whittles Depot for our final pickup. Our driver of the day, Graham, boards and some of the passengers make use of the depot toilets before we are given our safety talk and set off to the M5 Motorway. As we make our way a long distance down the motorway we pass Michaelwoods services (avoiding the huge prices - it must run in the family), and stop off at Sedgemoor services, where after "fresh air" is had we head inside to W H Smiths to get some nibbles for the rest of the journey, with Mr UKBuses splashing out on a Pic-N-Mix which cost him a few quid!!

Our Whittles Coach and Driver Graham!
We make our way back to the coach where one of the passengers seems to be having a disagreement with our driver and after some "fresh air", we board and take our seats for the rest of the journey, see picture left. We eventually leave the M5 at Taunton and have just over 50 miles to reach our destination. We pass through Yeovil and then we reach Dorchester where an alarm goes off on the coach, so Graham gets off the coach and walks around to the engine bay, after looking he boards the coach and says that the coach is overheating and with just over five miles to go, he limps into Weymouth and along The Esplanade to our drop off point just outside one of hotels we have stayed in, on previous breaks to Weymouth, The Fairhaven Hotel. Graham lets us alight after telling us that he has asked for a replacement coach to be sent down for our return journey and that we would be picked up from outside The Fairhaven Hotel at 5.00pm. Some "fresh air" is had and we walk along The Esplanade towards The Kings Statue, with the sun now shining down on us, where Mr UKBuses starts to take some photographs and I tell him that I will be going to the Londis Store on the corner. I come back to The Kings Statue and Mr UKBuses is standing there as if he is looking for me and asks where I have been.

First Depot in Weymouth
Its time for food, so we take a few steps and head to J D Wetherspoons "The William Henry", Mr UKBuses makes his way to the bar and I start to feel faint as he purchases the first round! I find a table and even though the pub is busy I do get one even though it needs a wipe. Mr UKBuses comes back with the drinks and the menu is perused and Mr UKBuses asks a passing waitress if she could wipe the table down, she carries on walking towards the kitchen. We both decide to opt for some different from the normal food that we feats on, with Mr UKBuses having his Chicken Tikka Masala and me, Scampi and Chips. I go to the bar to order and after being served I ask the barman if someone could clean the table, his response was "Yes, if somebody is free", so I walk back to the table in disgust, forgetting our pints. The table is eventually wiped over just in time for our food to be placed down. We eat our food and finish off our drinks and make our way back to The Esplanade and having a walk along the seafront.

Portland Bill Lighthouse
We decide to walk past Weymouth Railway Station and pay a visit to the First Hampshire and Dorset depot situated in Commercial Road and take a few photographs, see picture above left. After photographs are taken, we have a little walk along the back streets, emerging back out by The Kings Statue, where after a visit to the underground toilets is had and Mr UKBuses buying an ice cream, we make our way to the bus stops and decide to have a little ride on the open topper to Portland Bill. Our bus arrives and there is a driver change, with our driver being a lady driver with a very short skirt on. Mr UKBuses resists temptation and climbs the stairs to have a seat at the back in the open air. The traffic is quite bad today and we get round by the railway station where our bus seems to be having trouble moving, after a few revs, the bus does eventually get on its way and we go over the Weymouth Town Bridge and we stop at traffic lights, where we have the same problem with getting away, would this be our second break down of the day? We do again get moving and we make our way along Chesil Beach towards Portland and after going through the Olympics Sailing buildings used in 2012, we make our way up the hill towards Portland village, with beautiful views of the beach we have just come across. We make our way through Portland and along the country road to Portland Bill, see picture left. Mr UKBuses decides not to alight and have a pint in The Pulpit (it would have been his turn for the round this time!) and soon we are on our way back. We get another good look at the glorious view of Chesil Beach and Mr UKBuses nearly gets knocked out by low hanging branches.

We arrive back in Weymouth and get back to The Kings Statue, where we have a few minutes wait on the bus, as due to the traffic we cannot get to our bus stop. I notice that Mr UKBuses is looking in the rear view mirror a lot and upon closer inspection I can see why when there is a very revealing view of the lady bus drivers skirt. The bus pulls up at the stop and Mr UKBuses tears himself away from the view. We have a walk through the town and through the back streets, passing behind The Fairhaven Hotel which Mr UKBuses looks up at his old room and remembers being woken up at 1.30am in the morning by some noisy yobs when he stayed there (I have no idea who they were!) and we round the corner and enter one of our favourite pubs in Weymouth, "The Globe". It is quite busy in the pub considering it is mid Sunday afternoon, but there is a quiz on, and having taken a seat by the pool table, we do eventually get to answer a couple of questions that we know, with me blurting out the first answer without realising (I was excited that I knew one!). With our drinks finished we make our way back out to Weymouth and take a wrong turning, so decide to have a sneaky pint in "The Duke Of Cornwall". We do get to sit down for a few minutes and also see a bit of the Superbikes action taking place at Silverstone, before heading back to the seafront, via "The Cutter", which is still its vibrant self and at least the gents toilets were fixed this year. A pint of bitter was had by me in The Cutter, but at first I thought it was Cider as it was being poured out of a box from under the bar. It did turn out to be bitter and it was a fine brew which we supped up and finally made our way around the corner to the seafront and outside The Fairhaven Hotel.

We see our Whittles coach and driver Graham parked up where we were dropped off and it looks like it is the same coach that we travelled down on, as we stand opposite an old looking South Dorset Coaches coach pulls up and we think we have to travel back on this, luckily other people board it and we realise that we will get back in one piece. We board our coach and after enquiring, Graham said that the coach had been fixed and should get us back home alright. With still a few people left to board the coach, I take this opportunity for some final "fresh air" in Weymouth and after everyone has boarded we set off back down The Esplanade and back towards the West Midlands. Heading back through Dorchester and Yeovil, we arrive back at Taunton where we enter onto the M5 Northbound. After ninety miles on the M5 we stop off for a much needed break at Strensham Services, where upon alighting, I have some "fresh air" and Mr UKBuses spots an advertisement for McDonald's Mayo Chicken Burger, so we head inside and Mr UKBuses heads for McDonald's, after being served he complains  that he has been charged nearly double the price than what was on the advertisement, that is until I point out to him that he has actually ordered a more expensive McChicken Sandwich. We make our way outside where Mr UKBuses eats his food and I grab some "fresh air" before boarding the coach again ready for our final leg of our journey.

We leave Strensham Services behind and have about thirty-five miles to go before we reach our drop off point in Wollaston, Mr UKBuses knees are really hurting him so he has about an hour to rest them before we have to alight, and luckily we are the second drop off, as we were the second lot to be picked up on the morning. So we make our way through Gloucestershire and Worcestershire before leaving the M5 and heading through Bell End and Hagley and stopping on Stourbridge Ring Road to drop off the first lot of passengers. Mr UKBuses hopes to catch a bus from Wollaston back home so he can rest his injured knees, but as we leave Stourbridge it looks a bit tight on time before his bus departs. We arrive in Wollaston and do spot that National Express West Midlands Service 276 is still at the stop and as our coach pulls up behind it, Mr UKBuses makes a miraculous recovery when he jumps off our coach and sprints straight onto his bus. Time for a quick goodbye before I have a rest, firstly at Graham's Place and then for a nightcap at The Unicorn, before returning home for a well deserved rest.

A brilliant day was had, the sun may not have been shining, but it was dry and still warm. A big thanks to Graham who managed to limp down to Weymouth and for getting us back with no problems and to Mr UKBuses for his company. Oh, there was a bit of sunlight shining as can be seen from the glare of the bald spot:

Bald Spot 1

Bald Spot 1: The Bald Spot is caught at the side of the First Depot in Weymouth!

Bald Spot 2

Bald Spot 2: The Bald Spot is trying to hide outside the main entrance to the First Depot in Weymouth!

Bald Spot 3

Bald Spot 3: The Bald Spot is cannot hide this time outside the main entrance to the First Depot in Weymouth!