Sunday, 1 May 2016

2016 - Day Out 02: Llandudno

Due to being made redundant in January (I have now got further employment at another company), the trips have been a bit light for the start of 2016. It's time to fix that and we are going back on the coaches and to the North Wales coast. Today we visit Llandudno courtesy of Greenline Coaches.

Llandudno Transport Festival
It is 7.15am and Mr UKBuses gets a lift and on the way to the coach pick up point, I grab a lift with him and after getting in the car, we make our way to Birmingham Street in Stourbridge (opposite the tip) where we alight and wait for our coach to turn up. A quick breath of "fresh air" is had whilst waiting and a number of passengers are already turning up for our Greenline coach of today which turns up on time at 7.45am. We board and take our seats which are directly behind the driver, who introduces himself as John and we set off for a tour of the Black Country. As John is a new driver, he is following the coach company owner in his Mercedes which Mr UKBuses as christened "The Safety Car" so we have to hurry around the pickup points so the "Safety Car" can take its spot on the grid for the Russian Grand Prix later today.

Telford Services
We follow the "Safety Car" and head towards pickup points, firstly at Netherton, then Old Hill, Blackheath, Lapal and then we have a break as we wait for passengers before leaving and finding out that they decided to go the next pickup point with out informing the coach company. We then make our way to Oldbury, Langley before getting to our final pick up point outside Dudley Zoo (a bit late thanks to our "lost" passengers), where Mr UKBuses hides so he doesn't get mistaken for a loose monkey. The "Safety Car" has now pitted and after the final passengers are aboard and the safety notices have been given by John, it is time to hit the road and make our way through Coseley to get onto the motorway. We finally get onto the M6 motorway, where we shortly head onto the M54 motorway. Because of the times of the pickups, the driver legally needs to have a break, so approximately half hour after leaving Dudley and after approximately twenty-seven miles, we leave the M54 at Junction 4 and stop at Telford Services, see picture right.

We have about forty-five minutes break here, so decide to have breakfast. After some "fresh air", we make our way indoors and decide to use the facilities of Burger King. After our slow member of staff decides to make an appearance, I opt for a Bacon Butty (basically bacon on a burger bun!) and Hash Browns whilst Mr UKBuses is glad that he can order a Chicken Royale meal complete with fries (the Burger King employee was not so happy as he had to cook some fresh fries!). My order is done, so I take a seat and start my breakfast, which I have nearly consumed by the time Mr UKBuses gets his order and freshly cooked fries. After breakfast is consumed, we get some "fresh air" and take a couple of pictures of the coaches parked up but Mr UKBuses has a problem with his camera as the battery seems to be dead. After changing to his spare battery, he starts snapping away. After the photograph opportunities, we still have a bit of time to kill, so we decide to get some supplies for the rest of the journey. I opt for some "Fish and Chips" and a twirl. The staff at W H Smiths decide to overcharge me as the "Fish and Chips" were on offer and decided to charge me the full price. With the discrepancy sorted out, we make our way back to the coach.

The Shuttle bus to the showground.
We board our coach and take our seats where our supplies are consumed and I wish that I never purchased the "Pickled Onion" variety of "Fish and Chips" as the taste was very strong. We make our way back onto the M54 and head towards our destination, passing by Shrewsbury, Wrexham, Prestatyn and Rhyl before arriving at Llandudno just before 1.00pm. We alight the coach and I grab some "fresh air" whilst Mr UKBuses is roaming the coach park taking some photographs. We make our way around the corner to Vaughan Street, which is where we can catch the free shuttle buses (operated by preserved buses) to the Llandudno Transport FestivalSee picture left. After boarding, we head down the seafront to the showground alighting at Bodafon Fields.

The WMPTE bus at the Llandudno Transport Festival.
We make our way onto the fields and having paid the admission fee, we are "stamped" to show that we have paid. I can understand this as it saves producing paper tickets, but if you follow the advice shown to wash your hands before eating, how are you supposed to get back in if you wash off your admission stamp? We make our way to the classic buses section across muddy fields. Time is spent looking at the vehicles, such as an old WMPTE Fleetline, see picture right and taking photographs of them before meeting up again. After perusing the stalls we make our way to the entrance and find out that the beer tent is at the other end of the field where we have just come from. We do venture to the far end of the field and enter the beer tent to rest our legs, so a pint of ale is had (and I somehow manage to get the expensive first round!) and have a break before finishing our drinks and leaving. We find a tarmac path so we decide to head out of the showground via that, so after getting all the mud off our shoes, Mr UKBuses decides that he needs to pay a visit to the facilities which we have to venture back onto the mud. After his visit, we head back out of the showground and get rid of even more mud before taking a final few photographs and boarding the shuttle bus back into the town.

Local Arriva Buses.
We arrive back and alight at Vaughan Street and decide to walk past the wrestling ring and take a couple of pictures of the Arriva Sapphire's operating on Route 12 and other Arriva buses, see picture left, before making our way past the railway station and into Albert Street, where we decide to have a pit stop at "The Albert", with Mr UKBuses getting the round in this time. I find a seat and rest my legs whilst Mr UKBuses is at the bar. We still have time left before we have to get back to the coach, so we decide to get something to eat and we make our way around to one of the best J D Wetherspoons we have ever visited and head into "The Palladium". There is no sign of Bradley Walsh, so whilst Mr UKBuses finds a seat, it is time for me to head to the bar and we opt for a pint of "Orme", a local brew celebrating the nearby Great Orme. This was a nice drink and after choosing our food, I go back to the bar to order again and am disappointed as the "Orme" runs out.

Mr UKBuses decides to use the free Wi-Fi to watch the Snooker on the BBC and surprisingly quicker than we thought, our food arrives even though the waitress decides to go to the wrong table first and once the waitress gets the correct table, Mr UKBuses decides to tuck into his BBQ Chicken Melt without the "Melt" and I tuck into my Chicken Burger and chips. Whilst eating and Mr UKBuses watching his snooker, he starts moaning as the snooker starts buffering and tells me to stop looking at my phone even though I was replying to a post of a Hansons driver who was sitting elsewhere in The Palladium. We finish our food and the snooker has stopped for an interval, so we leave our drinks (the replacement for the sold out "Orme") as it didn't taste very nice and make our way back to the coach. We walk through the crowds of the closed main street in Llandudno and make our way back to the coach park. We decide we need to make a visit before we board, but as we get near the toilet on the coach park, there is a long queue which we wont be able to wait in before we leave. After a little walk around the area, we cannot find alternative toilets so board our coach, but before we take our seats, Mr UKBuses  makes use of the on-board facilities.

Just after 5.00pm, we start our return journey and we go a slightly different route this time and follow the North Welsh coast and join the M6, where after a while on the Motorway, we have our service station break at Sandbach Services. We have a quick look around and after the returning Leicester City fans return from Manchester start to get a bit noisy, we make our way back to the coach for a rest whilst waiting for the rest of the passengers, we make our way back onto the M6 and at approximately 8.30pm we arrive back in Dudley for the first drop off. We then spend just over an hour having another tour of The Black Country, before arriving back in Stourbridge where we alight. After some "fresh air", we make our way back to Stourbridge Interchange and having just missed a bus, we decide to catch a taxi back home. Mr UKBuses is dropped off first, so I decide to get out of the taxi after in Wollaston, where a nightcap is had in The Unicorn before heading home to rest my legs.

A good day out was had and after the barren of trips, it was a welcome change. Despite what we thought would be a wet day, the rain stopped falling as we arrived at Llandudno and stayed dry until we left. Thanks to Greenline Coaches and our driver John and also to Mr UKBuses, speaking of Mr UKBuses, did you know that he transports a bald spot around with him:

Bald Spot 1
Bald Spot 1: The Bald Spot is having battery trouble at Telford Services.

Bald Spot 2
Bald Spot 2: The Bald Spot at The Llandudno Transport Festival.

Bald Spot 3
Bald Spot 3: The Bald Spot is trying to hide behind a Leyland National.

Bald Spot 4
Bald Spot 4: The Bald Spot is trying to take a picture of that other blokes bald spot!

Bald Spot 5
Bald Spot 5: The Bald Spot may have been caught!

Bald Spot 6
Bald Spot 6: The Bald Spot before leaving the Llandudno Transport Festival.

Bald Spot 7
Bald Spot 7: The Bald Spot seen in Llandundo town.