The Blue Hood.

 

The most annoying aspect of the whole scenario I am about to tell was that I wasn’t looking up when the blue hood boarded the bus.  Instead, I was probably staring at my phone like the rest of the human race seem to do these days and so I missed seeing the contents of the blue hood. Had it not ended up sitting in the seat immediately in front of me, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it and this blog post would not be being written.  Instead, I looked up to see a huge blue hood, complete with arms issuing forth from it, one of those huge hoods where the occupant cannot be seen from the side view at all.

Who or what was inside that hood?  A girl? A boy? An alien? I had no way of knowing. Judging by the arm casually draped over the back of the seat, it was probably fairly young of age, we oldies don’t tend to sit arms akimbo in our bus seats as a general rule.  The more I looked at the back of the blue hood, the more curious I became. There was just a shape hidden underneath that hood, head shaped yes but that meant nothing.  Oh how I wished the object under the hood would turn around!  I was almost tempted to prod the shape in the back in order to cause it to do so,  but managed to stop myself in time.

It could be anything inside there!  I couldn’t even tell if it was male or female. Hmm. Perhaps I would eventually have my curiosity sated and be able to see the occupant of the blue hood when they alighted from the bus!  Keeping my fingers crossed that it would alight from the bus before me, I continued to sit there staring at the back of the hood hoping against hope for clues.  Ahh!  The bell rang, the blue hood arose from its seat in front of me, and much to my annoyance without so much as a glance back down the bus, got off and walked away, blue hooded top covering the whole contents apart from some legs which protruded from underneath. Drat!

So next time your busy on the bus or train, gazing down intently at your mobile screen, do remember the strange creature I encountered inside the blue hood won’t you? You never know what your missing!

TG

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The best laid plans.

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We had one of those days on Saturday. A day where none of my plans came to fruition and it was all my own fault.. The initial plan was to walk down to our local train station, catch a train to Leeds, buy my train tickets for my forthcoming trip up to Scotland to visit my eldest son and his family, then another train to Huddersfield and from there the last leg home. That was the plan.  We did arrive at our local train station where unfortunately I began to suffer from griping stomach pains, no doubt caused by eating lot’s of soft liquorice the day before.

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Panic set in, and we ended up dashing down the road to Sainsbury’s for a toilet instead of clambering aboard the Leeds train.  At this point, we did discuss abandoning the whole trip and going back home, but eventually deciding that the risk was worth it we caught the bus to Huddersfield, thereby completely cutting out Leeds altogether.  It was a beautiful day, with a cloudless sky and far too good to waste, even if I was in some discomfort and having to keep my shop browsing to shops which I knew contained a loo. How embarrassing I thought and completely self inflicted as well! What idiot eats a ton of soft liquorice when they are planning to venture out on a run-around the following day? You all know the answer to that one!

Needless to say, I did make it home without having any mishaps or embarrassments and can assure my readers that I won’t be so foolish ever again.  So remember everyone, if your planning a day out the following day, keep off the liquorice!

TG

Downhill all the way.

Yesterdays walk was not really all that enjoyable as far as I was concerned. We all met up in the bus station as we so often do, and from therein there was a lot of confusion as to exactly which bus we were supposed to be catching in order to arrive at the start of the walk. S was supposedly our walk leader but he didn’t seem to be too sure about the bus either, and the fact that our departure displays are all incorrect (see my previous post) didn’t exactly help matters. As most of the other walkers are car owners and don’t frequent the bus station as I do, I had to keep warning them that the information via the displays was wrong.

Watch your step!

Worse was to come when the bus actually pulled into the stand and we asked the driver. He didn’t seem to have a clue where he was going, but despite this we all took fate into our hands and clambered on board. I had to laugh to myself, imagining us ending up anywhere where we would be doing a sort of ‘mystery walk.’ As it turned out, the bus was the correct one, and we set off in good spirits only to end up turning round when it was decided that the walk leader was leading us all up an hill that was far too steep for some of the members to tackle. I quietly sighed to myself.  Recrossing the road, we then set off down a lane and at last seemed to be on our way. Trouble was, the route wasn’t really all that picturesque, having a large estate on the right hand side and not much of a view on the other. I hadn’t taken my camera with me (must have had a foretaste that there wouldn’t be all that much in the way of spectacular views to warrant it.)

The walk leader had on top of his head, one of those straw boaters which looked a little ridiculous to be honest with you, seeing as the sky was overcast and grey. We also had to watch our step walking along the path as there were many loose stones to trip up the unwary. The lady in front of me very nearly fell over one such loose stone. The only thing of note worthy of a quick photo was two horses who were resting in one of the fields as we walked past. One of them had a hood over its head for some reason. I took the shot because I knew that Kerri would love to see it.

Hooded and not

Eventually, the vista in front of us opened out somewhat to allow a view right across the valley towards Southowram and we could see as far as Clifton and even Scholes from there. It was still overcast but it was beginning to brighten up somewhat. We all took a breather half way so that some of the walkers could have a sit and a rest for a few moments, then we continued onwards down into town.  After arriving back in town, three of us, myself included decided to lunch at the Ship Inn, whilst the others went to Wetherspoons for their meal.  For me, it had been a rather disappointing walk on the whole, and I don’t think I will go on another walk around Rastrick again.

View from the top of Rastrick

Technogran

Bus Station Woes.

 

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I’ve blogged about our bus station in the past.  It’s not all that old and is supposed to be a shining example of bus station design, with its unusual ‘big dipper’ shaped roof. It’s certainly something you can’t ignore if you happened to be driving past our little town on your way to Halifax. We passengers who have to use it have been less impressed. When it was first completed there simply weren’t enough seats. They provided just four seats to every stand, with the result that waiting for your bus became almost a scrum to the death if you needed to sit down for any reason. Many of the younger passengers had to resort to sitting on the low windowsills which wasn’t ideal or comfortable, not that the provided seats were any more so. You have to be near fainting with the cold or heat, or loaded up with a huge amount of shopping before resorting to actually sitting down on one of the seats. After some vigorous complaints from those hardy passengers with bottoms like steel who can endure sitting down, our seat tally has since been doubled and we have been generously provided with eight to every stand.

I have concluded long ago that whoever designs bus stations never actually use them themselves. The seats are made of metal and are not shaped for comfortable sitting, so they are freezing in winter and akin to sitting down in molten lava in summer. The ambient temperature of the bus station itself is not helped by the fact that it consists of windows from ceiling height to nearly floor level, none of which are double glazed.  In winter you daren’t sit down for more than a few moments for fear of freezing to one of the seats, you have to keep walking up and down the long concourse just to keep yourself moving.  In summer, someone could make a roaring trade growing tomatoes seeing as the station so resembles a huge green house. As I sat baking yesterday waiting for my bus, it was 72% outside the bus station and roughly 90% inside. I had to keep my eye on my sandwich which was in my bag in case it began to toast.

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In order to avoid the pitfalls of our bus station, we local passengers have, over the length of time that we have had to use it, learned to try and time our entrance to just before our bus is due to arrive to avoid freezing to death or being cooked.  And mentioning time brings me to the latest saga which has been taking place for at least the last few months with little sign of anyone from Metro bothering to put it right. Our bus timetable displays are constantly wrong. Not only wrong, but to confuse the unwary passenger, they contradict each other. We have two types of information displays in the bus station, the two largest one’s are hung from the ceiling, one at either end of the station, and the other smaller displays are sited just above each stand door, and only show the arrival and departure times for that particular stand.  In order to try and send every passenger who uses the bus station stark raving bonkers, the large displays tell an entirely different time to the one’s above your stand and neither are correct.

You enter the bus station, firstly gazing hopefully at one of the larger timetable displays with the vain hope that someone from Metro has paid the station a visit since your last attempt to catch a bus in order to fix the wrong displays.  The large stand might state that your bus is due in 20 minutes from stand D.  You make your way down to stand D and look up at the timetable display above your stand only to note to your horror that your bus is due in 10 minutes.  Either that, or its not even up there. Which one is correct?  Have you time to dash off to the shops for that item you’ve just remembered or not? It must be a worse situation for anyone who hasn’t used our bus station before and is not aware that Metro are on a ‘drive every passenger in Brighouse insane’ campaign.  They must think they are hallucinating and probably if they have any sense, will find another route to get from A to B that doesn’t necessitate using our confusing bus station at all.  Meanwhile the rest of us who have little choice but to endure every trick in the book that Metro can devise to thwart our journeys, are beginning to compensate for the wrong times stated by the displays, by simply ignoring them completely.  We arrive at the bus station looking as carefree as possible ( for the cameras and to annoy Metro) and make our way to our stands with the vain hope that we have managed to time it right.

They won’t get us down or turn us into gibbering idiots with all this confusion, no matter how hard they try!

Technogran

Ticket to Ride.

 

New ticket machine

Well over a year ago, our local buses began introducing new ticket machines. As with anything new, it all began rather badly. The bus drivers didn’t seem to have a clue, we passengers were just as clueless and for quite a while, it tended to be a case of ‘get on the bus’, listen to the driver state We don’t have any tickets!” as you vainly flashed your bus pass in his general direction.  I couldn’t quite make out what you were supposed to do with these new fangled ticket machines, and if they didn’t have any tickets, hadn’t installing them on every bus been rather a waste of time?

Kerri in the meantime seemed to have picked up the idea behind them straight away, as she held her pass directly in front of the small window, albeit with no response from the machine for her efforts.  All I kept thinking to myself as we journeyed along ticketless was, what if an inspector boarded before realising that I hadn’t actually seen an inspector get on a bus for years.

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Slowly over time, the new ticket machines have begun to work as they should. At least I think that they began to work as they should. Firstly, tickets were actually being given in response to you flashing your pass in front of them as you boarded. However, I was bitterly disappointed when at last I was handed one of the new tickets. They are simply a thin squarish waxed piece of paper, with little to commend them.  Boring was my initial thought. As a passenger, there’s very little you can do with them once they are in your hand. Compared to their rather colourful predecessors, they are rubbish. How many hours have I happily whiled away my time during my bus journey, absent mindedly rolling those wonderful tickets up into a tight roll between thumb and forefinger in one direction, and then reversing the whole procedure? Or forming them into a smiley or talking mouth for the amusement of my children when they were younger? I can’t possibly do any of that with the new boring bus tickets.

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Not that your actually given one every time you board a bus. It’s often the way that you ‘scan’ your pass, only to receive a curt nod from the driver (and a green light from the new ticket machine, that is if its working of course) to indicate that your allowed to continue up the aisle and sit down. Ticketless of course.  So, its still all rather confusing, sometimes a ticket is handed over, other times not. Sometimes your pass causes some response from the machine, sometimes not.  How are they supposed to work?

There has been no information provided about their usage whatsoever for passengers, we’re all obviously supposed to be mind readers or Einstein’s, and immediately know exactly what to do.  Some drivers have vainly tried to help of course in their own way, though I suspect that most of them haven’t a clue either.

“ Place your pass in front of the machine (or on top as it seems as if, depending on which bus company you board, these new ticket machines are all very different to each other in layout, just to confuse you even further) and it will register it.”

Ahh!  Register it!  Now the penny begins to drop! Sifting out types of users! Paying and none paying!  Pass and none pass!  Will it eventually come to pass (pun intended) where we pass holders are only allowed on certain buses at certain times because we don’t add to the bus company’s profits? Will we be relegated to old rusty buses that crawl along at a snails pace to cut costs? Will we be banned from peak time buses, relegated to (what will probably become known as) The Oldies Bus? I know this, there’s always a reason why new gadgets such as these new ticket machines are introduced, and I have that horrible gut feeling that for us pass waving passengers, none of it is good news. We may even arrive at a time when trying to board vainly waving our passes at the driver, all we hear are those well known words uttered by another senior in a land far away….

“You shall not Pass!”

Technogran Sad smile

I should have stayed in bed.

 

She want’s to go to Halifax to sell some of her old DVD’s so that she can trade them for another. I’m not happy about going anywhere, but as usual I allow her to talk me into setting off to catch the bus. It’s already  beginning to spit with rain as we set off and I am sorely tempted to turn around and go back home.  Seeing as the bus is late at least we use our passes and by the time we reach town the rain is absolutely pouring down. Being ruled by the weather mood wise is one of my many Achilles heels. I can feel myself sinking into resentment and ill temper as we struggle to put the umbrella up and make our way through the puddles to the shop. She trades in her few wares but she hasn’t made enough vouchers and so I have to make up the difference by giving her money towards her longed for purchase.

As I wait outside the shop others quickly pass by clasping their umbrellas or huddled under hoods. No one is loitering, all are hurrying and scurrying past on their way to wherever they must be, dripping raincoats, scowling faces, black looks. I decide that my ordeal should be rewarded with a purchase for myself, a new pair of jeans from Bon Marche and maybe some new pyjamas, so when she emerges triumphant from the shop clutching her precious prize, we brave the wet cobbles and motor onwards and upwards to my chosen store. After finding some attractive pyjamas, we discover that they don’t have my size in my chosen jeans but hey! all is not lost as they have two pairs in stock in their Huddersfield branch! 

We decide to cock a snook at this ill fated day and continue onto Huddersfield. After all I reason to myself, it surely can’t get any worse can it? Arriving in the bus station, we see that the bus to Huddersfield is just pulling out of the stand, but he is having to wait to depart because other buses are in front of him. Looking like two demented idiots, we gesture and wave to attract the drivers attention, hoping that he will open the doors and let us on, but…… he casually ignores us and drives off.  Steam is literally coming out of my ears. We now have nine minutes to wait for the next one.  Leaving her waiting at the bus stand, I stomp off to the shop for some sweets to calm my tattered nerves and a drink for us both whilst we wait.

During the journey to Huddersfield, the rain really belts down in bucketful’s so that by the time we arrive at Huddersfield bus station, there are rivers of it running down everywhere and you have to take extra care where to walk.  Jeans finally purchased, we quickly find a cafe for some lunch and a welcome shelter from the rain. Even she looks ready to burst into tears, and nothing ever fazes her.  I feel like death. I ache from head to foot and feel so tired. As soon as we have finished our lunch, we return to the bus station for our bus home. I look around at the other people waiting for the bus at our stand. They all look so forlorn and fed up, blank dismal faces peering out from hooded raincoats which are dripping with raindrops onto the already puddled floor. We would all have been much wiser to remain this day tucked up in our warm beds, listening to the rain as it beat against our windows outside.  We should have all had more sense than to venture out on this particular day of all days seeing as it was Friday the 13th.

TG

A ride on the Cornish Explorer.

 

Penzance Harbour stitch


Western Greyhound 960 WK59CWXFollowing much discussion and careful scrutinizing of bus timetables, we both decided that Thursday was to be a day of trying to see as much of the rest of Cornwall as we could possibly fit in seeing as it was our last day there.  After some careful planning on my part, we decided a course of action which entailed catching the 515 bus from outside the park to Penzance, spending a few hours there and then catching the Cornish Explorer for a ride that would travel through Treen, Porthcumo, Sennen Cove, St Just, Lands End, and then make its way to St Ives, where we would be able to then catch a bus back to the park.

Our Greyhound bus to Penzance, the 515 turned out to be one of those buses that goes all around the estates and back again, and a journey that had we been going straight to Penzance would have probably taken us a quarter of the time ended up taking over two hours or more. Eventually we arrived in Penzance. The weather was overcast and grey again, and in a similar vein to St Ives I ended up feeling a little bit disappointed.  We walked around the harbour and then journeyed up to the shopping area.  Despite eyeing up some interesting sounding pub venues for our lunch, we were to finally end up in Wetherspoons of all places.  I was not feeling very well, I felt cold and tired and was ready for the journey back to be honest, but I forced myself to troop around the shops and front for Kerri’s sake.  We eventually returned to the bus station in time to catch the 14.35pm 300 Cornwall Explorer.

First 300 Cornwall Explorer

This is an open topped double decker run by First bus, but we didn’t dare brave travelling on the top!  One of the other passengers insisted on having a window wide open and I just couldn’t seem to get warm at all.  Finally they got off the bus and the open window could be closed. The weather had definitely cooled drastically from how it had been the rest of the week.

However, it was an enjoyable ride along the small winding roads of Cornwall. Every time that another vehicle was travelling in the other direction and met up with us, they had to reverse back until they could find a wider area so that our bus could get past. All of the roads that we travelled along were lined with wild flowers of every description, bluebells, foxgloves, poppies, lupins, it was all so beautiful, and had the weather been kinder and had I not felt so cold and unwell, I would have absolutely adored the whole journey and we would have definitely travelled on top! Eventually we arrived in St Ives where we caught the 547 back to our park.

We had our case to pack on our return to the van, and following that we enjoyed a restful last night watching TV and relaxing  ready for the journey home tomorrow. Enjoy the photos we took whilst in Penzance, they show how dismal the weather was but strangely enough, Kerri managed to take one of me looking as if I’m having a whale of a time standing on the rocky front.

TG