Houdini gets his bus passWHO'S a lucky boy then?
Michael Burdette-Deakin is celebrating after bus firm Stagecoach lifted a ban on him taking his parrot Houdini on trips to Cambridge, perched on his shoulder.
They have regularly travelled on the buses during the eight years they have spent together, bringing smiles to passengers.
But the bird - a rare yellowbacked chattering lory - was then banned by Stagecoach from boarding their buses.
The move came after fears the bird - which can say: "I love my darling" - may distract bus drivers.
But Michael, 49, refused to put the 14-year-old bird behind bars and the News carried a story about his plight.
Now understanding bus company bosses have overturned the ban - as long as Houdini is harnessed.
Michael, who lives in Newmarket, said: "He wasn't causing any problems. The passengers and drivers didn't mind, it was just the bus company bosses.
"They even wanted to send two inspectors to my home to check out the harness.
"I told them to go fly and I met the inspectors at the bus station."
And there's even more good news for Houdini. Michael said: "I had to clip his wings so that we could go on the bus, but now he'll be able to fly again because I can let them grow." The bird-lover, who also has a macaw, is registered disabled due to a degenerative spinal condition.
Andy Campbell, managing director of Stagecoach Cambridgeshire, said in a letter to Michael: "I agree with the inspectors' assessment that the bird can travel wearing the harness as long as it is kept under control, this is still at the drivers' discretion.
"Providing there are no problems in the future this should conclude the matter. I reserve the right to review the situation if we receive complaints from other customers."
To precede my hospital stay, I decided to have a day out around London, for a number of reasons. We were both well enough (lurgy more or less gone) and C was working the morning, so I decided to do part of the trip by public transport, using a Travelcard from Royston, with full Zones 1-6 validity [plus train to/from Royston], in and around the capital. After purchasing the ticket (with Station Cat behind the ticket window on the chair!), it was onto…
First Capital Connect train Royston – London Kings Cross
Underground Victoria Line Kings Cross St Pancras – Victoria
London General Dart/Plaxton LDP4 C10 Victoria – Victoria Coach Station
Walk back via Greenline Coach Station and the back of the rail station
Arriva London Mercedes Citaro MA33 73 Victoria – Euston
Met Malc McD here to handover a couple of bags of timetables etc. as well as meeting for lunch at the restaurant in the Quaker’s building opposite Euston Station. This is a really different place – not as busy as some as the others in town at lunchtime, cheap enough etc. Anyway, after about an hour of talk, we both had to be on our ways…
Underground Victoria Line Euston – Vauxhall
First time changing here since Millennium Eve! Pictures of the new bus station snapped as I walked by, but not in the direction of the ambulances that were on scene.
South West Trains Vauxhall – Kingston
Transdev London United Trident/ALX400 TA318 Kingston Cromwell Rd Bus Stn – Kingston University & [Surrey County Council] County Hall
Quality Line [Epsom Buses] ALX400 DD10 418 Kingston University & County Hall – Kingston Cromwell Rd Bus Stn
Metrobus Scania [single deck] 538 X26 Kingston Cromwell Rd Bus Stn – Croydon, stop behind West Croydon bus station
Very busy journey on this recently doubled in service route, had to stand all the way from Kingston to Wallington Green, but did manage a seat for the last 10 mins or so!
Metrobus Scania [double deck] 947 405 West Croydon Bus Station – Redhill, Bus Station
This last journey took me down the A23 into Surrey, and is the limit to the TfL network on this direction. Caroline picked me up in the car, and we continued to Travelodge at Hickstead, where we spent the night. Even though I only travelled in one direction, this still remained the cheapest option of the day.
On the photo front, did really well – snaps of one of the new Oxford Tube coaches, the ex-Armchair Kingston University Tridents now working the KU routes with Tellings Golden Miller, a Mercedes Citaro bendi or two on the 38 (before the conversion back to double deckers, scheduled for mid-November now), and more besides. You can see all the pictures here.
The cat-flap that broadcasts its cats movements via Twitter
Cats - while they may be the LOL fuel that keeps the engines of the internet going, they're notoriously hard critters to keep track of, frequently living double lives in multiple households.
So, in an effort to prevent neighbourhood cats from sneakily stealing his own pets' food, one clever cat owner has rigged up a cat flap that only allows authorised cats (identified using RFID tags) through, and sends real-time information about the cat-flap usage to the internet.
Naturally, this being 2009, the information is sent directly to Twitter, so the entire world can follow the cats' daily peregrinations via messages like 'Gus is out to sit on the porch' and 'Penny is in to vomit in owners shoes.'
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Personally, I’ve been good… spending time laughing instead of crying, doing the odd spot of comedy watching on Dave (it’s a tv channel in the UK, but I forget what it used to be called).
Having said all that, and what I did on Friday, my passport arrived this morning. Today, a quiet day in, and naturally, the sun is out and it looks like a better day than yesterday!
After leaving Milton, back to Cambridge, but off the bus at Chesterton Lane, and around to Shire Hall to pick up some timetables that I had left for me to uplift. After that, citi5 back to town, then changed to a citi1 for the next part of the trip. As a few of the passengers from the back got off, one of them asked ‘have I seen you on tv?’ Nope, not me… not unless that old cctv footage of me running into the newly-installed automatic doors at Dundee bus station early one morning has made it onto YouTube… but seriously, while questioning is a lot more rare down here, they are usually a bit more refined than some of the more cruder things that I’ve heard in my lifetime.
Anyway, popped in to see auntysarah, and as ever, she beat me to posting the story of our meet to her journal. We spent half an hour or so around the back, in the warm, with the sun reflecting off the fishpond. It was a very civilised way to spend half an hour, just moments away from the hustle and bustle of Hills Road, Mill Road, and Cambridge Railway Station.
So, after that, went for the 1640 26 bus back to Royston, which comes down Hills Road for the college users, so a very easy walk around the corner. Got home, C got in just seconds after I did, and I then had a further kitchen experiment with some noodles and sweet chilli sauce.
The highlight of today so far, I’ve cooked mozzarella cheeseburgers (yes I cans has!), and a further stir-fry, this time self-cook Chow Mein. Also, another soft toy has arrived, it’s a pink stress ball shaped like a pig, a reward from Pigsback – I might save up for the cuddly one, but that will take a while more, as most of the 200 points needed came from a signing-up reward.
So, we are having a quiet day now, but getting a delivery of groceries this evening, and may be out tomorrow. Monday and Tuesday I am not planning on doing too much, but Tuesday night, I am travelling up north to spend a few days in and around Dundee. Caroline is going to be driving up north Friday into Saturday, and we will meet somehow on Saturday, as we’re going to a double birthday party (C’s side of the family) on Saturday in Angus. Sunday – well, I’ve left aside a trip I’ve organised for the Anglia Bus Forum, along with a few other offers, so we can travel south in the hired car, and I may well take some more of the stuff down from my flat in Dundee, things I could not manage in a bus or train. Might get the chance to pop into Lathalmond on the way down, who knows - we'll see how things go on the day.
Longer term, June C will be away most of the time, so I will be doing some work around moving out of my flat in Dundee – I plan to leave at some stage of July. This is likely to be intermixed with days here and there too, as times change. In July and August, I would like to do a bit more work on top of what I’ve been doing recently, and ramp things up gradually once more. We’d then hope C would have a date for her surgery, and we are looking at early-mid autumn for that. After that, and once C is back in Royston recovering, I’d hope that my mind and body will both be ready for more regular hours and work, but we shall see. This has been said, assuming nothing else changes, ha ha!
(Me on TV? Well, there are some times I feel like someone (Beadle’s replacement) is going to pop out of a bush and say ‘You thought you’d came here to do xxxx,’ LOL)