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So, I’m about to go on holiday – but here is what I have done this week!

Service T5 - First Day (Monday 9th August) pics.suzyscott.com/main.php/v/FirstDayOfT5/

Some random shots from the first day of Tiger Line T5, Amersham - Chesham - Hemel Hempstead - St Albans - Hatfield.

Tiger with Orange front (Wednesday 11th August) pics.suzyscott.com/main.php/v/TigerOrangeFront/

"Old" Tiger Line livery is being updated up with an orange front - what do you think?

Hemel Hempstead with Roary (Thursday 12th August) http://pics.suzyscott.com/main.php/v/HemelHempsteadWithRoary/

Roary the Tiger is back on the prowl, in Hemel Hempstead!

Oxford New and Old tour (Saturday 14th August) http://pics.suzyscott.com/main.php/v/OxfordNewAndOldTour/

Anglia Bus Forum members and friends visited Oxford. A *very* warm welcome (including a presentation and refreshments!) was given by the Engineering Director of Oxford Bus Company. We then went to Thame for a brief stop, before continuing to the Oxford Bus Museum for a visit. Wonderful day - shame about the weather! (N.B. This collection is currently being uploaded, so the latter pictures will follow in a few minutes – over 200 pictures!)

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A mini A-Z post, to explain what I’ve been up to, in the last week!

 

A is for Addenbrooke’s Hospital (was H, then previously A). After moaning in the last two blog posts about waiting for an appointment for an ultrasound scan, I got a letter on Friday (yes… 6th August) to come in at 17.40 on Monday 9th August! So, after the #tigert5 developments, pedal back to Royston, and we will go from there. Except… no food for six hours before! So, if you see me pigging out excessively before lunch tomorrow, then you know why.

 

C is for Computer.  Didn’t mention this last time, as we’d not set it up. However, I had been using the Gateway laptop as my main computer, following the Mac getting hit by a power surge. Well, it was refurbished when I got it, so it’s not going to last forever. The keyboard has started to wear out, so a new replacement has to be plugged in… oh, and when it reboots, I have to unplug everything before it will restart. So, now I’ve got some money, I wanted to replace it. So, I agreed to buy a case and one or two bits from eBuyer, and C would add the remaining components from a machine of hers. So, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you – the Coolermaster! At under £60 for case AND power supply, think we got a good one here!  C said it was a joy to put together. The old case (that was on the motherboard before) had a habit of overheating, but the Coolermaster has a huge airsuckything and several fans, plus mesh to aid airflow. I like it! Most of the stuff did transfer easily via Windows Easy Transfer, although iTunes then went mad and added everything already in the library, to the library. Also, got a Trust pen drawing device (Mini Tablet) on special at Maplin (Cambridge city centre) yesterday – it will be useful for drawing route maps etc.

 


G is for Girlfriend. C’s been a bit tired the last few days – think I must have pinched her energy! (also see M).


H is for
Holiday. We’ll have one soon!

 

M is for Mountain Dew. After getting cash in Hemel on Friday, needed a drink. Found a shop in Marlowes (nearest to the cashpoint that I used) stocking Mountain Dew. Well, that kept me awake until I got home! Also purchased another bottle for tomorrow – see A and T.

 

R is for #randomcoffeewednesday – well, we already have #muffmunchingmonday, thanks to Lizzy The Lezzy, #randomchocolatetuesday thanks to [livejournal.com profile] thebustocrookes, two for Thursday and one for Friday (#fannyfingeringfriday) from LTL. So, what’s missing? Random coffee on a Wednesday? Random Coffee Wednesday it is! When things settle down, it might well work out. Does anyone think #randomradiosaturday might be a goer?

 

T is for Tiger Line. Tomorrow is our big first day of the Service T5 – look out for Facebook and Twitter updates throughout the day with the hashtag #tigert5 (well, most of the day – see A). Following a lot of hard work over the last few months, it is nice to finally get the chance to see the fruits of my labours on the road! This past week we’ve been route learning, out and about meeting people in Amersham, Chesham and St Albans. I got some pictures from Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and you can see them via those links.


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When I did the last one of these, I did not intend to make this into a monthly personal blog post, but then again, I’ve been busy. Also, the State of the Suzy posts were meant to be every month – who knows…?

 

A is for Anniversary. Yesterday was our 3 Years 4 Months anniversary. We didn’t do anything special (see under C) but we had a little celebratory meal inside the day before, in addition to the events under C.

 

B is for Busy. Yes, been busy again.

 

C is for Civil Partnership. I was at a friend’s, which was my first, yesterday. Malc and Ray got hitched in the Hotel Russell. A handful of random photo shots here, but suffice to say, we enjoyed the day.


D is for Driving Licence.
Well, I got the full “clean bill of health” from the HD Clinic earlier this year, so I decided I would apply for a driving licence. I’ve never had one before, and I did know that one day, it would be refused or revoked on medical grounds. Well, it transpires that as my meds sometimes make me sleepy, they aren’t even giving me a provisional. (They even sent me £50 application fee back, which came in handy the week before payday!)  So, Plan B was to apply for one of these travel permits (“bus pass” as they are otherwise known), or ENCTS (English National Concessionary Travel Scheme). Bear in mind that I’ve now been refused a driving licence, I now qualify, so nothing to lose! I took the application down to the council offices in Letchworth a week past Friday (22nd July), and arrived in the post yesterday (31st July)! So, yes, I now get free travel, across most of England, off-peak (or all day in London & Herts). As you can probably imagine, this may well save me some money! Before anyone reminds me that this is subsidised by the taxpayer, my income is taxed too, so I am still contributing substantially towards the cost. I knew I’d be refused a driving licence one day, the HD would see to that. However, it was a bit of a surprise, but Plan B was a good one! (Plan C was to appeal Plan B, then Plan D was to appeal Plan A). Interestingly, driving licence applications give you six months to appeal in England or Wales, or 21 days in Scotland. Why the difference?


F is for feelings. Again, doing very well.

 

G is for Girlfriend. Caroline is now working in Stevenage, following the relocation of her work, earlier this week.

 

H is for Hospital, which was under A last time (Addenbrooke’s). Well, I’ve had the dietician appointment, fine; some good points included a kilo and a half less since my referral letter! I am still waiting for the call back re the other appointment from the Gastroenterology department, so my Doctor is now chasing.

 

R is for Randomness. Now, Dougie (thebustocrookes) does an interesting thread called #randomchocolatetuesday where he takes a random chocolate, photographs it, then eats it – the posts are a lot better than this brief recap. So, if I had to do one Random thing, what should it be, and when? In previous work, when I didn’t work Fridays, I had my own personal policy of “try something new Friday” – back in the days before this blog! So, what should mine be? Transport related, GF food related, Health related, Love related, Clothing related, Shopping related, Coffee related? Thoughts would be welcome…

 

S is for Shopping. End of month means a few new things, as ever. However, I mention this as I’ve got a new wardrobe – well, got some more clothing, ordered online. MY account was clear, and it’s around this time of year that I need some stuff for both seasons. Some stuff I’d not had on in a long time… C seems to like the way the slinky vests go around my chest!

 

T is for Tigers. Well, I will try and keep transport stuff separate from these posts, but Tiger Line/Woottens are my main employer, so there may be the odd sighting or report here! In my post earlier today, I explain how things are going, with a picture of one of the repainted buses. Monday 9th August is the target date, and I’ve just got the resetting of the Wayfarer (ticket machines), setting up the electronic blinds (the traditional blinds for the new Tigers have arrived, and been fitted) and the last bit of route learning, and the launch. Duties are being issued to drivers this week, and all going well, we’re ready to roll on 9th August 2010. You can see a set of pictures here, which includes some “mid-way through” shots.

 

 

On top of all that, there are some other projects that I’m doing, behind the scenes.

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ROARY PAINTS THE TOWN ORANGE AND BLACK, IN AMERSHAM, ST ALBANS AND HATFIELD!




 

For the third consecutive summer, Tiger Line Buses are to introduce a new local bus service, on Monday 9th August 2010!

 

The new Tiger Line Service T5 will link Amersham, Chesham, Lye Green, Bovingdon, Boxmoor, Hemel Hempstead, Adeyfield, Leverstock Green, St Albans, Fleetville, Oaklands, and Hatfield. The service will operate every hour, Monday to Friday daytimes, and every two hours on Saturdays.

 

The service will build on the success of Tiger Line’s other bus services. Tiger Line have a reputation for providing quality bus services around Chesham and Hemel Hempstead. Nothing is too much trouble for our friendly staff. While our buses are not low floor, our drivers are more than willing to assist passengers with shopping or buggies. Our buses are fitted with comfortable, coach-style seating.

 

The new route also marks the launch of a new look for the company. Previously, our buses were white with lettering. However, the vehicles intended for this work will be painted in a new livery of mostly orange, with a black skirt. Most buses will be fitted with route branding, showing clearly where we are going, and our fare deals.

 

Fares on Service T5 are low, and designed to encourage passengers to travel. We have low single tickets, Day Returns (valid all day), Weekly and Saverstrip (12 journeys for no more than the price of 10). Discounts on the Adult fare are available to Children, University of Hertfordshire staff & students, Oaklands College staff & students, West Herts College staff & students, etc.

 

Passengers who purchase a Return or Explorer ticket (but not Roary Rovers) between Hemel Hempstead and Hatfield can come back later on the evening at no extra charge! After we’ve gone home for the night, Uno operate an evening Service 301 between the same points, which will accept our Return tickets, and all Intalink Explorers.

 

Our new Roary Rover tickets will allow 1, 7 or 28 days unlimited travel, in the areas of your choice, or even across our whole network! How does £5.00 for a day’s to travel anywhere we go sound, good? Well, it gets even better on Saturdays, when you can take two Children free with every Adult Network Roary Rover (daily, weekly, 4-weekly) purchased on that day (or, in the case of weekly/4 weekly tickets, valid for that day).

 

This bus journey connects with four main railway lines, various markets, local shops, hospitals, and hundreds of other bus connections.

 

This new service will also reinstate links between Hemel Hempstead, Bovingdon and Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Passengers can board our Service T5 heading for Chesham, and change there to Service T1, which takes you straight into the grounds of Stoke Mandeville Hospital, as well as other places such as Great Missenden or Worlds End Garden Centre.

 

We currently have four through journeys on our Service T2 between Chesham and Watford. Now, passengers can travel between these points throughout the day, simply by changing buses at Hemel Hempstead.

 

Our new timetable leaflet shows all journeys on Service T5, plus connections to/from Services T1 and T2. It also includes details of all our money saving deals, sample fares, and much more. Look for your copy at various local outlets, or download one from www.tigerlinebuses.com Failing that, email roary@tigerlinebuses.com or phone 01494 774411 and we will post you one.

BONUS BLOG MATERIAL!

A launch will take place at St Albans Market on Wednesday, 4th August 2010. We will have one of our buses there for most of the day. Roary The Tiger will be “on the prowl”, and we will have company staff and managers on hand to answer questions. You are welcome to come and view! We will be launching the bus around 11.00.

Since the above was compiled, the buses have all been fully lettered. Ticket machines have arrived. Destination blinds have arrived. Realtime passenger information has been fitted, allowing passengers to get the time of the next Tiger Line bus online, or by SMS, in real time!

Woottens Luxury Travel and Tiger Line Buses operate 25 buses & coaches. Further information about the company can be had at http://www.woottens.co.uk/fans_of_woottens.html

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I thought of a new way to update the diary, and a twist on the posting style of Busto aka [livejournal.com profile] thebustocrookes ...

 

… so, instead of a ten point random post, here’s what has happened to me over the last few weeks, in an A-Z format. It incorporates previous postings, and if you like it, I will do one as often as I can! I tried making it transport free, but there are a few posts to fill things up! Don’t forget, you can always see my latest transport pictures at http://pics.suzyscott.com and click on “Last” in the bottom-right hand corner. Tell me how you liked that, and I might manage to make it to 26 posts one day!


A is for Addenbrooke’s Hospital, who have cancelled one of C’s appointments for later in the year now twice, in each case moving further down the calendar. The same department also have ran into problems when I tried to change one of my appointments. I tried to change the date, after our plans for August had changed. So, I called, tried twice, eventually got given someone else’s direct number. I called, and got through on 2nd occasion. With a very “how did you get this number” note in her voice, she promised to call me back. As you’ll see under C, it’s already been overtaken by a request to see a dietician – but, being in Hertfordshire, we have the unique situation of being referred to a consultant at Addenbrooke’s, and a dietician who works around from Lister Hospital

 

B is for Barclays Cycle Hire, as TfL insist we call it. I liked Boris’s comments when it was launched – although these were not included in the press release! He said “I'm so thrilled to be announcing that Barclays Bank, after years of taking extortionate charges from me, is doing an amazing and wonderful thing,” he said. “I think there could not be a better sign of Barclays' commitment to this city, to the environment and to a wonderful means of transport.”

 

C is for Coeliac Disease. I’m slowly getting used to this being the resolution that I have sought for so long, and am getting used to everything involved. We went to a “Newly Diagnosed” event in Stevington, Bedford, on Thursday evening, which was well worth the time. I’ve got a dieticians appointment coming up later this month.

 

D is for Depression. I did get really down a few weeks back, but it’s forgotten, because I’ve been fine since.

 

E is for [livejournal.com profile] elaine4queen. We went into London yesterday (see P entry below). After lunch, we went out to Bethnal Green, meeting up with Elaine for the first time – and of course, her dog Poppet. We talked, and then we went out with dorg on a walk through Hackney City Farm and adjacent parks, before walking along the Regents Canal path to Cambridge Heath. From there, back to hers briefly, before going home – tired but happy. See all Saturday’s pictures here – including one of the Dundee Arms pub! (I did leave my memory card in the computer, thus meaning a few were taken on the cameras internal memory, and the rest on the Blackberry, which have came out well!)

 

F is for funding. Got a letter the other day… you remember I went to Charing Cross for one day last Summer, after waiting months and getting two appointments within days of each other? Well… I wanted to use it to get some follow-up assistance, and screenings, etc. They wanted to see the funding before seeing me – not from me, but from the relevant NHS trust. After all, I’d had the policy documents (obtained via Freedom of Information) that said they would… but these letters, for whatever reason, do not include the discussion. Sometimes I just wish they'd get on with it...!

 

H is for Helpline. Wednesday 30th June was the last day of the current arrangement with the Ormiston Children & Families Trust’s tenure on the helpline – the only one of the original seven from the start on 1st January 2003 – ending. The tender was lost to Partners of Prisoners (POPS) in Manchester… I wasn’t aware that the PFH brand and name cannot be transferred, so, it’s now going to be the Offenders Families Helpline… anyway, we had a fantastic “last Supper” evening, in the adjacent Milton Country Park. We were all given thank-you letters to show appreciation from our own boss, as well as one of the Ormiston directors. I took a few pictures, and you can see those here.

 

I is for iPod. Well, I had an iPod touch, and shortly after the original warranty expired, it started having problems with syncing and charing. Well, it was like the internal circuits had gone. Tried to get this replaced by the bank, under the extended warranty that comes with such. £25 excess seemed not too bad, so I tried taking it into the Apple Store at Cambridge’s Grand Arcade. I say tried, but it was the day after the launch of iPhone 4 (when everyone finds the bugs)… After waiting for 20 minutes to see someone, I explained what was wrong. He cut over me three times, trying to second-guess the problem (which doesn’t do much for my confidence!) So, I was then told to book an appointment… from the TV screens, the next one was another 3hours 20mins away, all to book a repair. Decided against waiting, and we stopped in a 2nd hand store in Cambridge, buying a replacement (non-Touch) for little more than the excess, and a lot less than brand new. Well, it didn’t work, and we were about to take it back, when C got it to work on the MacMini... Apple have gone down in my estimation, certainly in their UK Retail business.

 

N is for National Express. I did have a run-in with a 787 driver on Wednesday after work. He took offence that I tried to pay for a £13.90 fare… with two tenners. I had no more change, I took that straight out the cashpoint. I’d planned to be home earlier, but I was working on some BSOG stuff. Anyway, we'll see what happens.

 

P is for Pride. As you will see from E above, we went into London yesterday, Saturday. This was the occasion of London Pride 2010, and we helped to set up the LLGS stall. Did a few hours there, then we went for lunch… then see under E for the rest of the day! . (I did leave my memory card in the computer, thus meaning a few were taken on the cameras internal memory, and the rest on the Blackberry, which have came out well!)
 

S is for syrups. After finding some Monin coffee syrups on holiday, bought a mixed case load via Udal Supplies… Well recommended, and all gluten free!

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So, this is what I've been working on... and is now starting to take shape!

Tiger Line Buses are introducing a New Service T5 on Monday 9th August 2010.

Amersham, Underground/National Rail Station
Chesham Broadway
Lye Green
Rushmore Lane
Whelpley Hill (selected journeys only)
Bovingdon Market (Saturday market hours only)
Bovingdon, HMP The Mount (visiting hours only)
Bovingdon, Chesham Road hail & ride
Bovingdon, Halfway House
Box Lane
Hemel Hempstead Railway Station
Hemel Hempstead Town Centre
Hemel Hempstead Bus Station
Midland Road
Adeyfield, Longlands, Queens Square
Leverstock Green
St Albans City Hospital, Waverly Road
St Albans, St Peters Street
St Albans, Railway Station Interchange
Fleetville
Oaklands
University of Herts de Havilland Campus/Comet Hotel
Hatfield Galleria Outlet
Hatfield Town Centre (Asda and Gracemead House)
Hatfield, Market Place
Hatfield, Railway Station Interchange

Service T5 will operate hourly, Monday to Friday daytimes, and two-hourly on Saturdays. The launch of this service will be concurrent with some new ticketing deals.

To get Service T5 off the ground, we have acquired five Leyland Tiger/Alexander Q type dual purpose buses, from Ulsterbus. Our numbers have not yet been applied to them, but we anticipate that they will be
Our Number – UB Number – NI Registration
W65 – 1372 – UXI 1372
W66 – 1375 – UXI 1375
W67 – 1376 – UXI 1376
W68 – 1377 – UXI 1377 (corrected!)
W69 – 1384 – WXI 4384

These have to be refreshed, COIF’d and re-registered (at the discretion of the staff who will decide on the day if they keep NI plates, or get local ones). They will be painted in a more prominent version of the Tiger Line colours, now to be predominantly orange. Some photos...
Cut for pictures )
At the same time, we registered a change to Service T2. I was reluctant to make further changes to this route, that has already been changed three times this year. However, West Herts College is about to close the Cassio Campus site. With that in mind, we have submitted a change to remove our variation through the Cassio Campus, with all buses running via the new Watford “super Campus”. At the same time, some minor tweaks and changes were made. Further details to follow.
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Since my last diary entry, lots has happened in June. Some work for each of my posts – the last month working locally on Helpline, the AGM of BABUS (which had a post-meeting talk by Mr Grant Palmer), some Switchboard work over the coming days and weeks, as well as work for Woottens and Tiger Line. You should be able to hear the first news of some of the work I’ve been doing soon… keep watching!

 

Huntingdon’s Disease clinic last week, and following previous hints about my weight, I have now lost half-a-stone in six months, and am feeling better than ever. My reaction time is better, and feeling good about myself means that I do not have to go back for a further nine months.

 

I had a Open Uni assessment to do, although things have been so hectic here that I was unable to put any concentration into it. I was proposing not to do any more for now, before my recent employment and health endeavours, but that kind of made it certain. Anyway, just thought I should mention it, rather than ignoring it. I may well go back and redo the unit in question in years to come - but for now, enjoying life in two new ways, that i never thought possible at the start of the year!


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Thanks to Adam D for this one...


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As you will have seen from my Facebook status messages and tweets, we had a busy holiday, but enjoyable.

 

Friday 14th May – we got a taxi to Royston Station, FCC train to Cambridge, Crosscountry train to Peterborough via March (a lovely run!) before changing onto an East Coast train onwards to Edinburgh. Cab to the Learmonth Travelodge and we stayed there the night. We had, for some reason, been given a family room – very big, almost like two rooms in one! No snaps on Friday.


Saturday 15th May – from the hotel with the German-accented lift (you may recall I mentioned this when I stayed here in early 2009), we got a cab to Haymarket for the hire car company Thrifty, before picking up EY 10 OAP, an automatic Ford Fiesta Titanium. The choice of letters was pointed out frequently! Anyway, from there, quick stop at Ferrytoll Park & Ride (snapped my first Nordi Travel bus on the 651, as well as a chance find of the new Fife bus map – first one in ages!) before continuing via the A92 and across the Tay Road Bridge to Dundee. As we arrived with plenty of time before our next event (at 15.00) we stopped briefly for a few things in town – I got some coffee beans and syrups from Braithwaite’s, as well as catching up on bus timetables! We then drove from Gellatly Street car park to Riverside, at a place called the Bridgeview Station Restaurant. This fairly new place was to be the location of Caroline’s mothers 90th birthday celebration. Actually, her birthday was on Monday 17th, but it was probably easier to bring everyone together at the weekend. Some more of C’s family met, and we finished just before 17.00. Turned the radio on to hear the result of the Scottish Cup final, before we drove up to Sainsbury’s Claypotts to stock up on food (including Free From/gluten free stuff for me), and we then went through Wellbank/Kellas and then back roads to Farnell, Angus, where we were staying with C’s brother Gordon, and sister-in-law Lynda. You can see the Saturday pictures here – didn’t take too many in Edinburgh due to the sun glare, but tried a couple as I waited for C to get the hire car.

 

Sunday 16th May – we left Farnell, and drove through Dundee and the A90/M90 to the Kelty Interchange, before going via a back-road to the Scottish Vintage Bus Museum. Caroline did ask me if there were any bus museums or similar that I’d like to go, and we had this day free! So, this event was their annual May running day, which started back five years ago for their 20th. Now, they are celebrating their 25th year (across various locations). We met up with Alex Cunningham for the first time, before snapping a few pictures around the site. After that, I fancied a run somewhere, ideally Dunfermline so I could have another look at the newish bus station. Completely by chance (honest!), former Eastern Scottish Volvo Ailsa VV773 pulled up. Now, you may recall I have a soft spot for these buses, after riding them quite a lot in Dundee. We went into Dunfermline, with quite a nice “thrash” to the engine sounds. I was already happy, but this was certainly the icing on the cake! After a handful of snaps from Dunfermline, back to the Fire Station bus stop, for the bus back to the Museum. A former Western PD3 turned up, driven by Sholto T (former Commercial Director at Strathtay) so a catch-up with him was well in order! We returned to the Museum, and we decided to head back to the car. From there, we ended up stopping at Hamish Gordon’s yard in Leslie, Glenrothes bus station, and Moffat & Williamson’s yard at St Fort (no sign of the ex-Wootten’s Volvo B7 coach, so it must be at Glenrothes).  We entered Dundee via the A92 and Tay Road Bridge again, and back to Farnell. You can see all my pictures from the Sunday here, which include some extra bonus material from Alex, including some snaps of us. Enjoy!

 

Monday 17th May – we left Farnell via Forfar, A94 to Coupar Angus, back roads through Lethendy and Spittalfield to Birnam, then onto the road through Dalguise to Aberfeldy. After filling up the car with fuel, we parked it up, and prepared to sample Caber Coaches Service 91. This is essentially a beginners guide to Highland Perthshire, taking in some streets around town, before heading up for a loop around Coshieville and Kenmore. While I’d done the Kenmore bit before on the Saturday Service 93, I’d never done the rest – remember this route only started in early 1999, and had a very good load! Our bus was a newish Ford Transit, BJ 59 CWM. We then got a few things in Aberfeldy, before proceeding via Amulree to Crieff. We parked the car, before ending up at Gordon & Durward’s sweet shop! From there, onto Crieff Travel’s yard at South Bridgend. After this, we popped into the adjacent Crieff Visitor Centre, including the glass-making at Caithness Glass, before continuing via Gleneagles and Auchterarder to Perth, stopping near The Capital Asset pub for dinner. We then drove back via the A94 to Forfar, then onto Farnell. You can see the pictures that we took here.

 

Tuesday 18th May – we left Farnell returning via the road that we came back on the night before, the A94 to Scone Park + Ride. We left the car there, and I dubbed it at the time as “My Little Park + Ride”, as it has just over 50 car paring spaces. It was my first time on Service 7 since the Goldline upgrade, and we got the “prototype” refurbished Dart 33434 on the first run. Caroline liked the leather seats and high quality interiors! From there, various shops in Perth, before we chanced upon an Indian Buffet called Maza. We went in "on spec", to ask if there was anything gluten free. “Yes, everything’s gluten free!” came the welcome response – well, the vast majority of it was. After getting a lot of good stuff to eat, we walked from there across the Tay via Queens Bridge to Branklyn Garden. I’d not been here for an good three and a half years, and we both enjoyed walking through the vast gardens. As the staff member said, they are at their best at this time of year. From there, we walked back over the bridge via Moncrieffe Island onto Tay Street, back to The Capital Asset for a couple of drinks, before we went to Perth High Street for a bus back to the Park + Ride,  Goldline spec Enviro300 27528. Back to Farnell after a lot of eating and walking! You can see all the pictures that we took here.

 

Wednesday 19th May – we needed a rest from the day before, but agreed to do a handful of things that we had planned for Thursday, to spread the load. With the latter start, we met a colleague of Lynda’s for lunch at Brechin Castle Centre. L suggested meeting, largely as the colleague is about to go walking the Camino… From there, we drove through Brechin, Aberlemno, Lunanhead and Forfar, then onto Dundee city centre for a bit (stopped at Taste Fresh to buy a haggis for Michael Wootten, and post it, as well as get one, and a spicy Spanish sauce, for C, and then went a few doors down to post it to MJW!)! From there, we drove through Carnoustie to C’s mother’s care home. We took her out, at her request, to the nearby Station Hotel. After chatting, we took her back, before driving back to Farnell. No pictures this day, for whatever reason.

 

Thursday 20th May – bit of a star-shaped day. Started from Farnell, driving direct into Montrose, stopping for some pictures and coffee. We drove back the way we came to Farnell Crossroads but then continuing to Forfar West i.e. Orchardbank. This included a quick stop for lunch, then onto JP Coaches yard for some photos.  From there, back to Forfar, cross-country to Barry Mill. C had never been here, despite living more than once in Carnoustie. We happened to walk in at the start of a tour, so joined in for the look. Took the car back to Sainsbury’s Claypotts for fuel, before driving to Linlathen (the scheme) where my mum, sister Ruth and new nephew Jonah live. We arrived to find Ruth was on the way home with Jonah. Shortly after their return, we went off to see my dad, back in the car past Claypotts then onto Clearwater Park for Linlathen Neurodisability Centre. He is certainly looking looked after in this new location, they had them all out in the sun earlier in the day! We drove back to Linlathen (scheme) – still with me? – before picking up Ruth & Jonah, then off to City Quay Shopping Outlet, to take them to dinner at Indian buffet Taza. This was somewhere that the rest of the family had not been before – but they liked it! Apparently, the owner of Taza now also owns Maza in Perth… Afterwards we drove them all back to Linlathen (scheme) before continuing onto Farnell via Burnside of Duntrune, and other back roads. That was a worthwhile day, and you can see all the pictures we took here.

 

Friday 21st May – trimmed this back a little, so I could get some duties done for Tiger Line early morning. Got those done quickly by mid-morning, we left, and started heading north on the A90 towards Aberdeen. This was my first visit for many years. On the way in, we stopped at Ghillies Lair, Harvester at Bridge of Dee for lunch, before driving the car into Union Square, a new shopping development adjacent to the bus and rail stations, which had been in construction on previous visits. This incorporates a new bus station and shopping facilities. I went first to browse the timetables at the bus station, and offered C the chance to have her eyebrows done at a Brow Bar. When I returned, C said “you’re next!”, and I thought “why not”? It was using a more traditional string method. Anyway, from there, into The Mall Trinity, stopping there for coffee (and another loyalty card for the collection!) at Costa, before onto Union Street. We got as far as the TIC at the end of Union Street, coming across a new edition of the Aberdeenshire bus map in the process!, before going down Market Street to get back to the car. We drove down the A92 to Montrose, then onto Farnell. We went out in the evening to drop off some things that we saw for Jonah (hats going cheap in a sale) as well as dropping off a bag to Gareth C. From there, stopped at Tesco Extra at Kingsway West Retail Park, so I could get Gordon and Lynda some wine, as well as one for C, before continuing via Downfield back to Farnell. You can see all the pictures that we took here.


Saturday 22nd May – we both needed to get our breath back! So, walk around Farnell village early afternoon, before we went out in the evening to Glasgow. We took the car to Montrose Station for the Scotrail train to Glasgow. After parking the car (free parking!), we got tickets for Glasgow. As we were coming back the same day, the woman behind the counter automatically sold us split tickets – an Anytime Day Return between Montrose and Perth, and a Off-peak Day Return between Perth and Glasgow. (There are no peak restrictions on Saturdays, in any case.) This saved us £10 – there is no day return from Montrose to Glasgow, so an open return was what I was expecting, thus pleasantly surprised when the split was offered, without me having to ask! Met up with Bobby B at The Counting House, Glasgow, with an exchange of timetables and dinner, before we took the train back to Montrose, for the car. A hen night party was somewhat loud on our return trip! You can see the pictures that I took here.

 

Sunday 23rd May – a quiet-ish one, but we drove through Forfar, Newtyle (quick stop to nab a pic of my dad’s old care home, now boarded up and for sale as homes), then onto Errol, Cairn O’ Mohr Winery. After drinks, stocking up on fruit wine and Arran cheese again, we proceeded to go back to Maza at Perth for early dinner. From there, back to Farnell. I was somewhat tired by this point, so went for a lie on the bed, dozing off almost right away! You can see the pictures we took here.

 

Monday 24th May – we finished packing up, and got back in the car. Drove via Forfar into Dundee to send a parcel to [livejournal.com profile] thebustocrookes, and we both bought a few items across the road in Disc Depot! Also, chanced upon a snap of the National Express Dundee 23/24 (the 23/24 is about to become the 23, with the rest part of the new 3/3A), and one of their yet-to-enter-service Scania Omnilink single deck buses. We drove out of Dundee via Riverside Drive and Riverside Avenue, passing the call centre I used to work at. It’s now closed up, boarded up, for lease! From there, direct via the A90 and M90 into Edinburgh, filling up the car at Sainsbury’s Craigleith, before taking the car back to the hire place in Haymarket. We then got a cab to Waverly train station, and we had some time before our train (did I mention that by booking online, with Railcard and online discount, we got Royston – Edinburgh for £15.85 each, per direction?), so I went for a browse around Waverly Bridge and the Edinburgh bus station at St Andrew Square. From there, back to the train station for our East Coast train back to Stevenage. We decided to bail out and get a taxi (with all the bags – I think we had 12!) back to Royston. It was a nice end to a lovely, wonderful holiday. You can see Monday 24th’s pictures here.

 

That was it… C liked the hire car, better than the Mazda we have! We got to meet new and old family members, and we both did a fair bit of mileage and shopping. Thanks to everyone who helped somehow with this!

 

Tuesday 25th May – was meant to be at PFH, but tired the day before, so decided to stay home. Wednesday 26th May – got a bit upset on the way to work at Switchboard, so back home. Despite these two days, I did get out to work at Woottens on Thursday 27th and Friday 28th May. We are now having a very quiet three day weekend to relax, and get back to normal, whatever that might be!

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It’s been a busy week, of highs and lows. Lots of highs towards the end of the week! Hello again to everyone who has added me to their LJ Friends, or if I have added them. A random seven-pointer…

 

  1. Firstly, congratulations to [livejournal.com profile] auntysarah for getting elected as a Lib Dem councillor for Cambridge City/Petersfield ward. I will admit that I was refreshing the results page every few minutes, after the count started!

 

  1. Speaking of the Lib Dems, they had two people acting as tellers on the way into the Polling Station. As we left, I overhead “Do you have a number?” “No, I’m the returning officer”. Oops!

 

  1. Mind you, given the current state of the parliament, I was surprised to find Nick Clegg up for sale on eBay. Seeing as [livejournal.com profile] thebustocrookes has Mr C for his MP, will you be looking forward to a bye-election, if this sale goes through? ;-)

 

  1. Times are starting to speed up. Friday 7th saw me working on Helpline, and Saturday 8th saw a day in the office of Woottens & Tiger Line. Keep watching… (Oh, and I fired off some pictures of the exteriors and interiors of the buses & coaches, while putting up the T2 service change posters. You can see all the pictures here)

 

  1. Speaking of which, from Monday 10th May, Tiger Line Service T1 (Aylesbury - Bovingdon) is being changed, with a vey short notice amendment. This is intended to further help reliability to this route, as the April change was insufficient. Times will be changed by a few minutes, and the bus will now run between Aylesbury and Whelpley Hill, with the bit to/from Bovingdon being withdrawn. Two weeks later, Monday 24tH May, Service T2 (Chesham/hemeL hempstead - Watford) will have a revised timetable. Following changes elsewhere on the corridor (mentioned here), the times are changing to ensure we can still get on the bus stands at both ends. A new T1 is now on tigerlinebuses.com with the T2 one going up later today.

 

  1. Arriva’s changes start this weekend, around Watford (and to/from Hemel). I forgot to mention last time, but the 32 (Northchurch – Hemel) is being dropped entirely. Little Jim’s Service 502 is being revised to cover, to maintain a service.

 

  1. Last Spring I sampled the “ghost bus”, a rail replacement bus running in London. one journey on Tuesdays off-peak only, between Ealing Broadway, Kensington Olympia and Wandsworth Road. As you will recall, there was never a passenger service between these points, but to ensure that the track remains covered after the dropping of the Crosscountry bit from Reading to Gatwick Airport. You will recall, at £500 a day, it was hardly value for the public purse (indeed, my sample journey was then subsidised to the cost of £125!) Well, the OlympiaWandsworth Road bit is being covered by Southern Railways, off-peak, with a train spare during the day. The plan was that Southern would pick up the Ealing – Olympia section for a train service, as part of the franchise commitment. But, Network Rail have refused them access to the track around Ealing, allegedly claiming that train types were incompatible. As for what happens now, I’ve no idea. But if you see a TGM empty coach driving around West London on a Tuesday…
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It’s been a busy time of it, with some good times of late.

 

Results of the medical tests were interesting – the most obvious test does not pick up any wheat/gluten problems, but other tests were sort of hinting in that direction. So, it’s still a case to be investigated. After discussions with the doctor today, further referrals are to follow, with more blood tests to be done by me in a few weeks too. I’m still feeling better, with the symptoms slowly disappearing. This has to be a good sign, no matter what is involved, I think.

 

On Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th April, we were out and about on the streets of Hemel Hempstead, Kings Langley and Watford, promoting the new Saturday service (and improved weekday timetable) on Tiger Line Buses Service T2. We had our mascot Roary The Tiger out and around too, as well as a presence on the Intalink information bus in Hemel on the Friday. Lots of good feedback from passengers, some interesting ideas and suggestions (and requests!), and Roary was extremely popular, as I am sure you can imagine! Have a look at my pictures from Friday and my pictures from Saturday. After all that, lots of leaflets and free journey vouchers given out! (My mobile number was transferred to my new phone on Friday morning. The existing one is staying with me).

 

Monday 26th April, C had an appointment at Addenbrookes Hospital. No problems, just routine.

 

On Tuesday 27th April, I went out on an Intalink Explorer. Centrebus Solo 305 took me on the 90 to Baldock. As you may recall on my previous posts, Cozy Travel took over operation of Service 391 (Stotfold/Baldock – Stevenage) from Herberts, from 29th March 2010. This was my first travels on the route since the change of hands, and I had what I think is a former Go-North East bus, X733 FPO, from Baldock to Stevenage, Lister Hospital. From there, it was Arriva Service 301 to St Albans, stop for lunch (stuffed again, believe it or not!) before continuing on the Service 300 to Hemel Hempstead. From there, uno Scania 352 on the 634 to Hatfield Galleria, where the change of bus gave me enough time to stop at Thorntons and the Paper Mill Shop! From there, Uno Dart 100 on the 341 to Hertford, and then Arriva Solo 2463 on the 331 to Royston, where C was waiting to pick me up! Pictures here.

 

Today, Thursday 29th, out to the doctors this morning (see above). Now watching out the window, as rain threatens to return, just in time for the bank holiday!

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Yesterday (Tuesday 20th April) was an interesting day.


Firstly, I ordered a Blackberry Curve 8520 over the weekend, and it turned up shortly before leaving for London. To illustrate this, my current mobile (the Nokia 5000 that David bought me almost a year ago) keeps turning itself off when on screensaver mode. I pay £10 a month for a SIM-only package with o2, which is 150 any network minutes and 300 text messages. I do, however, use a lot of mobile internet data. On the days when I don’t want to take my laptop with me, I use my mobile phone to check my email (and sometimes other sites i.e. National Rail) via WAP. This uses about £5 worth of data a month, so you can see why change was needed. Well, o2’s Blackberry plans (just like those for the iPhone) are rather expensive, so I had a look at T-Mobile.

I had the offer of getting the 8520 for £27 and paying the same as what I am currently paying i.e. £15 a month, for 100 minutes and 100 text messages, plus a flexible booster to add something of value i.e. unlimited text messages, plus all the data the Blackberry can eat. So, I can get all this for the same as what I’m currently paying, plus being able to fix the cost. In the end, I decided to splash out another £5 a month i.e. £20 in total, to increase from 100 to 300 any network minutes, and this got me the brand new 8520 for free. That’ll do. I like the keyboard layout having letters and numbers in QWERTY format, as opposed to pressing each key up to seven times! Feel bad about leaving o2, but, they’ve had quite a few years of money out of me! The Nokia 5000 will be kept as a spare phone, alongside the other handsets that I am now collecting.

 

So, aside from that, I went into London, to do my first “solo” shift for Switchboard. Before hand, had arranged to meet Malc in central London for lunch. Before doing so, I stopped at Kings Cross Post Office, to send an envelope up to my mother & sister in Dundee. As I was queuing, I could see some small photo printer boxes. I’ve been looking for one of those for a while, and could not see them elsewhere! This one is an AGFA AP-1100, and I went over to that part of the shop, and asked to see it. The person behind the till took one down, blew the dust off it, apologised, then got a cloth and cleaned the rest of the dust off! It’s a little thing that prints 6x4 pictures. For the times when I need one, I normally get prints made online. Well, the supplies (paper and ribbon) for this thermal printer work out around 30p each, which is the same as I’m usually paying for small numbers of prints, plus, no waiting! If you are thinking “more extravagance”, well, it was only £19.99. Result.

 

We went for lunch, then towards the top end of Tottenham Court Road. While I was waiting, I spotted an unofficial campaign to get Londoners off the buses, and walking. You can read more about this here. I’ve taken a few pictures of the slogans, and you can see those here.


After all that, to work! It was a good afternoon, once it got going, and I went home into the evening peak, very happy with all that I’d done.

 

Today and tomorrow (Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd April) is a day working from home, and deliveries.

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No word from me here (although I’ve been busy on Facebook, Twitter, and the Forums!) might mean you suspect the worst! Please don’t, as things are  - I dare to say it, but – looking seriously improved for me. Improved you say – isn’t it hay fever season, the global turbulence from the Icelandic ash cloud that I’m not going to attempt to spell, and much more besides?

 

Further to my last post, I did say we intended to experiment, prior to getting the blood tests back for Coeliac disease. We decided to experiment with a gluten-free diet for me. So far, things are looking up. Why do I say this? Well, “the obvious symptoms” are largely gone. I appreciate it will be a while before my gut is back to “normal” – especially after 31 years of gluten attacks – and I’m not under-estimating it. Other notable boosters include an upturn in my feelings (or is that the increased prozac? Maybe a bit of both – but surely not just yet, as it would take some weeks before a change should be noticeable – or does it?), and an increase in my peak flow. So much so that I am going to take the meter into the docs with me! The last I checked, my weight was going down slowly, but in this time of turmoil, who knows if it will stay that way...!

 

As we go into what could be life-changing news, I do not intend to under-estimate it. However, for something that’s been upsetting my gut for 31 years (and now getting worse), it’s now the right time for change. (with apologies if anyone’s turned off, thinking this is turning into an Election broadcast!)

 

So, what else have I been doing?

 

Friday 9th April was a day at Helpline. The following day (Saturday 10th April) we went into Cambridge, intending to add me to Caroline’s bank account (it’s at that stage of the relationship readers, and it’s going to be much easier!), and some shopping. Sunday 11th April was a quiet one to catch up!

 

Monday 12th April was a visit to the depot of Stagecoach Bedford, with other members of the Anglia Bus Forum (you can see my pictures here). Tuesday 13th and Wednesday 14th was a mix of working from home, and deliveries.

 

Thursday 15th April was a day at work – for the first time since getting the job with Woottens and Tiger Line, I was in the office for meetings, snaps, and much more besides! I took a few snaps in the yard, and you can see them here.

 

Friday 16th April was another day on Helpline (one passing c2 snapped!), with similar the next day, Saturday 17th April.

 

On Sunday 18th April, I had my Ratification Interview for Switchboard. This was a basic run-down on what I’ve done so far, after reaching the 35 hour mark in volunteering on the phones. Success, so now I can drop the word “trainee” from my titles! We then went for a lunch (I had some Gluten Free stuff, without troubles) and then we visited the British Museum for a bit, before returning home. You can see the pictures here. Pics include Caroline and me.

 

Today, Monday 19th April, and busy at home.

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One for the bus enthusiasts - cut for pics! )
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Cut for various stuff, some icky )
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Further to my last post about the first half of the holiday weekend, I forgot to mention what we got up to on Friday. We left Royston, via Saffron Walden, before the satnav sent us on a Z-shaped tour of the back roads of rural Essex, on route to Braintree Freeport Shopping Village. Got there, but it started lashing with rain, and it’s not indoor! So, from there, onto Colchester, before returning back to Royston.

Yesterday, windy, so we went to Newmarket for lunch at Pizza Express. We stopped briefly at the car park of the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, so I could snap up one of the new Stagecoach Cambridge Enviro400 double deck buses. This batch of 50 are entering service across the citi network and beyond, and you can see the resultant snaps here.
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Happy Easter!

It’s been a quiet Easter weekend.

Yesterday, did something I’d not done in a bit – took the bus to Cambridge and back, for a couple of hours. Some random pictures from Cambridge’s buses taken, and on show here. The 50 new Enviro400 double deckers start entering service at Cambridge the next day i.e. today, so some of these are “last day” shots before a reshuffle.

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Further to my last post, it’s been a busy time of it in the last eight days.

Thursday 25th March was a run from Royston via Centrebus Service 90 to Baldock, then Herberts Travel 391 to Stevenage. I’d not been on this one for  bit, and they had lost the contract (last day of operation to be 27/03/2010) to Cozy Travel. So, one last journey perhaps on a Mercedes 709D, and it does show how bus design has came on since the days of the Alexander AM (original)/Sprint (later – ones with raised blind boxes) design. From there, uno 634 fast to Hemel Hempstead, lunch, before Arriva 52 to High Wycombe, where it got rather wet. Arrived at HW with the rain pouring down, and piled on Woottens/Tiger Line 106 to Princes Risborough. Quick look around the town, before continuing to Aylesbury on Arriva 300. After this, waited for an hour before continuing on Service 16 to Bicester via parts of rural Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. From there, back home on an X5 to Cambridge, where C picked me up. It was a fun day, and you can see the pictures here.

 

Friday 26th March was a morning on the Helpline, and it was originally to be my last, although a stay of execution has been granted for now. It was also a day of several purchases, some cuddly, some edible, some wearable, you get the idea.

 

Saturday 27th March was an early evening on Switchboard, back home in time for a late dinner/early supper.

 

Sunday 28th March ended up being a quiet one, aside from lunch out.

 

Monday 29th March was a day working from home.

 

Tuesday 30th March was a late evening shift on Switchboard, which takes me up past all the tallies to complete the minimum requirement for a trainee volunteer, which means I’ll be able to have a ratification interview over the coming weeks, to remove the word trainee from my title!

 

Wednesday 31st March was our 3-year anniversary! We initially went out for lunch, although it wasn’t our fault, we ended up with a long wait, and inedible food. Never mind, onto Helpline, where it was intended to be our “last day” drinks. Although now it’s no-where near it, plans had still been made! So, after a last day that wasn’t, and a lunch that hadn’t been either, but we more than made up for it by visiting The Golden Curry on Mill Road, Cambridge. This is, of course, the restaurant that we attended three years previously, the day I fell in love with Caroline (and we visited then with [livejournal.com profile] auntysarah and [livejournal.com profile] the_local_echo ). After a really lovely dinner, car back home.

 

Thursday 1st April has been a day at home, with lots to do!

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Tuesday 23rd March was a day out on an Explorer! Taking Richmond's market day Service 23 from Royston to Hitchin, driver was excited as it was the 2nd ticket he'd sold that week! From there, Stagecoach Bedford Service M2 to Bedford, then the same back to Hitchin, Arriva 97 to Letchworth, and Centrebus 91 to Royston. See all the pictures here.

A few notables - bought several items in Hitchin Market, mostly card and a largeish craft items store box (flat packed!) Beford Borough Council's timetable book has been reissued from Februrary in a slightly revisevised style - new front, and upright A5 pages. Around the same time, Central Beds reissued their Biggleswade guide in current style. Speaking of books, there is a new bookstore in Letchworth, called Buy The Book - wasn't that the bookstore in Ellen's sitcom?

Today, Wednesday 24th March was at home, working. One interesting site, Stagecoach Cambridge brought down some timetables in their publicity van...! In the past they've stuck them in the post.

Tomorrow, who knows? Have plans, but see how I feel.

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