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So, here is the A-Z of the main points of my last month or so. Pictures for most are to follow!

B is for Birthday – Caroline’s. We managed to turn Wednesday 25th August into a good day out, on route to the journey north (see N). From Royston, train to London Kings Cross, 10 bus to Tottenham Court Road, then walked through Soho for lunch at Las Iguanas. From there, we took the 14 bus to the Science Museum in South Kensington (this was the wet weather choice, as the day being torrential rain throughout!) From there, we took the C1 bus to Victoria, 507 to Waterloo, before walking around to Cotto restaurant, a lovely little Italian restaurant. The owner has been Coeliac for 21 years, meaning they can do almost everything in gluten-free too… so, while this evening was meant to be all about Caroline, it meant I could have something good to eat too! The pizza was the best GF one I’ve had so far, followed by a very nice tiramisu! Very highly recommended!

C is for caroline (v5). While we were up north (see D) we stopped one evening at the home in North Fife of her and her wife, to a warm welcome. First time we’d met in so long! In her blog entry, she talks about trying to meet up with us, and casts her mind back to her first image of me - “a picture of a girl with a huge smile on her face in command of the controls of a bus stuck in my memory” I think she means this one – but I’ve changed a lot in the five years since then!

D is for dad. So, my father had been taken into hospital with pneumonia earlier in August. The day before he died, I got a call from my mother to advise that he was going back to the care home, although he was not better, to allow a more detailed level of care. Then, I get a call from my mother via someone else’s mobile (turned out to be a nurse’s phone) to say that my father had passed away, peacefully. We returned south and back up north, for the funeral last Friday. It was a positive occasion, as funerals go, and some happy memories brought back! Erling Clausen Gronneberg – 9th February 1952 to 19th August 2010.

F is for feelings. The main thing that ruined our bank holiday plans for the week just gone, was as a result of an infection. Doctor’s appointment yesterday generated antibiotics, so I am now waiting and seeing how things go over the next few days.

H is for holiday. We had a not-so-bad week away with Woottens. After travelling north on the Monday, we stayed at the Buchanan Arms hotel in Drymen, Stirlingshire. We had a mystery trip on the Tuesday (Callendar and Aberfoyle). On Wednesday, we visited Edinburgh, with some time on our own. So, before the tattoo, we had a look at the prototype Edinburgh Tram, which is open to the public. I must admit, it did have a much higher interior specification that what I was expecting, complete with leather seats etc.! After this, we went out on the Lothian Buses route 41, walked from Crammond Place via the kirk to Crammond Village before dinner at The Alexander Graham Bell, and then onto the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. Interestingly, the Tattoo we viewed was also being filmed, to be shown on BBC 1 over the bank holiday (yes, we recorded it!) Thursday was a trip around Loch Lomond, but my feelings at Loch Lomond Shores were a little bit muted (after I got a call from my mother – see D). Shopping took a back seat, but we managed to get a few things! On the Friday, we drove home, but not before we managed some swimming in the hotel pool on the Thursday evening, for the first time in years! With my, erm, new body line, it does feel totally different! The hotel was a bit hit and miss, but they had recently changed hands. Events of the following week (see D) did pearl all the problems into insignificance, however. I tried to enjoy it as much as I could, and it was good to have some time away. Brian D drove us around well, and did everything we could have expected, and much more besides!

N is for National Express. Well, my rant from a few months ago on the 787 (ran with one of NX’s own drivers, not a subby) went unanswered. However, on the evening of Wednesday 25th August, we were booked to do the National Express 592 northbound to Dundee (it was a few days before pay, and we’d spent a lot during our holiday, so for dad’s funeral, we decided to go up by NX, and take the train south on Saturday 28th August). That evening, we had a huge list of problems with the journey – a warning buzzer that the drivers were ignoring with their iPods (but we were unable to sleep through), driving for many miles in the rain with no offside windscreen wiper (and swerving from side to side), drivers blocking off the access to the emergency exit by kipping on two rows of seats across the gangway, and a coach change at 3am after the driver managed to break off the windscreen wiper that was defective. As if all that was not enough, the two outgoing drivers at Glasgow referred to us as “two big fat trannies”. Now, I’ve lost weight, but that was clearly lost on them. As if all that were not enough, we then found a slash in the luggage that was not there when we boarded the coach! Complaint going in later this week to NX, Parks of Hamilton (the sub-contractor), as well as a copy to the Clerk to the Traffic Commissioner, more for interest over the legalities rather than the lack of care. Will post if/when we hear any more.


O is for Oxford. As part of an Anglia Bus Forum tour entitled “Oxford Old And New”, we stopped at the newish premises of the Oxford Bus Company, Thame town centre (most of us went to The Cross Keys), and then the Oxford Bus Museum and Morris Motors Museum. The visit to OBC was very informative and welcoming – the engineering director had refreshments laid on for us during the company presentation! The visit to the Oxford Bus Museum was also interesting – especially for a first-time visitor. Thanks are about to be sent to all involved.


R is for #randomcoffeeday – and I’ve decided to make it “day” to be flexibile. If I specified which day it was, it wasn’t clear if it had to be bought and drunk on the same day. Anyway, I digress. I have a stack of coffees bought throughout August – well, one Lavazza Crema De Gusto and five from Braithwaite’s in Dundee. Will try one later today.

T is for Tiger Line’s new Service T5, #tigert5. The first day was an early start, and despite roadworks in St Albans, we’ve done fairly well so far.
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