Monday, 24 April 2017

Hold Tight Please!

I've noticed that, increasingly, younger bus passengers remain in their seats until the bus comes to a stop, even when sitting at the back or upstairs. Meanwhile, more elderly passengers struggle down the aisle to reach the entrance so as to be ready to alight as soon as the bus comes to a stop, even when laden down with shopping or other baggage.
In days gone by we were all expected to do this so as not to delay the bus a moment longer than necessary, and if we stumbled or the bus jolted us we just thought we must be more careful next time.

Of course, it could be that younger people actually read - and obey - the various notices now found on buses telling them to stay in their seats.  Here's one I saw on a Stagecoach bus recently - it's quite clear that passengers should stay seated until the bus stops, presumably because to do otherwise is dangerous.  What it doesn't explain is what the 24 STANDING passengers are supposed to do!

Of course, if everyone obeyed these notices, buses would spend so long at stops that they'd never get anywhere on time!

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

What Would "Health and Safety" Have Said

I came across this plaque on the latest stage of my bus journeys "Around the Edge of England" at Robin Hood's Bay on the coast of the North Riding of Yorkshire. Two hundred men and 18 horses dragged a lifeboat six miles over roads rising over 500ft through 7ft snowdrifts at an average speed of 3mph! (I could only just about manage that without the lifeboat - or the snow!)

And if you've ever seen the steep road that leads down from the cliff top to the sea at Robin Hood's Bay (a picture here on my Around the Edge Blog) you'd be even more impressed.

I wonder how long it would take them today just to get permission to try!

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Loughborough and back

I'm spending a couple of days with friends Kris and Bernard in Leicester on my way to Skegness for another short stage in my Around the Edge of England bus trip.
Kris and Bernard own "Sunshine ", a 30ft Mindon boat with a Lister SR2 built in 1976.
There was some doubt as to whether Sunshine would be available for an outing toady as it was due for blacking at the marina. This should have been completed but of course there were three posible scenarios:
1. It would be completed and ready to go.
2. It would be out of the water having the blacking done.
3. It would still be waiting.
Boaters will know that "canal time" applied and that the work had not been started, but at least that meant we could enjoy a trip from Pilings Lock up to Loughborough and back.
Despite the fine weather we saw only one other moving boat.  This caught us up just before Loughborough,  moored alongside us in the basin and set off in front of us just as we were getting ready to leave for the trip home.
Blacking is now promised for next Monday.

Heading for Loughborough out of Pilling's Lock

Sunday, 19 February 2017

First Boating of the Year

My first bit of boating for 2017 was on the River Great Ouse. Perhaps not an "inland waterway" at this point as the river at King's Lynn is tidal, but then so is much of the River Trent and that usually counts as inland.

There has been a ferry across the River Great Ouse at King's Lynn since 1285, so what better way to re-commence my journey Around the Edge of England for 2017.  There is a direct bus, Stagecoach's 555, from King's Lynn to Spalding, bypassing the ferry, but  I was pleased to discover that a handful of journeys on the service to  Spalding divert via West Lynn village and, better still, stop near the ferry terminal. Even better, one of them ran at exactly the right time for me to start the day's travels on the ferry.

The approach to the ferry via Ferry Lane

The ferry terminal is accessed via "Ferry Lane" a narrow passageway leading off the Tuesday Market Place. It is probably this convenient access to the town centre combined with the circuitous journey by road (despite a new bridge) that has ensured the ferry's survival.

King's Lynn landing stage

It's a short crossing. Google Maps gives it as 650m but when the tide is low, as it was today, it can be quite a bit less, although the fare stays the same at a very reasonable £1.10.

The King's Lynn landing stage is every bit as perilous as it looks in this image, especially at low tide.

The ferry on its way over from West Lynn

And don't expect much in the way of luxury.  I crossed in a open boat (some have a flimsy top cover) sat on a hard wooden bench.  The vessel was powered by two outboard motors - a powerful one with a large propeller to cope with the tide and the flow in the Ouse and a smaller one for manoeuvring in the shallows at either bank, with the helmsman stopping and starting each in turn - meaning that for a few moments on each crossing the boat is at the mercy of the current!

West Lynn

There are rather more commodious waiting factilities on the West Lynn side, where the ferries are based, although even here egress from the boats at low tide involves jumping off over the bow on to this rather fearsome set of unguarded steps!

I don't how much canal boating I'll manage this year (I've alfready had to turn down one offer) but it was a good start!