BUS STOP by CR Davis

Dr. Philistine, with his sharp knives
I re-arranged my weekend to go to the Ashbourne International Streetfest on Saturday18th June. Having had just enough sleep, I set off on the 29, running early, to Main Street, getting a Bakewell Pudding from the market, and some money from Nationwide Building Society. I walked up to The Green, in the hope of catching a bus, any bus, to Derby, encountering the crowds walking from watching the Women's Tour of Britain cycle race, just before. Two Y5s were posted on the information sign, a Skylink Loughborough and a Skylink Coalville. What actually turned up, at 1118, was the Zoom, ex-New Sawley, so it had obviously not got caught up in the Carnival parade. Pleased, I boarded it, though passengers for Briar Gate were not so lucky- one had been waiting 3/4 hour. The bus progressed rapidly to Derby, arriving at 1150, about 10 minutes late. We were passed by a Y5 and an Indigo, on the way. I had 1/2 an hour to visit the free toilet in the Eagle Market, and buy and consume a banana, before departing on the Swift, to Ashbourne. There was a brief hold-up, for roadworks, along the way, but otherwise, we got there quickly. I took a programme leaflet from one of the stewards, always handed out free, then sampled the facility behind Waitrose- very modern, very smart, so the closure of that at the bus station, is not such a tragedy, and arrived at Dig Street, in time to see the final part of Minnie Maniac's performance, in which three helpers carried her aloft. When she finished, I went in the Cheddar Gorge, a wonderful little food shop, and bought a large pork pie (£3.30), a medium Huntsman Pie (£2.65), and a brie and cranberry tart (£2.20), all looking absolutely yummy. I walked up to Victoria Square, and went in The Horns pub to look at the menu. There was a good selection of food available- I chose ham, eggs and chips, £4.05, from the Light Bites section. It was about 800 cals., with tomato sauce, and very tasty. I had a nice pint of Banks's Bitter (3.8%), with it, only £2.60, and ate at a table outside. The Wardens, a unique duo, were in the vicinity at the time. Victualled, I walked up into the Market Place, to look at the traders' stalls there. Food, as ever, was the principal focus of my interest, and my eyes lighted on Portuguese Nata tarts, a custard confection, and a famous feature of that country's cuisine, so I bought one, for £2. I passed Minnie Maniac on my way down to Dig Street for Dr. Philistine, who juggled with sharp knives, whilst balanced on a slack rope. As I stood there, water began splurging out from a drainpipe under the pavement, right where my rucsac was, &, a lady, who noticed it before I did, moved it quickly, for which I was grateful. Others, who were sat on the edge of the pavement, had to move, too. Then I went along to see the end of magician Paul Dabek's show- he produced a participant's signed £10 note from within a fresh banana - he could have fooled Penn and Teller. I caught the whole of Kenyan Juma Kuba's act- he balanced on two stacks of three narrow blocks on a raised table- very risky. I then had to make my way back to the bus station. As I did so Kiki Bittovabitsch was being wrapped in cling film, and the Swift was arriving. This took me quickly to the Morledge, where I had nearly 1/2 an hour to wait before the Zoom took me from Bay 2 all the way home. The weather was cloudy, with a little sun, so I did not suffer from fatigue, standing around a lot. A very pleasant day out, and a suitable replacement for Long Eaton Carnival. 

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The Horns, where I had lunch

I went along to the Peak Park Preserved Bus Gathering at Rowsley South station, Peak Rail on Sunday 19th June, by East Midlands Trains to Matlock. As I walked up to the platform, I was greeted by Grammar School chum Peter Haddon. The train was a couple of minutes late throughout. On getting to Matlock, we went into Bill Hudson's Peak Rail bookshop, where we found that the 1st preserved bus wasn't 'til 5 past 12. We could have caught the Transpeak up to Rowsley, but, by now, it was too late. So we browsed the shelves, and I bought an Ashover Light Railway Society 2017 calendar for £5. I noticed a Hornby Doublo 3-rail coach, but turned it down at £9. After an hour, we caught the 1st Peak Rail train, going north, of the day, hauled by Class 14 'Clayton' D9539(below), with 0-6-0 saddle tank 'Lord Phil' at the other end. Unfortunately, I could not use my shareholder's ticket vouchers, as it was a special event, so we both had to pay the senior rate of £8.50. On arrival at Rowsley South, we espied Trent Bristol RE TCH 274L going out. Having missed that, I purchased a programme for £2, and climbed aboard Alexander Northern Leyland Leopard GSO 90V on route 3 to Darley Dale station. This sounded just like a Bristol RE, not the familiar Leopard tone. On boarding, I encountered a bit of bus driver humour- I asked "Will this bus be leaving shortly", response- "Don't call me Shortly"! Next, as TCH 274L was caught in traffic coming back from Chatsworth, it was replaced on route 4 to Matlock bus station, by a vehicle still in the Stagecoach Chesterfield fleet, their no. 15513- MBE 613R, an open top 1976 Leyland Fleetline. Next, I perused the stalls, and purchased a National Tramway Museum mug for £2, a suitable replacement for the one I broke, several years ago, a model London Transport Guy Arab Utility bus, and the commonly available Barton 1087 model, though not an accurate representation of this very special bus, both at £5. Then, I rode on 1960 Routemaster RM 467 (WLT 467) to Matlock and back, displaying destination '159 Marble Arch', a route I rode on in 2004, about a year before the end of regular Routemaster operation, and the last route operated by them. It sounded like a re-engined model, and probably ran on the above-mentioned route. It was very quiet and smooth anyway. Star of the show, for me, was 1951 Bristol LWL6B (meaning Bristol-engine, as opposed to Gardner) Crosville KW 229 (LFM 810), and there was quite a queue for this, but I managed to get on for its run to Matlock, then, a 2nd, to Darley Dale station. There, I caught the train, to Matlock, arriving with 20 minutes to spare, before getting the East Midlands Train to Long Eaton. It was a lovely little outing, cloudy, after the initial sun. The promised rain arrived after 4 o'clock, but was very light, until I got home.

Fay and Bill gave me a lift to Meadow Lane car park for the West Park Walkers' Trent Meadows walk, on Tuesday 21st June. It was a pleasant, mainly sunny morning, and the walk was very agreeable. We encountered lots of puddles on the paths, but not much serious mud. Sue gave me a lift to Long Eaton afterwards, and we repaired to Anderson's. There, I had a toasted teacake (very tasty) and small filter coffee for £3, same as 2 weeks ago. Then I posted my Referendum vote in the Old Post Office postbox and looked round the flea market. I caught the Indigo 5A to Marlborough Road, Beeston, and walked along the High Road, looking in Boots for some gel insoles (couldn't find the right ones), and buying 6 oysters from Fred Hallam for £5. I had 3 of these for my supper, with Colwick Cheese, mushroom, baby plum tomatoes, and herbs from my garden and greenhouse. These little blighters are a devil to get in to- do not attempt to open them without a special oyster knife. I ended up bloodied and battered, and could not get into 3 of them, despite having a thin and robust knife. I put the 3 in the freezer. They don't have much flavour anyway. I was on-time for the Transport Enthusiasts' Group- I spent some time chatting, then got the Indigo 5 to Long Eaton Green, walking round the corner to step straight on to the no. 29, which took me home.

I thought I had made a serious mistake, when I decided to go on the Branch Line Society Achilles Heel Trekker train on EU Referendum day, Thursday 23rd June, due to the cost involved, £121 for the whole day, and needing to cut back. But it turned out to be very enjoyable. I got up early and went to Long Eaton station in good time, where I retrieved my tickets from the machine. I was booked on the 7.52 London Midland Cross Country train to Derby. I had a 40 minutes wait (during which I had a banana to give me energy), for the East Midlands Train to Crewe. That ran on-time along the "Knotty" North Staffordshire Railway line, giving me the best part of an hour observing comings and goings at Crewe station, before crossing to platform 12, to wait for the arrival of the excursion. Hungry already, I ate a piece of Huntsman Pie, which I had taken with me. I could have got the next train, but that would have been too risky. I saw the next one arriving- it would have been a bit of a rush across the station. Trekker departed 3 minutes late at 1115, hauled by the requested engine, class 68 no. 023 'Achilles', but soon made up time. We travelled via Stafford, Nuneaton, Rugby, Northampton, Bletchley & Watford Junction, to Wembley Central, using many pieces of unusual track, along the way. We were going to have an early arrival, but the train came juddering to a halt outside our destination station, and we drew in a couple of minutes late. I was worried about my connection to Euston, but it was due in on the same platform, after the excursion had departed. Duly, it rolled in, and left, a couple of minutes late, but got to Euston on-time. We had had the 1st 3 coaches in an 11-coach formation, with 57 301 'Goliath' at the back, the train to go on to transport the '3 Peaks Challenge', 1st for Snowdon, then Scafell Pike, finally Ben Nevis. I had plenty of time to walk from Euston to St. Pancras, but still it took 23 minutes to get from platform to platform, which means it must be about a mile, in total, picking up a copy of the (free) London Evening Standard outside St. Pancras station. I had to ask to find the Sheffield train, which was at the far end of platform 4. I plonked myself down near the 1st door I came to, and tucked in to a piece of pork pie. There was no latte left when the drinks trolley came round, so I had a cappuccino, cost £2.50, very nourishing. The Meridian train left on time, and rapid progress was made towards the 1st stop, in Leicester. But we must have caught up with the High Speed Train, which had left for Nottingham 11 minutes ahead of us, for we had a signal stop, just outside Market Harborough. This made us 4 minutes late at Leicester, and we arrived 8 minutes late at Long Eaton.

I had booked a meal on the South Yorkshireman dining train at the Great Central Railway, several weeks ago, for myself and Grammar School friend John Heard, close to my birthday, on Saturday 25th June (next year, close to his, in July). Setting out in good time to catch the 8.30 train, I found that it had been cut back to Luton, due to severe signalling problems, in the London area- good job I wasn't going there on this day. It was on-time, anyway. I made my way quickly onto the Sprint bus at Loughborough, which departed immediately. Apparently, it was an open day at the university, and bus rides were free, not affecting me, early on a Saturday morning. I got off the bus at Ashby Square, redeemed a lottery win, and walked along to the Town Hall, former venue of the GCR AGM. I looked round the market stalls, pausing to buy a Queen's 90th birthday mug, only £3.50. The lady at the fruit and veg shop let me have a banana for free, a kind of early birthday present. Then, I looked in Boots, again being unable to find the right size of gel insoles, for my epic walk on July19th. That left me just enough time to get to Lovatt House, near Central station, the HQ of the Great Central Railway, before the official opening of the doors at 10 o'clock, for the Annual General Meeting, to get a good seat. It got under way at 1026, 4 minutes early, led by Chairman, David Morgan, who had to be in London for 2.30, for the opening of 'The Go Between', starring Michael Crawford, a play based on the film of the same name, made in 1970, in which David had been an extra. Financial results were good, showing a steady improvement over the last 3 years, profit being £53,000. The official business was over in 8 minutes. This was followed by the directors' report, David departed to be driven to London, as the Midland Main Line was in a mess (see earlier), then there followed a detailed description of the accounts. Final part of the meeting was a question and answer session. It finished at a 1/4 to 12, by which time rain was bucketing down outside, in a heavy shower. I missed the Peak Rail AGM at Darley Dale for this, for about the 3rd year running, but I would have had to miss it anyway, for the meal on the train. I missed the GCR AGM last year, as I was on a railway excursion to the West Somerset Railway, on my birthday, a memorable day out. When the rain had almost packed up, I made my way round the corner, to the railway station, and commenced my wait for the dining train. 1st port of call for me, was the Emporium, where a scratch-built OO gauge Great Western carriage took my fancy, worth buying at £5. I spent the rest of the time in the Refreshment Room, quaffing a nice pint of Nottingham Legend Ale, 4%, and £3. I needed to take a leak before boarding the dining train, and that is where I bumped into John. I was pleased that he had turned up anyway, having had to get 3 buses from Cotmanhay. We were welcomed onto the train by a young waitress, and took our seats. It left at 1416 for the hour and a 1/2 dining experience. John said he preferred the New Zealand wine, so I ordered a 1/2 bottle of that, giving almost 2 glasses each. The rolls were served 1st - cold. Leek & potato soup soon appeared, very pleasant. Main course was beef, merlot and mushroom pie (shortcrust pastry base, puff pastry top), with diced carrots, broccoli florets, cauliflower, duchesse potatos and optional horseradish sauce. This was delicious, and served at just the right temperature. Dessert was individual lemon tart, with raspberry coulis and cream. Coffee and mints rounded off the meal, as we arrived back at Loughborough. I filled-in the customer comment sheet, circling 'excellent' as my experience of the phenomenon. I left a tip to show my appreciation to the staff, and said goodbye, then we crossed the platform to get the 3.15, hauled, as the dining train, by '8F' 48624. We had a run down to Leicester and back- the buffet car was closed, so no drink on that one. John walked with me to the Midland station, where I found the 1658 to Nottingham was 15 minutes late. He had to leave to get the 5.20 Skylink, so I read my copy of the Evening Standard, from London on Thursday. The train arrived at Beeston, just as the 1625 to Matlock was leaving, so I had to wait for the 1647 to Birmingham. This led to me being caught in a light shower on the walk home from the station, but it was no inconvenience. It was a pleasant day out, and I can certainly recommend the Great Central Railway South Yorkshireman dining train.
C R Davis


To get all the weekend's beer festivals in, I had to go to the Lincoln one on Thursday 26th May. I set off for the railway station at 1/2 past 9, and got the London Midland X Country service to Nottingham. There, the East Midlands Trains' Leicester-Lincoln service soon arrived, and waited in the station for about 20 minutes. I sat on it reading the Long Eaton 50+ Forum communication, prior to the meeting next month. An early arrival at Lincoln Central gave me plenty of time to walk past the market hall, perusing the shops in the locality as I did so, and buying a local newspaper, to the Drill Hall, the venue for the event, which proved, on the return, to be only 8 minutes walk from the railway station. I could have stopped at the fish and chip shop/café, where the eponymous meal was £5.80, but opted to eat at the Drill Hall café, on my arrival, where I chose a mushroom and halloumi burger, £3.50 and about 600 cals. The bar had opened promptly at 12 midday, and, I am pleased to say, 1/3s were available. This enabled me to get through 9 different brews before the lunchtime session finished at 3 o'clock. Best drink was Tiny Rebel Cwtch (4.6%), Champion Beer of Britain 2015, though Barbourne Painted Lady Perry (5%) was pretty good too. I quaffed Shipstone's Original (3.8%). The Festival commemorated the centenary of the 1st tank in service, and special brew was Cathedral Heights Tritton Tank (4.3%), which I had with my burger. In the merchandise, a Castle Rock Brewery polo shirt, at only £6, took my fancy. I accidentally got a 1/2 of Nottingham Rock Mild (3.8%) for the price of a 1/3- the bar server said he got carried away. I noticed Ramsgate Brewery Gadd's No.7, brewed at Broadstairs, a place where I had many happy holidays in the '50s & '60s, so I had a drink of it. Still able to stand at the end of that, I walked back to the railway station, where my train was just arriving. Journey back was on-time, apart from a delay at Sheet Stores Junction, and I walked home.


I was on my computer 'til very late and only got 4 hours sleep, but I was up fairly early to get the through train to Newark. It was a beautiful morning, but this meant the sun shone directly at the ticket machine, so it was difficult to retrieve my ticket. I walked from Newark Castle station to the market place, where I purchased some baby plum tomatoes. I got a 1/2 pork pie from Sibley's the butchers, and progressed to the National Civil War Centre in Appleton Gate. I spent about an hour in there then walked to Riverside Park for the 21st Newark Beer Festival. There, I had difficulty finding somewhere to sit until someone pointed out a pile of chairs- I took one, and sat outside. By now the sun had substantially gone in, but it was pleasant. 1st task was to get some food into my stomach- I espied a burger stall from Fen Farm and I had a venison burger with Cote Hill Cheese, and onions, £4, and about 700 cals. That was delicious, and set me up well for the beer drinking to follow. As the previous day, I had 9 1/3s of different brews. Great Central Brewery of Leicester had two beers named after diesel locomotives there- I had Western (5.2%), a strong, malty ale, very nice. The Festival special brew, Maypole XXI Imperial Pale, was stronger, at 6%. The ciders were pleasant too- Sandford Orchards Ginger (4%) was very refreshing, and Westons Country Perry (4%) was very nice. Also worthy of mention was Lincoln Green (of Hucknall) Gin and Beer It (5%). I left when I had had enough, and walked the short distance to Castle station to catch the 1506 to Nottingham.

I had heard about the German Bierfest on Derby Market Place, and wanted to go along. So it was, I did on Saturday 28th May. Travelling to Main Street on the 29, I bought a Bakewell Pudding from the market. I got the Zoom from the Old Post Office, and this took me quickly to Derby, diverting via the Wyvern to avoid the traffic at the Pentagon. I went to Marks & Spencer, where I found out that, due to the complexity and stringency of deals, and the lack of transparency to the customer, many of the Sparks Card deals I had tried to participate in, I could not get. That will be subject to some conversation with them. I walked from there to the Market Place, where entrance to the German Bierfest was easy. I found a place to sit, in the shade, and ordered a currywurst with bread. This, I suppose, evidences the unification of cultures, and was fairly pleasant. It was £4.50, a bit expensive for such a small meal, and about 500 cals. I had a light beer- £2.50 for a 1/2 pint, followed by a dark (which seemed to be the only choices), same price. You could have a 1 & 1/2 pint stein for £6.99, or a 2 pint one for £9.50. I was not struck by the taste of the beer (despite the Reinheitsgebot, the German purity standard), contrasting with my experiences at Lincoln and Newark, in the previous two days. I could have gone to the AEC Society annual rally, at the Newark Showground, but, due to the lack of an advertised special bus service from Newark town centre, thought this was not practical. The Bierfest was pleasant enough, though, on a reasonably sunny day, and I would not be averse to going again. I caught the on-time Zoom to Grosvenor Avenue, and walked home from there. I could not watch the Giro d'Italia cycle race on Eurosport 2, as no satellite signal was being received, but, after a while, this was resolved, and I saw the later stages.

2-8-0 tank no. 4270 at Cheltenham Racecourse
I went with the Matlock Railway Club to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway on Sunday 29th May. I was picked up opposite the Wilsthorpe Tavern at 9.5am. on a cloudy morning. It turned into a pleasant day, with much sun. Because of traffic congestion on the M5, the driver of the minibus opted to go via the M1, M69, and A46. We stopped at Leicester Forest East services for a loo break, where we encountered football fans from Barnsley, on their way to a match. It took a little over two hours from Long Eaton to reach Toddington station. I paid my £22 (senior) entry fee, and went across to the GWSR

Society green tent to pay the £10 extra for a brake van ride, on the goods train to Cheltenham. I got the next train up to Laverton, which disappointed me, due to the presence of continuous welded rail. Trains run 'top-&-tail' on this section due to the run-round loop being taken out-of-service at Laverton, as it has been moved 2 miles along to Broadway, for the extension there. On getting back, I walked across the yard at Toddington to ride on the North Gloucestershire Narrow Gauge (2') Railway. This is a lovely little line, with some fine engines. We stopped a little way down the line at California Crossing (the engine shed) for 10 minutes to look round there. Then we went on, to Didbrook Loop, for the engine to run round.
Cotswold scenery
On getting back, there was just enough time for me to get on the booked goods train. This was hauled by 'Ivatt 2' 46521, from the Great Central Railway. We came back with 7812 'Erlestoke Manor', arriving back at Toddington on-time at 1430. Next run was with Manor 7820 2 Cheltenham Racecourse, during which I ate a piece of Sibley's pork pie, which I got from Newark on Thursday, returning double-headed with newly restored Merchant Navy Class 35006 'Peninsular and Oriental SN Co.', a very handsome engine, which has won an award, tender to tender with 2-8-0 goods engine 2807. I was just in-time, on my arrival back, to have a ride on the final run of the day on the NGNGR at 1645- this time I looked round the signal box. I was able to get a tuna baguette from the Flag & Whistle café, on return, which was closing shortly. I sat outside, in the shade, and enjoyed my meal. We departed shortly after 6 o'clock, travelling via the A46, M42, A446, A38, and A6, to Duffield, where we took the B5023 to Cromford, setting down at Wirksworth, thence A6 to Matlock station, where we had a loo stop. Back down the A6 to Ambergate, and A610 to Ripley (another set-down). Nuthall, A6002, Bilborough (set-down), A6007, A52, Bostocks Lane, B6002 to Wilsthorpe Tavern 2114, where I was relieved to walk home, very tired, which affected me, when I fell asleep in my chair, after Channel 4's Comedy Gala on C4+1, for 7 & 1/2 hrs. I had a much-needed 'day off' from the weekend's activities on Bank Holiday Monday. Big disappointment for me was the failure of my recording device, which WAS due to a faulty card. I missed being able to listen to many fine steam sounds at home, which was a huge blow to me.

C R Davis