Hello everyone! I am only now actually able to catch up (following previous health issues, see below!) for 2016, so this also now includes the first eleven weeks of 2017.
Health – where to start? Fatigue started early in 2016, which appears to be raising a number of questions. We await a response from the relevant doctors. Broken arm – for the first time – after a very painful fall while waiting to be admitted with the stall at the Stockwell Garage open day. My previous attempts (from late 2015) to get Caroline seen by the Mental Health team have had a number of unexpected turns, like everything being blamed on me! We have an appointment next week, so will see how things go! Routine blood tests did reveal a slightly raised “good” cholesterol, which (as I’ve lived fairly well in terms of living a bit better than some I’ve known over the years) made me feeling a little cheated! Upon retesting, it’s moved the “bad” being higher. Time will tell, but the fatigue (in limiting what I can do) is the most important now. This is being dealt with for now by trying to get out the house every other day.
Work/Company – we finally got the Strathtay book done and printed, albeit three years late! Despite the fatigue, well over 50 new timetables published, three open days and three sales, and the SVBM weekend attended on the Saturday. One talk and stall cancelled following a broken arm, picked up at Stockwell. Photocopier/printer/book maker still going strong, although a lot of parts are being replaced.
Coffee – now have a Nespresso! The Tassimo machine had a number of power issues, and was over five years old. I did decide to buy a Tassimo, and subsequently when adding the milk warmer / frother (Aerochinno) free, it has turned into being used every day, at least once!
Football – Dundee United (as am sure just about everyone knows) were relegated to the Championship, at the end of 2015/2016. (I’m old enough to remember when it happened in the mid 90s!) However, going through four managers in one season was excessive – especially when there is one chairman! Now, protests etc. have happened, but we’ll see what happens between now and May. I personally worried we’d keep falling and do a St Mirren or whatever… but it would appear that we’ve not been too bad. Indeed being top of the league for one week at Christmas was better than anyone could have expected… and we had an unbeaten home run from the tail end of LAST season, until the weekend before last. Would like to see the bosses given a bit more time… after all look what Jim McLean did for United over two decades!
Computing – a new laptop arrived in November. Following several calls of complaint, the power supply arrived two days later! PC is due a reformat (as not done since starting using in October 2015), but playing up is perhaps happening now, as a few files appear to have gone awol ! Thankfully nothing that cannot be recreated… now when’s our company annual accounts due again? Lol but having checked, security is all okay, and the most important files were always duplicated.
Make-up – haven’t really bothered over the past few years, but tried some slight changes to my appearance at the start of 2017 . The most obvious are my finger nails, and currently two colour nails, a plum coat and a purple sparkle on top. Both only £1! Fine for the occasional use I’ll give it!
Quakers – still occasionally attending, when health permits. Started a course last night “Becoming Quakers” on a monthly basis. Time will tell how far this goes.
TV/ICW – while unwell I managed to catch up on a lot of stuff, and have been able to watch through several seasons of just about everything! Following my FB/LJ post about Full House (and now Fuller House), the second season happened, and continued to blow away every potential hope about being good, by being better! Series 3 is on the cards… ICW continues to grow and amaze me on an ever-expanding-but-gradual basis – an ideal way to think ahead for business in the coming years, health permitting!
It struck me while I caught up, we’re the Adults now.
Years ago, I knew what I wanted to do. Move out of town somewhere (the place changed a few times), get into driving to get into transport marketing, while also probably doing some self-employment. Okay, so they won’t let me drive, in case I fall asleep at the wheel (I’m an insomniac, but I’m on meds for this). However, by then, it was a sort of irrelevancy. I had done a sort-of side line with inputting into TD/Strathtay and DCC transport stuff by this point, and then MJW asked me to work at Wootten’s the same year.
I enjoyed that job so much, I decided to not return to OU study (after abandoning plans to study further after 16 for the sake of being my own person) at the end, but look for a new challenge. Come August 2011, and I have set up in business, with my business & life partner (now wife), Caroline. Caroline is happy, and we are both working to resolve our problems and make life happier for us both. Caroline has supported me, like a rock. At the end of this month, we will have been together for nine years. Caroline has also been the enabler for a lot of what I have done in the last nine years, and I still believe there is no way I could have survived 2007 without her. Now I have developed a lot as a person, businesswoman, and so much more – thanks to her. Okay occasionally some people need to ask twice, but I’d now not have it any other way.
In terms of work, my parents initally didn’t really support me. But now, my mother could not be happier, “as long as yours’re happy” she said.
Transition and genetics – been there, done that, outgrown the tee shirt. It’s not the subject of these thoughts, as we’ve talked about that more and so.
We’re even the parents now. Sort of. Well, both aunties to at least two each. We also have a menagerie of hundreds of stuffed toys – each with their own personality, work, favourites, and the likes. Thankfully we don’t need to discipline them, or stay up until 2.30am wondering why they still haven’t came home from the nightclub… (they use the Mousey Metro ™ by the way, and are quiet as mice).
I’m guessing I should be grateful for what we have. We have a lot, we have work, a roof over our heads, a fairly full cupboard, fridge and freezer. Okay, we’ve stopped C spending and borrowing, but we still have enough to live on, and pay our way, nine times out of ten. While not drawing a salary from Here To There from August 2011 to now, I would like to in the next five years. Ideally I’d like to be earning more than twice what C does, in time for her to retire and me look after her. I do suspect that Mr Huntington will have something to say about that, and she will also have a pension, as well as probably continuing in some form of work or consulting.
But, should I really get very upset about a book being delayed sending out, while I wait for a part, or look after an unwell wife for a couple of days? Maybe not as much. A recent customer said “they were well worth the wait, when are next batch coming out?” We’ve got happy customers, who like what we do. Maybe not millions, but it keeps it manageable and personal. Having someone love everything you do… you cannot buy that, you cannot bottle it, you just have to get on with it.
And I should be grateful, and very, very proud, of my accomplishments. Despite family problems and in-fighting, genetics gender and sexuality, it’s made me the person I am today. I no longer let people walk over me, and I stand up and fight my own battles. And quite often, those for other people too. I have done 99% of what I wanted to do, when I was younger. I am going to try to be more grateful for what I do have. A hell of a lot, and maybe shouting it a bit more from the rooftops – instead of just looking down on my own work, and being more positive.
So, yes, we are defiantly the grown-ups now.
- Current Mood: good
Hello – and if I’ve not spoken to you already this year, Happy New Year! We had a quiet one, but tried to catch up on things too. Well, I did try to start this in January, but it took until now to get the time to finish it!
On a personal level, it’s been the year of Two Weddings and a Baby. The two of us finally got hitched on Friday 31st July 2015. Then, my little sister Ruth was hitched on Saturday 13th November 2015. To complete the tag of three, my little brother/sister-in-law had a baby, Seth, on 2nd February 2015. So, this lot was enough for starters! We had a lovely holiday and break, with an extra visit up north for me in September, before the final visit of the year for Ruth’s wedding.
First – Caroline and I at our wedding, 31st July 2015. No the bus stop in the background is not deliberate! See the rest of our wedding photos here.
Second – Ruth and Andy Black, at their wedding, November 2015. See the photos I took at their wedding here.
Third – Tim (my brother) and Seth, born February 2015.
Other Personal Stuff
Got a lot done this year – our first coaching holiday, and lots of travelling round Scotland on three visits. See www.scotbus.com for the photos from those, and mnay other trips that I’ve done in the past few months.
Web stuff converted largely to Wordpress.
Mostly positive, although Caroline’s depression returned when she stopped taking anti-depressants without warning. However, she is now back on these, and settled.
New doctor, who is happy to prescribe all my meds, without me having to gfet the memory ones on a separate prescription from
Our company in 2015 – and 2016
Well, it’s certainly been a notable year. Cast your mind back, and I was about ready to finish the company. This followed 33 pages being defective in the new Tayside Area timetable, intermittently, which did not appear on the proof copy. We had an idea of new loose leaf books, which the first is now expected in Spring 2016.
We then took delivery of a photocopier/booklet maker/finisher, which has proven to be the second best decision of my year! (Wedding first!). We have had a new PC, franking machine, and now a replacement for the mobile phone that was problematic throughout 2015. We have a guillotine and nipping press, for cutting and binding. The latter can be used for cold glue and binding with thread. The first is similar to what was done by the last lot, but doing it by hand has made a difference.
I feel that, now 2016 has hit, we are (much more) ready. In reality we lost most of 2015 fighting, but did we win? I’m still here to tell the tale.
The London Area pocket guides have all gone down well – very well – to which we thank all our customers. These were done entirely in house, using the booklet finishers on the copier.
This timetable is one I’ve alluded to many times over the years. In the past, I’ve said that the Brighton & Hove Bus Times magazine/timetable book , is The best A4 timetable in terms of content and portability being printed on a light-weight paper, and having a companion map which crammed a route map with stops, plus, all of the “times past each hour” of every service. The timetable book is published by Brighton & Hove Bus Co., but the magazine features all operators in the Brighton & Hove Council area + Lewes area of East Sussex.
Well, the Summer 2015 (19th April to 12th September 2015) edition arrived with us recently, and I thought it was overdue for a look in this main section. Opening the front cover gives a welcome from the Publicity Manager/Editor, then into comprehensive service and place indexes. The fares are then shown, but there is not much definition on the out-of-town fares (aside from “other fares apply outside the city”. Much emphasis is placed on M-ticketing, the Key Smartcard, as well as scratch-off tickets and paper tickets bought on bus. The ticketing range bought on the bus is varied from 40p accompanied child single, to a day ticket valid for unlimited off-peak travel on Southern Railway as far as Southampton/London (£17) or Thameslink to Bedford/Luton/London (£20) and all buses in Brighton for travel before/after.
There are pages devoted from things as far and wide as supported services, special events where timetables will change i.e. Brighton Pride, bank holiday services, and disabled persons access and which stops can be boarded at. As ever, the detail level is very high, giving you just about everything you would need to know, in a compact format.
Timetables appear in a full-page format, with all services u a consistent format. Main colour-coded route circles match the route map, plus on-bus branding on some services. Full Where To Board Your Bus plans are included. Places to visit, new buses on Coaster, and much more is included, making use of space that would otherwise be left empty.
The maps appear to have changed – for the last few issues, the one in Bus Times magazine featured a colour-coded route map, with the bus stops shown on a non-colour coded map in Pocket Bus Times. The latter is now a “Route Map and Frequency Guide” which matches the map in the main magazine, now one with every bus stop and colour coding for each route.
This does use 12 hour clock, which (along with the size) may not be to everyone’s taste. This issue does feature a reply-paid postcard featuring views on these items, plus other aspects of the guide too.
The level of detail has to be seen to be believed, and is very useful. You can get a copy, free of charge, by telephoning 01273 886200, email via the website www.buses.co.uk or write to Brighton & Hove Bus and Coach Company Ltd, 43 Conway Street, HOVE, BN3 3LT.
( Cut for bus photos, personal photos, length, and wrestlingCollapse )
- Current Mood: good
|D 1 - 1||Scottish Cup|
|15-03-2015||15:00||Celtic||Hampden Park||L 0 - 2||League Cup|
|18-03-2015||19:45||Celtic||Celtic Park||L 0 - 4||Scottish Cup|
|21-03-2015||15:00||Celtic||Celtic Park||L 0 - 3||SPFL|
|L 1 - 2||SPFL|
|08-04-2015||19:45||Dundee||Dens Park Stadium||L 1 - 3||SPFL|
|W 1 - 0||SPFL|
|09-05-2015||15:00||St Johnstone||McDiarmid Park||SPFL|
|16-05-2015||15:00||Inverness CT||Caledonian Stadium||SPFL|
#randomtimetablemonday / Timetable Of The Week @SandersCoaches – Summer 2015 booklet
A few weeks ago, I mentioned the return of a familiar publication that I used to enjoy – well, it’s here! Sanders Coaches of Holt, Norfolk, have reverted production of a timetable book with everything in one guide, instead of a series of slimline leaflets that have been used over the last three years.
This year is the company’s 40th anniversary, and the cover includes photos of a Bedford YMT/Duple, the founders of the company years back (Norman and Gladys), and a more modern shot of an EL bodied double decker.
After a one-page introduction, and Index to contents, full colour timetables – in as large a print as possibile for each page – follow. These vary from portrait to landscape, to make the best use of the space. Everything is shown in detail, from weekly shoppers services right up to the half-hourly (on some routes) express services into Norwich.
As with previous issues, Sunday timetables are towards the rear, on pages 25/26, to show the different inter-working then. There is then a single-page list of the companies day trips and excursions.
It is in an A4 size, but it’s lightweight enough to be taken about easily. The decent paper weight (120gsm gloss?) seems to hold up to repeated handling very well.
The only thing missing from this issue, that I found very useful in the last ones – was a network map. You can get the most recent one on their website.
You can download the entire booklet here, or send a C4 stamped addressed envelope to the value of £1.19 to; Sanders Coaches Ltd, Heath Drive, Hempstead Road, HOLT, Norfolk, NR25 6ER.
Random Timetable of The Week aka #randomtimetablemonday BEDFORD BOROUGH BUS TIMETABLE
As you might know, we pick a random timetable, every week, to illustrate best practice, and show off some of our favourites. These don’t feature those we produce, but cast our eye over as both passenger and publisher. This particular book is something in which the current and former executive committee at BABUS have had input into. For the sake of transparency, these are all my own views!
Right, where was I – a new timetable book, March 2015 – free of charge from local outlets (see end of review if you are non-locals). If you are familiar with the book, you will be aware that the last one was split into five sections of Timetables – Town Services, X5, Rural, Community Transport, and National Express. The new simpler guide is split into two of these: Main Services and Community Transport, plus a new section that features Summary Timetables. There are four corridors in this section, 25/50/51 Bedford – Clapham, 40/41 Bedford – Bromham – 44/81 Bedford – Clophill, and 53/C1 between Bedford – Wootton. Clapham is a new one, following introduction of the 25 through the area. Wootton is now too, following a competitive set of changes from Stagecoach’s two buses an hour to three, following the introduction of an hourly Uno service via Wootton for Cranfield University. Back to the three simple sections, this makes navigating the book, so much easier.
The cover features the artists impression of the bus station development. The book itself has a full colour cover wrap around, including a Bedford Borough area map, and town map, showing the bus network in a diagrammatic format. The book print inside is mono throughout, on a white matt art paper. Timetables, a comprehensive index, and a Where To Board Your Bus plan are all clearly shown. One new innovation which follows the budget-cut related plan to cut BBC funding, to just allow the “statutory” times for free pass travel i.e. 09.30-23.00 Mon-Fri, and all day Sat/Sun/BH. So, there are some infrequent services where passengers can use before 09.30, and these are now clearly marked with outlines on the journey, or a footnote in similar edging. The book also features mew timetables, up to and including the changes to 53 and X5 from Monday 5th April 2015.
Interestingly, for those who had issues finding a copy of the last issue, the plan was that the number printed, this year, was to go up from 5,000 to 10,000. Copies are available now, while stocks last, from the new Tourism & Travel Centre in the redeveloped bus station. If you aren’t local, send £2.05 to cover postage/packing to the Public Transport Team, Transport Operations Group, Bedford Borough Council, Borough Hall, Bedford, MK42 9AP.
#randomtimetablemonday – Go Whippet Local Bus Services timetable, “running from February 2015 until at least 23 May 2015”
Well, your eyes do not deceive you – Cambridgeshire operator GoWhippet (who changed hands towards the end of 2014) have issued a complete timetable. Individual leaflets were issued before, but one or two routes only. At my first visit to St Ives Bus Station, the leaflets – photocopies – were kept in a locked filling cabinet, with Mon-Sat and Sunday services having to be asked for separately! Towards the end of the ownership by the Lee family, some brighter leaflets had been issued, and a leaflet carousel bought for the Bus Stn! When a separate leaflet was issued for the Busway services (after GW being sick of pointing out errors in the Stagecoach-produced composite one), you kinda wondered what was next.
Fast forward to the start of this year, and Matthew Wooll is now Commercial Manager at Whippet and Tower Transit Operations. His timetables from the days of First BeeLine and even Capital Citybus were true works of detail. I did ask if, by chance, there might be a new timetable after the consultation changes started… but one is out already!
No time has wasted at all with this timetable folder, A2 folded down to 1/3 A4 (Slimline). The cover’s end date is one day before the recently-consulted-on changes will take place.
It really is a case of where to start – a colour-coded diagrammatic service map showing every service in the network (except Tesco Bar Hill). The timetables show the entire network – Services 1, 1A/1B, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 21, 22/A, 61, 63, 65, 402, 476 on one side, and C, D, 7A, 18, 31, 75, 113, 196, and the map on the other side. The Index to Places Served features all these services. The remaining West Hunts shoppers and Tesco Bar Hill contract services, can be found online.
This guide is doubly highly recommended. First of all, it fills gaps, and brings everything to a similar level in terms of detail. Secondly, it fits everything into one place. This will show to complement the website, rather than printing sheets from it. The entire guide will act as a boost to passenger awareness of the network. It crams a massive amount of information, onto a single A2 sheet of paper.
You can download a copy here (this was the pre-production edition so the final contains a couple of tweaks), or for a paper copy, ask your Whippet bus driver. Failing that, send a 9”x6” Stamped Addressed Envelope to Whippet Coaches Ltd, 2 Rowles Way, Buckingway Business Park, SWAVESEY, Cambridgeshire, CB24 4UG.
- Current Mood: good
A new hair colour – I fancied one shade away from black, so Blueberry Crush (black with a hint of blue) – and is working well. I did want to do black for while, to sort of homogenise the colours to be mostly the same (there was a mix of very light brown, medium brown, usual dark brown, and a tiny bit of turquoise!).
Wedding plans continue apace, and invites went out a week or so ago. This will be a Quaker Wedding at the Friends Meeting House in WGC. See https://www.facebook.com/events/17728975
Speaking of Nephews, as I was in my last blog post, here’s a shot of Jonah, my sister’s son, earlier in 2015.
Busy with BABUS work – not just the Newsletters, but also a brand new brochure and posters were done for them too. These were paid using a grant from Bedfordshire Rural Transport Partnership. You can download these at the refreshed BABUS website www.babus.org.uk.
Also went to Bedford yesterday – see the photos here (public link).
Here To There News – work is continuing apace behind the scenes. All the websites I control have been converted to Wordpress. With the exception of one bug and a still-to-finish shop, the new look is going down very well.
We’ve also tweaked our e-mailed Newsletter, which is now a weekly transport eNews. This is going down very well, judging by the opens we now get! The idea was to make it less salesey, and more newsey with a little selling – and the experiment appears to be all well.
I See KFC's new Burritos in the UK are going viral worldwide! We had one each last night and they were good, very good almost. C is no main fan of mexican food, and it was enough to get rid of the lurgy she'd brought home from work last night!
Football – after losing 0-2 to Partick, we went into the Scottish Cup match vs. Celtic. After having a player sent off each side, United converting a penalty, Celtic missing theirs but scoring later after we were at 9 men, the Scottish Cup game was a draw at 1-1 – so a fourth game is needed, a replay tonight. League Cup final was a 0-2 loss – we did well to get there though, it has to be said.
- Current Mood: good
- Current Music:TTF - Supernature