scribbles tagged ‘bus’


Tuesday, March 18th, 2014 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Bus ticketwendy: I’m a stranger in your town, how do I use your bus

Bus driver: where do you want to go?

He explained that for $1.75 I could travel anywhere in the city for 2.5hrs. Brilliant. I can get on and off any bus I want to. Luxury. I wanted to spend a day travelling on the busses but instead focussed on the more socially acceptable activity of going to a local art gallery.

The bus driver reminded me when I got to the stop I needed to get off at. He was very helpful. We met again on my return trip and he remembered me, greeting me with a warm smile hello. The bus drivers that I met were all very helpful and friendly. Very impressive.


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when your life’s in a mess

Sunday, February 12th, 2012 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Take the National Express

I used to enjoy the long distance bus rides when I was a student. A National treasure, so cheap and comfortable and everything the Divine Comedy says…. I must find an excuse to use them again.

Though cheerful, the setting of this video felt a bit spooky given my recent hospital visits:

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bus station

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 | tags: , , , ,  |

Wendyhome kitchenwendy: I live in a converted coach house

moben sales staff (MSS): you live in a bus station?

wendy: not that sort of coach, the victorian horse-drawn type of coach, it used to be a stable too

MSS: what size is the kitchen?

wendy: small, 87 x 111 inches with 2 doors and a low sloping roof with a skylight

MSS: shall we call it a square kitchen?

wendy: No, lets call it an oblong or a rectagular kitchen

MSS: approximately a square kitchen

wendy: No, its an oblong

MSS: approximately an oblong?

wendy:  87 x 111 inches

MSS: approximately an oblong then

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car neige

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009 | tags: , , , , , , , , , ,  |

3pm. Somewhere near Didcot. 21st December

How sensible am I,   starting my journey back to Reading?
Unbeknownst to me, Reading had already come to a standstill
The Reading Chronical had already published the standstill*

6pm. Pangbourne. 21st December

Gridlock in PangbourneThis is where I encountered the full car neige,   the tail end of the traffic trying to get into Reading.   The traffic standing still,   sliding sideways, not yet abandoned.   Local radio traffic news talked  50 yards taking 2 hours to cover.   Urrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhhhh……

Across the next hour I called and consulted with multiple friends. The phone network was often too busy to connect my calls.   Despite the presense  of many car drivers I felt very alone.    My calm sensible friends and I agreed that I needed to get off the road quickly and get shelter for the night.

Elephant Hotel Bar, Pangbournewendy: do you have any spare rooms for the night?

receptionist: stranded?

wendy: yes, well, um, yes

receptionist: we have one room left,   would you like a toothbrush with that?

wendy: OH! (signifying relief at getting a room and supportive receptionist) Yes please, thank you, I was turned away from the hotel down the road, a toothbrush!   how thoughtful

Handsome Other Guest (HOG): we’re stranded too,   I’ve only got a hammer and some ski poles in the boot of my car,   maybe we can do a deal over the toothbrush?

wendy: I’ve got a blanket in my car, we could build something like a tent with the poles and hammer.   Not sure where the toothbrush comes in

HOG: (Huge smile then turns to receptionist) table for 6 please

receptionist: we’re waiting for the chef to get in before we finalise the menu,   we’ll try and feed everyone

HOG: Table for 6?   Can you put me on the waiting list

Butcombe beerClearly the snow car chaos called for some serious parking-up and a pint of Butcombe.   My party for one joined a few other party’s for one and we all shared stories of family, cars, hills, walking, the IT industry  and other topical faerie tales.

*  the exceptional Number 17 bus was still on the move, albeit erratically.

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cat celebriteedom

Saturday, August 1st, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

Casper the cat rides Plymouth’s number 3 service.   The Cornish passengers make sure he get home okay after his ride,   just like they did with me.   Casper loves Lorry’s and Buses.   He’s a very well behaved cat that likes to roam

“He queues up in line with people and just sits patiently in the queue good as gold – it’ll be ‘Person, person, person, cat, person, person.’

A white cat that the bus driver has named Macavity catches the 331 from Walsall to Wolverhampton for one stop to the fish shop

cats, busses and passengers are a  recipe for happiness.

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Cornish bus

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

speedy bus to HelsonCornish bus drivers would check when people got on their buses that they knew where to get off and how to get back.

The passengers slept thought the journey while the buses dodged the plants which grabbed at them from the side of the high hedgerows encroaching from either side of single-lane roads.
sleepy passenger on Helston bus

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bussing solutions

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

Wedding specialFor all your wedding-guest transportation from church to reception veunue needs.    A red London bus wedding special.   As you can imagine,   this was the highlight of the wedding for me.

The reception venue in a cricket pavilion, while a match was in progress,  was also so wonderfully English that soppiness abounded.

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imaginary friend

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 | tags: , , , ,  |

Years before I read Peter Pan when I was less than 4ft tall I had an imaginary friend.    Without wings, he could fly into my bedroom at night while my unsuspecting family carried-on their downstairs life-after-my-bedtime.   Unlike Peter pan, John wore ordinary clothes:  flared corduroy jeans, t-shirt, jumper and daps.    You could easily miss noticing John in a crowd of shorter children.   John had an ordinary quiet, thoughful, way  about him.   His silences matched mine.   He was good company.

Decommissioned London BusJohn could fly right through the force-field  that protected me from the monsters beyond the wardrobe.    The force-field that looked like bedroom walls but was infact protection that moved with me as I travelled through planet Wendy.   John knew how to co-pilot the big red double-decker bus,   the bus that was cunningly disguised as  my single bed.     Unlike my real friends John didn’t scream or  throw the extra pillow at the slimey poison-tongued Lizards that chased the bus.   John could use his powers of flight to lift the bus out of the swamp.   John was magic,   he could corale the heard of wild unicorns into the wardrobe without saying a single word.     He was my secret, special friend.  

John stopped joining my  evenings when, in my teens, evening adventures moved into the world beyond my parents home.  I wonder if  John’s still out there,   whether he grew up or maybe became someone real.

Sometimes I miss him  


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bus or tardis?

Sunday, April 12th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Waiting for a local bus,   for local people, locally, my other brother skipped up to me with a big smile and HELLLOOOOOO Wendy HaHaHa.   I jumped up to hug him (he’s 6 ft 4).

skippy:   Here’s the bus,   three busses at once,   OooooOOOOoo HaHaha

I walked toward the first double decker

skippy:   WRONG!     we want the single decker, Hahahahaha

Wendy:   Oh (signifying disappointment at not getting the double decker)

Skippy is on the bus and has placed himself in the centre of the back row of 5 seats by the time I’ve joined the line and paid for a ticket.   I look down the bus too see him at the end of the isle,   he shows me all of his teeth and claps his hands,   then raises one hand and waves it at me, as if I might be leaving, while laughing.     I show him my recently cleaned teeth and run down the bus to take a seat next to him.   We chat loudly  during the journey.   I laugh everytime Skippy talks because his enthusiasm and volume is  brillliant.   He is clearly happy to be with his little sister and I with him.

Skippy is looking forward to the Easter special Dr. Who  episode,   he tells me about it.   I posit that maybe this bus is a TARDIS and one of the passengers is a time lord disguised as a local,   the conversation deteriorates from here on.  


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alan’s tip

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 | tags: ,  |

Words of wisdom from  either  a  specialist* or in this case a very friendly person at a bus stop who asked me what bus I was waiting for and where I was going.   I told her I was waiting for  the X32 to Harwell innovation centre.   Based on this brief information she gave me a couple of tips:


you’ll be wanting the 32 to Chiltern,   not to Harwell,   there aint no atomic place at Harwell.  

Don’t get a taxi,   it costs 20 quid.   I’ll ask the taxi driver,   you’ll see.


The friendly person had a seasonal all routes bus pass and rather than sit at the cold bus stop waiting for her own bus she decided to get on my bus to make sure that I got off at the right stop then catch her own bus home.  It never ceases to impress me how  caring and conscientious bus users are.


*  past tips provided by Alan the hairdresser.   Lucia the hairdresser, an anonymous  manicurist, a Jackson’s sales assistant  and Reading Police

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Thursday, February 26th, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

why I love England #7: surreality

Man On Bus (MOB): It’s all foreign to you innit?!

Wendy:   Yur, t’is!

MOB: Just shut one eye and whistle (smiles and winks as he disembarks the bus)

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virgin underpass

Saturday, January 10th, 2009 | tags: ,  |


Next to the Marlborough St. Bus station in Bristol is a rather unattractive small shopping complex that has provided homes for budget shops. In the late 1970’s the shop at the end of the underpass (below) sold second hand vinyl records. It was one of the best second hand record shops in Bristol.  


The shop  was good because it was big and the staff  checked the quality of the records,  knew and cared about the music.  


I would enjoy spending hours in the shop. It was called ‘Virgin records’, before the first Virgin records mega store opened in London  Probably  around the same time the record label was founded

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going to bus full

Friday, December 5th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

sat at the back of a bus heading to bus full,   approaching the Wendy House.   A man in front (MIF)  rises, stands looking at the packed standing passengers in the isle.

Wendy: are you getting off at the next stop?

MIF: I don’t think we’ll make it (looks at crowded passengers in the Isle)

Wendy:   If we start now we could get half way to the door,   I’ll follow you

MIF: (steps into crowded Isle and stands still)

Wendy: (offers my seat to a person standing and asks to swap places with a person ahead in the isle)

We start to make our way down the bus,   politely asking each individual to swap places with us…  …slowly we make progress.   We manage to get off near the Wendy House.  

Once again,   bus full is a destination  that has evaded discovery.

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chainsaw accident

Sunday, October 19th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

overheard on a bus

….minor accident with a chainsaw…..     ….it was turned-off…     …he still has all his fingers…

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bus full

Friday, October 17th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Bus fullDespite the provision of FREE buses to get from downtown Reading to the Thames Valley business Park (TVP)  I regularly walk.  

This has the fabulous side effect of keeping me fit,   for FREE!

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Friday, September 26th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Why I love England #4.    welcoming

England welcomes all sorts of people,  even bus enthusiasts, as long as they behave like responsible citizens by following health and safety instructions and reporting suspicious unattended packages to the appropriate security authorities.
Bus Enthusiasts

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waterside ceremony

Friday, July 11th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

What is  an English waterside ceremony?

Lots of people wearing gender-defined colourful, often impractical, clothes and hats  travel to a small Oxfordshire town to shout at teams of very muscular young adults rowing boats rather fast on a straight-stretch of the River Thames.   Pedestrians weave between cars* jammed in the roads while  police people politely suggest,   then instruct, that  the pedestrians stay on the pavements.   Not to mention the barrels of Pimms  flowing,  gallons of champagne popping,   and glasses of  Brakspear sinking in Public Houses,   car parks,    and by the riverside.    It was the annual  Henley Royal Regatta.

 * I took the 850 arriva bus from Reading to High Wycombe, hopped off at Henley,  and a jolly pleasant ride it was too.

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Tuesday, July 1st, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

 I am a traveller when commuting,   most weekends, and for a couple of weeks in GREECE (Whoooooopieee!).  

The word traveller is now used in the UK to describe people that take their home (caravan) with them when they move.   It apears to include the older reference groups (Gypsies,   Romanies,   Tinkers)  that I am more familiar with and may include newer groups that I am not familiar with.  

Recently,   in the spirit of travelling,  I rode bus #20 around Lower Earley.   For fun.   I as able to sit above the driver at the front of the bus and wave at other local Reading people that I knew.    I saw some camper-vans parked on the grass of Cintra park (formerly Sutton Seeds sports ground)  with people picnicing outside.   Get Reading reports that these are travellers that regularly stay in the Park every year,   this year they arrived just before a fence as due to be errected with the specific intent of keeping them out.     I wonder if they come to take full advantage of Jackson’s summer sale?


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alighted at British Gas

Saturday, June 21st, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Boarding the outstanding,   yet not bio-ethanolically-fueled, free Thames Valley Park commuter bus I was forced by proximity to listen to a Scottish man wearing a back suit,   pink tie and highly polished shoes have a conversation with one of his work colleagues,   it started:

‘have those pissheads on the platform fwcked it up yet?’

and went down hill rapidly.   He alighted at the British Gas company bus stop.  

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feet and sugar beet

Friday, June 20th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Recently,   while much of the UK  was panic stocking on petrol,   in  Reading pedestrians were riding Bio-ethanol fuelled buses on route 17.    In Sept 2006 Stagecoach single-decker buses were  trialled in Merseyside, Yorkshire, Tyne and Wear, and Greater Manchester.    Stagecoach introduced 8 singledecker buses in Kilmarnock running on cooking oil.   Apparanly nearby residents got discounted travel rights in return for donating cooking oil.

According to the BBC,   who are terribly credible,   Reading is the first area in Britain to supply  a BIG fleet of 14  bio-fuelled buses.   The first doubledecker bus trialled in Reading in October 2007,   was called ‘Ethel’,   as were 2 of my mumzies aunties.   Get Reading reports:

Reading Transport Ltd chief executive James Freeman watched the company’s newest and greenest bus roll in.   He said: “People in Reading are very environmentally-conscious, so now they can be sure when they choose to travel by bus they are making a green choice.

 Hurrah for conscientious, progressive,   Reading public transport services.   Route 17 is one of my absolutely favourite bus routes,   it carries over 6 million passengers per year.   That is LOTS.

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Saturday, June 14th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

Watch people on CCTV cameras,   LIVE,   on the number 17 bus!

Distributed social responsibility by having lots of witnesses to any naughtiness on the buses.   Everyone knows they are being watched.

Distributed snooping,   snooping in public, taking people watching to the next level.   The bus company will have witnesses to incidents,  

Reading bus services are cutting edge,   except perhaps for the requirement to pay to ride.   Using cash and having the exact change.   How archaic is that?   Why can’t I just have my retina scanned by one of these many inplace cameras and have the money directly deducted from the bank account of my choice?

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buggy bus

Thursday, May 1st, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

The free Thames Valley Park bus service is outstanding.   It not only provides free wireless internet access,   it also provides signs to let you know where the internet access might be  a bit buggy.

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mirror buses

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

The buses here are so clean and shiny they just give me a warm feeling all over,   its sweet,   though it will never replace the sheer jof of sitting over the driver on a double-decker.   yay!

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wrong way

Friday, March 7th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

Sat on the top of a Reading bus route 33,   exploring the hinterlands of Reading from the comfort of a heated doubledecker,   we pull up at a bus stop and I hear:

hoards of passengers downstairs:   the driver’s missed the turn,   gone the wrong way,   let me off!      

sound of people  stomping off the bus

little boy upstairs:  the bus has  gone the wrong way, do we have to get off?

man with litle boy: it might be the first time the drivers driven this route,   we can stay on and he’ll go near to our home.

The driver found a place to turn-around and continued on the right route without the passengers who like to have a good shout at someone who’s made,   what in the whole unvierse of mistakes is, a tiny easily retrievable mistake.

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3 buses at once

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Waiting in the cold March night air at a crowded bus stop…

Ottowan: I’ve learned so much from you British
Wendy: give an example?
Ottowan: how complaining can be used anywhere, anytime, to entertain complete strangers, like at a bus stop where you’re waiting 30 minutes for buses that are sKeduled to turn up every 8 mins
Wendy: nods, giggles, “look, there are 3 buses coming now” and 3 buses did indeed arrive together

Does this count as a good commute story?

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kissie kissie

Thursday, February 14th, 2008 | tags:  |

one bus makes advances to the back of another one and the whole world gets commercially romantic.  

Consider this post a freebie of affection,   bought to you by public transport.  

Happy Valentines day to all who made my visitors statsitics swell,  

you are swell  


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apologising with aplomb

Sunday, January 20th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

Apologies are used in a subtly different way here in the UK than   in the NW  US.   This bus uses a lively exclamation mark.   It feels  more like a cheerful announcement than  a humble  seeking of forgiveness.   I don’t recall the word sorry used in this cheerful way as frequently in the NW US  as in the UK.

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centre of the universe or small town? part II

Saturday, December 29th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

Before moving to the temporary Wendy House in Reading I spent all of 5 minutes looking for bloggers who confessed to a connection with Reading.   I found Reading Roars and Scary Duck.   After turning up in Reading I  built a ‘feel’ for liveable-in places in Reading by riding some of the local bus routes.   Most circular routes appear to take less than 45 mins.   That’s a sizist  comment: “Reading,   the  size of  several 45 mins circular bus routes“.     Apparantly this photograph of buses passing on Route 24 was taken very near the cardboard box that ScaryDuck claims to live in.  

How cosy is that?

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Wednesday, December 26th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

People who hail from Reading are (pick one option or add one of your own making):

  • Readingensians
  • Readonians
  • Readibus
  • Readifolk
  • Readipop

Thanks to Adam Sowan for raising my awareness of these options. Obivously I like the Readibus option because of my prediliction for buses.   But how do you get to be a Readibus?   So far I’ve found 2 things:

  1. living in close proximity to the big white house or at least being able to identify it by its address
  2. Working for specific companies or at specific locations (e.g. Thames Valley Park) .  

What other things do you think it takes to hail from Reading?   When will I have been ‘localised’  (in a conmputer jaron sense of the word)?

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N26 and N27

Friday, December 14th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

This moving malarky is intense, unrelenting  and exhausting:    decision,   decision, decision,   pack, pack, pack,   sell, sell, sell, donate, donate, donate, comma, comma, comma….

I will be treating myself to a long ride on the top of double-decker bus as relaxation one  Sunday in  Reading.  

I like the look of the N26 and the N11.  

The bus service in Reading is of award winning European standard!   Hoorah!   The Reading “PLUSBUS’ service won the International Road Transport Union Eurochallenge Award 2007 judged by an independent panel of European senior transport experts.   Oh, OH, OHHHHH,   I feel a bout of bus-geeky over-excitement about to break out….   If I get one friend to come with me we can be a ‘group’ and  buy a   bargain group ticket for all  day Sunday travel  for only 5 GBP.     I may take Flat Eric.   It’s oh too exciting,   don’t you just wish you could sit up there with us and make bus-appropriate sound effects and faces at the pedestrians we pass?   Simply hours of good clean fun to be had.

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