Friday, 26 May 2017

An Hour in Barrow in Furness

I only went to Barrow to get the bus out, but the combination of train times from Lancaster and infrequent bus times on the coast road to Ulverston meant I had an enforced hour to spend in the town.

Like much of the north-west, and indeed the country as a whole, Barrow has seen better days and I did wonder whether sixty whole minutes might be too long, especially first thing on a Monday morning, when nowhere is at its best.

But I was pleasantly surprised.  Most towns have a statue or two to commemorate some local bigwig - usually a military man or an industrialist who made his money on the backs of the local workforce. To be fair, Barrow has at least one of these, but the statue right in the town centre is rather different:

They may be anonymous, but at least you can be sure they worked for a living.

Then there was this chap:

These mannequins turn up outside butchers' shops all over the country in a variety of different coloured aprons, with or without hats and sometimes with cleavers or other implements of the butchery trade. Regular readers of this blog might not be surprised to learn that I have a growing collection of photographs of them.  In Barrow I bagged two - "Big Baz" above on the High Street and his smaller cousin in the market hall.

On another stall in the market I was able to buy some of my favourite sweets  direct from Wigan. . . 

. . .served as they should be - from a glass (well, plastic) jar into a paper bag.

"and finally" (as befits a news-related item) Barrow is one of the last places where the (locally-owned) "evening" newspaper (on sale in the mornings these days) is still sold through on-street newsvendors

Even though he wasn't shouting out "Evenin' Maaaaaail" or some such, I couldn't resist buying a copy of the paper from which I learnt the astonishing news that Barrow's rugby league team had just played an away match in Toronto, Canada, following the admission of the Toronto Wolfpack to the third tier of the English Rugby League!

So, after an hour in the town I could hardly tear myself away to get the bus!

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