Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Real Time or Real Pain [2]

Oxontime, Clocks on Time, What's on Time?

fbb has previously commented adversely on electronic information in York; "York I D ten T I C" (read again). There were obvious problems at Slough; "Hairy Fair-y Berks Larks 3" (read again).
And this was from Derby's new Bus Station. Even overlooking the 1058 to "Undefined Alias", that lovely spot on the outskirts of the city, the 1055 and 1058 to "Derby Circular" are particularly pointless. And back in Sheffield's main interchange the service 95 screens tell you that the route runs via Western Bank; which it doesn't and never has done.

But fbb is now in Wantage.
After a somewhat unhelpful search of Oxfordshire's electronic information service "on-line", Real Time or Real Pain [1] (read again), fbb is now in place outside "The Bear" at Market Place. That is actually Wantage Market Place, but the computer system doesn't seem to know that.

fbb arrives to see the Stagecoach service 31 to Oxford via Abingdon waiting with welcoming open door. But only services X30 and 32 are appearing on the "real time" screen on the bus stop flag. The 31 sets off unannounced.

So what information should be displayed? Goody, goody, there is a poster on one of the two stops. Needless to say it is NOT on the stop which shows the electronic display and where the main "computer-zap" buses leave from!
This informs fbb that the ONLY Wantage bus to be capable of delivering Oxontime is Thames Travel's service 32. Yes, oh expectant reader, you guessed it; the poster is utterly out of date. It became even more out of date from Sunday 24th when Oxford Citybus and Stagecoach joined hands in holy matrimony to offer joint city services. It's all change on local city routes.
After observing for just over an hour and debating hotly with No. 1 son who (a) lives there, (b) uses the bus to get to work in the hallowed halls of academe in Oxford and, (c) occasionally draws comfort from the departure screens, fbb is more confused than ever.

Undaunted, the chubby one tries the "text for times" service at huge expense on his mobile phone. This offers X30, 32 AND the missing 31 information.

It appears that the times are simply a bus locator (using GPS?) and not related to the actual timetable at all. So when the bus arrives at Market Place all information disappears from the screen. The bus is there, so all is well. But what happens when buses disappear from screens en route? A potential passenger arriving tight for time might retreat, believing he had missed his bus, only to watch, from afar, the bus zoom past.

But Wantage "local" travellers can choose their omniscient options on the 32, but remain ignorant of the 38 ...
... which, of course, isn't on the system but doubles the frequency to Grove. Indeed none of the infrequent "country" routes is covered, so, where information is absolutely critical, it simply isn't available. Indeed, apart from little numbers on the bus stop flag, MOST of the infrequent, but essential, rural links are totally unexplained. There is no information at all.

Never mind, there is a poster at the stop advertising diversions and re-arrangements for the Wantage October Fair.

For 2010! 

In the hour or so that fbb was there, not a single person raised their eyes slightly heavenwards to look at the "real time" display.

And as a final futility, the next service 31 arrived and immediately disappeared from the screen; only to re-appear almost immediately as arriving 16 minutes later (and thus 16 minutes late). For those 16 minutes the bus sat here; but this time with doors firmly closed as the driver repaired to the nearby coffee shop for a cuppa and a wad.

Perhaps Oxontime really should be Oxotime and,
like Leicestershire's Star Trak, be crumbled into that great electronic cooking pot in the sky. It's certainly not much use at Wantage. Sorry, not much use at Market Place!

The poster suggests referring to "the timetable" when "Oxontime" is unavailable. No 1 son, who has lived there for years, knows of nowhere local that fbb could go to be certain of obtaining such a mysterious piece of printed propaganda, and definitely not on a Saturday. "You cold try the "Help Centre", he opines hesitantly, pointing to a resolutely closed shop near 'The Bear', "they might have some, if you're lucky."  Why is fbb not surprised?

More recent clients of the fbb blog may also like to refer to:-
"Worrying Wantage Wangerings (Part I)" (read again)
"Worrying Wantage Wanderings (Part II)" (read again)

Next blog : due Thursday July 28th  


  1. Great expectations

    Life is full of surprises, particularly if you are a newly - wed . Expressjodi you a glimpse into the future and tells how to be prepared to face married life

    Love is all about romance whereas marriage is a lot about responsibility. When two different individuals from different backgrounds live together, differences of opinion on things like spending habits, career, having and raising a baby, sharing household responsibilities etc, are bound to crop up, the key is to broaden your outlook and accept all the changes that marriage brings, and to remember that marriage is a momentous change for you and your spouse. And, fear not, over a period of time, you will find a way to make it work.


    With marriage comes a whole lot of responsibility. "From the time you ger married, the decisions you make will not be yours alone, but your partner's as well. This is because your choices will impact both of you. But this doesn't mean that you're tied to a ball and chain. "It only means you have a companion with you for life. In fact, in your capacity as a spouse, you become your partner's caretaker, friend, confidante and even punching bag etc.


    Arguments over money are bound to happen, so be prepared for it. And unless you establish some ground rules for dealing with financial issues, you will continue to have these arguments. Bear in mind that you are now a part of a unit, and no longer flying solo.

    In - laws or outlaws?

    if you thought that marriage is all about sharing your life with your significant other, think again, and this time, factor in your in - laws into the equation. When you're used to a particular lifestyle, moving in with your in - laws can be a rude shock. You will be required to make changes in your daily routine. Like waking up a little earlier to help around the house or rescheduling your plans on weekends or even modifying some of your eating habits. these might seem like an additional burden, particularly if you are a working woman. Remember to keep an open mind when it comes to handling your in - laws. They may be rigid in their ways, but there is always a way to work out a compromise.

    Sharing space

    Marriage involves sharing everything - whether it is sadness or glad tidings, chores or finance, which can be a difficult task. This is why marriage necessitates an equal contribution from both side. " Sharing is absolutely essential for a happy marriage,. Besides making it easier to run the show, it also brings you closer to your partner, and cement a bond in a way that only experience can.
    Differnces of opinion

    Shaadi brings two different individuals together, as well as two sets of arguments for everything. Remember that your husband is as new to the marriage and the relationship as you, and he is facing the same issue for the first time as well.Irrespective of the nature of the relationship, any two people are bound to have differences of opinion at some point of time, It is how you handle these differences that mtters. The best antidote for deviant interest lies in adapting to the situation. "Be carteful not to retaliate for the sake of it,"

    Planning for the future

    As a single independent working woman, you may be used to your lifestyle, going on holidays or splurging on the latest pair of Jimmy Choos. But married life is a journey and you need to plan carefully to get to your destination. "Planning is the key. Make sure you and your husband are on the same page as far as long - term goal are concerned," "Whether or not you plan to have a baby or deciding on investments for the future and are thing that you should discuss in advbance, if you want to avoid unpleasant surprises in you married life,"

  2. Brahmin Shaadi
    Historically, the Brahmins in india were divided into two major groups based on geographical origin of the people. The Brahmin groups that lived to the north of the vindhyas were referred to as Dravida Brahmins. Each group was further divided into five sections according to the regions of their settlement.

    The Sagaai or the engagement ceremony symbolises commitment However, the South Indian Brahmin do not lay stress on the presence of bride and the groom in their Sagaai, rather it focuses on commitment between the parents of the groom and the bride. 'Latto' i.e., 'engagement plate' Which consist of coconut, flowers, turmeric, betel leaves and betel nuts hold more importance, in their engagement ceremony. The Maithil Brahmin bride of bihar makes her wedding affair stand apart by receiving the blessing from the Dhobi's (washerman's) wife - a compulsory tradition in the Bihari Brahmin wedding.

    In Haldi ceremony turmeric powder is mixed with milk, almond oil and sandalwood and applied to the bride and the groom. In Kashmiri Pandit this ceremony has a twist becuase cold, white yoghurt is poured on the bride as an alternative to haldi. ritual is followed by a special custom called Shankha (shell) Paula (coral) in bengali Brahmins, where seven married women embellish the bride's hand with red and white bangles, the shell is supposed to calm the bride and the coral is believed to
    be beneficial for health. Mehndi is also applied on every bride's hands during the Mehndi ceremony. However, a Bengali Brahmin bride applies alta (red dye).

    After the ceremonious arrival of the groom, the garlands are exchanged between the groom and the bride, while the priests chant mantras. Jaimala is the symbol of unifying two souls into one. But in tamil nadu, "Oonjal", a unique jaimala ceremony is performed and could be best decribed as a tug of war. In this ceremony, the women sing songs to encourage the bride and groom to exchange the garlands while the uncles persuade the soon to be couple not to Exchange the garlands.Before the ceremony of jaimala, the bride makes a majestic entry in Bengali weddings.

    Mangal Phere
    Fire is considered the most pious element in the Brahmin weddings and seven circles around that fire holds the seven promises that the nuptial couple make to each other amidst the Vedic mantras. The Brahmin wedding is deemed incomplete without the seven rounds around the sacred fire. Unlike other Brahmin weddings, in Gujarati weddings only four pheras are taken which are called the mangalpheras where the pheras represent four basic human goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Miksha (religious, moral, prosperity and salvation). Likewise in Malayalee Brahmin weddings, pheras are taken only thrice.

    Post wedding ceremony vidaai
    After pheras, the bride's family and friend bid her teary vidaai (farewell). The Kashmiri pundits make their vidaai even more special. their charming ritual, "roth khabar" is performed on a saturday or tuesday after the wedding. In Roth
    khabar, the bride's parents send a roth (bread decorated with nuts) to their son - in - law's family. But the bride accompanies She stay with her parents and returns only when someone from in laws comes to fetch her back.

    Griha pravesh
    The new bride is greeted by her mother - in - law with Arti and tilak. The bride, who is regarded as the Goddess laxmi, enters the groom's house after the groom's house after kicking rice - filled pot. In Kannada Brahmin marriages, the groom changes the name of his wife in the name change ceremony where he decides a name for his wife and inscribes it on a plate containing rice with a ring. In Bihar, a very strange ritual is performs at the groom's place.