Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Going for Gold! : Going for First? [2]

Going for Gold! : Going for First? [1] is (here)

Overhead from a Stagecoach staff member, "We'll go in through the toilet window!"
That would be the window of the staff "rest room" in the Dartmouth River Boats enquiry and ticket office? fbb will proffer an explanation later. Meanwhile, having stressfully abandoned Torquay, the fbbs arrived at Totnes Steamer Quay in time to watch Stagecoach people set up.
Note the essential pre-toil coffee cups! After some debate, however, all was unset up, the bus was turned round and re-prepared for fun and frolic ...
... with stagecoach staff busily stuffing "goody bags".
It was soon time to begin. The anonymous Mayor of Totnes, Pruw Boswell (fbb research revelation), uttered a few memorably inaudible words followed by a slight increase in volume from the Stagecoach South West Managing Director whose name fbb did not hear (Michael Watson - more fbb research). He welcomed all, assured us of his desire to seek advice and opinions and then ...
... the gold tape was cut ...
... with Stagecoach Gold liveried scissors!
A nice touch, that, sadly not spotted by any of the "performers" or organisers! Understandably, staff cuts at Stagecoach meant that Mrs Mayor had to hold the tape for Mr Stagecoach to cut. The person on the right was gold statue man ...
... a feature designed to enhance the gilded image and frighten young children. Talking of image, gold statue man's was slightly tarnished as he got out of his car and walked over to take up his unmoving place on his plinth. The image was further undermined when it turned out that "he" was a "she". fbb had hoped that it was Brian Souter suitably sprayed!

There were loads of goodies. Balloons filled from that essential feature of Stagecoach bus rides, namely a whopping gold cylinder of gas.
Sadly, these were not distributed. fbb was deeply disappointed not to have a balloon to take home. But other souvenirs were there for the taking; gold "bugs", gold pens and gold leaflets. Gold mugs were for display only (boo!).
Some lucky people were appointed honorary Charlie Buckets and given a gold "Gold" ticket offering free travel for two for a day, but only on the Stagecoach Gold "gold" routes.
fbb was given one; hardly an act of self-effacing generosity as the chubby one has free oap travel anyway; but appreciated nevertheless.

While all this was going on, singer Celine (not Dion) ...
... chirruped ditties with the theme of ...

... now what was it? Can't quite remember? ...

Oh, yes. Gold!

Incidentally, it was the cable for Celine's amplifier that went in through the toilet window, not, disappointingly, the Stagecoach Director. Now that would have been a scoop for fbb.

Then all invited guests trotted off to the nearby Steamer Quay cafe ...
... for tea and buns. The young lady in charge of the caff was exceedingly kind and helpful and the cuppa was one of the best fbb has supped since his Devonian epiphany. Note also the colour of the napkins!
But the catering highlight, nay the highlight of the whole day, was the Stagecoach Gold biscuit.
With thick gold (coloured) icing and edible "gold" labels these shortcake lovelies were, at about a million calories each, just superb.

A splendid day; well done and many thanks to Stagecoach for the fbbs' invite.

All that remained was to take a piccy or two of Gold buses in service just up the road at Westonfields in Totnes. The 1226 journey towards Totnes ...
... running three minutes late. And the 1230 to Torquay ...
... running three minutes early! Naughty, naughty! 
But at least we now know what the route "number" is, and, more importantly, both had a goodly smattering of passengers. Not at all bad for a first day.

Now if only fbb could remember the name of this exciting new service.
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News breaking yesterday
From BBC Wales came the news that Arriva has announced that it is closing its operations is mid-Wales in December. It would appear hat this is NOT a sale but a total withdrawal of routes from Aberystwyth and possibly Dolgellau. The latter may well be a BBC misunderstanding.
The BBC may be a good broadcaster but it is not very good on buses and the article begs many questions; but it seems certain that the main interurban services south of the University town will disappear from Arriva's portfolio.

A commercial done deal; or political posturing?

There has been omibological unease in Wales for some time.
More in due course.
Thanks to correspondent Bob for sending the "cutting".
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 Next Bus Blog (back to Dijon) : Thursday 3rd September 

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