Saturday, 23 August 2014

fbb's Steyning Day; NOT Stenning, Ray. [1]

Some weeks back, fbb and Mrs were staying with their No 3 son in his flat on Shoreham Beach. One morning the old couple (odd couple?) took a trip by bus to Steyning. The journey began at the northern end of the recently built replacement footbridge where a Brighton and Hove decker is the vehicle supplied.
The five year old motors are branded for the 2 ...
... and form an hourly projection of the 20 minute frequency service from Rottingdean via Woodingdean to Brighton, continuing via the hinterland of Portsland to Shoreham.
Arrival was in a Sussex monsoon and the fbbs were short on waterproofing. This meant the visit to Steyning would, perforce, be somewhat curtailed. Nevertheless the pair were full of eager anticipation as they alighted at 1105.
Brighton & Hove [B&H] publish full fare tables from which we can glean that the fare scale is coarse.
£2.40 from Steyning (Shootingfield/High St) to Shoreham, but only £2.60 all the way to Rottingdean! There are the usual discount offers to reduce the pain for frequent travellers.
Note that local city crusties get a better deal than "furriners", being allowed free travel from 0900 to 0400; BUT the nice kind council does offer mitigation by allowing free travel ford the rest of us TWO MINUTES EARLY from Steyning.

On one side of Steyning High Street, sadly not the side where most passengers wait, is a truly magnificent people shelter. [Ex brother-in-law used to insist that such edifices were NOT bus shelters as you could not realistically squeeze a bus inside!]
The shelter also includes that essential feature of elderly travel, public conveniences. But there was also a notice announcing the shelter's closure. Shame!
But only for two days. How sensible of the Parish Council to (a) warn us all and (b) to do the work at the weekend when usage will be less busy.

The village minibus arrived to disgorge a few elderly residents into the pouring rain ...
To use this service you have to be a member; but once you have joined you can book trips to neighbouring communities or, as on the Friday of the fbbs' visit, simply into the High Street.
Other "big bus" services from Steyning include a huge variety of schools, shoppers and rural routes, none offering anything that might be called a "frequent" service. Compass Bus is the main provider of tendered services in the area.
With little opportunity for onward travel and the rain trickling down their necks, the fbb's sought solace in Truffles coffee shop opposite the soon-to-be repainted shelter, seen here in sunnier climes.
By the time blogger and spouse had trifled as slowly as they dared over a coffee and a teasted toecake ...
... the rain had abated to a mere downpour. Thanks to a leisurely layover for service 2 at the Shootingfield terminus, they had about 1½ hours to enjoy refreshments inside the delights of the town outside. Just along the road was Cobblestone Walk.
Come and explore this historic shopping village where you will find over 20 individual and unique independent businesses selling a wide range of products such as dog accessories and treats, fearies and angels, handbags, shoes, scarves, handmade, fashion and gemstone jewellery, fascinators, hand knitted baby items, haberdashery, crafts, childrens toys, vitamins and supplements, shabby chic accessories for your home, aviation and steam prints, cards and gifts, gifts and homewares inspired by nature and the sea, vintage treasures, ethnic and fair trade products, handcrafted chopping boards and accessories, hand painted water colour prints and cards also card readings and spiritual healing, massage and beauty treatments to relax you.

Fbb eschewed the "faeries", sought out but did not find a "handmade" (handmaid?), declined the offer of yet more shabby chic for his home (everything at fbb towers is just shappy, ignore the chic!) and decided that the effluxion of life's span put massage and beauty treatments in the "too little, too late" category. Committed Christians don't "do" card readings and the sort of "spiritual" healing on offer here. Most of the traders were mature matriarchs who sat knitting inside their client-less garden chalets that had been tastefully distributed round the back yard.
fbb felt so sorry for a slightly younger personage of the female gender ensconced in her health products hut ...
... that he entered and bought a bag of nuts (£1.80) which came with a helpful lecture from mine hostess on the health benefits of same.

A watery sun had now appeared and there was time for a quick saunter along the High Street of this picturesque little town. But, damp and cold, fbb and Mrs were very ready to join the shelterless queue for the 1225 service 2 back to Shoreham-by-Sea.
As a last act of elderly defiance, fbb would have loved to ring the fire bell just before hopping onto the bus ...
... but sadly the handle was no longer connected to any convenient clanger!

So it was a sad goodbye to an appealing little community that deserved a longer and more thorough explore.
Hopefully No 3 son will invite his old folks back and they can try again.

Of course, many years ago, they could have done the journey by train.

 Next bus/rail blog : Sunday 24th August 

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