Wednesday, 5 August 2015

From Donkey to Mule [1]

For those who have been kind enough to get in touch (click to enlarge) ...
Thank you for your messages of sympathy, support and your prayers.
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A Late-Running Blog : and an intriguing web site
Welcome to the world of Mendip Mule Motorbus, Somerset's new specialist open top bus operator.

From a background in tourist transport dating back to the 70s, and previous experience in operating open top buses in the 90s ...
Mr Mule's previous existence : running open top
in Shanklin IoW as a Southern Vectis franchise

... a seed sown in April 2013 has grown into our July 2015 launch.

We offer TOPLESS TOURS during the season in 3 different locations in Somerset, Dorset and Devon, plus operations at SPECIAL EVENTS in the South West region, coupled with a competitive PRIVATE HIRE menu.

On offer we have:
TDL 564K - THE MENDIP MULE ITSELF (our very rare Bristol built 1971 single decker)  beautifully redecorated for her new Mendip based role.
BJG 674V - MENDIP MULE'S BIG SISTER - the classic Bristol built 1980 double deck open topper - offering stunning views from the top deck and a lower deck newly upholstered in soft trim moquette.

We have already grown a friendly specialist team of part time drivers, engineers, I.T., design and book keeping helpers, managed by owner Derek Gawn. We have strong connections with the famous Somerset Illuminated Carnivals and, where possible, pride ourselves on choosing to employ connected labour, to benefit the local carnival community. We also support the Donkey Sanctuary (Sidmouth) with an end of season donation from revenue. In Somerset our tour service is kindly supported by First Bus and Wookey Hole Caves. 

Looks like a professional job. The double deck is an ex East Kent VR (red bus, right) ...
... whilst the single decker is very familiar to fbb.
It was Southern Vectis' "Shanklin's Pony" (hence Mendip Mule - gettit?) seen above, languishing in the original Isle of Wight bus museum.  It is the Pony's owner, cheerful chappie Derek Gawm ...
... who has begun the rusky business of running open topped buses in the UK's glorious and predictable summer weather.
Derek runs three tours as follows:-
Seaton and Sidmouth

Bridport and Abbotsbury

Wookey Hole area

Due to "recent events" fbb did not pick up the details until accosted by our Senior Isle of Wight correspondent. So 'twas on a Monday morning (3rd inst) that fbb nipped along to Seaton Coach Park to record the 1015 departure with jovial Derek at the wheel (click on the timetable to enlarge).
Cleverly the timetable has the same pattern of five round trips each lasting 90 minutes at each of the three locations.

More to report on this venture tomorrow.

In the meantime, enjoy this amazing improvement to the infrastructure at Axmouth Harbour, just along the road from fbb towers.
This edifice of stunning architectural beauty has been provided via some hard won financial support and lengthy European negotations at the highest level.
video
To commemorate this achievement, the Axmouth authorities have commissioned a magnificent commemorative plaque now installed on the side of this luxurious new facility.
It is reported that one of our most celebrated Europeans is "over the moon" about this substantial benefit of EU membership..
Next project for Axmothians is to seek funding to allow residents to get sponsered for spelling lessons.

 Next mule blog : Thursday 6th August 

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