Saturday, 24 October 2015

The fbb's Sleep in a Church!

A Return to the Isle of Wight.
This time via Red Funnel
fbb last blogged on this particular crossing over three years ago (read again). So this trip offered a chance to see if anything had changed.

Nothing has changed. This sign is still the only reference to Southampton's bus network and leads to just one service.
There is plenty of room for bus timetable leaflets with one very large rack and two carousels. None of these is full ...
... so there would be oodles of room for bus stuff. Presumably First Southampton and GoAhead's Bluestar don't want any passengers from the ferry to make an onward journey by bus? Just outside is one of Southampton City Council's posh new bus stop signs and frames.
That little smear below the grey-green bit on the bus stop flag tell us what actually stops there.
Sadly, there are no step ladders or binoculars available to enable the enquirer to read it. There is a departure list in the frame ...
... easy to read if you are about 6 feet tall and have brought your magnifying glass with you. Attached to the pole is another huge empty frame with one tiny notice explaining that the Citylink free bus to shops and station isn't.
Fortunately a poster in the shelter clarifies the fare ...
... and includes a departure list that you can actually read.
No timetable, of course.

Having ascertained that nobody cares about onward bus travel for ferry passengers from the Isle of Wight, fbb, Mrs and chum were ready to board Red Eagle for their sail abroad to the Island.
It was all very familiar! Except for one big development (?). The huge Union Flag painted for HM The Queens' Silver Jubilee in 1977 on the former Westland's works (even more formerly, Saunders-Roe), was recently in very faded blue and red with a hefty touch of green mould.
So it has been repainted. It looks fantastic!
The work was completed in August 2012, the Summer before fbb left the Island. The big shed has seen many transport developments; notably the ultimately failed Saunders Roe flying boat seen here stored in 1954.
A few years later, of course, the SRN4 cross-channel hovercraft emerged from its portals, launched in 1968.
The shed to the right of the flag is now emblazoned with "". fbb wonders what is made there!

But ship building has returned to the big Union Flagged shed after many tears. Earlier this year Red Funnel announced that its newest fast passenger ferry would be built on the Island and in that historic hangar.
Samuel Edgar Saunders and Alliot Verdon Roe would be dead chuffed to know!

The gaff for the three night Island stay was to be "Old Church House" on Crocker Street, Newport. The name was "invented" by the owners when they converted it from the former Christian Science Reading Room.
Therein lies a tale. After being in residence for a year, Gian (aka John) was concerned that he had not received a Council Tax bill. Upon enquiring he was told that omission was because the property did not exist! After much searching, the truth was revealed. The property did not exit in the ethereal world of council tax because it was registered as a "church" and this free of such an impost. You can be a church if you have at least four services a year.

Now what a good idea! Sorry, no dice. You would have to be officially churchified by a recognised denomination. Sadly, the idea of setting up fbb mansions in Seaton as a place of worship would not be acceptable.


Mine Host is also an architect and has his office front and right.
An excellent breakfast is served, more than adequate to sustain fbb until lunch! For those readers concerned that fbb's chloresterol meter might burst out of its dial at such an appallingly damaging diet, please be assured that he only had a half breakfast (half of that illustrated) yesterday. As for today ...
Thursday evening's steak dinner at Wetherspoons was delectable and superb value. Lots of "healthy" protein and a smallish portion if chips.

And as a super smashing bonus, the B&B had Southern Vectis timetables available for their guests.
How rare is that?

But we stay with a maritime theme tomorrow as we explore crossing the Solent by Scooter.

 Next Scooter blog : Sunday 25th October 


  1. Surely Cobb, the coloured columns on the Blue star Citylink display is a timetable?

  2. It is only a list of departures times which increasingly has replaced bus stop timetables. Arguably this route is short enough for a full timetable to be unnecessary but when checking a connection at the station, for example, it is good (and confidence building) to know when the bus gets there.

  3. Andrew Kleissner24 October 2015 at 09:21

    Ipswich Buses (where I live) are good on this.

    1. Proper timetables and a route map are easily available on the website. They are also easily available in their town centre enquiry office and Tourist Information office. (The latter also has timetables of other operators).

    2. All stops have information provided by Suffolkonboard. They do not have full timetables, but departure lists of all services (IB, First, independents) together with a schematic map of each route and approximate times to each timing point. As the town is small and most folk know where they're going this is possibly better than lots of full timetables which can be confusing to the non-cognoscenti.

    3. Some "real time" indicators are appearing in the town centre but I don't think they are fantastic! IB do provide up to date Twitter and Facebook information on late running and cancellations during weekday office hours and Saturday mornings.

    But, then, both the late MD of IB and his new successor are proper busmen!

  4. Andrew Kleissner25 October 2015 at 07:17

    As a busman, you ought to be ashamed(!) at forgetting to mention the London AEC Renown LTLs - otherwise known as "Scooters":

    I see that Scoot Ferries are intending to open Cowes-Pompey in a couple of weeks time ...