Friday, 19 January 2018

Water Football with Water, Biscuits (2)

Ashbourne Biscuits?
Readers of this blog who have an incisive memory of all the drivel that fbb manages to include in his daily ramblings will remember that No 1 son gave his old man a bag of comestibles for Christmas. One of the goodies was a packet of biscuits.
Open the packet and the contents look like After Eight chocs.
But they very much aren't!!
At the first bite thy taste like an ordinary "biscuit for cheese" but then the red chili explodes in the mouth like a fierce dentist's anaesthetic. Yarroooh!

But they are artisan-made here ...
... in an uninspiring "unit" on an industrial estate.

Ashbourne Bus Station?
Sheffield correspondent Roy has been on a trip to Ashbourne and was decidedly underwhelmed by its bus station. Walk along King Edward Street alongside the Railway Hotel ...
... and there it is!

There is a bus stop and a bus on Google Streetview.

The map says that the stop is part of the bus station ...
... although there appears to be no information at the stop to confirm what the map implies. But move forward to where the bus is standing and things look a bit better.
The grey rectangle under the pointy hand is an impressive toilet block ...
... closed, of course. Again, fbb asks, where is the bus station? Fortunately Roy sent a batch of helpful pictures. Behind the inconvenient convenience is the former Trent bus garage, looking decidedly forlorn.
Various businesses trade from within its sliding doors and, at the left hand end, is the decaying memory of the bus enquiry office (remember when we had those?).
Ahem! Where is the bus station? Here is the other bus stop sign (No 1 stop?) ...
... and here is a bus shelter.
The white lettering reads "Ashbourne Bus Station". Wowsers!

Was it ever more than one shelter; or did Trent buses have something more impressive in the forecourt of their garage? fbb does not know. But here is an old pic of National Express, having loaded at the previous shelter, then fabricated in picturesque concrete.
The blue panelled building is still apparent on StreetView ...
... but probably no longer in use!

Here is a selection of buses waiting alongside the wall of the Trent depot.
The house behind the red bus still stands.
Which leaves us with a key question. What constitutes a bus "station"? Should the travelling public expect certain standards of facility - e.g. toilets? What level of information might turn a one-shelter bus stop into a minimalist bus "station".

Even the most recent OS map has the appropriate symbol.
So, tomorrow, we look at the supply of information for users of Ashbourne's bus shelter station.

Geographical Misprunt
The fbb's church fellowship had a talk and demo from Wiltshire Farm Foods. Samples of grub were distributed and were surprisingly non-plastic in taste. fbb enjoyed his soupçon of beef stoo and veg ...
... and because your helpful blogger assisted with the tidying up, there was a significant splodge of stoo left unserved. So with a selfless dedication to reducing waste, fbb shovelled it up. The range is vast - particularly intriguing were puréed meals for those who, for medical reasons, could not manage real solids. Not quite sausage, mash and peas ...
... but much more attractive than a simple blitzed heap of glurp.

The company claims to use local produce as much as possible, including yoghurt.
Whoops! Write out Shaftesbury 100 times.

 Next Ashbourne blog : Saturday 20th January 


  1. Fond memories of the earlier bus station in Ashbourne in mid 1970's. Several smaller operators and Stevensons - even found remains of a timetable poster for a Dove Valley.

    Most people expect a bus station to have an information point and a public toilet there or nearby. Nice if it also has some bus services!

  2. There is a huge variation in the level of passenger facilities found in bus stations. But that's also true of railway stations.

  3. Last time I was in Ashbourne (September '17) the bus station area had been spruced up and the old toilet block that you found on Streetview had gone. True, the 'bus station' is now nothing more than a shelter - but at least it's a long one for at least two buses to draw up alongside, and it's modern.

    This is just a sign of the times - fewer buses require fewer stands. Another Derbyshire 'bus station' has even fewer buses - Castleton.

    It seems inevitable that many other bus stations will shrink to match the level of usage, especially when situated on valuable land - Sheffield Interchange is a prime example, frequently almost deserted and taking up at least two or three times as much space as it currently needs.

    The picture with the two coaches - no doubt on rural bus services - and the Trent double-decker behind is at the same location as the current facility - not against the wall of the Trent garage as stated.

  4. My last visit was also in September. I think that the old buildings are now completely empty - Trent moved out to the Industrial Estate several years ago and Community Transport have also moved. I was told that Sainsbury's, whose existing store is just to the side, want to expand onto the bus station site. Incidentally, whilst the public toilets have been demolished, it's about 50m to those in Sainsbury's.

  5. There are numerous places that have places designated as "bus stations" that really are little other than a couple of roadside stands or a layover point. A number of these are facilities built on the redeveloped site of an earlier much more substantial facility - perhaps some sort of condition of the redevelopment e.g. Monmouth or Cinderford where a depot and bus station/terminus used to exist.

    Of course, it would be lovely (in the 1950s world where FBB sometimes seems to reside) to have a bus enquiry office. This may be ok in a larger town but a place like Ashbourne (with a population of c.10k) just can't justify it. Imagine the costs - one member of staff = £25k (all up cost incl. holiday cover, pensions, staff on costs) plus the actual cost of the building (rent, rates, utilities). Back in the day, there would have been revenue from National Express, holidays etc but that has largely been removed by the internet (and before that, telesales and teletext).

    It does raise the question of the UK's most parlous bus station.... I would nominate St. Just in Cornwall that has one main bus service every hour during the winter plus a few others during the day.

    Other honourable mentions for their utilitarianism and minimalist approach would be:

    Walker and Winlaton bus stations in the Newcastle environs

    Pocklington bus station - the yard in front of the depot

    St Boswells bus stance - a bus stop where Border Buses interchange though it does have public toilets

    Storrington bus stand - a layby behind the shops

    I'm sure that there are plenty of others that I've ignored that fulfil the criteria!

  6. Andrew Kleissner19 January 2018 at 16:53

    I'm intrigued by the "baked by hand" claim on the lid of the biscuit box. Surely they're put into an oven to bake??

  7. Hoorah then for Lincoln’s new bus station opening 28th January. Public preview today. Purpose built by local authority, enclosed waiting concourse with 14 sawtooth departure bays, light and airy, plenty of seats, cafe, information desk, toilets (20p), plenty of printed timetables, city centre location and next to railway station 😀

  8. Damory to the rescue. Crossways bus service ditched by First.

    As listed on the Traffic Commissioners website today.

    Details are on Travel line with at least four round trips: Dorchester, Crossways to Weymouth Monday to Saturday.

    1. Hmm. Good news yes. But is it commercial or supported? Given it operates across peak hours presume there is subsidy ...

  9. FBB should be aware of the wooden bus shelter at Wellow in the Isle of Wight which for many years, but I believe gone now, carried a sign made from the official NBC letraset lettering on a metal plate proudly naming it Wellow Bus Station. I notice that the current timetable still refers to it as such and so, presumably, the stop flag does as well. One man's joke perpetuated.