fbb and Mrs fbb are becoming creatures of habit; particularly on their sojourns in Sidmouth. Day 1 is always the same. A trip on Axe Velley Travel's sevice 899 from Sidmouth to Seaton.
"Beer is Best" (read again)
"The Axe Man of Seaton" (read again)
Devon have not produced a winter timetable this year, so fbb was surprised to be given an amendment sheet for the 899 when he collected his timetable from Sidmouth Tourist Information Centre. Had Auntie Frances Searle (the boss) has a rush of blood to the head and changed things?
NO, the amendment was exactly the same as before. Not sure why we were given one.
One possible change, at least according to a notice in the bus, is that Boris's Oyster Card has spread to East Devon. [not the vehicle pictured above.]
£50 fine for failing to produce the card. Although, at first glance, fbb couldn't see where to "touch in". Never mind; all 9 passengers (4 locals, 1 dog, 4 tourists) were "old crusties" and the driver took not a penny in cash fares.
Sidmouth is delightful 'cos it doesn't change.
Sidmouth Esplanade in 1937 looks very similar to Sidmouth Esplanade in 2011!
In fact the biggest change to the 899 was the headline news in this week's Sidmouth Herald that the delightful church at Branscombe is to get its first toilet since it was first built in 995! Yes, that IS 995, not a misprunt for 1995. Think of it; 1016 years of pious prayerful parishioners desperate for a ...
... short sermon! Thus we could enjoy a view of work in progress after the usual ride along roads about 3" narrower than the bus.
And so to Seaton for coffee and a bun, a look round the town and a £4.85 OAP Fish and Chip lunch complete with cup of tea in Frydays chippie and caff.
Seatons' big change is the controversial opening, on 23rd November, of a huge Tesco store.
Opinion is divided between those who welcome the "shopping opportunity" and those who see it as the final nail in the coffin for traditional retail traders in the town. Nevertheless, there is the quirky opportunity to travel from Colyton and Colyford on the "ancient" tram (summer only) and shop at the "modern" superstore.
Here we have a couple of trams on maintenance duties with the Costa Lot coffee shop at Tesco in the background.
And talking of coffee, one change in Sidmouth itself, a town which has largely resisted the onslaught of mediocre national chain brands in favour of local family run shops, is the arrival of its own Costa Lot coffee shop ...
... in the premises of the ancient "Old Ship" Inn, dating from 1350.
One public transport change that is particularly disappointing is a withdrawal of Devon's funding for the prestigious X53 on Sundays. So instead of offering the usual superb ride from Exeter all the way to Poole (as on Mondays to Saturdays) ...
... all you get is Lyme Regis to Weymouth. Thanks Dorset for at least keeping that going but no thanks to Devon as the long term future of the Sunday service must be questionable. See previous blog, "Good Value by Bus" (read again).
Just to show what Sunday travellers are missing as a result of this miserly decision, there is a very nice video to watch (here).
And, talking of the tramway, dig the dinky hydraulic thingey being towed by a tram.
Next blog : due Wednesday November 30th
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