Tuesday 3 April 2012

Wondering and Wandering at Wantage [1]

King Alfred Re-visited
Most bus enthusiasts will be aware of King Alfred buses, one-time operators in the Winchester area; and, perhaps, of the excellent "Friends Of ..." running day held there every new year. But "yer actual" regal Alf was born in Wantage where lives fbb's No. 1 son and family. So it was that fbb and Mrs returned there for a family gathering just over a week ago.
Once again "The Bear" bore the burden of bed and breakfast bounteousness for the big blogger. And as a blog-glorious bonus the room allocated was top right overlooking the main town bus stop. Bliss!
An evening snap of a Stagecoach service 31 to Oxford ...
... the sun rising above a l-o-o-o-ng Oxford Tube vehicle scheduled on a commuter run on the X30, and ...
... a swish Thames Travel decker on the 36 all added to the delights of the all-too-brief stay. And if chubbo needed reminding, just beyond the bus stop stands the statue of the cake-burning monarch himself, carved stone guardian over the Market Square parking area!
fbb has commented before on the problem of finding bus information in Wantage ...
Real Time or Real Pain [1] (read again)
Real Time or Real Pain [2] (read again)
Worrying Wantage Wanderings (Part I) (read again)
Worrying Wantage Wanderings (Part II) (read again
... so after a splendid "full English", the schedule allowed a search to see if any leaflets were available, anywhere.

There used to be a community office, now closed; there used to be a local council office, now closed and there still is a Library. In the past, searches in those locations have been decided fruitless. Even the Tourist Information centre could only muster an occasional leaflet if you were lucky.

Would things be better this time? Off we jolly well go to the Museum ...
... in Church Street, where we can find Wantage's somewhat minimalistic Tourist Information shelf.

And there is some GOOD NEWS ...

And there is some BAD NEWS ...

... as we shall reveal in tomorrow's blog. In the meantime, a simple but provocative question to the bus companies plying their trade in Wantage, "Would you like more customers? Would you like to take more pennies in the farebox? Or are you very simply not bothered in the slightest?"
Incidentally, the museum is super, smashing and excellent with professionally presented displays covering the history, geology and business background to the area. Even the railway ...
Children, and many adults, will be especially attracted to the interactive aspect of the Railway through the Vale exhibit. Press one of the buttons on the exhibit and a train will travel from one end to the other and then back again – all with realistic acceleration and top speed. There are two trains here; one is a 1930s diesel railcar in GWR brown & cream and nicknamed the flying banana; and the other, a 2-car diesel unit, a 1987 a type 155 Sprinter.

Small, but beautifully formed! Free admission, but please make a generous donation; they deserve it. Well worth a visit and ...
... the cafe is a delight, even offering roast dinners on certain selected days. Now that's a museum most magnificent and particularly attractive to fbb!
Politically Correct? Priests Condemned?
After arriving in Jerusalem on "Palm Sunday", the cheer-welcomed Jesus did not entirely embrace political correctness. The temple was the centre of the religion of the Jews, but it had become a bit of a commercial rip-off zone.
So the next day, "gentle Jesus, meek and mild", brandishing a whip, threw the whole job lot out! Religion had become stale and meaningless; corruption was rife, even amongst the temple staff, and God had been sidelined from people's personal lives. Sounds rather familar?
"My father's house should be a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves."
Religion, and more particularly each individual, needed to change.
But the authorities saw this as "the last straw".
 Next Blog : due Wednesday April 3rd 

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