Wednesday 4 April 2012

Wondering and Wandering at Wantage [2]

Looking Longingly for Leaflets.
fbb is in Wantage and on a search for bus information, a search which has proved fruitless on previous visits. The museum ...
... doubles as a Tourist Information centre. It is on Church Street, just "round the back" from the main Market Square and well signposted. TICs are usually nearly useless for public transport information unless a senior member of staff is keen and Wantage's track record is poor.

Upon arrival, fbb was greeted by a smiling member of staff who offered her assistance. "What bus information do you have", asked you corpulent correspondent, resolutely expecting anything between and blank expression and an "not much" ype of excuse.

fbb was guided to an information rack an here is where we begin with the BAD NEWS. There was a selection of timetable leaflets, well displayed. First was Stagecoach service 10:-
Then, continuing in numerical order, service 14:-
Next comes Oxford Bus service 35 ...
... service X2 ...
... and the X3 group of routes:-
There was also information for the Oxford Bus "Airline" service to Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
It is just possible that regular blog readers, all of whom are well-versed in the geography of the United Kingdom, will have spotted the minor snag to this proliferation of paper publicity.

None of these services goes anywhere near Wantage. Indeed there was not a single leaflet for any bus route that calls at Wantage. So fbb repeats his questions to bus operators, posed by way of introduction in yesterdays blog.

"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?"

But there is some GOOD NEWS.
The very nice Downland Museum lady pointed our that there was a book "with everything in". And, shock horror, eureka, sim salabim, sapristi and abracadabra, there was an Oxfordshire County Wantage area book containing all local timetables.
The book does exactly what it says on the tin cover. There is a good index and a comprehensive selection of maps including, oh joy of joys, one showing Wantage local routes.
The hitherto undecipherable mysteries of bus routeings between Wantage and Grove are at last revealed in all their glorious complexity. And even the fat bus bloke can understand them.

So hearty fbb congratulations to Oxfordshire for top-notch timetables and a whole punnet of raspberries to the bus operators for not bothering!

Because we all know what will happen, don't we?

Bus times will change, bus operators will change and the County will have no pennies to re-issue the book which will rapidly become unreliably out-of-date. Or, before the dreaded decline in datedness, stocks of "the good book" will inevitably evaporate. And what will the Wantage bus passengers do then poor things? There will be nothing of use at the TIC, so they might take a look at what is on offer at the bus stop outside "The Bear".

As will we, in a few days time, when we continue the struggle to unravel the minutiae of Wantage's bus service.

Tomorrow, we return "oop noorth" to Preston.
And, talking of service ...
Having upset just about everybody by throwing the traders out of the temple, Jesus retired from a "public" presence to prepare himself and his disciples for his final earthy act.
He washed his disciples' feet. This was a really smelly job; in the absence of sewerage and other "conveniences" walking in sandals or bare feet was ever likely to produce plenty of putrid pong. As the tradition was to "recline" at table, one person's "plates of meat" would be embarrassingly close to the next person's plate of meat.
Jesus was doing a job reserved for the most grovelling and scummy servant.
But that was just the point. As was predicted by Isaiah, the Old Testament prophet and hairy man writing some 600 years before Jesus, God's Messiah (chosen one) would be the most grovelling and scummy servant of the people.
He would willingly give his life and die the death of a common criminal.
What on earth for, for goodness sake?
 Next Blog : due Thursday April 4th 

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