Saturday 23 June 2012

Languishing in Largs [Day 1]

Boris' Beautiful Bendies ...
... carrying revellers (?) from Ryde to the Isle of Wight Festival (Friday, 1230). They really are ideal vehicles for carrying large numbers of people over relatively short distances. Now what a good idea for central London!

Traffic was busy this morning with cars still struggling to get into the site and through the mud; but without the total chaos of yesterday which made the National News. Fame at last!
We went to the festival on Island of Wight
To listen to songs popular.
We queued for six hours to get on the site
And slept under mud-spattered star.
Away in his office, John Giddings we view
As he counts all the money he's made;
Whilst we squidged and slithered in glutinous goo,
We sang him this sweet serenade:-

all together now with the chorus

Mud, mud, glorious mud,
Nothing quite like it for boiling the blood.
So it is best if I'll stay at the festival
Where we will rest in all
glo-o-o-o-rious mud.
with thanks to the late Michael Flanders and somewhat less late Donald Swann
Listen to the original (here)
Largs : Getting There!
 Isle of Wight to Largs 
         528 miles            
  by Public Transport   

 Isle of Wight to Largs 
          475 miles           
            by car              

 Isle of Wight to Largs 
          383 miles          
           by crow            

fbb and Mrs fbb are travelling by ferry, train and bus today. If all goes well, fbb will be adding any memorable snippets (and numerous unmemorable ones!) live and in real time to the planned schedule. The old crusties are travelling First Class as a "treat" and the ramifications of this fares choice were covered in two previous blogs. See "fbb's Foray into First Fares [1]" (read again) and "fbb's Foray into First Fares [2]" (read again).

So here's the full schedule:-

Live update 0642 : It's looking like it'll be a fun day!

 0720  Home : Motor car, lift from chum Alan
 0735  Ryde Pier Head
 0747  Ryde Pier Head : Wightlink FastCat
 0805  Portsmouth Harbour

Live Update 0826 : Fast Cat duly caught ...
... alighting festival-goers numbered 4 (four) ...
... hope the four Mercedes bendies "stacked" at Ryde Esplanade will be able to cope. Now on 0815 ex Portsmouth Harbour and planning alternative route to Scotland!
 0815  Portsmouth Harbour : Southwest Trains
 0955  Waterloo

Live Update 0845 : doesn't look too good via the East Coast main line either!
Wifi via dongle has failed for the last 15 minutes

Live Update 0902 :
after another 10 minutes "downtime"

Live Update 0925 : We have a cunning plan; whizz across to Kings Cross by Underground and hope for the best there. Not much of a cunning plan, but the best option. Probably no more updates until we're on a train to Somewhere(?)

Live Update 0940 (unexpected!) : confirms we won't be going via the West Coast route!
via Virgin Trains twitter site

 1005  Waterloo : London Buses
 1035  Euston [approximate times only]

Real Time Update 1045 : Whizz to Kings Cross Successful : displays on arrival at 1020 showed next East Coast train to Edinburgh at 1100 but fbb's encyclopaedic knowledge is permanently suspicious of electronic stuff.

So now settled on 1030 to Edinburgh! Already served with coffee, sarnie, crisps, flapjack and diet coke. Hope Ms Greening (Minister of Transport this week and owner of GNER) will remember to invoice Mr Branson (owner of Virgin).

Cows on the line have been ushered off the line, we hear. So we might make it to Largs before Peter goes home. (see below)

We'll need to change at Edinburgh Waverley.

Real Time Update 1115 : Message (txt) from Ken, owner of flat. We are to collect the key from his cleaner on Gogo Street as Pete is going home early. fbb is beginning to appreciate new technology after all.
Real Time Update 1215 : 6 mins late at Newark Northgate : 6 late departing from Doncaster

Real Time Update 1315 : 4 mins late at York, 3 mins late at Northallerton and Darlington - catching up! Third serving of tea (hot) consumed.

Real Time Update 1350 : 4 mins late Durham, was ready to depart Newcastle on time at 1344 but ominously didn't. 6 mins late departure at 1350.

 1130  Euston : Virgin Trains 
 1601  Glasgow Central
1515 arrival Edinburgh Waverley
1530 depart
1619 arrive Glasgow Queen Street
trudge to Glasgow Central
"the walk will do us good." Mrs fbb
1720 depart
1820 arrive Largs
1825 collect key

Real Time Update 1535 : On Scotrail to Glasgow Queen Street via Falkirk High as per revised cunning plan. Free drink and min-nibble offered.
Real Time Update 1600 : Forgot to report. 5 early outside Edinburgh, 3 late at platform. Arrived at platform 8 which is being refurbished for Summer 2012. Still a mess at the moment.
 1618  Glasgow Central : First Scotrail 
 1728  Largs

Real Time Update 1720 : On train to Largs - a shiny newish 380 class EMU.

As NMcB reports in a comment below, our booked train from Euston did run! Although we don't know whether Mr Branson's minions knew at 1140 how far it would go.  It ran about 15 mins late which probably meant that the fbbs would have missed the 1618. Either way there was time at Glasgow Central for Mrs fbb to visit "M&S Simply Food" and obtain comestibles to carry through to breakfast tomorrow. The day's bonus is that First Class on "East Coast" is a far nicer ride than peering through tiny windows on a Pendolino.

 1730  Collect key from Pete at the hardware shop
             walk to flat (5 mins)

All we have to do is collect the key an hour later than originally planned from Mrs McGillicuddy on Gogo Street and collapse gibbering in an armchair upon arrival at the flat. A few thoughts on Dongle and Wifi tomorrow when fbb has had them!

 Next Blog : Sunday 24th June  


  1. As long as the cows have been cleared from the line in County Durham, you should be OK on the 1100 KGX to EDB, arrive 1531, the (presumably additional) 1600 Virgin train EDB to GLC arrive 1706 and then 1720 GLC to LAR arrive 1820. National Rail doesn't tell you this because it thinks you need 15 minutes to change at GLC, but as long as the train leaves leave Edinburgh on time it should be fine.

    A couple of important questions.

    a) Do you have a contingency plan for Pete's hardware shop being closed after 1800 ?

    b) Do you have a response prepared for the moment (if it hasn't happened already) when Mrs fbb turns to you and says "You're secretly enjoying this, aren't you ? " (I speak from experience ! )

  2. Thanks NMbB. Latest update explains all. We will almost certainly go from EDB to Glas Queen Street and walk to GLC. We'll need a bit of fresh air by then!

  3. Thought you might like to know (if you don't already), that in the end the 1130 from Euston (codename Moses ? ) beat back the waters north of Carlisle and is expected at Glasgow Central at 1614, just 13 minutes late.

    As an alternative for your onward travel to Largs, you might also like to consider walking across the road from Queen Street to Cathedral Street to catch McGill's 906 to Largs at around 1637, arrive Largs 1809, around 10 minutes earlier than the train. On the downside, as senior Sassenachs, you would of course have to pay !

  4. Thanks NMcB, we've just heard. What is not at all clear is whether Euston knew it would get through at 1140. Seems unlikely. The late arrival would have likely meant that the fbbs would have just missed their 1718 to Largs. So nothing lost (or gained).The blog would have been weedy if we had gone via Carlisle.

  5. The Virgin Trains Twitter site reported that the line had reopened at 1414 - by which time the 1130 from Euston had already left Oxenholme. The decision to continue to Glasgow must therefore have been taken fairly late in the journey - and Euston almost certainly wouldn't have known at the time it left.

  6. Looks like you made it not too delayed - have a great holiday.