Thursday, 3 October 2013

Mr Darcy Cuts the Mustard [2]

Mr Darcy Cuts the Mustard [1] is (here)

The earliest recorded use of the phrase (albeit in a positive sense) was by O Henry in 1907, in a story called The Heart of the West: “I looked around and found a proposition that exactly cut the mustard”. However, nobody seems sure of the origin. One theory is: That it comes from an old western expression, the proper mustard, meaning "the real thing" at first and then "the best". There is a suggestion that the use of mustard as a positive superlative dates from 1659 in the phrase "keen as mustard", and the use of cut to denote rank (as in "a cut above") dates from the 18th century.

Sadly "Dijon" mustard is not a protected brand and very little of the stuff hails from Dijon. Its distinctiveness came originally from the substitution of acidic juice from unripe grapes (verjuice) for vinegar. Nowadays white wine is used. The biggest brand, bearing the the names of its French creators, Monsieurs Grey and Poupon ...
... is no longer sold in France but almost exclusively in the USA. Sacrilegiously it is made from Canadian mustard grains! One link with the past (and with another global brand that originated in Dijon) is the specialist Maille shop on Rue de la République, a short walk from the Darcy interchange.
But, back to the bus business in hand. Truck driver David wanted times of bus 18 from Darcy to Longvic so he could get back to his lorry for a good night's kip. Because he had started his exploration from there he knew it was route 18, but not the times.

Indeed one immediate failing of the Dijon transport network is that there are no timetables available at all; hard copy or on-line. David visited the Tourist Information Office which doubles as the main bus sales outlet; ...
... also the rail, rural bus and local bus joint enquiry and sales facility at the main railway station.
Excellent buildings and ambiance, but not a printed bus timetable in sight!

fbb could find none on the appropriate web site. The dreaded disease of on-line stop-specific departure lists appeared to have conquered all.
The "brand" is Divia, "owned" by the city authorities and, as is usual in France, this network is let out on contract, in this case with Keolis, itself owned by SNCF (French State Railways). The web site offers ..
... a local journey planner (calcul d'itineraire), next bus at each stop ("Totem" prochains passages) and, apparently, timetables (fiches horaires). We are encouraged to "sélectionnez une ligne", viz 18 ...
... from Darcy to Longvic and then "télécharger" for the so-called timetable.
But this is the wrong direction. Intuitively, fbb had assumed from Darcy to Longvic. WRONG! The word "puis" (see enquiry screen above) means "next" or "and then", so an undertstandable misunderstanding, perhaps. But the mistake is easily corrected and the "timetable" for David's anxious truck-bound journey can be retrieved.
[The table has been chopped in two and stacked vertically to fit the blog page.] Nowhere is there any guide as to how long the journey might take; 10 minutes or 2 hours? Of further interest are the times themselves with the bottom chunk as an example. The interval between buses is:-

22, 17, 15,
15, 24, 26,
13, 14, 19,
24, 17, 17,
21, 24, 18
and 39 minutes.

Typically French and really easy to remember NOT. Hooray for the UK's "and then every 20 minutes"!

Two mystères Dijonnais need to be resolved. Why is route 18 shown as "B18" on-line? And why have all the buses changed colour?

As part of his research into this particular service, fbb had found the Longvic Carmélites terminus on Google Steetview ...
 ... complete with an 18 bus in off-white with twiddly multicoloured lines. David also sent  photo of an 18 at the same place ...
Indeed, every Divia bus photo that David sent showed a vehicle prettily painted in purpley puce. Clearly something had happened since Google drove past.

fbb will reveal all in later blogs.
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Kind and knowledgeable blog readers resolved fbb's unease about centenarian driver Les Hale, pictured aged 65 with his bus (read again). On-line sources claimed it was an ex Western Welsh vehicle; but fbb thought the blind layout was wrong.

The bus was actually ex Rhondda and here is 461 [461 KTG] in Edwards' green alongside preserved sister 457 [457 KTG] in original red.
Nice to get that sorted; thanks kind commentating sirs!
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STOP PRESS
Announced earlier this morning! 

Bristol fare consultation.
The results are in.
Changes due from 3 November.

FARES REDUCTIONS
*** Average adult single fare to fall ***
*** Children to get 50% discounts on tickets ***
  *** Young people get discounts for first time ***

*** Simplified Zone structure ***

Pictured (left to right) are Paul Matthews, First Bus Director; George Ferguson, Bristol Mayor (with signature red trousers - does he wear them to bed?); Brian Allinson, West of England Partnership Joint Executive Committee for Transport.

More details later.
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 Next Dijon Blog : Friday 4th October 

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