Friday 24 January 2014

Buzzing off to Bradford [2]

Parking and Proceeding
Now fbb could always cope with paying money to a man in a peaked cap in a little hut and has moved on to learn how to handle machines. The old man reckons he might be able to pay by credit or debit card; but "Pay by Phone" ...


The fbbs found themselves in the "overflow" car park which has been cleared of weeds since Google Streetview viewed the remains of the street.
Alas there was no hut, no man with peaked cap, no machines; just the blue boards as shown above. So, nothing for it but to dial the number on the mobile.

01895 262 122

 And then fbb was talking to, NO; listening to - a computer!

Please type in the number of the car park (it's on the board!)


Please type in your debit card number (and you'll know the rest)

1234 1234 1234 1234

Type in how many days parking you wish to purchase:
If you wish to park for one day, type "1"
If you wish to park for two days, type "2" ...

fbb listens patiently whilst trying to tot up how much the phone call is costing ...

... If you wish to park for nine days, type "9"


Your parking will cost £12.75
We will send you  text with further instructions.
Please reply giving your car registration number.
Obey the text instructions precisely or your car will be destroyed by a giant anvil dropped from a hot air balloon piloted by an elderly Elvis Presley.

Then - nothing!

Hoping all would be well, the fbbs made their way to the platform where their train was waiting.
Joy of joys; a CrossCountry HST with oddles of leg room and a window in the vestibule that you could lower and gaze out from. Bliss.

The arrangements for bus transfer were working well with details (sometimes duplicated, just in case ... in case of what?) on the electronic departure displays ...
... and (eventually) extra signs directing arriving passengers to their buses.
Installed at 1345 on the first day of the three-week blockade? Well, better late than never, eh? There were plenty of staff available to offer advice and assistance, although one employee was heard to muse, "a bus has just turned up, so that means we are expecting a train of some sort?"

Departure was on the dot at 1351 and the journey was utterly uneventful, just as rail travel should be.
The advertised diversion via Lichfield went unnoticed by most of the passengers; but not by fbb who was excited beyond measure as he had never before travelled between Lichfield City, Lichfield Trent Valley high level platform ...
... and Wichnor Junction ...
... where our diverted train rejoined the line via Tamworth.

Despite the Sunday travel paranoia, the train was exactly on time throughout he route, helped by some significant recovery time at Bristol Temple Meads (9 mins), Birmingham New Street (10 mins) and Derby (12 mins)!

At 1740 (two minutes early) the train came to a stand on Sheffield's Platform 6 whence a short nip took the fbbs to the tram station for a one stop ride to Fitzalan Square ...
... and across the road to enjoy Colonel Sanders' finest, then down creepy Dixon Lane (below, bottom left) to spend the night at Sheffield Central Travelodge.
A nightcap jar of ale plus natter with lorry-driving chum David completed a successful day free of stress and anguish, once the Taunton car park was sorted.

In case you've forgotten, the computer did send fbb a text; fbb did reply with his registration number and the car had not been crushed when the old man and good lady arrived back on Tuesday.

fbb had hoped to end his blog with something nostalgic involving the phrase "this is the age of the train," but everything on-line featured a certain disgraced disc jockey; so inappropriateness prevailed. But your author did find the extract below, extolling the virtues of train travel for overseas visitors! Enjoy!
Plenty of room; no high-backed seats to block your sightline; buffet; restaurant car; bright colour schemes vice universal grey ...

Sigh! That was the age of the train - wasn't it? The commentary, by the way, was by a youthful version of the late great Brian Redhead, one-time presenter of Radio 4's "Today" programme.
Buzzing off to Bradford [3] will appear on Monday 27th January.

 Next bus blog : Saturday 25th January 


  1. Paranormal and public transport? Where did that come from? Has something of that ilk happened to fbb?

    Perhaps there are fairies at the bottom of the blog.

  2. No idea - it seems o have vanished into the miasma of the ether. How mysterious?