Wednesday 17 December 2014

Party Time at Coley Park [2]

Reading Buses : Very Impressive
The Company has transmogrified from municipality with town crest, through an incomprehensible RT for Reading Transport to traditional maroon but with blue line and trendy lettering. The final fleet logo format with "buses" in a blob gave way to multicoloured route branding.

Standing on Friar Street, the parade of pleasing pulchritude was, indeed, impressive. Each route or group thereof now has a distinctive brand colour with route numbers on the front side panels.

Caversham Park is pink with matching destination LED colours.
19s are branded "nineteens"with a rich orange body ...
... and bear in mind this is not some super frequent busy cross city route. The 19A, 19B and 19C are each hourly "mopping-up" routes supplementing more frequent 13s, 14s and 21s. Most operators would use their cascaded tat on such services, but not Reading. The vehicles are brand new "14 plate" Streetlites.
Some brands are mysterious to a visitor. Greenwave seems to be a collection of routes serving different destinations at different times ...
To choose your bus, numbered 50A, 50E, 51, 51A, 52, 52A, 53 and 53A, you need to look at five different timetables.
Maybe a future blog?

What was noticeable, however, was the general condition of the vehicles. Despite the day being damp and drizzly, it looked as if every vehicle had been through a thorough bus wash the previous evening. Very smart indeed.

Compare Reading Buses' richness of colour, cleanliness and quality with one other operator.
Service 90 to Bracknell, a barbie bus. Then, a while later ...
... Green Line liveried 90 to Bracknell. And later on, too dark to photograph ...
... one of these (possibly; it was all over blue), also a service 90, zoomed past on St Mary's Butts. Consistent image, what's that?

Time on Friar Street passed all too quickly, and the fbbs readied themselves to catch the Bronze Line 11 to Coley Park at 1446.
It was, as we said in the 60s, simply a gas!
It is all-too-easy, at this time of year, to dismiss the miracles that surround Christmas as being economical with the truth (virgin birth), drunken stupor (shepherds) or faulty astronomical observations (wise men); newspapers will find "experts" who have all the answers. What these opinions forget is that there were plenty of people in the first century AD who would have loved to denigrate the Divinity of Christ, but, oddly, we have no written record of their "explanations" of the miraculous.

Cicada (Magicicada septendecim) eggs are laid in cracks in the bark of a tree.
After they hatch, the climb down the tree and burrow into the ground. Where they remain, feeding off root juice, for seventeen years. After this lengthy incarcerated life the whole brood waits until the soil temperature reaches 63 degrees (F).
They all emerge together and start singing (screeching?) to the chagrin of those living nearby who might be trying to sleep.

They mate (often several times); the females lay heir eggs then all the adults die.
The 17 year cycle begins again.

No-one know why or how.

17 is a prime number (it can't be reached by counting in, say, twos or fours), so needs a specially programed body cycle. 63 degrees is a very specific temperature that an adult cicada would have to store and match to its year of emergence. And why 17? And why do some strains count to 13? And why do most cicadas emerge annually?

As we think about the "traditional nativity story" we may struggle with the miraculous in many ways; but, without those super-human events, Christmas isn't worth celebrating. There is nothing there.

Tomorrow, the misunderstood message of the shepherds!
 Next bus blog : Thursday 18th December 

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