Sunday 20 December 2015

Has Scoot Gone Kapoot?

Breaking News Yesterday Morning ...
... but the signs have not been good for several weeks. See "Will Scoot get the Boot? [part one]" (read again) and "Will Scoot get the Boot? [part two]" (read again).

Indeed, when fbb took a look at the Yarmouth to Lymington service back in October and read about the over-optimistic Cowes to Portsmouth route a few weeks later, he privately opined that they company "would be gone by the new year".

More signs of desperation followed with a really silly £4 discount return fare offer for this weekend ...
... with a pretty seasonal on-line Christmas "card".
There has been nearly a week's twittering of this offer and little else; followed on Friday last by a "proposed" service reduction on the Lymington run.
All "request" early morning sailing have disappeared and the evening schedule is reduced.

Then yesterday morning three trips were cancelled on the Lymington route "due to technical difficulties" with a tweeter reporting no sign of any engineers.

Later yesterday morning, a more ominous message appeared on Twitter.
Fairly quickly the "rest of today" text was changed to "until further notice". By lunchtime the web site had been removed and replaced with what seemed a rather final notice:-


We're really sorry Scooters - we've had some very unfestive news this morning which means we've had to cancel ALL our sailings on both Yarmouth to Lymington and Cowes to Portsmouth until further notice.

We know how much this will affect everyone booked to scoot with us today and we're really really sorry for messing up your plans so royally.

Please check back here and on our social media channels for further updates.

By early afternoon, local Island press and Isle of Wight Radio have been broadcasting the news, but with a firm "no comment yet" from the company.

At 1430 an unsubstantiated comment was posted on the On Wight web site:-

The administrator’s went in about 14.00 today (i.e. Saturday). Scoot knew this day was coming a few weeks ago. Whilst it will be inconvenient for their passengers who at least have only lost a different way to travel I think we should be more concerned for the scoot staff (not the directors or such) the staff will have worked for a few weeks and will not be paid. Now that’s a very unhappy state of affairs.

The comment went on to make equally unsubstantiated allegations about the business acumen of Zoe Ombler (Director) and the businesses that she has started in the past. fbb will not print these as they could be scurrilous; but there are numbers of companies listed on-line of which Ms Zoe is/was a director.

As this blog was put to bed later last evening, a formal statement was still awaited.

Facebook Page, 1530 approx.

And the final news at 1645 yesterday
Yeah? Really?
Change of Plan!
Please note that the planned "Exeter" blog (part 2) has been postponed until tomorrow Monday to accommodate sad (but inevitable?) news from the Isle of Wight.

Today, the fbbs are zooming off to a family Christmas in Abergynolwyn, North Wales. Being together with two sons, daughter-in-law and two grandsons is an appropriate way of dealing with the first Christmas after the death of Son No 2 in July. fbb towers will be guarded by Jacko the cat, neighbour Denise (with blunderbus?) and Oscar, their ferocious hound.

Blogging may be subject to reduction, incompetence or "technical problems" due to temporary relocation of "the office" to the lower slopes of Cader Idris!

But we must give the answers to last Sunday's quiz.
J - a chara in Jersey

K - Keighley and District at Keighley bus station

L - Lancaster Corporation Transport demised as a result of Stagecoach activty

M - Mumbles Railway which in its later days looked like a tram

N - the Nimbus from Albion. Before the minibus revolution!

O - Leyland Olympic, integral construction which did not save much weight

P - Peterbrough. Terminus of the Nene Valley Railway.

Q - the weird-looking Q1 class; a wartime utility build

R - Rotherham.

Did anyone get all 10 (be honest!)? fbb is planning the third and final alphabetical agglomeration for Sunday 27th.  
It is easy to see that the Christmas Tree had its origins in the Pagan mid-winter festival; the evergreen foliage being a symbol of continuing life through the dark days before Spring. Adding lights, candles and decorations imply re-affirms the trust that the life giving sun will return in all its vernal glory.

It is less easy to see when and why the Christmas Tree became adopted as a valid Christian symbol. Perhaps it never was!

One contender in Saint Boniface, reputedly born in Crediton (Devon) and a celebrated missionary to the peoples of Germania.

Saint Boniface (Latin: Bonifatius) (c. 675? – 5 June 754 AD), born Winfrid, Wynfrith, or Wynfryth in the kingdom of Wessex in Anglo-Saxon England, was a leading figure in the Anglo-Saxon mission to the Germanic parts of the Frankish Empire during the 8th century. He established the first organized Christianity in many parts of Germania. He is the patron saint of Germania, the first archbishop of Mainz and the "Apostle of the Germans".

Saint Boniface cut down an oak tree that the German pagans worshipped, and replaced it with an evergreen tree (some say the evergreen mystically sprouted from the oaken stump), telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven. It was also symbolic of new life with Christ.

This woman ...
... Queen Charlotte of Mecklenberg-Strelitz (wife of King George III; but, of course, you knew that!) brought the tree idea from Germany but the novelty was never publicised. That was left to Victoria and Albert. From then it became an essential but irrelevant part of our Christmas.

Because of its Pagan origin, the decorated tree was banned by many Christian denominations and is still so derided by some believers as an un-Christian blasphemy.

fbb enjoys a Christmas Tree every year but not this one. Only the lights are going to North Wales.
         Next rail blog (Exeter) : Monday 21st December    


  1. It was the M - Mumbles that defeated us

  2. In the public domain, so no fear in posting
    "Zoe Ombler has one previous directorship:-
    Which was incorporated 11/8/2014 and dissolved 27/10/2015, appearing to having traded for less than a year.
    She was appointed director of SCOOT FERRIES LIMITED (09231766) in 8/7/2015 in succession to
    Nicholas Justin DAVIS on incorporation 23/9/2014.
    Scoot has yet to submit accounts".

    IMHO the ability to run a business of Scoot's type is not immediately apparent. However she is not a shareholder. The £1 capital remains with Mr Davis.

  3. Having delved a little deeper in to Nick Davis on the Companies House (Beta) site, he appears to me as the more "interesting" character. He is/has been a director of several enterprises, of which a fair number have been short lived with well over due documentation, dissolved, insolvent, struck off, or awaiting such actions.

  4. I don't think the personal attacks are warranted, I think it's good people are taking risks and starting businesses, why do people take such glee in taking them down?

  5. The problem, anon, is that the company was doomed within weeks of its first service start-up. The Lymington run would always be marginal with a 12 seat craft and to staff. The Cowes Portsmouth run has NEVER been successful in history. The two Scoot terminals were inconvenient, the initial timetable was over-complex with a 45 minute frequency. And Island people are not ready for internet booking with no cash on the boat option. A technology step too far.
    Many of us wished that it might be successful but deep in our hearts knew that it wouldn't.
    It's demise has been inevitable since day 1.
    You would need to have enough money in the piggy bank to afford to run at a loss for at least 12 months.

  6. Completely agree with the business critiques, just don't like the personal attacks. There are certainly a few valuable "lessons learned" for anyone who wishes to take up the challenge in future.

    Inconvenient terminals is one engineered by the existing providers though, as you may know, Red Funnel do buy up a lot of land around Cowes in order to stop infiltrators, although I think the Scoot Cowes terminal was actually remarkably good.

  7. Myself does not recall having made any personal attack on either Ms Ombler or Mr Davis. I have only posted what matters that are official and in the public domain. Therefore,I trust that Anonymous 20 December 2015 at 15:03, is not accusing me in his criticism.

  8. Personal attacks and hatchet jobs like this against individuals who aren't exactly 'public figures' do not paint you in a great light.

  9. Oh please! How can publishing what is official records become a hatchet job? If Coldhead or anyone else posted from a newspaper article or someone's personal opinion, then perhaps your accusation might have something going for it.

    AND why hide behind anonymity, when making your accusatory comments? Puzzling!

  10. I don't think anons can criticise other anons for wanting anonymity...

    1. I agree with Anonymous21 December 2015 at 14:49. My posts, if someone may be making accusations, that possibly could be of myself, I expect that person to grant me the same courtesy of supplying a blog identity, as I have.

      More news

      Amongst other content the term Company Voluntary Arrangement was used incorrectly. The company is seeking to go into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation.

      From my work knowledge I would say a good proportion of proceeds from unencumbered assets will pay the insolvency practioners'fees.

  11. It seems vindictive repeatedly posting pictures of employees of transport operators or small company directors (i.e. fairy ordinary people with a partner and kids at home etc) and holding them up to ridicule (or worse) on a public forum because they carry out their work in a different way to how the Fat Bus Man would if he ever had the chance to....all as part of a self righteous crusade'to expose' them.

    Is the FBB and his 'journalism' somehow above the criticism he dishes out to others? Seems so as this will end up being deleted.

  12. ...and I can't be fucked sigining into Google or anything else before posting.