Sunday, 13 September 2020

Sunday Variety

Church Link
Service starts 1030
Today the church is running a LIVE "Car Park" service.
The fbbs will be attending. It may not be possible
to set up an on-screen link before they depart.
A link can be obtained, however,
via the Church YouTube channel
(here) and click on the panel for today's date.

An Inspector Calls Part 2
The outing chosen for the guests was a trip on the tram. Both kiddies have "done" the tram before, but it was six years ago and youthful memories were not complete. The sun shone, the temperature was cosy but not too hot and a great day was had by all.
But the highlight always is the model railway and fbb's lockdown labours had improved the Peterville Quarry Railway out of all recognition.
But the heroes of the day were still Toby with partner Henrietta ...
... and Thomas with Annie and Clarabel.
But on Thursday last heartbreaking horrors happened. Thomas stuttered, stopped and black smoke curled ominously from within. Somehow and somewhy, Thomas had died. The innards were inactive!
The damage seemed permanent; indeed an observer might proffer something like this:-

Thomas has passed on! This engine is no more! He has ceased to be! He has expired and gone to meet his maker! He's a stiff! Bereft of life, he rests in peace!  His electric processes are now history! He's off the twig! He's kicked the bucket, He's shuffled off his steam driven coil, run down the breaker's siding and joined the whistling choir invisibile!! He's snuffed it!..... THIS IS AN EX-THOMAS!!

fbb attempted to mitigate the kiddies' disappointment by asking Dad to warn them before they arrived and suggesting Thomas may run with a double header in front.

But ...

As fbb sought out a replacement loco from his stock box .,..
... a thought occurred to the old man. Maybe Thomas and GWR 2759 had a similar chassis.
And indeed they did.; same chassis, same motor and same method of fixing chassis to body. BINGO!
Thomas lives to "steam" another day with black wheels instead of blue and the young 'uns are delighted.

A hit, a palpable hit. So fbb and the kiddies had a pleasant time taking turns at driving trains with Thomas and Toby both available to choose.

Hornby (that's Triang Hornby not the good old Hornby Dublo) have always. in the past, been good at issuing repaints and remodellings of exisistng products, thus fbb and the Fearnley sproglets have, unwittingly, benefited from that past policy.

Nowadays, of course, this would not happen. GWR 2759 would have to be accurate ...
... not fudged to fit an existing undercarriage.

But Archie and Georgina, surprisingly, did not notice even the wrong-colour wheels!

Talking of the tram; a new "station" has been opened right next to the depot.
The stop consists of a large platform area from which wild life can be viewed.
Sadly, the stop has no official access to the depot (aoart from viewing from not too far afar) and no access to the outside world. Pity, because there, on the skyline (upper right), is fbb mansions.

This Week's Most Surprising News - NOT
Remember Northampton's E-Scooters?
They have been around for not much more than a couple of weeks and ...
These "toys" are for use on the road ...
... and for ages 18 plus.
but, if course, once you have downloaded the App ...

What Might This Be?
More tomorrow!

Janette Bell Successor To Giles Fearnley

P & O Ferries

Chief Executive Officer
Jan 2018

Managing Director
Jan 2017

Chief Commercial Officer
Mar 2015

Commercial Director
May 2012
Appointed to this new role on the Divisional Board. Responsible for defining and delivering a growth strategy for the freight, tourist and new business divisions.


Sales and Marketing Director

Apr 2010 – Apr 2012
Led the development and delivery of the customer strategy and a business wide change plan, to achieve the high level vision of moving to a customer led business. Responsible for four teams; leasing and customer account management, marketing, commercial partnerships and customer insight and planning.


Director of Sales, Propositions and Growth
Mar 2009 – Mar 2010

Responsible for the definition and delivery of the go to market startegy, covering sales, channel optimisation and proposition and offer development.

British Gas Services

Sales and Marketing Director 
Jul 2005 – Mar 2009
Resposnible for sales and marketing to deliver top line growth, including market segmentation, proposition development, pricing, customer service, acquisition and retention operations.

Head of Propositions and Customer Marketing
Apr 2004 – Jul 2005
Responsible for the development and delivery of new propositions for five British Gas divisions; energy, service care, central heating, telco and financial services. Included customer planning, pricing, new product development and portfolio management

Head of Strategy and Market Development
Mar 2002 – Apr 2004
Joined the British Gas Business Unit at Centrica to develop the business strategy and marketing plan for the newly formed business. Responsibiliteis included, business development, competitor intelligence and consumer insight.

PriceWaterhouseCoopers London

Principal Consultant

Aug 1994 – Mar 2002
Principal Consultant in the Marketing and Customer Management practice. Focus on retail and consumer goods clients in the UK and Europe helping to develop category, channel, marketing and pricing strategies.

Tesco Stores Ltd

Commercial: Buying and Marketing
Jul 1985 – Aug 1994
A range of commercial roles in the Grocery Division. Starting as a Graduate Trainee in 1985 and finishing as a Senior Buying Controller in 1994.

fbb was privileged to encourage a teenage Giles in his interest in the bus industry. After school he joined the National Bus Company training scheme which eventually led to the West Yorkshire company, then the Alan Stephenson buyout followed by his own purchase of some of the Stevenson assets to make Blazefield Holdings. The rest, as they say, is history.

Maybe in today's spreadsheet and database world you no longer need to know about buses to run a large bus company.

But things will certainly be differed at First Bus from November.

Different or better?

Days Out By Bus
In response to fbb's comments about the lack of promotional material for bus operateors to encourage "just taking a ride", Northampton Alan reminds fbb of two publications (not from bus companies) that do just that.
Both are excellent publications but a little out of date in parts, so users need to check the information.

It's All On Line - Episode 457
Roger French has been on his rounds again, exploring some bus services in Oxfordshire which closed down a few years ago. Under yet another government "initiative", funding is now available to re-instate services recently withdrawn.

Roger intended to explore three of the re-instated services. So he looked on-line - as you are obliged to do these days as there is no printed information and no enquiry offices.

Fortunately he was able to find the services in question as ...

 .... all together now ...


Here they are as "quoted" in Roger's blog.
Unfortunately, these routes ran to these timetables in 2016 and have not run for four years. Roger even tried to catch one of them, unaware that he was looking at four year old out-of-date data - all on line.

He did eventually find the new timetables and completed his tour.

The new services are much reduced compared with their 2016 originals, so Roger waited at the stop in vain.

Good innit?

 Next "Courageous" blog : Monday 14th September 


  1. Thomas was obviously pining for the fjords

  2. It is fairly well established across large PLCs that bringing in outside expertise is seen as a good thing and relevant industry experience is not always vital at senior level. It is somewhat debatable if that applies for public transport businesses, Arriva have brought in outsiders for the top job repeatedly though as they are the least impressive of the major groups (least innovative & most cost focussed) it could be argued that it isn't working (Stagecoach's worst blip in performance also coincided with Brian Souter stepping back and a non-public transport person being bought in to the senior post). It certainly could be argued that some of the more unique aspects of the public transport industry, particularly the hybrid of pure commercial business & pseudo social organisation providing a service vital to communities, and understanding those aspects probably does require some experience and/or someone prepared to listen & learn before making changes.

  3. I agree with dwarfer1979 that the bus industry is (normally) fairly unusual in its mix of commercial and social remit and it’s vital that senior management understand this.

    Tip for all timetable producers - please put the start date (and, if known, the finish date) on all panels produced. Then if they end up remaining on display (whether that be online or, say, on a parish council noticeboard) there is at least some clue that they may be out-of-date.

  4. Good articles, Have you heard of Mr Benjamin, Email: --WhatsApp Contact:+1-9893943740-- who work with funding service they grant me loan of $95,000.00 to launch my business and I have been paying them annually for two years now and I still have 2 years left although I enjoy working with them because they are genuine Loan lender who can give you any kind of loan.