Thursday, 28 January 2021

It's All On-Line In Manchester (1)

But First, Kathy's Story

This is Kathy, now aged 81. She worked for many years "in service" at Osborne House ...
... and now has a flat in Arthur Cottage, once part of the Osborne House Estate.
It used to have quite a grand entrance next to the lodge on the main road into East Cowes.
You can just espy her pad through the trees from the now barred entrance.
Today's way in is much less regal!
She is a feisty lady as can be gleaned from her escapade on the day she retired from her work. Playing the innocent and sweet old lady, she had conned the security officer to show her how to unlock access to one of Osborne's distinctive towers.
On her last day, she gained access and flew her uniform from the flagpole for all and sundry to see; much to the consternation of the Osborne House Authorities and the delight of the local press!

Every year Kathy has joined the Charity walk across the Island accompanied by Bonzo.
Kathy has had a few health problems over recent months which necessitated a visit to the Island Across the Water for a "scan" at Southampton Hospital.

Kathy, like many "mature" Islanders, has no need, normally, to travel overseas, apart from a few walking holidays (ambling holidays) by coach. So a solo trip to Southampton would be a big and scary adventure.

Now here fbb should say that Kathy is a simple soul; she has no "televisor" and would not know anything about computers, internet and the like. The fbb's have known her through Church for many many years, and the old man oft teases her by asking whether they have installed the electric yet at Arthur Cottage and, in similar vein, how she is managing taking her washing down to the river Medina and bashing it with big stones!

She loves a joke and gives as good as she gets - if not better.

First problem.; what time is the ferry? The only information she could find was for services up to the end of December, possibly the Christmas service list. But she was going in January! So, ask fbb to look on his "thing", which confirmed a suitable sailing, out and back.
Next, off goes Kathy to buy her ticket from the East Cowes booking office ...
... which was completely deserted. Customers were directed to Red Funnel's super wizzo self-service ticket machines - no human being was visible anywhere in the terminal.
Kathy was not at all happy.  "I didn't have any idea what to do with all them buttons," she said with some vehemence. So she shouted at the top of her voice.

"Is anybody there?"

A man appeared from behind a door. He was, as it turned out, a  very nice man and a very helpful man.

He arranged to meet Kathy in the booking office on the next day, her day of travel, and "work the buttons for her". Which he did.

Well done Red Funnel? But would a less feisty old lady have achieved a response? Probably not.

Whatever the "unprecedented circumstances", to deprive a potential passenger of all human interface is simply NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Kathy forced the system to supply that human interface, but most 81 year olds would have gone away unserved, possibly missing a ferry and a hospital appointment.

It takes guts to get someone to serve you!
Kathy rode from Southampton ferry terminal to the vast Hospital complex by taxi, in good time for her appointment and all went smoothly on the return journey. It took Katthy a whole day!

But she did report feeling a sense of achievement at beating the unfriendly system thanks to the very nice man who answered her well vocalised plea for assistance.

And So To Manchester.
fbb has a reasonable general knowledge of  public transport in Manchester and the geography of the PTE area. But his specific detailed knowledge is shaky.

When the Twittersphere revealed the "new" hand-me-down buses for Go North West's route 41, fbb decided to explore further.
Everywhere on the timetable was reasonably familiar except for Bank House Chapel Lane; so fbb wondered how easily someone from "Bank House" might find their way to, say, the Manchester Royal Infirmary, in theory for an appointment like Kathy's. Currently there is a half hourly service and the journey would takes a smidgen over one hour.

The first problem to solve is the location of "Bank House" somewhere between Middleton bus station ...
... and North Manchester General Hospital, seen here in pre-Go Ahead days.
It looks as if this might be a bit of a challenge ...
... even after zooming in!
More to follow soonest.

And So To Aberdeen
Today is the first day in service. More tomorrow.

 Next Manchester / Aberdeen blog : Friday 29th January 

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