Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Day 2 Part 1: Bridport to Winchester

Today is going to be a busy one. Not only are we setting ourselves up for the leg to Ipswich tomorrow, but we are visiting my home town, Southampton – and with that a meet up with Cariad, and possibly First Group PR and perhaps even the Southampton Daily Echo.

Despite the Tiger being a lovely pub, with some good drinks on, I somehow managed to offend the drunken landlord last night by asking whether he had considered supporting the local cider makers. However, I suspect he didn’t mean to be abusive… just as I didn’t mean to suggest he knew nothing about cider.

First Bus 31 from Bridport to Dorchester
Anyway, this morning (having checked my bacon sandwich) we boarded the 31 to Dorchester. It was, as it should be at that time of morning, full of students) who departed en masse just as we reached our destination. We had time for a short wander and comfort break (following ‘Aunty’ Jackie Richards advice to “go when you can, not when you need to”) and tested our new Go Ahead passes on the Damory 183 to Dorchester.

Damory 183/184 to Salisbury
I am starting to realise that bus travel permits some cracking earwigging opportunities! Sitting up top at the front on this bus were two old men moaning about school kids, the time of buses, buses in general and people of all types and sizes. It was like a mini grumpy old men TV programme and fun to listen to as we wended our way through the Dorset countryside. At one point, in fairness to them, one did confess that they may have been young too (once). We passed a ‘community speed watch’ group, pointing their speed gun at anything that moved (is that an extension of neighbourhood watch?) Anyway, they looked like they were having fun.

At Blandford, we were due to change from the 183 on to the 184 for Salisbury. This was achieved without needing to move a muscle… we just sat in our seats and 5 minutes later – hey presto – we were on the 184!

Salisbury was a fairly quick turn around towards Southampton. I confess that I was keen to get this leg of the journey over with so I could see my daughter, Cariad. However, once again, there was some quality eavesdropping to do; and one snippet is worth repeating… Between man and woman behind us; “I think there is an art club on a Friday”… a silent pause and then the woman says, thoughtfully, “yes, there are lots of clubs that people like to go to.” Deep.

Wilts and Dorset X7 to Southampton
We reached Totton, where Michael was treated to a rendition of “Jez: the teenage years” parts 1-4. I think he appreciated it (either that or we needed to get to Southampton for a comfort break!)
And so on to Southampton. At this point I would like to include a big photograph of my daughter and I, with case handle, in Southampton. Sadly I cannot as, due to a slight misunderstanding, the timing of Cariad arriving in Southampton was out by a week – by which time we will have reached John O’Groats! However, we were me by Allison from First, who sat patiently while we both told her our life stories. As it turns out, I managed to get the Daily Echo interested in my recent cider award – the lure of alcohol, and Allison has been in the Echo for something to do with wonder bra’s (or some such). Perhaps Michael and I missed a trick as the Echo didn’t bite with our charity event! 
We made our connection to Winchester (BlueStar 1), and waved at Cariad as we left. Her nurses had tried to get her in to see us at the last minute but just failed. Never mind. On northwards we go.

Bluestar 1 - Southamtpon to Winchester
And so, I finish this instalment at Winchester… waiting for Stagecoach to whisk us off to Basingstoke. Nice.

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