Thursday, 17 October 2013

Day 4 Part 1 - Capel St Mary to Cambridge

Carters 91 - Capel St Mary to Ipswich
Having left our journey at Capel St Mary, it was ‘meet in the lobby at 05:40’ for Michael and I. We were to be met and transported back to where we left off in order to catch the first bus of the day at 06:27 from the village. As good as their word, a car turned up (not the engineers van!) and took us off. And the driver, Stu, stayed with us until we were aboard Carters 93 service back to Ipswich. And then he went back to work his school run to Claydon!

I realise that leaving Ipswich only to return on a bus may sound silly. But we want to do this properly. Not because we have to, but because well, why not… the people at the LEJOG Association would be bothered about it (perhaps) and serious bus people would certainly be bothered. And so, at 07:00, we stood at Cattle Market bus station in Ipswich having brought our trip back to where it ought to have been the previous evening.

Ipswich Buses Town Shuttle
Now, we weren’t scheduled to ride on an Ipswich Buses bus, so, to put that right, just after 7am, Dean and Malcolm turned up to take us for a scheduled ride on their free town bus. They are good company, so it was fun going round Ipswich and back to where we started. But it counts – it was scheduled and it was in active service. Then we went off in search of another Ipswich bus to take some photographs.

First Bus 88 - Stowmarket
As with other towns, the local press did not appear. Never the less, we made our own fun and photographs until it was time to leave on the First Bus 88 to Stowmarket. This went peacefully and without hiccup (though it could have… we were so bleary eyed we probably wouldn't have noticed!) and we were at our destination in plenty of time for the next bus -  Galloways bus to Bury St Edmunds (384).

Gallloways 384
Our highlight of the Galloways trip (other than the very kind and pleasant driver) was running serenely along the old A14, whilst the current A14 was stationary. Very satisfying!

At Bury, we were met by Colin, a Stagecoach inspector, with tickets for our next leg of the journey. Stagecoach has been so generous to us in our venture, and whilst we have encouraged people to make the most of the PR potential, they have been happy to simply carry us. So THANK YOU Stagecoach – and thank you Stagecoach in Cambridge for the tickets. Off we went, on Stagecoach 11 to Cambridge. At Newmarket, worryingly, Michael thought he had hit the tiredness wall and was hallucinating; as we had to stop to allow a number of race horses across the road. Nevertheless, we arrived in Cambridge on time.

Stagecoach 11 - Cambridge
As with Bury St Edmunds, we were met by a Stagecoach representative. Margaret was our link to the next service – Stagecoach B, ‘The Busway’. Unfortunately, Margaret didn’t want her photograph taken – but she was lovely and helpful and made sure the connection worked smoothly.

One of the people who has encouraged and helped us through the organisation of this trip is the Omni PR guru, Alison McCalpin (or O’Conner – depends on which day of the week it is). And, as we alighted the bus, tired and weary, an enthusiastic Alison greeted us with a huge smile. Having checked that we were clean and presentable we met with Cambridge News photographer, Keith, who snapped away. Now, Keith, I have never crawled on or off a bus on my knees (yet), so it felt a bit unnatural. Mind you, the photographs looked good (oh, meanwhile Alison was still bouncing around and taking photo’s of Keith photographing us…)

We were also meant to be meeting with BBC Radio Cambridge whilst there too. But, as there was no sign it was time to get coffee. Michael was back in the land of the living whilst I was getting the shakes (normally I have had any number of cups of coffee… my body cannot take none for that long!) Once Alison had found out where the radio person was (incidentally, still running around like a proper professional PR person) we gathered stuff and headed back to the bus stands.

BBC Radio Cambridge was a young lady with a microphone and an iPad… and after a bit of testing and checking of facts we were on. OK, it was a fairly general conversation and didn’t cover a lot – we didn’t get to mention the blog, for example. Michael, who has always wanted to be on the wireless, took control and, as soon as our bus turned up ended the interview. Not rude… just to the point and direct… very funny! Meanwhile, Margaret was engineering our seats on the B – at the front on the top of the double decker.

Stay tuned (see what I did there) to see the continued journals of our epic journey… its good… honest!


Tomorrows journey is pretty much as planned – though we hope we can meet with Trent Barton Bus before we leave Derby!…

09:13 – Depart Pride Park on Arriva (44) - this may be earlier dependant on information from Trent

09:20 – Arrive at Derby Bus Station

09:50 – Depart Derby on High Peak (Trans Peak)

12:45 – Arrive in Manchester

13:07 – Depart Manchester on First Bus (184)

13:30 – Arrive in Hollinwood

13:35 – Arrive at Omnibus HQ. Either coffee and biscuits or a meeting to discover why Michael and Jez haven’t done much work this week!........

The next bit will happen but times may be a bit varied… we need to get to Lancaster at some point!

14:44 – Depart Hollinwood on First Bus (184)

15:04 – Arrive in Manchester – Oldham Street

15:32 – Depart Manchester on First Bus (8)

16:33 – Arrive in Bolton – Great Moor Street

16:42 – Depart Bolton on Stagecoach (125)

18:19 – Arrive at Preston Bus Station

18:30 – Depart Preston on Stagecoach (40)

19:30 – Arrive in Lancaster

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