Saturday, 19 October 2013

Day 5 Part 1: MANGO

I think we have done really well so far. We have managed to balance pressing on with the journey (to complete it to schedule-ish and within the time we have been given), public relations, simply enjoying ourselves and the serious business of recording the trip. Sure it is hard work. It would be so easy just to sit back and enjoy the rides… but in a way that isn’t the point. We need to raise money and we also need to demonstrate that you really can, given the time, get to anywhere pretty stress free in the UK.

Arriva 44 to Derby
Once today is done, it is then technically pretty simple (famous last words) . There are fewer choices moving towards Scotland and these seem to (at least on paper) interconnect with each other. Our issue then is what to do about getting the message out. Both Stagecoach and First Group, the largest bus groups in the UK are Scottish based… they have both supported this journey 100% and yet whilst we would love to promote what they do seem fairly relaxed about it. We shall see what we can do.

OK, on with the trip then. We started today in Pride Park. Massive football ground (Derby County… are they a big team?) and even a Gregg’s attached to the stadium. We took the Arriva 44 (it cost £1 each!!) back to Derby bus station. It ought to be pointed out that we were still trying to find out whether Trent Barton would follow us to Derby for a meet up… Alex Hornby of Trent was clearly keen to and we were to meet Stu and Mr Mango at the bus station. Great news.

Now, I have to confess that over the emails that went between Alex and I, I really figured that Mr Mango was a senior member of staff… well, you call management ‘Mr’ or ‘Mrs’ or some such. I have seen it before in my visits to bus operators. I had even joked that a manager called Mr Mango must come in for some stick!

I present; Mr MANGO

The legend known as MANGO (Mr) working bus passengers
Mr MANGO… he greeted us as we entered the bus station. He is not a manager of Trent Barton. In truth he is a driver with a higher calling called Ash. However, he wasn’t in a suit or uniform (well, he was… as such). Mr MANGO is Trent Barton Buses mascot. A man dressed as a Mango with a big MANGO card (“It’s like an Oyster card but it doesn’t smell of fish” – that was a MANGO-ism).

Mr MANGO is a legend in the East Midlands. Well, after today he certainly is to both Michael and myself! Greeting the rush hour passengers – who seemed genuinely delighted to see him -  Mr MANGO bustled around; we had photographs, he hugged passengers (and actually was hugged back) explained about the MANGO card and went out of his way to make us feel a part of his performance… which was immense fun considering we gave up our lie in for him.

Trent Barton Mickleover to... Mickleover
We had effectively removed our trip on a Trent Barton bus yesterday when we changed plans. However, this morning gave us more time with Mr MANGO and so we wanted to go on a bus trip with him. Oh, incidentally, Michael (being Michael) missed the whole ‘Mr MANGO’ thing and insisted on calling him ‘MANGO man’. I think he watched too many superhero movies as a kid… Mr MANGO kept referring to himself correctly and Michael kept calling him MANGO man. By the end even I was correcting him. What did he then call him? Mr MANGO man, of course!

What can I tell you about Mr MANGO? Well, apart from the fact that he is clearly is a closet clown, Ash has the gift of making people laugh and believe him. He also really knows the Trent Barton network upside down as he helps and guides people. He also cannot run in his Mr MANGO suit. We took the Mickleover bus out to Derby Hospital and back, with Mr MANGO telling the passengers about us and what we were up to. Getting back again required walking under the road to the other side. When we got there the bus was pulling up, so we had to rush for it; though lets face it, if the company mascot – a man dressed as a MANGO with makeup covering his head – cannot keep a bus waiting then no one can!

Mr MANGO running was so funny, and so slow, that I had time for a photo. He got on to the bus and could barely address the passengers he was so out of breath. Call me cruel, but I couldn’t speak for laughing!

Mr MANGO: He is such a smoothie
When we got back to the bus station there was time for a coffee and a proper chat – both Mr MANGO (Ash) and Stuart were great people (though it appears the Stuart never pays for coffee… he managed to get Ash to pay out of his MANGO suit!!) Soon enough it was 09:45 and our next bus, the High Peak to Manchester, was at the stand.

We tried to convince Mr MANGO to come with us… well, I did. Michael thought ‘MANGO man’ travelling on a competitors bus would be fun. Alas he wouldn’t do it. I suspect there are strict clauses in his MANGO man contract… such as he may not dress up as any other form of fruit or vegetable without written consent:-) But he managed to wave us off in MANGO style – and informed all of the passengers getting on board who we were and what we were doing.

Oh, and I should have gotten a photograph of Mr MANGO trying to high five Michael (who is about 15 feet tall). He was bouncing around like a rubber ball!!!

OK, I haven’t got any of the trip covered here… but do you know, Michael and I were still laughing about Mr MANGO even up to Lancaster!!! He deserves a post all of his own.

He does actually fit through the us door!
The proposed itinerary for tomorrow will be:
08:20 – Depart Lancaster on Stagecoach (555)

11:12 – Arrive in Keswick

11:20 – Depart Keswick on Stagecoach (X4)

12:10 – Arrive in Penrith

12:15 – Depart Penrith on Stagecoach (104)

12:57 – Arrive in Carlisle – English Street

13:10 – Depart Carlisle on First Bus (X95)

16:43 – Arrive at Edinburgh Bus Station

17:10 – Depart Edinburgh on Stagecoach (X54)

19:32 – Arrive at Dundee Bus Station


  1. Had a fab time with you guys wish you all the best on your quest Mr mango

  2. Brilliant... simply brilliant. I have suggested to the Directors of Omnibus that we should try to head hunt you and make Omni-man. However, I am told that we already have too many clowns in the company:-)

    An absolute pleasure to spend time with you... so much so you have your own post on our blog!! All the best, Jez