Greetings from North Wales, the weather did play ball for once with plenty of cloud to allow bus filming at Bangor and at Caernarfon which is certainly a very different and quieter bus scene without express motors but then who thought it would survive the absence of silver star. But life does go on. We called at Mandy's cousin Eileen and Dennis this afternoon and hope to meet up with Philip and Peter after dinner we are at the old bulls head hotel of Dickens fame perhaps one day they'll be making claim as the spot where Dave and Mandy once stayed. It's been handy getting the iPad up and running and linking to emails so I'll be ready for my Asian trip next week back home tomorrow evening.
I ended up at Liverpool docks filming trucks as it was a bright blue sky this morning and no sign at all of the promised light cloud which i needed to film the buses in Liverpool, so not a wasted day at all but a productive one for the truck fans. I go up to Manchester to the Russian consulate to get my fingerprints done for the visa on Friday morning, then in the afternoon my weekly ministry course feedback meeting with my vicar Jane. We'll also be looking at the application forms to get my lay ministry training beyond the current foundation course. That leaves Wed and Thursday and for that we set off to go and stay at Anglesey tomorrow and then back Thursday, we will pick off any film opportunities along the North Wales coast on either or both days as the weather presents itself. I did well today and got well over 2 hours film of the lorries which does balance up January's content a bit. I've got a chance to get something done on Monday. but I need to get myself ready for Tuesday when I fly out to Malaysia. Let's start with a tweet of the day from our garden birds and another colourful one we frequently see is the Bullfinch.
Without further ado lets get cracking on the trucks starting where I finished outside Cargills food and by the cafe on 'smelly' corner which has the delightful grotty dockland feel to it, a Liverpool special if ever there was one.
I think you'll agree this is a superb place for trucks, I'll take the ipad tomorrow and let you know how we get on and will be back Thursday evening.
Greetings as the first month of January starts to slip away and the weather shows no signs of settling down yet. I had a rough time yesterday with the 'bug' couldn't get off to sleep, congestion seems to have come back,. two weeks in to it and it's very tiring. I did set myself the target of making the most of the promised afternoon sunshine when the heavy rain had cleared, I decided to keep close to home in case it all went to pieces. The BBC weather now has a % chance of rain but it wasn't rain that was the problem it was the cloud which covered the sun and meant shooting against a bright sky backdrop but with no illumination from the sun which generally speaking means it's hard work filming but reviewing what I'd done it doesn't look too bad and I'm burning the DVD master plus I've at least got some new photos to show you tonight. A lot of DVD orders arrived over the weekend so there was a fairly hefty load to take to the post office. The Youtube channel has certainly gained back the hts it lost over the holidays now over 70k a day and will probably reach back to the 80-90k levels of peak. The revenue creeps up as the auction of advertising brings Google little in the months of Jan-Feb each year but it is rising and the better place we are in when it takes off in spring the more we'll get our 2018 trips paid for. So continuing our tweet of tweet of the day and the garden was buzzing this morning after the RSPB bird watch weekend we bring you the Greenfinch.
and without further ado shots from the A500 this afternoon near Crewe. Chester tonight for my ministry course, homework done plus I've completed all my resources required for next Sunday Over Peover Messy Church.
I did eventually get the Bus Spot Ultra Malta finished although it took until this evening, clips will go on our Youtube channel in the next few minutes.... paused for pudding, treacle steamed pudding, yummy. It's college tomorrow then it must be heading towards half term, the week after this I'm off to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia for 10 days. I hope the weather there is better than that in Cheshire. The forecasts for this week are basically Tuesday light cloud I could film lots of places, Monday rain, Wed and Thursday we are in North Wales visiting relations cloud and sun will get something done if I can. Friday who knows, although the BBC have now started to give a % rain chance which is one helpful development. I got quite a few resources ready for Messy Church at Over Peover next Sunday, I have my course tomorrow and then I want to get some of the more recent church records disposed of as we need some space making. The first time we went to Malta was pre my video days mid to early 80's thus photos but no moving images the only gap in my new Bus Sport Ultra 120 minutes staring from the original coloured route buses. The green which was then used was one of the main area colours, others light blue, red, etc. Gozo didn't change until Arriva they were as below. I'm going to rest now while the Malta Youtube clips upload
I felt quite rough today but I did get along to Foxhill of C of E conference centre near Frodsham, it turned out to be a little bit of wasted time as the expected package of material related to signing up for the Reader training didn't exist and feeling as rough as I did I could well have stayed at home but we did get nice cheese and biscuits for lunch and apple pie and cream for afters and caught up with some people I knew such as Julie from Middlewich who did her training placement with us at St Oswalds, not too far from home for her.
When I got home my head was reeling from congestion, coughing and my head felt like it was exploding , I didn't really want to do anything but I decided that in case I was even worse Sunday I'd better get the DVD orders done but this took quite a while as we were quite busy. I also cracked on with the Malta Bus Spot Ultra, the masters for Roger De Boers old cine film had started to deteriorate but thankfully I've got them all on DVD so I've download from that and will do my best to enhance and select the best shots for this coming volume, the few 1960s shots in B&W did come off the master OK.
I suppose looking forwards to tomorrow we'll get the big garden bird watch hour done, probably in the afternoon, to whet your appetite I continue with our very own tweet of the day and this time the scourge of the bird feeders the Sparrowhawks who consume so many of the Goldfinches.
I'm rapidly running out of steam tonight, I had to run off a load of printed discs after a very large orders but am switching off in the office when I've finished this blog. Some more from Malta coming forwards in time again
My third day of the bug which is going the rounds and I must say it was a bit of a rough night, by 9pm I'd had enough sand retreated to bed but woke early, in the end after cough medicine and more lemsips I got off to sleep again and had another four hours which took me through until past 8am. It's starting to come off my chest now but after I had my weekly course review with vicar Jane I did Tom's interview for my course assignment then relaxed and had a natter with Tom, got back mid afternoon and had an hour tidying the garden in the sunshine.
Tomorrow I have my Called To Serve day at Frodsham where I will pick up the paperwork to complete for the lay ministry with C of E, you can tell it's a day when they need something from you as they provide lunch! A very productive day but I didn't get anything transport orientated done until later, I've decided that my next Bus Spot Ultra will be on Malta the first of this new series to wander away from mainland Britain, indeed the first outside England. I've done about 10 visits there myself plus some early bits of film I've unearthed with buses in the route bus colour schemes then my own collection with 1960's via Robin Hannay and then Roger de Boer's trips in the 1970s overland then ferry via Italy. I've also got film from John Bishop and Tim Bubb so a two hour journey through the islands of Malta should be no problem at all. I've listed the source tapes I need to consult, if I can get that done over the weekend I'll be pleased. I've been looking ahead at next week's weather in the UK, Liverpool looks fine for buses on Tuesday, rain most places Monday but Stoke or Tamworth if I could. Then we are on Anglesey Wed/Thurs and will pick up on North Wales coast buses if it isn't too wet or too sunny. Friday also looks an unknown quantity.
Looking ahead to Malaysia and Singapore it looks at this early stage that any showers will be teatime onwards otherwise partly sunny about 29-32 degrees which will be a pleasant and welcome change, I hope to get a split between buses and lorries and a first for trucks in Indonesia from which we get quite a lot of Youtube viewers. Our channel views and revenue too a knock on Wednesday the last day we have stats for, a return to the epic figures of December would be appreciated at soonest possible but we did manage to clear payments for flights up to my Ukraine trip at the end of June and I've paid most of my Russian trip in May plus Mandy's Sri Lanka trip when I get back just before my birthday in March. Lets hope that we can get stuck back into the lorries soon when the weather improves until then we should at least have the Asian material. The tweet of the day is the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which we get most days in our garden and the slide show you may well have guessed is on Malta. You'll note I got the Bus Spot Ultra Ipswich cover finished and loaded on our shop.
It's almost getting like tweet off the day on R4 but today I bring you the common Goldfinch, the most numerous bird in our garden, twas not always thus as they say and although Hil and Sean got them in profusion in Ireland it has only been over the last decade that they have dominated. They are argumentative little things, they always want to be on the feeder another bird is on, they are the usual target of the resident Sparrowhawks which I suppose is just as well otherwise we'd be knee deep in Goldfinches. They are one of our most colourful garden birds in England. It's the big garden bird watch this coming weekend. It seems to go on until the Monday now so it can sweep up schools who want to take part. We have oodles of feed to attract them.
I'm full of the bug which is going around, I don't often give way to anything like this and I haven't so far, I went along to St Oswalds Thursday 10am service and took one of my lovely volunteer interviewees along to Plumleys our garden centre cafe for her interview. I struck another rich vein of film material of which I've downloaded some interesting stuff, there is so much tucked away in nooks and crannies of the net even on Youtube it isn't all that obvious. I was looking at colour footage of Portsmouth trams this afternoon as an instance. Mandy is giving me lemsips, my big toe is hurting, still a hangover from lost nails on the two long distance walks. My throat is sore and I have a cough and my head is spinning but other than that it's all normal.
We didn't manage to Skype our relations in New Zealand last night but it does look like it will work after the computer man fixed Skype on Mandys laptop. I haven't managed to do any more filming but I have pit a lot of clips on our Youtube channel but it seems to have stalled again down at 60k hits a day after getting past 70k last week albeit the revenue it static but with the credit cards landing it could do with being at last Decembers level. There are lots of new model releases on the new Oxford diecast list, I've preoprder those I want through my friends in the West Midlands at Yardley Wood club.
I got the Bus Spot Ultra on Ipswich finished early today as I woke up with the cough etc so got up and did it, not one order today as yet, very strange but the way I feel it's a blessing. Mandy had her hair done this morning and we are having some nice comfort food for dinner, I don't think I'll be heading for our Thursday night drink at the Golden Pheasant in Plumley. The Crown in our village is up for grabs, lots of signs, would you like to run your own pub, great food opportunities but it's falling apart so a big project if anyone takes it on but I hope so as it would be nice to have our local back and have a welcome.
I put Hong Kong trucks and lorries at Runcorn on Youtube plus lots of shots from the Ipswich bus spot. As I'm off to Singapore shortly that is the subject of tonights slide show!
I was pleasantly surprised to get a call from Staffordshire police today reference the incident near Hanley bus station when a First Group Polish driver gave me verbal for taking pictures of buses, we have their complete backing and they have full details of the incident, if anything like this happens to you don't accept intimidation report it to the police straight away. I doubt if First will do anything they are a mere shadow of Stagecoach when it comes to defence of our rights, I remember the incident in Bath when a whole group of their yobs ganged up on me after one of the Poles went bezerk because I'd filmed the bus he was driving, no action at all followed not even an apology. Really First Group are a poor apology for a transport operator and went a doze of salts through them. I suppose enthusiasts get the benefit when they run fleets of old bangers which is quite a treat sometimes!
I was thinking of making a regular spot of birds in our back garden especially as it is big garden bird watch this coming weekend, a few weeks back we had a pair of Redwings land and stayed for a couple of days.
The new DVDs on Chester and Wrexham are in our shop now, see shop pages. Here are recent releases
Next we have some shots from our aborted trip to Hanley yesterday, I'll try and finish off as soon as the weather permits, also I'm conducting a series of interviews for my ministry course which is taking up a lot of time this week, as you can see Hanley is an inspiring place!
The whinging Pole syndrome seems to be alive and well after an absence of a couple of years, perhaps the Brexit vote is wearing off and they feel free to start conspiring and threatening people again. It was such a surprise as this is usually one of the worlds most friendly locations, it was a miserable damp day and he was sat in a nice warm cab out of view then pulls up and sticks his head out to have a pop at me. Reported him to the police, First Group and did an interview with Radio Stoke on the menace on right ring terrorism which is bubbling beneath the surface and often shielded by bus companies and security firms, they almost seem to think that identifying the culprits as Poles is racist, no my friends it is just plain fact. The political correctness syndrome stopped the police identifying the sexual predators in Rotherham and Oldham for fear of being accused of picking on the Asians.
One thing I found is that all such incidents should be reported, MI5 are aware of these incidents and we should not be bashful about sharing them, our country, our freedoms defended by our parents and grandparents generations at war should be cherished and no amount of threats and intimidation should scare us.
This took up so much time and with the miserable weather ( BBC nil points) I gave up as I had to be home to do an interview this afternoon for my ministry course. Talking of which and on a wholly more joyful front here is a shot of us playing balloons at yesterdays Chester University session, sort of team building aka corporate ministry. Funny thing was we went to do the balloon tower excercise and found the packs we had been given contained no balloons, thankfully Tescos was nearby and were able to fill the void. Popping them at the end was noisy and fun.
Here are some shots taken yesterday at Chester
It took two attempts to get Wrexham covered this year but we got it sorted today although the promised cloud cover wasn't that evident as the sky seemed to be clearing but thankfully the forecast held true for once and I managed to record the Wrexham bus scene with some very friendly drivers and no aggro other than one chap who had a general downer on Wrexham and had been chucked out of the bus station. The bus scene is so much changed since our 2016 visit and perhaps not as busy but still one of the busiest in Britain just not as hectic as in days of yore and not quite such a vehicle variety although put all operators together and still more than you find at most locations. It was very mild, I hardly bothered about keeping warm even my open coat was hot to wear. The next part of the day was to stop in Chester on the way back, I'd had a coffee in Neros and walked around Wrexham centre and noticed that about 40% of shops were boarded up, I took some shots to prove it, I think it is possibly the worst I've seen other than Castleford and Pontefract but they do have pond shops and pawnbrokers. As you'll ee I think the Wrexham tourist office must have their work cut out!
Lets have a look at Wrexham buses next, takethis morning.
My brief mention of birds in our garden seemed to spark some interest so lets have a daly look for a while at what is at the back of PMP's office. The other tree orientated bird we get infrequently is the Nuthatch which is the only British bird which moved downwards head first - similar in outline to the tree Creeper but much more colourful.
After covering Wrexham I moved on to Chester, again the light was spot on and friendly drivers, the full photo show tomorrow but here a taster. I've my college course in Chester this evening, a balloon pump was a requirement I fear team building looms!
PMP Sponsors of bus rallies for 25 years.