It has been a long tiring week but very productive. Today we were in Oxford filming, lots of new Stagecoach buses around and friendly drivers everywhere. We even stopped off at Banbury on our return journey. Here are shots of a new buses there, slide show tomorrow as I have other things to show and it breaks up the news coverage.
Last night we were at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester for the Halle performance of Beethovens 9th which was well timed as it worked out on the eve of leaving the EU with particular mention of the Ode to Joy section. A nearly full house, a long standing ovation, we had a meal prior to the concert and it is good value for Manchester. Saturday night it is the Clonter Competition with a picnic dinner shared with friend Sue Mensforth. Here is a panoramic shot of the Halle concert we are in the from right in wheelchair space. Below one of the past Clonter Opera Prize evenings.
Lots of catching up to do but before I leave I had a nice catch up email from China Jogn in Guangzhou who is bother author and publisher and now model bus manufacturer. Although he hasn't got any arrangement for overseas sales yet I'm sure that won't be far away.
I think I have made up for the lack of lorry films this week by filming over four hours of material at the hectic roundabout by the southern A500 D road connection with the M6 near Stoke on Trent. One of our old standby locations revisited in style and having the Stobart depot alongside gives it an extra dimension. We are still looking at the weather for Friday regards any possible bus film location. Later this afternoon we head out for the Bridgewater hall in Manchester with the Halle in a choral performance topped by Beethovens Choral symphony. Meanwhile you can whet your appetite fopr lorries with these photos taken this morning. I did get the latest DVDs loaded to the shop last night and also some of the digital downloads updated plus the latest list.
Today was a break in the busy schedule of transport filming and a chance to catch up with emails and phone calls to be made. One of the first on the list was to the registrar in Tunbridge Wells which covers the whole of Kent, finally I found that Jim O'Grady my natural father had been registered as dead and was still living in Margate at the time. They are sending me a copy of the death certificate. We next want to know what happened to him as calls to the coroner and cemeteries plus the QE hospital have produced no further detail on his demise just before his 90th birthday. With his death confirmed I can now start the process to get his name added to my birth certificate. Of course the rest of the clan was at least relieved that any doubt had been removed and now we can continue to pursue suitable commemoration activities, my fear is that only his wife and other surviving son were at any interment or cremation. It is a legal undertaking that requires all close relatives to be made aware.
Anyway after that almost momentous start to the day it was more mundane but more pleasant to catch up with friends and relatives by phone or email. Jobs that needed doing were the storage of the films scanned from the Bill Winter collection in my charge which will be passed to the National Library for Scotland at Kelvin Hall, Glasgow on my spring film visit to Edinburgh and Glasgow. I didn't manage to get any more photos filed or even get digital downloads added to the shop. I made no progress on Bus Spot Ultra Oxford and never got the covers made for the latest three DVD productions so plenty left for me to go at. We are at the Bridgewater Hall for the Halle with Mark Elder tomorrow, also dining there and then on Saturday night we are at the Opera Prize at Clonter Opera Farm, not too far from home, picnic there with Susie Mensforth. Bex who looked after the patrons of the RNCM is about to follow her many predecessors and leave, she stuck it many months more than most, I wonder why it is just a stop gap job.
The model from Jotus in Hong Kong made it to me, the Stagecoach Manchester three axle Dennis in Magicbus livery on route to Chorlton arrived safely, very nicely packed and had managed to not get hammered by customs. I've started tentative plans for the cabinets in the rest of the display room. Once spring arrives I'll restore Mandys mum's old dining room table as a work top in the room as once the new cabinets are ijn there will be nowhere for me to do the jobs like cine film scanning. The Winter collection is back ticking away on the two scanners in the background right now. Mandy has another type of scan tomorrow morning, its at the Spire ijn Macclesfield and checks on her brittle bones, really not a lot they can do other than record any deterioration .
Here is a photo of the new model, I'll leave it in the box, the reserve collection is needless to say growing steadily.
It was challenging to say the least, cold, windy, wet, and add to that the still camera lens retracter / cover went on the blink, bush engineering saw one critical piece removed by force and the last piece which just flopped about keep in place by tissue stuffed into the edge of the extending lens. I've super glued that tonight so should be ok - I do like to get my pound of flesh out of the camera. We started at Carlisle which clouded over nicely by about 9.30am and then some wet weather, borrowed Mandy's brolly so all well then on to Workington, really foul weather there, heavy sleet at times and strong winds, the old boarded up exit with canopy at the end of the dole office was handy opposite the side bus station exit / entrance which enabled me to keep on filming. Then a change of plan, we weren't going to have enough time or daylight to get tom Barrow so went to Whitehaven and finished off there after a brew in Costa. Very little on the DVD order front this evening so we can have a bit of a rest on that side of things, I'll check out the weather for tomorrow and see if anything on the filming front is possible. Just downloading the Cumbrian film herewith shots from today.
I finished the film for the post Halton bus scene at Widnes and Halton here are photos from the visit
Getting to Runcorn centre is now more difficult than ever, signage absent, roads shut, diversions to nowhere, old bridge still shut a year late.
I managed to finish the decorating in the kitchen thank goodness, it looks fine now it is done.
The weeks transport visits obviously depend on the weather, at present we hope to be in Cumbria tomorrow and cover Barrow, Carlisle and Workington. Other locations to be advised as week progresses.
Several DVDs were finished off today, mostly they were waiting for covers. On the computer in progress is the Pontifract and Castleford plus the Bus Spot Ultra Oxfordshire. I've made good progress on the Winter collection of Scottish cine from mostly Aberdeenshire which is being scanned and non transport reels will go to the Scottish National Library in the spring on one of our Scotland film trips. The recent material from OTA we copied was superb and the Winter film is also as good as 8mm got The remainder I've been working through from the George Roberts collection has been more tricky to deal with. I'll hopefully get the remainder of John and Margaret Bromleys films copied soon, John sadly passed away at the end of last year.
It was the Big Garden Bird Watch this weekend, I tried to do it today, worst ever count by a huge margin, hardly any birds around, I think the mild weather has seen them enjoying natures booty rather than my garden feeder offerings. I really must get some more photos filed away my memory card will be full if I don't shift them and delete the dross, ie buses sans destination screen - the horror of this invention was profound for transport photographer and no doubt is as bad on trains as it is also on trams and trolleybuses around the world.
Not another camera in sight as I arrived to record the Arriva replacement bus services as they keep the areas buses afloat despite trying to wind down their UK bus operations. There wasn't anything really dramatic just a few white with labels on. Arriva aimed for a full new timetable from Monday but got as many set up for today, I couldn't say if there were anymore than under past two operator services but there were never lengthy waits at bus stops.
The afternoon was spent trying to put some awful B&Q paint on the kitchen wall, nightmare it was, never again, it was the same story with the hallway. I think it is supposed to be cleanable in the event of being marked, Mandy thought that would be good for the kitchen but the actual paint is difficult to apply and getting smooth edges even for someone supposedly good at it was a real chew. I can see me having to put another coat or two on and I gave up with the edges as the brushes were so clogged with the pain. Not looking forward to phase 2 tomorrow.
I've just finished editing the Stoke / Hanley bus film which in the end took two visits to complete as the video camera focus went up the creek for part of the first visit, it has thus produced a nice long running film and I'll get a clip on Youtube this evening. Hopefully I'm going to get some Arriva shots at Runcorn this coming week to finish that film off. I'll try and get Bus Spot Ultra Oxford finished this week as well. Shots now at Widnes this morning.
Today was officially the last day of trading for Halton although it seems to have dried up as the week went on with staff lost on the negotiations and as well as offers from Warrington many will be at the Arriva recruitment day tomorrow. We intend to be for the first day with Arriva covering many parts of the old Halton network. Halton had been at risk for years and it has been no surprise. With debts exceeding assets they were basically insolvent and nobody would ever have tried to purchase them as it was worth nothing with loads of liabilities. Another result of Tory cuts to local government, who is it that thought the Tories would ever care about working people or indeed anything north of Watford Gap.
I went and caught up with the outstanding footage required on Potteries at Hanley, no problem with weather, light cloud, mild and no wind made it pleasant although generally it is murky weather with continual drizzle and fogs. I was decorating in the kitchen this afternoon, virtually had to strip out the back door surrounds as the door was poorly fitted and no wonder damp was coming through, rubbish installation by a rubbish firm Northwich glass, I wouldn't recommend them to my worst enemy. They cost us £600 this year when I got the wrong size glass for the new model display room all because they refused to come and measure it , I did of course offer to pay but they never hesitated to come and measure when it was the treble glazing or doors which were fitted. Photos from this morning at Hanley
After a lot of hassle yesterday with DHL we braved massive jams near Manchester airport this morning to pick up the second cine film scanner at DHL's place on one of the new industrial sites springing up around the airport and adding to already serious rush hour congestion at this crucial transport hub. Anyway this evening it is up and running with a mixture of 200 and 400 ft films going through. It is a bit of a juggling act, really long term it is how to cope with the 400' reels which need to be treated in two parts due to limitations of the scanner unit.
Today we were down in Staffordshire just off the toll road M6toll at Burntwood to RGK who manufacture high end wheelchairs. We've ordered up a sub 4 kilo titanium chair which will be so much easier to get out of the car, less than half the weight of the current one which Mandy will keep for traveling, the way airports like Manchester mistreat things makes it a logical choice for using your already battered wheels. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get down to Stoke if the weather is suitable and finish off the bus DVD which I started a couple of weeks back now. Not sure about weather next week too early to tell but many destinations including Manchester and Worcester on the to do list for buses. Lots of truck trips ready to go if weather more sunny, better suited to expansive outdoor setting than for buses which in January really don't want shadows like I copped in Yorkshire at Pontefract and Castleford.
I've put another coat of grout sealant on the shower area of our bathroom and the new office chair is under my bottom as I write, assembly very easy, no tools required, much better now I don't tip over. I'm going to put an undercoat on kitchen wall which is to go orange matching the roller blinds etc, its not a big area so it will just be a splash of colour contrasting against the grey. Hoping to get the Wakefield film edited and some photo files put away in the correct folders, thats a constant battle let alone uploading to our smugmug still photo sales site and ergo back up cloud storage. Few people actually seem to use it and there is a £30 a month charge. Here is Mandy at RGK this morning
Next some shots from Pontefract the other day
I hope my new office chair shows up soon as its getting difficult typing on a tilt, one of the feet has come adrift and the duck tape will no longer hold it. Anyway an early start and over the hills to Wakefield, arrived about 7.30, coffee at Costa, you could almost get your teeth into the Bakewell tart, normally like stale and rock hard. Then as light came up I got cracking at the bus station having already noted the new deckers of which they seemed to be working a group of routes 110 etc. There were yet more super friendly drivers , really its been a good week so far and lots of new buses and friendly drivers everywhere although I had yet to reach Castleford. The weather outlook should have meant light cloud slightly thickening mid afternoon.
By the time I'd done Pontefract it was nearly a blue sky ad at Castleford it was clear all over. Later a large cloud approached and gave up as did I! BBC nil point once more for its weather outlook. It is largely hit and miss perhaps they should be more honest if they haven't got a clue. A few DVD orders to process but on the whole quiet. I'm considering scrapping the EBay shop as I'm only getting around £5 for a DVD less costs so we are selling on it for next to nothing. I've put fliers in orders warning that the other shops will end soon and people should use our own shop. Amazon seems to be a better bet now especially as they have actually made it easier to list. Come to think of it the Buses and Classic Vintage Commercials also soak up a large monthly sum which we can ill afford. As an online only concern although turnover may initially fall costs would plummet. Got a wireless intercom doorbell thing off eBay so Mandy can reach me in the new office, typical Chinese rubbish, we can't even get it open to put the batteries in! Photos tonight from Wakefield.
PMP Sponsors of bus rallies for 25 years.