Our Bus Adventure

It must be some kind of measure of how busy my life is. I started writing this post on Saturday 15th August. It’s now Tuesday 19th when I finally have time to return to finish it. 

The Chuffing Hog family holiday for 2009 was a stay-at-home one, but it was very far from boring or routine. In addition to Sue getting me to do some gardening (an amazing achievement), I spent a lot of time eating and drinking beverages that included tea, I started an exercise programme (which will have to be the subject of further ramblings here soon). I even spent time sitting in the aforementioned garden reading. We also went out with my mum for a birthday meal. )No you haven’t missed it – it’s not for a another week or so.)

I have also been unable to drive for the whole of the fortnight, so Sue has been my personal chauffeur. So for both of us, one the highlights of our fortnight off was the simple pleasure of letting someone else do the driving.

We spent a day out travelling by bus.

Trent Barton have a great all-day ticket called a Zig-Zag. For just £4.60 each, they offer almost unlimited travel on their buses after 9:00 am. So we set out to the end of our street where we caught the 9:01 departure of the Rainbow 3, a bright orange bus, into Victoria Centre Bus Station in Nottingham.

Trent Barton Rainbow 3. Image from djp3000 on Flikr

There we boarded the Red Arrow, limited stop service to Derby. We luxuriated in the sumptuous leather seats, hopping on quickly as soon as the drive allowed us on board and grabbed the seats right at the front on the left.

A Red Arrrow bus. Image from Trent Barton’s September 2007 Newsletter

The trip to Derby was fast and we arrived in the centre of that city in some seasonal summer rain. We had planned to visit Pickford’s House museum in Derby, but while we were blundering about the city centre, we stumbled on the city’s main museum and went in. We spent a couple of hours there and I was particularly impressed with the Bronze Age log boatthat had been found in a quarry at Shardlow a few years ago.

Bronze Age Log Boat in Derby Museum

Bronze Age Log Boat in Derby Museum

After thoroughly exploring this museum, we ventured outdoors to find that the rain had eased off and consumed our packed lunch on a bench close to some traffic lights. We also discovered that Pickford’s House was just a short walk down Friar Gate, under the old railway bridge. This Grade 1 listed building dates back to 1770, when it was built by architect Joseph Pickford as both family home and impressive business premises. We spent an enjoyable hour or so there before heading back to Corporation Street, which seems to have replaced Derby’s demolished (and much lamented) Art Deco bus station as the public transport hub of that city.

Derby Bus Station during the final, unsuccessful campaign to save it from demolition
Derby Bus Station during the final, unsuccessful campaign to save it from demolition

We boarded another bus, our third, again with leather seats and a smooth comfortable ride to travel northwards out of Derby to Alfreton. This bus was one of the “Nines” and delivered us to the main shopping street of Alfreton. We spend another hour or so there and visited (I think) every one of the large number of charity shops before returning t the same bus stop at which  we had earlier dismbarked to board another one of the “Nines” to Mansfield. Once aboard this bus, we discovered that we had been a few yards away from Alfreton’s bus station at one point, with a block of shops firmly between us and it.

By now the afternoon was well into its stride and we decided not to spend a lot of time in Mansfield, although when we arrived at Mansfield bus station, we discovered something of a shortage of what I will call “comfort facilities” on this upmarket blog. So we ventured down the stairs and round to the Four Seasons Shopping Centre to make use of their basic, but clean accommodation.
After another brief wait, an orange vehicle branded with Rainbow 3 logos hove into view. This turned out to be a number 3, with no appended “a” or “c”. This turned out to take an interesting route around the industrial estates that litter the former mining areas between Mansfield, Sutton and Kirkby. We even took a trip around the business park on the site former Annesley pit before being deposited back at the end of our road just about a full working day after we had set out from the same bus stop.
Overall, it was an inexpensive day out, it was something different to the things that we would normally do and Sue has already said that our next Zig Zag adventure should be to Leicester.
I’ll have to see if that can be done. Meanwhile, whether by bike or bus,
Ride Safe

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