Monthly Archives: November 2007

Megabusblog visitors treble, number 1 spot on Google!

Suddenly, in the past week, my visitor numbers to this blog have trebled. A bit of digging in my webstats exposed the reason.

Back in August I wrote about a Lotus Elise Police car in West Sussex with a link to a picture of a Lotus Elise. For some unfathomable reason if you do a google images search using the words ‘lotus elise’ this blog comes up number 1 out of 129,000!!! Not just or, but google almost anywhere –,, etc. The worst ranking it gets is with where it’s number 12 out of 99,900.

It seems that those who visit this blog because of its bus connection are far outnumbered by visitors who are interested in the Lotus Elise :-(

My meeting with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

I was loading the 13:40 Brighton to London megabus when up the bus steps bounded a Staffordshire Bull Terrier towing an owner behind it. Whoooa!! “Sorry, no dogs except guide dogs”. This is the first time ever that I’ve had someone try to board with a dog. The owner then claimed to have travelled to Brighton on megabus with the dog, adding “he goes on all my megabus trips with me”. That bit I definitely do not believe, and I find it impossible to believe that they got to Brighton by megabus. The only service to Brighton by megabus is from Victoria Coach station and a dog in there would be very noticeable/unusual. A dog boarding a megabus service would not have got past a controller in VCS. To be fair the dog seemed to be an agreeable sort; an ambassador for his breed :-) But even his being nice to me and not biting me didn’t get him allowed to travel. If you want to see some Staffordshire Bull Terriers the following has been nicked from

193 duty again!

I hate 193 Duty! I hate the type of passenger it gets! I hate driving in a small circle in town! I hate doing this for hours on end!

The first thing to annoy me was a lady who came running up to the bus when I was halted at one of the car park bus stops, very sarcastically she said “Thanks for not stopping”. Yes, I’d seen her between bus stops in the car prk but to me someone walking to buy a ticket from a machine looks just like some someone walking to a bus stop. Someone going back to their car is indinstinguisable from someone who has just left their car. How do they expect me to know what they’re doing? I told this to the lady and said that if she’d raised her hand I would have stopped even if she wasn’t at a stop. At least the lady had the good grace to see my point once I’d explained it to her.

I had hijackings galore – one member of the group gets on the bus and stands on the platform saying that someone else is just going to buy a ticket. They think that the bus can’t drive off now that they’ve said that and that they’re standing on it. Oh yes it can :-)

And then there were the paparazzi – I think I know how Princess Diana must have felt! They were snapping me at the Railway Station, The Broadway, City Road traffic lights sometimes from one side of the road sometimes another. I will try not to exaggerate but I honestly think the two of them must have photographed me 20 times between them. I was driving a perfectly ordinary Dennis Enviro 300 about one year old. That’s not a rare bus, nor a new one on the road. Why such interest? Or was it really me and not the bus they wanted to photograph? ;-)

The other half of the Digbeth Branch Canal

Today I got to walk the other half of the Digbeth Branch Canal from Curzon Street to Aston Junction where it joins the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. This point is the bottom lock of the six Ashted locks.


I found the brickwork, which you can see in the right of the picture, quite interesting. It is English Bond made up of alternating courses of stretchers and headers. Here’s a link explaining brick bonding, this picture is of English Bond.


After five locks the canal enters the Ashtead Tunnel which is only one boat wide, immediately at the end of the tunnel is the last Ashtead lock. Most locks have a pond before them so that boats can wait for any boat in the lock to vacate it and be able to pass the waiting boat. Not here! It’s straight through the tunnel with its restricted vision only to be confronted by a lock gate!

After this sixth lock the canal runs through Aston Science Park before it reaches Aston Junction.


Secret filming in Zimbabwe

I was reading David Colthart’s blog (he’s an opposition MP in Zimbabwe) and came across a reference to undercover filming in Zimbabwe by Voice of America. I went to the Voice of America website and tried to find the video but struggled and was about to give up when I finally found it. Even then I couldn’t view the films online but had to download each one and then watch it. Then I had an idea, I’d downloaded them so why not then upload them to youtube where they could be streamed! Here are the flims. I’ve not been to Victoria Falls for about 20 months but last time I was there there were fewer tourists than shown in the film. We took an evening cruise on the Zambesi as shown in the film, could even have been on the same boat, and the two of us were the only passengers! For a couple of hours we had a private cruise watching hippos, crocs, snake birds etc until the sun set.

Zimbabwe Overview

Activists in Zimbabwe Suffer Arrests, Beatings

Zimbabwe Tourists Flock to Victoria Falls, Shun Other Sites

Cemeteries in Zimbabwe Reflect Gravity of Crisis

Zimbabwe Food Shortages Erupt in Disturbances

Waves and giving way

In his comment to yesterday’s posting Ian, a Travel West Midlands driver, said he’d waved to me in Birmingham. Unfortunately I hadn’t spotted the wave or I would have waved back immediately. Anyway, this brought back to mind something I ponder from time to time. Why do waving and driving practices vary from area to area?

Here’s how things are in the areas I drive:

Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton – all drivers wave to both own fleet drivers and other fleets. Will give way to any fleet’s PCV.

London – no one waves to anyone. Fight for every inch of road and advantage with any PCV :-)

Brighton – no one waves but generally way is given to any other PCV. The waving bit has changed, when I first went to Brighton 18 months ago B+H drivers and megabus waved to each other but that’s now stopped and I don’t know why. I still try the occasional wave but never get one in return. Have Stagecoach and B+H had a local bust up?

Oxford and Coventry – both a friendly wave and giving way are the norm.

Birmingham – no waves (except, Ian). On the giving way I’m not completly sure yet! I usually allow another PCV out of a side road etc. and get friendly thanks, but I can’t recall ever being given way to. On the other hand I can’t recall it ever being made totally obvious that I’m going to be fought with :-)