Hello and welcome to my Blog, my name is Chris, a bus driver for First Mendip based in Wells, Somerset. Married to Fiona, we live in Midsomer Norton near Bath, with Harvey the dog and Boots the cat. My main hobby is Amateur Radio and I hold the call sign G4KVI. I am the repeater keeper for GB3UB and MB7UB. I have a fascination for the weather and all things to do with nature and science. I am a biker and currently ride a Honda CBfF600. As a Christian I worship, when shifts allow at St. Nicolas Church in Radstock. These are my observations on my life, both at work and at home.

30 Jul 2011

Thanks to the team

Week 1 at New Wine has finished and I am taking a break at home, recharging the batteries. It has been a great week, the weather being kind helped a lot. However, what really made the week run smoothly were the members of the team. I did not have the chance to thank them all individually so I am using this blog to send out my heartfelt thanks to all the stewards I was fortunate to have working in my team. I wish you all well for the coming year and hope you have gained as much I have from your participation in New Wine

28 Jul 2011

New Wine

Just over half way through week one of New Wine and things are ticking along nicely. I am once again a team leader. I have a team of twelve stewards. This at times can be a challenge as it is effectively a supervisor role which is something I have never done. I find I have had to be 'fair but firm' at times. Although this is a voluntary role and most have taken their annual holiday to be here we still have a  responsibility to the delegates. My team appears to respect my decisions and to date I have had no major problems or issues. Yesterday the team leaders prayer walked the entire site. This was a real challenge for me as I have always avoided this, however, I found myself walking through the villages speaking aloud from the bible and praying for the delegates. So another week to go. I will try and post with any interesting events.

15 Jul 2011

The Beast

The Beast,my Suzuki GS500E continues to plod on. I have given it a service and it is now averaging around 65mpg.I am getting used to riding at greater speeds but trying not to get over confident. The only thing I need to replace is the chain, but that will have to wait until after New Wine.

Bristol Update

Well still working from Hengrove, and I have to say really enjoying it. Staff at the depot are beginning  to recognise me, not sure if that is a good thing or not! I did think that I would get bored with the Park and Rides but as it is a 40 minute round trip the road conditions change on each trip so keeps the concentration levels up. I am really seeing the benefits of having radios in the cabs. There was a parade through Bristol today and although I was not effected by it, it was reassuring to be told about it and not to worry about delays as these would be sorted latter if necessary. Yesterday the traffic lights at Arnos Vale played up and again a call on the radio informed us that the depot was aware and had contacted the council. It is going to be strange going back to Bath in September. Anyway only four working days left until New Wine. This is a large Christian conference at the Bath and West Show ground. I have once again been asked to be a team Leader so now beginning to get exited about the two weeks. I hope to send regular posts during the event.

11 Jul 2011

Off to the Olympics

The company I work for has been awarded the contract to run the bus services at the 2012 Olympics. They asked for volunteers to give up some of their holiday in return for an added bonus. I put my name forward and was told if I had not heard my the end of May then I had not been successful. May came and went and no contact so I forgot about it. Last Monday I received an email to say I had been successful! So I wait to hear when the training will be and what week I will be working. So despite my lack of interest in the Olympics I am part of it any way!!

10 Jul 2011

Always ask

Was asked to work in Bath yesterday. I had no idea what I was doing and just asked for the duty to be printed out when I signed on. It was only then I discovered it was a 'split shift' I am not a great fan of these as they have a 2/3hr break in the middle. That is fine if you live close or like to sit around, neither of these apply in my case. Any way I won't complain as it was a pleasant duty starting with a 332 out and back, break, then X39 out and back and a 179 out and a 779 back. This goes through Farrington Gurney I have never done this route like this however a quick phone call sorted the problem and we made it round without any problems. Back to Bristol tomorrow and a five day week as Friday is our wedding anniversary so a few beers will be had. And the moral of the tale is always ask what you are signing up for!

5 Jul 2011

Cyclists

Looks like I will be working in Bristol until September. Saw a bendy bus travelling on the 904 route. I assume this was the new operator testing the route. Bit strange as the rumours are rife that no one has the contract. As with most things there are also many other rumours. I will wait until someone tells me to report back to Bath!
Bristol is a Cycling city and encourages the use of cycles. This is great as it is a very green way to travel and has many benefits for the city and for individuals. However, it also seems to create a sense that cycling is a completely safe form of travel and that if you ride a bicycle you have some form of shield that will protect you. The fact that two cyclists have been seriously injured in the last week puts that in doubt. It amazes me that many cyclist do not helmets, gloves, hi vis clothing and assume that others will see them. They also seem to be unaware that rules of the road apply to them (red traffic lights and pedestrian crossing for example) Today one of these people very nearly ended in a box. I was waiting to pull out from a bus stop. Another bus pulled alongside as he wanted to use the stop. We then had one bus indicating right and another indicating left. As I was moving out and the gap was decreasing a cyclist came between us!! we both managed to stop-just. The cyclist then had the cheek to accuse me of not looking in my mirrors. he as of cause wearing a helmet, wearing bright clothing and was using his bell!! At this point many of you will say bus drivers are just as bad. That may be but a bus is fairly visible and most road users with half a brain will, in the most part be able to see what it's intentions are. Cyclist seems completely unaware that even if they are in the right if they get in to a tangle with any vehicle the outcome is in the most part serious injury and sadly to often, death. I ride a motorcycle and most days another road user will be unaware of me on the road. It is up to me to either ensure they do or take action to protect myself.  I always remeber a quote given by a Police officer.

'It is no use claiming you were in the right when you are lying in the road with a broken leg'

So if you ride a bicycle please remember you are very small and difficult to see. Always assume other drivers have not seen you and as many of you will be car drivers, think 'will I have seen me??'

I apologise if you are one of the few cyclists who do in the part 'behave' themselves. However, many of your fellow cyclists are tarring you all with same brush.

3 Jul 2011

Bus Passes

Turns out the work at Hengrove ix Monday to Friday so enjoying a weekend at home. Actually takes a bit of getting used to but the grass is cut and garden sorted. Removed the panels off the bike and sorted the paint work. It now looks a little more presentable. Only problem is having to go to the shops, it is much easier to shop during the week, but I can live with that.
Last week went well with no major problems. One thing I noticed is the number of people who try to use their free passes before 0900, also the number of people who are obviously going to work. This is not a problem although in my mind it is not really 'playing the came'. However, what really gets me is when they moan that they cannot use them on the 0830 bus and because the driver is 'being over zealous' that they will miss an appointment. So if you have a bus pass please remember they are a 'concession' and treat them as such and that some times you have to just pay the fare.

My weather data