Sunday, 23 June 2013

Erred Again!

Jan felt a slight rocking just after 7.00am this morning as a boat passed by slowly on tick-over.  Jan opened the side hatch to hear the steerer call back from the bridge hole that he reads the blog.  Unfortunately he was too far away for Jan to catch his name or the name of the boat.  So if you read this please leave a comment with your name.  Sorry we missed you!   Where was I during all of this?  Examining the inside of my eyelids and counting sheep.

Jan wasn’t feeling that well,  something to do with not washing her hands so the decision was made that I would go into Leicester on my own.  I didn’t feel too guilty about this as Jan had already stated she wasn’t all that interested.  If I walked a kilometre to SW Wigston the area was serviced by two separate bus routes.  However there were a couple of people standing outside The Navigation pub not 100 metres from our mooring who looked like they might be waiting for a bus.  But I couldn’t see a bus stop so I carried on walking.  Three minutes later a 49B bus passed me on it’s way to Leicester with the couple on board (the first instance of erring in my judgement that day).  After walking the kilometre I found a bus stop on the correct side of the road and patiently started to wait.  On the opposite side of the road were bus stops 200 metres in either direction.  A bus appeared going in the opposite direction (No 49A).  It turned left after passing the second bus stop.  Five minutes later it reappeared at the first bus stop and turned right (away from me!).  The bus route at this point obviously is a loop at this location (2nd time I erred during the day).  Decision time; do I wait for a bus to come to my stop or carry on walking towards Leicester.  Knowing my luck the moment I start walking a bus will pass the stop I’m currently at.  I decided to wait.  Twenty minutes later another 49A bus appeared going in the opposite direction and obviously I’ll miss it if I stay where I am.  Time to start sprinting for the next bus stop.  Obviously the transport planner who decided on the location of my bus stop was having a seniors moment the day he planned this part of the route.

I’m not one of those spontaneous people and I like to plan my movements.  After studying Google Earth I was reasonably confident I had a fair idea of the layout of the city centre.  When the bus arrived in Leicester I disembarked with the other passengers and headed off towards the mall.  However the buildings seemed to be wrong and I appeared to be walking away rather than walking to the main shopping area.  (erred for the 3rd time)  All the passengers had disembarked before the bus station and I was on the opposite side of the city centre.  How did I work this out?  Well I needed to find north.  The easiest way to do this is with an analogue watch.  Hold your wrist horizontal to the ground and point the hour hand at the sun.  North is half way between the hour hand and the 12 o’clock position.  WAIT… almost erred again!  The above is correct if you’re in the southern hemisphere.  It points SOUTH in the northern hemisphere.  Now orientated, it was a short walk into the main shopping area. 

In the centre of the city is the Haymarket Clock Tower.  It was built in 1868 after the earlier Assembly Room on the same spot had been demolished.  Apparently there was a proposal in the 1930’s for it to suffer the same fate.  However the area is now mostly for pedestrians only so it has survived.

One of the pedestrian malls leading to it is named “Gallowtree Gate” and yes…. it used to lead from the town centre to the place of public execution.  I’d already noticed an interesting building at the junction of Gallowtree Gate and the Clock Tower and was pleased to see it’s also mentioned in the Gallowtree hyperlink.  It’s the original Thomas Cook & Sons building.

I’ve developed a habit of looking above the ground floor of buildings to see if there’s anything of interest.  Thomas Cook Travel in 1841.  Established around the same time the first settlers were setting out for New Zealand.

There appeared to be a heavy police presence in the city centre and when I started to hear the wailing of bagpipes I realised this must be the reason.  Apparently it was Armed Forces Day in Leicester and there was to be a parade.  Oh dear….. I doubted it would be Scottish regiments marching which probably meant a shambles was about to occur.  Why?  Most servicemen march at 120 paces to the minute but pipe bands play at a significantly slower rate.  It makes staying in step very difficult.  Even worse.  The parade was quite long and a second drum band was located in the middle of the column.  Sound travels slowly!  Those marching in the rear portion of the first half of the parade would hear two different cadences which will compound the problem of marching at a slower than usual pace.  It didn’t look pretty so I departed with some haste!

Behind Gallowstree Gate is the Leicester Market.  I’m still getting use to the idea of the stall holders calling out.  It’s not something I recall hearing in New Zealand.  The market has been on this spot for over 700 years so I guess there is a history all this calling out! 

The Corn Exchange is on the far side and my eye was drawn to the low arch pedestrian stone bridge immediately in front of it.  Initially I could not see any reason for the bridge.  However upon closer examination it became apparent the bridge is actually a staircase to the first floor of the corn exchange

Apparently the lower floor was built in 1850 and the upper floor (and staircase) in 1856. I recall writing about the Corn Exchange in Newbury and I think it was Bruce (nb Sanity Again) who corrected me, pointing out a Corn Exchange was where grains were bought and sold.  Not just corn!

The city centre has the very familiar range of high street shops so I don’t think we’ll be going back into it to do any shopping unless there is something we particularly need.  The bus journey back to Waiouru went far more smoothly than the trip in with the bus driver kindly stopping just before the canal to let me off.  During my absence Jan had been doing housekeeping boatkeeping.  I think I got the better deal.  Tomorrow is Sunday so we must be due for a pub lunch.


Sue said...

Did you get the app for the iPhone Next Buses (69p) or Catch that Bus (1.99) for the android?

I use Next Buses and it is brilliant shows me exactly which bus stop to wait at and when!

I did a blog on it some time ago

Tom and Jan said...

Hi Sue,

Only one smartphone aboard and it's also the internet wifi hotspot so the one who leaves the boat leave the phone. However your suggestion is worth exploring.



Sue said...

Well you can still get it on that smart phone and find out the 'next bus' and what time before you leave the boat!

Tom and Jan said...

Yes.... I thought of that after posting my comment :-)

Paul (from Waterway Routes) said...

Now you can take your Mio with you and track your wanderings around strange places, as well as knowing when you reach the right bus stop.

Tom and Jan said...

I was using the Mio. But if you enter the wrong waypoint then you'll likely end up in the wrong location! :-)