This day R and I went to toon on our own. We wanted to go on the bus. "I'll drop you in and call me to pick you up", insisted sister 1's husband. No, we want to take the bus. It took some pressing the point before he realised that we really did want to take the bus. I thought I had picked up where the bus stop was, but I was wrong. That was a cross town route. R has worked out where the stop was though. Nevertheless, the husband insisted on at least walking us to the bus stop. It was a good fifteen minute walk, up a steep hill. Uphill is nothing for Sydneysiders, but a significant thing for Melburnians. I suppose it was a good walk for the lurcher too.
The private bus company is Stagecoach. A return ticket would be dearer than two single tickest, so we bought a day ticket. I noted that it was only a day ticket for Stagecoach buses, and not other bus lines, or the Metro railway. Oh, the absurdity of privatisation. The other dominant company seemed to be Arriva.
Only the number 40 serviced the route to toon from where we were, but we stopped off along the way at Sister 3's cafe for breakfast. From there we had the choice of the 40 and the 39.
Anti climb paint? Disturbing.
The 39 and 40 are double decker buses, but they are also hybrid electric vehicles. One day, I will have a closer look at them, but they were extraordinarily smooth riding, with smooth acceleration and braking. Why do our buses at home lurch, shake and rattle?
We arrived at the terminus, Eldon Square.
Green and pretty.
Part of Grey's Monument.
This was a fund raiser for a therapy pool for disabled children. ITV was there with cameras, maybe we were on the evening's news. BBC North East was due to arrive shortly.
The Grainger Market was very confusing. I can convert £s to AU$s, but there were weights as well to convert. I don't know if things were cheap or not.
I did conclude meat was not so cheap, but we were in the centre of town.
It wasn't the first time I had seen a shop like this in England. I recall one at Covent Garden, at least.
Yes, flowers and plants too, in Grainger Market.
This was the most fabulous arcade and the camera does not capture that every surface, apart from the tessellated tile floor and glass, were highly glazed ceramic tiles.
R was a little hesitant, but I marched straight into the Theatre Royal.
I liked what I saw.
I forget what this clock and statue was about. Sister 1 used to work in the business below, precious stones and gold. She told us later, once a very expensive stone went missing, and her boss, said, don't worry, it will turn up, and it did.
Seemed a bit out of place.
A bit more of Grey's monument, but still not the whole statue.
We were in St Mary's Place, but oddly the church was called The Church of St Thomas the Martyr.
Coffee time. R ordered, a latte for him and a long black for me. Staff said, I haven't heard anyone order a long black since I was in Byron Bay, Australia. It was his home town, but he had met a Geordie lass and so was living there.
We looked at this several times, and really could not work out what it was. But if you eyes are attracted to public art several times, I guess it works as art.
Barclays Bank. Solid, dependable. No? Was there a scandal? Oh yes.
We were on the 40 on our way home, with the 39 in front of us.
Hot young man got off the bus, so I grabbed the front seat, and hoped there was no diversion to the route that would involve low bridges. Some of the gaps the drivers fitted the buses between was amazing. They really are very skilled drivers, as are the London bus drivers. Being hybrid electric, they were very quiet, but I noted when stopping hard on a steep hill, something like exhaust or engine braking seemed to kick in. They were quick to get people on and off, as the design of the single entry and exit door was wide, and the doors opened at about 3 km/h and the bus could move off before the doors were properly shut. Very efficient.
Coming down the West Road. We spotted R's niece's business along the way, that is Sister 3's daughter.
That afternoon, our friends with whom we had been travelling earlier arrived at Newcastle Station. Sister 1's husband picked them up. Of course they had met a few times when Sister 1 and her husband visited us twice in Australia. Sister 1 and her husband stayed two nights at his niece's house, and took the lurcher with them. That evening we dined at The Keelman, another fine pub, this time in Newburn on the banks of the Tyne.
Scott and Mark have a big house, and so a larger and more complex hot water and hydronic heating system is needed, but for a two up and two down house, a simple system is adequate. Off, hot water on, hot water and heating both on and reset. Temperature dials for both and indicators for both. Nevertheless, the hot water took a good time to get the bathroom upstairs and was not high pressure. In 2008, when Sister 1 was a warden at old folk's home in a large apartment, there was an electric hot water shower too. Sister 2 also had and has an electric hot water shower in addition to the one from the boiler. Sister 1 apologised for not for not having one. What is the point of them, I asked? She did not really know. Answers please, if you know. You could have a hot shower if there was no gas, if the boiler broke down or you did not want to wait for hot water to arrive from the boiler? I don't know.