Having been uncharacteristically organised, I was riding high on a cloud of smug when I was at the stop in time to catch an earlier bus than the one I expected. The smug cloud diminished somewhat when that bus was late. It vapourised altogether when I realised I had missed my stop. Note to self: don’t trust a bus advert that says they announce every stop, they don’t. Luckily, the bus was on its way back to where I needed to be and the kind driver made sure I got off at the right place this time. To be fair to myself, the stop was called ‘Mere Green opposite Barleys’, whatever Barleys was has long since gone so my looking out for it was fruitless.
I was delighted to make my connection to Burton, but it arrived late, meaning I arrived at my next stop, Derby, around 3 mins after the bus for Manchester had left. The next one was in 3 hours time. Grr. I’d already checked out my re-routing options and had concluded that the best idea was just to wait it out.
Derby bus station is in the town centre so I was able to walk around and find somewhere to eat. Sadly, I wasn’t able to find any macrobiotic, sugar free, low carb places so I had to go to a dessert bar and have this…
The driver on the bus to Manchester was a little surprised that I was travelling the whole way. At 3 hours, it was to be the longest single journey to date, and there are quicker ways to travel. When I told him what I was doing, he said he’d been to both Land’s End and John O’Groats but not on one trip. The only other person I know who’s been to both is my friend Wil. Good to know there are other people who go to places just because they’re there.
The bus went through the Peak District, and was easily the most picturesque part of the journey since Cornwall. I’m not one for taking heaps of photos out of the rain-spattered window of a moving vehicle, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. When we passed through Buxton, my water bottle sighed with the joy of coming home.*
We arrived in Manchester just before 7pm. I dumped my bags at my hotel and had an explore. It was heartening to see all of the I ❤️ MCR signs around, a city united in the wake of the recent terrorist attack. Little pockets of it reminded me of London and like my home city there was a mix of accents and ethnicities. I was expecting to see some of the cast of Corrie, or a member of Take That, but no.
I stopped for a quick drink so I could say I’ve experienced Manchester nightlife then back to my hotel to examine the breakfast menu for the next day.
*that never happened. My water bottle seemed non-plussed about its homeland.
Birmingham – Mere Green – Burton – Derby – Manchester Depart 10.10 Arrived 18.50