Isle of Wight vintage bus and real ale trip will be a blast
More than 100 buses are urgently needed over on the Isle of Wight this weekend. No, the Isle of Wight FestivalÂ isn't happening and no, the local operator hasn't seen all it's buses breakdown.
This weekend sees the annual Beer &Â Buses event take place '“Â vintage buses taking lovers of real aleÂ allÂ across the island sampling different styles.
From small beginningsÂ the event has grown to be the biggest, if not in the UK, but around the world. Last year, more thanÂ 12,000 people took part.
It really is a great idea. Vintage buses that would otherwise be on static display, ferrying people all over theÂ four corners of the island, taking them to pubs, many not even served by the local bus operator.
Last yearÂ I drove an open topÂ bus from Ryde to the Culver Haven Inn pub, perched on the top of CulverÂ Down Road in Bembridge, on the far eastern tip of the island.
For the last month, I, like many other vehicle preservationists, have been busy getting my bus ready for theÂ event.
Since passing into my ownership in August, I've repainted the front and the back.
It's been a real labour of love. I do not have the luxury of a huge garage, no gantry for access high up, noÂ running water or electricity.
I do have a ladder and plenty of sandpaper, but with fibre glass and lots of filler required, I needed to takeÂ the bus down to where there is a power point to use an orbital sander.
The last operator of my bus had applied high visibility strips along the side and the back. They had beenÂ baked on for the past 15Â years.
Imagine my wife's mood when her hairdryer disappeared, just so I could get some heat on those stripes inÂ the hope they'd slowly peel off.
They didn't. Nightmare.
Plenty of stubbed fingernails, bruised arms and worn out muscles later, I'm proud to announce that my bus is ready for the beer bellies.
Hop on the cat or the hover this weekend and head for the Isle of Wight Bus and Coach Museum in Ryde.
I hope to see you there!
I can't help wondering about the morals of Strictly's Seann
We've all heard of the StrictlyÂ curse which befalls couples on the popular BBC TV show who shareÂ many hours together, body to body, ripping apart relationships.
This year, it's struck early as comedian Seann WalshÂ was photographed snogging professional dance partner Katya Jones, who is married herself.
I'm wonderingÂ which of Seann's four brain cells was in charge when he decided to snog Katya in a public place, or when heÂ apologised on Twitter to everyone but his girlfriend, whose birthday it was that day.
It's clear those fourÂ brain cells are busy keeping Seann too busyÂ breathing, eating, dancing and drinking to worry about morality.
A salutary tale
This is how our Sunday went: We'd been out with the kids all day, having left the house early with a fully-loaded car.
We spent the day walking for miles,Â on constant high alert soÂ the children didn't run off or get run over on their scooters.
After driving many miles, we had aÂ pub dinnerÂ whichÂ totally bloated us out.
Once home, the children wereÂ still manic and wouldn'tÂ get inÂ the bath. Finally settled, we had a glass of wine and thought '˜blow it, let'sÂ have an early night.'
Exhausted, we climbed the stairs and upon opening the bedroom doorÂ saw a bare mattress, duvet and pillows.Â
TheÂ bed linen wasÂ still on the washing line.Â