I woke up later than intended but we still managed to reach Waterloo station by 9 am. I had hoped that the station wouldn’t be as busy as last time. It wasn’t, but even so there were long queues for tickets. You can buy train tickets from the machines but you have to go to the manned ticket office if you want Plus Bus. Thus we found ourselves in a long, slow-moving queue for 20 minutes.
So where were we going? South-West Trains has a special mid-summer offer: over the weekend, you can travel to any of their destinations for a return fare of £10! We decided to go to Weymouth today.
We caught the 9:35 train which was packed with football supporters going to Southampton. We managed to find seats but not in the right part of the train, which divides at Bournemouth. The hope is that it will be easier to move along the train and find seats in the right part once the football fans have got off.
While waiting for departure I noticed two triplets of police officers boarding the train. Let’s hope their presence prevents any bad behaviour.
The train left on time and is now cruising through the suburbs. The sky is blue with a light sprinkling of clouds. Let’s hope this weather holds throughout the day.
When the train reached Southampton, the football fans got off but a lot of people got on. We ventured down to the front to the part of the train that was going to Weymouth but it was already packed. We had to stand until we reached Brockenhurst where a few passengers left the train. We then found two seats not together by at least near one another.
The joys of weekend travel in summer when cheap fares are available!
At Bournemouth, a few more seats become available and a game of musical chairs ensues among the remaining passengers. We find seats together for the last hour of the journey.
Because of the football fans, the train stinks of beer and the rubbish bins are overflowing with beer cans.
We arrived at Weymouth at 12:20 and went into the Railway Tavern for a (non-alcoholic) drink and use of the loo before continuing on our way.
Tigger has a yen to visit Portland Bill. All being well we shall find lunch there.
We went to Tourist Information for bus timetables (just as well as it turned out). They told us there were two buses for Portland, the 1/10 every 10 minutes and the 501 every hour. Naturally we went for the 1/10.
The bus took us along a very winding route but when we recognized things we had seen on the way, we realized that the bus was returning to Weymouth without going to the Bill. Oops.
We got off the bus at Fortuneswell conveniently near to the Tea Cosy Cafe where we had lunch. The timetables from tourist information allowed us to meet the open-topped 501 which, this time took us to the Bill. This is a very scenic spot but we had a special goal in mind today.
Last time we came here, we had intended to have a cream tea. However, when we asked the bus driver on arrival when the last bus back was, he replied “This is it.”
I was bursting to go to the loo but when I asked how long it would be before he left, he said “Four minutes.”
The gents’ toilet was 100 yards away across the car park but there was no question of me getting back on the bus without, um, corrective action. So I sprinted the 100 yards, did the business and sprinted back 100 yards,hoping Tigger could hold the bus. I got back in time though I think the driver waited for me.
So we failed to get our cream tea on that occasion and this time we were not going to miss it! Not even though we had had lunch only a short while before. “Consider it dessert,” I said.
As I say, the Bill is a beautiful place, especially on a sunny day. After our cream tea we took a few photos and then thought we should join the queue for the bus back as this had been very long when we arrived. In the event it wasn’t too bad and we boarded easily. It was very windy on the top deck and I held onto my hat so as not to lose it!
Back in Weymouth we revisited a few favourite landmarks, including the statue raised by “The grateful inhabitants” to George III on his entering the 50th year of his reign, and found it recently repainted and making an impressive show.
We also like these decorative heads on four adjacent houses.
On reaching the station, we found the Waterloo train about to depart. There were plenty of seats this time and it is a beautiful evening with a clear blue sky and golden sunshine. Let’s hope the rest of the journey is as pleasant.
We reached London without further incident after a very enjoyable day out. Even the mistake with the bus had a plus side because it introduced us to another place that we would not otherwise have seen and provided a pleasant lunch.
All being well, we shall avail ourselves of another £10 rail ticket before the offer runs out at the end of the month. Where shall we go next time? There is plenty of choice.