For some years now my colleague Julia and I have been travelling back and forth between Chesterfield Railway Station and Sheffield, commuting to and from work. Mostly we travel together. The monthly ticket for these journeys comes to £106 each.
Recently, Julia was moved to look into how much it would cost if we abandoned the train and took the limited stop express bus. For her it would cost around £50 a month. That ticket wouldn't do for me - I live outside of the inner Chesterfield bus area. For me a ticket would cost £71. A saving, as I'm sure you can work out, of £35 a month. And with my Gold (that's GOLD) ticket, I get unlimited travel on that particular bus company in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire. Not only that, but my ticket also includes trams run by that particular company.
We decided to give it a go.
I have to admit that it takes longer. But we are not usually in any hurry and it's quite a pleasant journey. Nice views. Calm journeys. Free WiFi, should WiFi be required (you pay £5 for WiFi on the train). What's not to like?
And it's much more interesting. Because it's a limited stop service, it's not absolutely necessary for the drivers to take exactly the same route every day. There are minor variations that can be taken. You can't do that with a train! And on Thursday morning, when the main road into Sheffield was blocked by an accident that had only recently happened, our dexterous driver turned the bus round on a five cent piece, and we went By Another Way. If the railway line is blocked, you have to sit there until it is unblocked. Yesterday, on the way into work, the driver decided that the usual route in Sheffield City Centre was too crowded and went by another way entirely. It's quite fun, never entirely knowing which way the bus will go.
I think I will stick with the bus for the time being. The buses (so far) have been much more reliable than the trains. And £35 is not an insignificant amount to save each month!
I didn't have occasion to travel on any buses over the weekend. We went to Bishops' House on Saturday afternoon and had a lovely time with lots of visitors - including Tabitha, Gareth and Cally who dropped in to say hello. It was very sunny on Saturday but quite spectacularly windy. It wasn't quite as sunny and warm on Sunday, but it was much less windy. I got outside for a while and began weeding the patio. The Builder moved loads of soil from the front corner of the driveway round the back. He's planning to level out that corner and to concrete it over, thus widening the useful bit of the drive. Then we had a restorative glass or two of something, sat in the sunshine on the (half-weeded) patio. It was all very pleasant.
I had bought some red snapper for our Sunday meal. I love snapper (although I prefer the silver snapper you get in the Antipodes) and you don't see it very often around Chesterfield or Sheffield. I baked it and we had it with chips. It was extremely delicious. But while it came gutted, it did not come scaled. Red snapper has a prodigious quantity of scales! I am still finding them scattered around the kitchen, even though I did clean up after myself!!! I'm sure that the cat thinks we have a secret stash of fish hidden somewhere that we are keeping from him :-D