Welcome to my blog, The Bus Business. This will be a daring, challenging and no holds barred account of my life.
But “Who are you” I hear you yell!
Well I am surprised you do not know because you have found your way here – I am Barry Spoon and for the last fifteen years I have been widely known as ‘The Agent Provocateur of the Bus Spotting World. The Moquette Terrible if you like. I am the envy of the bus spotting world, the man who is responsible for making bus spotting cool again, I am the Fonzie of this shy but exciting world.
But you can call me Barry. Or Spoons. Or Smiley, which is my nickname in the field.
So what can you expect from this blog – well you can expect something different, not just stories about buses or standing in the rain in an anorak armed only with a pencil, a thermos flask, and a notebook jotting down engine numbers and badge details. Mainly that but not just that. I’m going to give you data. Like this….
The Number 7 Bus from Plymouth to Crapstone is the only bus in England to pass a working windmill.
The 4T bus from Twydall to Eastchurch Marshes is the longest running unchanged bus route in the entire world. How exciting is that!!!!
It has gone EXACTLY the same route for 93 years since it started out in life as horse and cart run taking the workers from the poor house to the factory where they made buttons.
I’m also going to give you photos, buses spotted in the wild, famous buses, buses that have appeared in not one but two episodes of the Bill, buses that are on posters advertising other buses. That is just crazy.
But let’s start at the beginning. How do you become a Top Bus Spotter like me, Barry Spoon. Well here are the five things you will need to be one,
- A Pencil – don’t even think about starting without. Don’t use pens, you’ll look like an amateur and an idiot when it rains, scribbling away on the top of your pad trying to get the pen working whilst the rain drips off your hair or glasses.
- A Notepad – Pretty self-explanatory really. Don’t use one with buses on it, you will get abused my members of the public who don’t understand the beauty and the majesty of a Route Master 9000.
- A Thermos Flask – You will need hot tea to keep you warm as you sit in Cheam Bus Station waiting for the Green Tiger 25S to come past as it only runs once every two hours on a Sunday and even then the traffic in Sutton means its sometimes four minutes late.
- A timetable – you can usually pick these up from the bus station. Although not in Huddersfield, there you have to go the so called West Yorkshire Travel Centre.
- A Sense of Humour – because you don’t have to be crazy to be a bus spotter but it sure does help.
Finding the perfect bus is like a lion hunt. You need to become the lion. Practice your roar now…’Grrrr’. You are a Lion.
Here are my five top tips for any newcomers at becoming a Lion
- Seek out you location. Arrive early to get a good spot. Some spotters are cunning devils and will think of nothing to barge past you to get a better photo or that piece of glory.
- Think about Light. If its dark you can’t read the engine plates or get a decent photo, but you can hide from youths in tracksuits who are high on marijuana or drunk on fizzy beer. They should become bus spotters because the thrill of the bus is the only high we need am I right or am I right?
- Don’t be afraid of traffic – whilst it can hurt you don’t be afraid to cross whilst the traffic is still moving – slowly – and remember traffic islands can sometimes provide you with a decent photo opportunity and remember its Dog Eat Dog out there.
- Don’t be lured in by false idols – like Vintage Vehicle Fairs. Especially the one at Buckfastleigh in Easter. This is usually frequented by wannabes spotters like Trevor and Julie who claim to be Britains Number One Bus Spotting Couple, they might well be – but this is only because I don’t have a girlfriend at the moment.
- Look for the wraparounds – Buses with full wrap around adverts (usually for films or useful spot creams) are really rare and pictures of those will get you instant kudos. That’s what got me noticed. Well that and my stand out fluorescent jacket and red Velcro strapped Thermos combination.
Good Luck Spotters or as the bus drivers call us Moquettes.