Saturday, December 10, 2016

Buxton Christmas Fair 2016

Another day out with my friend Justin. We stayed on the bus until we reached the Market Place at Buxton at the top of the hill. Whilst Justin spent a few minutes in the book shop I had a look at the pubs and cafes to see if anywhere was suitable.

None of the pubs opened until twelve o'clock, one cafe didn't look very appetising and the other one I found seemed to be catering for a large private party.

I don't know exactly what the chalked sign is referring to, but we didn't eat in this fish and chips shop; it too, didn't open until later in the day.

There were a couple of charity shops for us to look at before going down the hill to the main shopping area. We went in the first place that was serving food, a pub called Milton's Head; this turned out to be quite an experience.

I asked the barman to please put a straw in my glass of Diet Pepsi because I'm diabetic and can't drink full sugar concoctions...this way when carrying the drinks back to where we were sitting I wouldn't get confused. This simple request seems to have somehow really upset the barman and got him in a bit of a state; he just stared at me for a few seconds and then emptied the contents of the glass down the sink. I tried to order again and this time he thought I wanted two Diet Pepsies, each served with a straw. This time I managed to persuade him not to take the glass anywhere near to the sink. After finally having a degree of success with our drinks it was time to order our meals. I ordered fish, chips and mushy pies and Justin opted for steak and chips, both supposedly from the two meals for £10 offer. 

So, I'm there at the bar and my newest bestest friend behind the bar says I need to pay separately, I assumed we'd need to pay for our meals individually, but no; I had to pay for the drinks at one till and then pay for the meals at another till a few yards away. I was charged £12, instead of £10, for the meals; if I'd been there on my own and was overcharged I would have gone into full pissed off mode by now, but since Justin was there with me, and he's very vulnerable, I just let it go and am settling with obviously giving the Milton's Head a terrible review here. When the meals arrived my fish and chips came with garden peas instead of mushy peas, and Justin kept going on about how small his steak was. So...if you're visiting Buxton I recommend that you stay well clear of the Milton's Head.

This was the worst service I've received in a long time; service in pubs, restaurants and cafes is usually excellent in the Peak District. Maybe the Milton's Arms is a local pub, for local people. That last sentence is a parody of the most famous catch phrase from what was my favourite TV comedy series from the 1990s, The League of Gentlemen. The show was filmed locally, just over the hill in Hadfield; it felt like we had been teleported back in time and through a rupture in the space-time continuum to arrive in another reality where I'm a famous comic actor, staring in an alternative version of the show. Maybe someone might like to suggest what the title of this production might be. In a previous episode, the last time we were in Buxton, I think I remember going inside the same pub...Justin was desperate for a sit-down and something to drink...I'm sure this was the place where a dog taller then me kept drinking from a man's pint. Maybe the dog was drunk...maybe the man was drunk.

We didn't linger in the pub; we walked out into the main pedestrian precinct and proceeded to look in all the charity shops, plus two or three other shops. 

A few minutes later whilst Justin was settling down for a long session looking at DVDs in a charity shop I went outside to see if there might be anything interesting to photograph; I didn't spot anything, a man who was a deadringer for Russian President Vladimir Putin nearly bumped into me though. The Christmas Fair being held in the Pavilion Gardens Marquee was very disappointing. Justin was still hungry and so had a second dinner at the cafe. He needed his strength though, we had to hack our way through the dense jungle later.

After leaving the heated conservatory we made a slight detour over to the Opera House before returning back through the pedestrian precinct to the bus stop near to the railway arches.


The bus we caught was the TransPeak to Bakewell, departing from the opposite side of the road than I was expecting. Our journey to Bakewell was uneventful; our journey from Bakewell to Sheffield wasn't. The Sheffield bus was ten minutes late arriving at Bakewell and the driver seemed to be causing even further delays with the way he was handling taking the fares...I wasn't impressed....a few minutes later I would be appalled by the man's behaviour and attitude.

Things started to go wrong when the driver missed the turn to Chatsworth House, meaning that he had to go down to the car park at Calton Lees and turn round...except that he missed that turn off as well and despite myself and several other passengers yelling at him to stop he almost ended up slewing the bus into a gate and then maybe even a ditch. So he had to turn round a full-sized bus full of passengers with the light failing and finding himself on a six-foot wide track with a ditch at one side and concrete posts at the other. Somehow he managed to extricate the vehicle; I thought the only way would be by heavy lift transport helicopters. He severely damaged the vehicle though; he grounded the bus on a section of the track with a very pronounced camber and scraped the bottom of the chassis on several large boulders which had been placed on the grass to prevent vehicles being parked on there at the side of the access road to Chatsworth Garden Centre.

The engine was still running and so we set off unperturbed for Chatsworth House, arriving nearly half an hour late. Passing by Edensor Gates there was a loud scraping sound and someone reported that some panelling had fallen off the problem, we're invincible now and just continued heading northwards for Sheffield. Coming up the hill from Baslow it sounded like a couple of gears weren't engaging...and we could all smell burning coming from the engine. Surprisingly we arrived safely in Sheffield. When we got off the bus Justin said he noticed that the exhaust pipe was broken and was dragging along the surface of the road..

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