Buzzin’ !

‘Buzz’ Pass Trip 13 – an extra, spontaneous adventure for 2018.

The Manchester Bee Trail has opened my eyes! As a Manchester lass, born and bred, I thought I knew pretty much everything about the City, but I was surprisingly mistaken.

The Football Museum, Manchester Youth Zone, Wythenshawe Forum, Croxton Park, The Aquatic Centre, Etihad Stadium, The People’s Museum, The Mackie Mayor, Saddler’s Yard, Clayton Hall and Plant Hill Park are just some of the places I have discovered whilst following the trail.  It has also been an absolute joy to rediscover old haunts and regions where redevelopment and rejuvenation of the City have taken place and magically transformed many of them from derelict and dilapidated places into modern, inviting community areas for living, working and socialising – Angel Meadow, Spinningfields and Ancoats are wonderful examples.

I was determined to travel by free Bus Pass to find the whole swarm – 101 big bees and 131 little bees, designed & decorated by local artists, schools and community groups and which will be auctioned off in October to raise money for the Lord Mayor’s fund. It proved to be an amazing adventure which took 9 days to complete and involved travelling on 26 Metrolink trams, 20 buses and 1 train, plus miles of walking! At each venue I managed to persuade passers-by to take my photograph and handed out dozens of cards advertising the #1PieceOfRubbish campaign.

Along the way I met many very interesting and lovely people, e.g. a man from London spending 2 days in Manchester specifically to photograph the bees, a married couple from Dundee at the Lowry Theatre, lots of families with very excited children, a mum from the Isle of Wight visiting her son, Karen who ‘buzily’works in the Bee Shop at the Corn Exchange and a Polish lady who took my photograph at my 101st bee on Oxford Road and gave me a huge hug!

This project has been a fantastic success and brought people of all ages, colours and creeds together, sharing their interest, enthusiasm and excitement at every newly-discovered bee.  Congratulations, Manchester, for creating a BUZZ in the City and reinforcing my feeling of being ‘Manc & Proud’!



It’s The Final Countdown…!

It’s The Final Countdown…!

22 buses, 4 trams, 6 trains, 8 counties, 4 Hanover House guest rooms, 3 libraries, 16 Wetherspoons and glorious sunshine over 7 days constituted Bus Pass Trip 12 which was my fourth and final trip this year.  Rail fares and accommodation totalled £130 and, as ever, bus travel was completely free. I ventured through Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Greater London and Kent and spent progressively more money the further south I went.  I dread to think what my Wetherspoons bill will amount to!

The 3 Local Studies libraries I visited (to research theatres where my great-grandmother had performed) were in Northampton, Reading and Croydon and produced varied amounts of information. I discovered that The Royal theatre in Northampton is still a ‘working’ theatre, though it was closed for renovation at the time, so a return visit to attend a future performance is a ‘must’.

My Hanover sleep-overs were in Loughborough, Northampton, Henley-on-Thames and Windsor, where I managed to watch the changing of the guard at Windsor Castle. It was an incredibly hot day and I certainly didn’t envy the guardsmen wearing their red double-breasted tunics and bearskins.  From there I travelled to Folkestone to spend a couple of nights with a friend before returning, 1st Class, by train to Manchester! I switch from the ridiculous to the sublime!

In addition to 2 beach cleans I picked up dozens of pieces of rubbish and, as most of you are aware, posted very exciting pictures of them on Social Media. Ha-ha!! I engaged in ‘rubbish’ conversations with some very interesting people, including Dave Brubeck’s daughter-in-law, Catherine (wife of Darius Brubeck, Jazz pianist in the Darius Brubeck Quartet) and Catherine Bell, head of Broadcast Systems, Europe & Africa, for Fox Networks Group. Some TV publicity for my new role as Litter Heroes Ambassador for Keep Britain Tidy would be nice!

I’m always very conscious that I rarely have either time or Wi-Fi connection to respond to all your messages, likes and retweets, but I assure you that I’m always very grateful for your continued support and encouragement. Once again, I’ve visited many new places, twisted the arms of new recruits and had the greatest fun.  It’s a rubbish life but someone has to do it!!!!

And finally, to all you wonderful ‘eco-warriors’ doing your bit, please remember to never let small minds convince you that your dreams are too big!

Thank you and much love to you all.

Rubbish Ruth.

The Inevitable Statistics

The inevitable statistics……

Bus Pass Trip number 11 encompassed 6 days through 5 Counties, namely Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire. Altogether I travelled on 18 buses, one tram and one train, made necessary when I missed the last bus from Doncaster to Retford, due to a late connection from Sheffield. The short train journey, of about 15 minutes, cost £7.85 and that included a 30% Senior Railcard reduction so it’s not surprising that train travel isn’t popular. As ever, travelling by bus cost me nothing!  Hanover Housing Association guest rooms, two in Bradford and one in Barnsley, cost me the grand total of £27.50. Thank you, Hanover!

My adventure was, once again, based around visiting several Local Studies Libraries to continue my genealogy research. These included Halifax, Huddersfield, Bradford, Barnsley, Gainsborough and Sheffield and although the results of my searches weren’t exceptionally fruitful they were nonetheless interesting and aided, in the main, by some very helpful and knowledgeable local librarians.

The most glorious of weather made my trip through our beautiful countryside all the more enjoyable, but it’s thirsty work jumping on and off buses so I’m afraid I had to frequent a total of 12 Wetherspoons establishments for refreshments.  Any excuse!

And finally, as the main focus of my travels is to promote the #1PieceOfRubbish campaign, I tried to encourage my fellow travellers, drinkers, diners, pedestrians, librarians, Hanover residents and a few England football supporters to do their bit!  How successful I’ve been is impossible to assess but I’ve had another exciting adventure, visited many new places and met some amazing people. Kathleen, on a bus from Barnsley to Doncaster, was delighted that I’d provided her with a topic for her talk to the ladies group at her local church; Paul Redfern, an actor from Retford, posted a very supportive comment and my Social Media details on Facebook; Halifax Visitor Centre promoted the campaign on their website and Louise from Halifax ran across the road to take a photo of my backpack sign, gave me a huge hug and vowed to spread the campaign on her Instagram page.

Thank you to all my fellow litter pickers and supporters for your posts, tweets, retweets and messages of encouragement.  I’ve loved every minute of my journey and I love you all for ‘following’ me. Bus Pass Trip 12 is already in the planning stage.  I can’t wait!!!

Bus Pass Trip 11

Bus pass Trip 11….

Day 1…Here we go, here we go, here we go….Setting off in the sunshine & saying goodbye to Syed….

…..then Oldham to Rochdale to Halifax to Bradford….and feet up to watch the footie!


Day 2…A genealogy research day: Bradford to Halifax (Library) to Huddersfield (Library) to Bradford (again – but a different Hanover) then Ice Cream!. Great day with lots of interest in the campaign & a very complimentary Tweet from @HalifaxLibrary @halifaxtio👍


Day 3… Another genealogy day: Bradford (Library)to Leeds to Barnsley(Local Studies) …& a cold beer! This litter picking is thirsty work & Twinkle Toes were tired!


Day 4… Hanover News (advertising the campaign) in Barnsley guest room, rubbish in Doncaster & Gainsborough & a rest on the road to Retford!


Day 5…Retford to Worksop to Dinnington to Sheffield Library – and a little rest for Twinkle Toes during my genealogy research.


Day 6…& safely home! Bargain butty at Car Boot Sale ..Dropping into the bin at Maltby…’Diving’ into the bin at Doncaster….& totally missing the bin in Oldham Centre. It was an unholy mess!