9th August 2015 - The Exmoor Wanderers Shake Rattle and Roll

It might be unkind to suggest that any visit to Wiveliscombe is like stepping back in time but as club trips go this was certainly the case as we all rolled up in 1950’s gear to meet Andrew Bosier and his 1951 red Bristol bus. Everyone had made a good effort to recreate the period and whilst it has to be said that in some cases this meant stretching our imaginations slightly, for others it was as if they had always lived in a time warp so remarkable were their outfits that it was quite frightening to think what else they had lurking in their wardrobes. I am principally talking about Mike Barrow here whose whole ensemble so much predated the digital age that he could have almost been running on clockwork.
Anyway, after Jeff had broken the sad news to me that Buddy Holly was dead we were off. If we had vague memories of riding in a 1950’s bus then they soon came flooding back as we experienced every bump and gear change. Pausing to take images of the bus set against old signposts and a local character (Ruth messing about) we were heading for our first destination which was perhaps unsurprisingly Stogumber railway station where Peter T’s infatuation with steam trains would be fed. This was also a welcome comfort stop for the rest of us and we were also rewarded with not one train but two which we duly photographed as if we were all keen railway buffs.
Then it was back on the coach to speed through the lanes or to crawl uphill and for once pleasingly creating a tailback of other vehicles that had the misfortune to want to go in the same direction. On we rattled to Dunster where tourists admired our vehicle – as they did everywhere we stopped. On again with a much a steeper climb into Exmoor and its leafy lanes then down into the tiny village of Exford where we had our picnic on the green. At this point two other Greens arrived – namely Lloyd and his wife Fiona. Unable to bring their four King Charles dogs on the bus they had tailed us by car with the dogs in the back and would do so for the rest of the journey. The Exford stop was memorable for its 1950’s style café complete with sign ‘we have no Wi-Fi here so why don’t you just talk to each other’. It also had great cream teas and a very obliging waitress called Shelley with whom Vic appeared to have an immediate impact.
On we went across Exmoor to see magnificent views over towards Porlock where Andrew’s cunning plan of meeting up yet another 1950’s bus was realised. This was a cue for more shots of photographers trying to photograph two buses simultaneously, old signposts and a view without being run down by other traffic. Sadly we saw no Exmoor ponies but our spirits were lifted by an ice-cream stop where there were more staged shots of our driver and Mike trying to work out the route.
It was now time to turn for home but not before we headed for Dunkeswell Beacon as our last stop. Then back we went through lanes that most of us would not have attempted in our cars let alone in a big red bus beeping its horn and arrived back in present day Wiveliscombe thanking Andrew for his great driving and the experience he had given us and Peter T for organising it with him. Finally came the group photograph so that all of us had a permanent memory of the day we went back in time.