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Trips Made in 2018:
On the morning of the 6th November at 08.30 we set off for the 170 mile journey to the JCB Factory north of Birmingham. After a couple of stops of 30 minutes each, we arrived in the car park at 12.30 to be met with 5 other members of the transport group. They had decided to make a short holiday and stayed a couple of nights there. We were able to gain entry at 12.45 and were met by Susan who introduced us to Ed who was going to be our escort for the afternoon.
We were offered refreshments and biscuits which were well received. We then moved to the safety table where we were given hi vis jackets, eye glasses and ear muffs/ear phones which we could use to hear Ed talking to us. On to the cinema where we had a short film presentation of the early start in the late 1940’s.
We were then taken upstairs to the exhibition centre where we were shown the story of JCB from the 1820’s when his great-great-grandparents were blacksmiths in Uttoxeter. They manufactured mechanised farm equipment and later their first machine was a Loader on wheels, then in the 1950’s a side hydraulic loader machine of which 550 units were sold. On the way we were shown Mr JCB senior’s office. The present Chairman is Lord Bamford, who opened 2 factories in India, and also factories in China, USA and Brazil. In total they have 22 plants around the world.
After we popped into a JCB shop, where several purchases were made by our group, we went downstairs to the assembly lines where 650 assemblers make all their products. It takes 3 working days from when sheet metal is delivered to a fully functioning machine, of which there are 104 which come off the assembly lines every day.
All machines are to order and they do not have a site where they are stored until sold. So we couldn’t drive any. As soon as they are off the assembly lines they are put on low loaders to be sent all over the world.
It was a great day, a good suggestion by Andy thank you, and to my driver Rob, who drove all the way in his car, with just one stop on the way home, where we arrived back at 8.25 pm.
The weather wasn’t too bright at the start off at 08.15, in three cars with a total of 12 U3A members of which we had 7 members of our Transport Group taking part. We all arrived at the departure point by 09.15 and were met by the land side crew who showed us the boat and we all boarded and put the kettle on for a cup of tea.
We were taken on a familiarisation of the boat and some of the do’s and dont’s and we were off by about just before 10 am. We did have to ask which way was North as there were no sign posts to follow. The first 15 minutes yours truly had the tiller, but I quickly showed 4 willing volunteers, who each took over in turn.
The first lock was against us so I had 3 members of the crew to help me navigate the lock, two each side to get our Narrow Boat “Mr Badger” into the lock, once in we had to move the lock gates to let her out. I thought we handled this new situation admirably, with a lot of laughs and some grunts. On the way up the River we had a total of 3 locks to navigate, but we all had a go. We arrived at the Canal side pub at 12.15, where we locked up Mr.Badger and went for a very nice leisurely Lunch at £9.50 for 2 courses, or you choose the A La’Carte menu.
We made our way back to Mr.Badger and loo and behold Trevor had his shorts on as it was turning out to be a lovely sunny afternoon. More coffee and tea were taken as the crew turned the boat around and we started to make our way back. On the first lock we came to, 4 ladies of our party wanted to see our boat through, and they did a good job as its not easy opening and closing the lock gates. Well done.
After the first lock on the way back we had our tea and coffee with lots of cakes and biscuits. We had good music on board and a very nice atmosphere, and one or two of the party had a suitable drink to celebrate their successful steering and navigating the River Lee.
We moored up at the finish at 5.10 pm and made our way to our cars. On the way home we had a shortish wait on the A10 owing to a fender bender, and our car got home at 6.30 pm.
I would like to thank all of you who came on this U3A transport trip, you all made a lovely day a GREAT day. Thanks to Trevor and George our other drivers who managed to find the departure point.
Docklands & Royal Court
Well what a lovely day it turned out to be, not only the weather but the two visits we made. Well almost made because one of our members failed to bring any credit/debit cards or folding money and lastly not his bus pass either. He blagged a train ticket by flashing his eye lashes to a lady who felt sorry for him. On reaching the platform he decided he would call a halt to the outing and we all made our way upstairs to have a coffee, whilst the person in question made a phone call to his beloved who brought down to the station and handed over his wallet with all his wordily goods inside, and off we set again, only half an hour late!!!
We made our way to the London Museum of the Docklands, and would you believe, the leader couldn’t read a map, and set off in the wrong direction. It was only the intervention of one of our lady members who pointed out we should be going in another direction, that we finally made it to the museum, having dragged me past all of the pop up eatery’s on the way.
We spent an hour and a half there in a very interesting layout throughout the 300 odd years the Docks were in existence. I spent some time watching a film of the destruction of the Docks in WW 2, as my dad was in the Fire service at the time on duty in the vicinity of the East End of London, who had told me of his duty on an extension ladder trying to put out all the fires. I also remember he told me about running out of water on a very low tide and the men had to run water pipes from the nearby River Lee and a canal.
We made our way back to the station passing the pop up eatery’s again, on the tube to Holborn, then a short walk to the Royal Courts of Justice, stopping for a quick bite to eat in a cafe (omelette and chips plus coffee for £4.90) what a bargain.
As we arrived there were several television cameras and transmitter vans, and still photographers there. During a loo break, I asked at the information desk who they might be waiting for, and he told me to go to court no.33 where an important case was proceeding. We started our self-guided tour, but as soon as we saw a sign to court 33 off we went to see what it was about. We spent an hour waiting for the QC’s to arrive, but listening to the discussion between the Judge the the late arrival QC (which was very difficult as the microphones did not seem to be working) I can’t tell you about the case, other than I don’t think the judge will rule in favour of the plaintiffs. I can’t say what the case was about other than it revolved around a little boy who was abducted 20 odd years ago.
We arrived back at Leigh station about 5.15, and we all agreed it was a great day out.