Thursday, January 10, 2008



I'm now at:

and ready for a new journey...

Monday, April 30, 2007

The End

I've been thinking it over for some time now, and I have decided to draw a line under the 43 blog. It is time for me to move on to new things. I haven't posted regularly for some time now and all my attempts to get it going again have failed - my heart has moved on and it has taken me a while to realise it.

This blog has run its course, it has reached the end of the road. Better to stop now than pretend that i will get back to it. Part of the problem is that I nearly always cycle now - no bus blog with out a bus, as i said once before.

Thanks to all who have commented and read and encouraged. It's been great fun!

You may want to remove me from your links and blogroles, but I will leave the content up for now.


Thursday, March 29, 2007

Orthello's Sandwich Bar

An eastern lady with a kind face serves me a mug of coffee and a smile for £1 from behind a raised glass counter that protects an assortment of sandwich fillings from the grubby fingers of the young and the sneezes of the old. Against the back wall where you may expect to see a chalkboard of prices and menus there is only a blue fly-zapping light that hums quietly, waiting for more pray.

I immediately like the place. I look around and it is busy and so I take a seat in the smoking area at the back – not that there are any smoking signs, but there are ashtrays and it is slightly separated from the main seating area.

Metal framed chairs with plywood seats are clustered around small round tables. At one of these tables sits a girl with Down’s syndrome. She is with a friend and smiles at me and every other customer.

The walls are painted mustard yellow from the waist up, and red below, all surrounded by bold blue woodwork. From where I’m sitting I can see into the kitchen where a man leans over a paper on the counter between fixing up plates of chips and beans, or bacon and eggs, or something similar.

I would recommend Othello’s Sandwich Bar – I enjoyed m mug of coffee and my time there.


Monday, March 26, 2007


With a population of about 12,000, Northenden lies on the south side of the River Mersey and is just outside M60 Manchester Ring Road. If this gives it an air of being ‘left out’, then the M56 and the ever busy Princess Parkway that further surround it (in a tight triangle of misfortune) make it feel somewhat ‘hemmed in’. Northenden is the kid who is rejected from the Cool Group but can’t find anyone else to play with because he has inadvertently found him self paralysed by fear in the middle of a year 11 football match.

The town faithfully clusters around the south end of Palentine Road, part of the 43 bus route, and on this little stretch of congested tarmac linger an array of interesting and not so interesting shops and bars and general services (you know, banks and funeral directors and that sort of thing).

One of these is Othello’s Sandwich Bar, where I found myself stopping for a coffee a few days ago (I often ‘find’ myself in places, I react badly to too high a degree of intentionality).

I would tell you about it now, but I don’t like long posts, so I will tell you about it tomorrow, instead.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

One Year On.

I have just noticed that I have been blogging 43 for over a year! Happy one year anniversary!

It has been a journey of ups and downs, of enthusiasm and of boredom, of lush fertile weeks of regular posts, and dry arid weeks of emptiness and nothingness.

The 43 has passed through deep shadow filled valleys, where death and decay are in the air and all is motionless but the slow steady creeping of the hit counter… but we have survived and the journey continues!

(I know what you’re thinking - It’s just a blog, Geoff, get some perspective – and I reply… well, actually I don’t reply, I just ignore you.)

I would like to thank those of you who have been so faithful - those who have bookmarked my blog, or added it to your feeds, and those who would have done so if you knew how - and experienced with me the highs and lows.

The truth is, for a little bit now I have been waiting to be inspired. The worst thing a blogger can do (that is, apart from going crazy and killing people or leaving wash-back in the milk bottle) is get bored of their own blog, and I confess, I have been a little bored.

But I am feeling inspired again! The 43 bus route is one of such depth and diversity and there will always be more to be said. What is more, the 43 bus route, broadly speaking, is my Manchester – the Manchester in which I live and work and drink coffee and meet friends and go to church and visit the bank.

So as I begin this new year of blogging, I will at times be getting off the bus and telling you about those places – the estates of Wythenshawe and Sharston, the Urban Villages of Northenden and Didsbury, through to Withington and Fallowfield, to the Curry Mile of Rusholm and on to the teaming bustle of the University. It is a cross section of the diversity of south Manchester.

On The Bright Side

Do you ever look around you at the city - at the cars and roads; at the houses and power cables and telephone lines; at the manhole covers and pelican crossings - and feel wonder for what humanity has managed to put together?

Of course, it’s not perfect; far from it - it might not even be 'good' - but sometimes I am just a little impressed by it.

Nearly all the time cars don't crash into each other, they drive somewhere near the speed limit and on the correct side of the road.

And beneath what can be seen there is a complex infrastructure of pipes and drains and cables and information being ping-ponged around faster than you can think. It is all far beyond what any single person or organisation could come up with.

Many people feel it important to criticise society. Some do so because they want to improve it, and others just because they like to have a moan, (perhaps it makes us feel powerful).

Sometimes in Britain we can be a bit like spoiled children, forever perplexed as to why thing aren’t better.

And certainly there are things to criticise, and certainly it does need bettering, but there is also a place for a little bit of appreciation, every now and then, don't you think?

I am rather fond of the free local paper, Wythenshawe World, which gets delivered in humble monochrome to our estate twice a month. It searches high and low for the little achievements, the progress, the victories of the local people – and reports them next to a slightly fuzzy photo, nestled in amongst the adverts which fund this pioneer in positive thinking.

So next time I wait 25 minutes for a bus and see two arrive at once, before I get annoyed I will try and remember that it is a Pretty Good Thing that there are busses at all, buses that keep the rain off and carry me seven miles into the city without crashing.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Carpe Diem

I sit in my seat, just behind the stair way, looking around at everything and nothing. Sometimes it amazes me that my mind can whirr away for forty minutes and achieve nothing. All those dead end thoughts and half formed ideas. Superficial musings drift aimlessly in and out of my head like floating seaweed in a harbour. Nothing comes together to last beyond the next traffic lights; no impressions made that deserve a place in the memory, except perhaps that I realise that if I look at windscreen wipers too long they become weird. Swish swash.

"Carpe Diem" - how important do I think this is? It did great things for Harvie.

But we cannot spend every moment of every day trying to squeeze the most out of it, can we? There is a time for working and a time for sleeping and time for letting seaweed drift through the mind. Perhaps I need an aimless bus ride every now and then?

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Ups and Downs

Life is full of decisions (in case you hadn’t noticed). In fact, more than that, I think so much of life revolves around the interplay between our own decisions, (our autonomy, our choices) and external influences (coincidence, other peoples decisions etc). Life is like a game of ping pong (my mother used to say), and try as we like, we can’t play both sides of the table.

As I approach the roundabout I see the bus go past. He is indicating to pull into my stop (which is just out of sight), but I won’t get there in time.
But, what if, just perhaps, there are four people waiting at the stop to get on, perhaps one of them has a pushchair, perhaps they will all want to buy tickets with notes, perhaps one of them will ask for a week pass that needs to be printed and put in it’s little pouch, perhaps then if I half ran from here I would make it.
A shot is played and I choose to go for it and I make it. A good decision. I save myself ten minutes of bus stop waiting.

As I head home I choose to stop for a cheese pasty before I get on the bus. As I leave the bakery I see a 43 disappear into the distance. Had I not stopped I would have been on it. I wait 20 minutes for the next bus, which is only a single decker, and a few stops later we are told to get off and wait for the another bus (no explanation given).

Stopping for a pasty was a bad decision, costing me 25 minutes of bus stop waiting.

These are some of the ups and downs of my life right now.

I hope I do not take it for granted.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I apologise for the longest break since this humble blog began its life. I have been on a blog vacation which means that, for an extended period of time, I tried to forget I have a blog. It has been rather (un)like the little boy who, tired of the feeding and the care and the cleaning after the initial novelty has worn away, tries his hardest to shut out the memory of his pet rabbit in the hope that it will be forced to escape in search of food, or perhaps even curl up into a small ball deep in the hay and enter a wakeless sleep. But much to his surprise our young protagonist returns to the hutch after the cold winter to find the rabbit emerging from a deep hibernation and looking as content and healthy as ever. Filled with a renewed sense of respect for his sturdy pet the boy determines not to abandon his rabbit right now (he decides he should at least try and keep it alive for a year).

The interesting thing about not blogging for a month is that my hit counters haven't shown any decline (and no, not all my hits are from stray googlers in search of bus timetables).

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

On Shared Experience

More than many things we are relational. We all must share our lives, to some degree, though I'm sure some feel that need more than others. It seems inescapable, however, that one of my motivations for blogging is the desire to share my experiences. I make this journey alone, and I'm fine with that. In fact, I quite enjoy it. But at times I want to share a glance, share a joke, an experiance. While I waited at the bus stop an old man cycled past on the other side of the road, straining with each peddle, all wrapped up against the biting December combination of damp and cold, and he reminded me very much of Fungus the Bogeyman. In fact he reminded me of Fungus the Bogey man more than anything has ever reminded me of Fungus the Bogeyman. If you have never read Fungus the Bogeyman you really should.

A lady sat down in front of me on the bus and talked to herself quietly until she reached her destination. If I had been sat with someone we would have exchanged looks, but the looks wouldn't have said anything in particular, except perhaps they would have shared an understanding of the fuzzy pathos of the moment. And I won't say anything else now because really, what can you say?

Across from her a couple who both bore a resemblance to Mick Jagger gave a running commentary on the journey. They talked about how expensive that flat might be, and how futile that mans attempt to run for the bus was, and how that lady is going to get herself killed if she keeps stepping out into the road like that.