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Bulletin Bus Extra

Unique Property Bulletin Bus Project

Driving Assessment

Courtesy of Stagecoach Group

Bulletin Bus Lesson One RSZALT

An Actual Adventure In The Making ??? (c) 2014 Russ McLean

In May 2014 our project to commence a suitably interesting road-trip and visit with many unique property dwelling readers moved a stage nearer.

Courtesy of Stagecoach Group one of our main writers had a bus driving assessment. This was primarily to establish whether a disability precluded him from driving this class of vehicle. The result was very positive. A thumbs up on this assessment and the prospect of Unique Property Bulletin being able to journey around the country and feature – on camera as well as online – some of the many wonderful buildings and people is becoming a real prospect.


The Unique Property Bulletin is, in essence, a hobby gone wrong – in a very good way. As internet dinosaurs we couldn’t have predicted going from our Have I Got News For You style obscure guest publication Unique Property Bulletin FROM 3,000 – TO 41,500 readers in just three years. Especially as it took the best part of 20 years for the paper format to move from 420 to 3,000! So we are having to introduce some changes. These will be subtle, but ensure the continued viability of the Bulletin. One for example is a guest presenter element from the recent freelance journalist advertisements that we ran. Another change is the growth via mainstream media initiatives. The Bulletin Bus is, for us, a project that is now firmly on the near horizon. We have three television production companies who have approached us with interest in translating an online website to a television format. Even if these don’t progress past the commissioning editors, there is a fourth Youtube based company with a firm proposal. The Youtube phenomenon has many millions of viewers and is a vitaly dynamic and accessible medium for such an initiative as the Bulletin Bus.

Added to which is a favourite element from this end of the Bulletin. How do unique adventures move from the abstract – paper and discussions – to very real experiences? Read on. The example of the Ailsa Craig Island adventure was over ten years ago. But the Ailsa Craig Island experience went from a simple article within a Unique Property Bulletin and became a very real project with much enjoyment along the way. Can we replicate this? How might it affect you?

Ailsa GG MAIN Resized

Real Adventures: Ailsa Craig Island & Lighthouse Buildings (c) 2012 Kinght Frank

Well the Ailsa Craig Island Lighthouse purchase back in 2001 had similar Bulletin inspired adventures at Strathy Point Lighthouse, plus the Old Generator Station; the Coastguard Station; the Gas Station; the Winch House, plus a couple of small islands and several more unique properties. So we know that such adventures can be replicated. But how might all this help our readers?

Since series 4 of the Unique Property Bulletin was launched in November 2011 around 130 editions have been produced and uploaded for free access by readers. We have only lost a couple along the way. Last week was a partial loss. Apologies for that. Thanks to helpers for keeping last week’s edition in some useful shape. The reason for the hiccup can be found here in an offsite treatise:-

Gory, Gross or Educational !

Some folk might find the images a little unsettling which is why it is offsite and password protected. The password is the standard one all members have. If you have forgotten, please email by Clicking Here.

Readers, and especially visitors who have become friends might like to know more of how the Bulletin has progressed from behind the scenes. For others, especially those seeking a different style of life, and in particular significant numbers who have challenges along the path of life, it may prove helpful to know there can still be useful life to live beyond lifechanging problems.

Without wanting to be too trite, good things often come from bad. Last week was personally uncomfortable, but it has produced an opportunity for a reader or two somewhere out there. The undernoted advert for a freelance journalist helper is that opening. We have to take the Bulletin to a next level.

So our apologies for the slippage in last week’s Bulletin. We have kept most of it ready for this edition:

Three Elements…

There are three elements to this:-

1] You.

2] The Unique Property Bulletin Television Commissioning Process.

3] The Bulletin Bus.

All three of these aspects will be covered this week in a beginning, middle and end approach respectively.



1] You. To start, we would like to cordially invite ALL unique property readers, residents, buyers, restorers, sellers, and indeed anyone with an interest in unusual buildings to consider joining in. But what you might ask? Well the obvious is to help like minded folk to buy, sell and progress their unique property along with their ambitions in that direction. We have something more to add – something with wheels. Sorry for the pun. But the almost casual idea of our visiting with fellow unique property eccentrics in an homage to the double deck bus road trip film: Summer Holiday which has evolved in our case to the side blog Bulletin Bus. Inexorably the idea is moving forward. Especially in the past couple of months.

So we would invite readers to review this “1” along with “2” and “3” below, plus the Bulletin Bus adventure blog, and if they would like to look at joining in with a visitation from a bus and film crew, please Contact Us. In other words, we would like you to join in and if at all possible visit us on the Bulletin Bus in forthcoming travels.

We will return to the three items listed above further into this edition, but for now, onto the main listings for this week’s Bulletin



2] The Unique Property Bulletin Television Commissioning Process. We can’t give too much away, other than there are three television companies/broadcasters that have approached us about formatting the online Unique Property Bulletin to something that would sit well on the television programming schedule.

Double Decker Driving Assessment 6 RSZ

A Bulletin Bus Example: Spacious Interior Potential (c) 2014 Russ McLean

After driving this wonderful vehicle around the training circuit several times, a modest love affair is developing with the machine. Enhanced by the tantalising possibility this vehicle, or one like it, may be transformed into a tour bus to meet and spend time chatting with fellow unique property people.


One reader, who surprised us by revealing his name – he is a reasonably well known television broadcaster – is now presenting a case for a Unique Property Bulletin format television series to his commissioning editor. Such was the dynamic of the conversations and enthusiasm by those phoning that even if the current commissioning editor declines there are a number of follow-up ways to progress this Unique Property Bulletin television initiative.

That is before we go proactive and approach the plethora of independent television companies from this end. A step that may well be worth considering. For sure, it takes us two hours each day to reply to Bulletin emails. This proves to us that there are a lot of fellow eccentric unique property people throughout the United Kingdom to visit with.

On top of all of this, an IT firm have already indicated they would like to kit out a Bulletin Bus and produce a Youtube series. So whichever way this goes, the adventure is gaining momentum. It looks like the passengers [you] need to be consulted with regard to a visit by the Bulletin Bus and cameras. The next stage of this project narrated at “3” below”.


Bulletin Bus

Bulletin Bus MAIN UPB

Volvo Olympian Double Deck Training Bus (c) 2014 Russ McLean

The Unique Property Bulletin Bus will be painted in different colours.

This is to avoid possible passengers who wish to go to their local supermarket ending up at a windmill, watermill, or old coastguard station by mistake!

This isn’t the Number 73, but something entirely different. 

3] The Bulletin Bus. I think there may be a few readers who, like me, have a Bucket List – a list of things to do before we reach “the end of retirement” as the shadow chancellor euphemistically puts it. On that list may appear the driving of a double decker bus. Go on, admit it, ever since you were a kid, you fancied a go driving one of these amazing machines. For us, the combination of a large mobile space to visit with fellow unique property dwellers, and also capacity for a small office to run this Unique Property Bulletin whilst on the road is a vital ingredient, and a much desired object.

Last year, pen on paper started this idea. Many emails and phone calls later resulted in a great day out. Last month, a very kind gentleman who keeps around 9,000 buses in service on UK roads made a particular wish come true. There was a meeting arranged at the Arbroath Bus Depot. Ostensibly to discuss the disability practicality issues surrounding the safe and efficient driving of a double deck leviathan. Plus logistic debate with bus company professionals to review the approach by a triumvirate of media production companies/broadcasters that had contacted us about this idea for conversion of the Unique Property Bulletin to a format suitable for the television – but on the buses. So what happened at this day out? Alistair from Stagecoach deserves a considerable thank you. He has a busy job keeping so many of these buses on the road to a regular timetable. But he was decent enough to take time out from his job so as to go through the technical side of such a project. From regulations, licencing, logistics, competency etc. A great level of assistance was given. Thank you Alistair.


Bulletin Bus All Aboard UPB

Not Just Trainee Drivers: Future Unique Visitors? (c) 2014 Russ McLean

Then almost unexpectedly – but kind of secretly hoped for – came the personally memorable question – paraphrased as excitement blurred the memory. Alistair says: I’ve brought our training bus up from Dundee. Are you feeling alright for a test drive on our off-road test circuit?

Alright, some of our readers may not be on this wavelength, but I bet a fair few are. Seriously, who could say no to such an offer of driving one of these lovely modes of transport ….


Bulletin Bus Driving Console UPB

Driving Console: Double Deck Training Bus (c) 2014 Russ McLean

After giving the careful and precise explanation of the driving protocols, Alistair very gently directed the writer of this how to start, proceed and manoeuvre this bus for several circuits around the test roadway. The driving was sheer pleasure.

One of the main concerns was a potential problem with physical disability. For reference, more can be found about this personal issue around disability. The password is to save readers or internet SEO robots accidentally stumbling upon some of the more medically graphic images. The password is the same as all members have for many offsite pages. Please contact us if you need a password reminder.

Disability and physical ability is why the test drive was important. Oddly, and this was genuinely unexpected, this large vehicle was easier to drive than an ordinary motor car. A big surprise.

The reason is, anyone – and several readers will have this affliction – with a bad back who drives a gearshift vehicle requires left leg pressure on the driving clutch. On bad back days this can prove painful.

With this bus, there were three simple buttons: Neutral, Forward and Reverse. Everything else was automatic. Not using the left leg meant less pain. Privately too the problem with such a disability as described here is that on bad days after 20 to 40 miles it can get significantly painful. Hence the personal use of a small van rather than an ordinary car. So a lay down can be had for half an hour for the pain to dissipate. It may sound poor, but needs must when this rotten prolapsed disc thing goes on. Many folk have much worse to contend with on the health front. Though all I could think of was – is – liberation. A small bedroom upstairs in a purpose fitted out double deck bus would mean the current disability restricted radius of 40 miles could be extended greatly. One of the most frustrating things in the past few months was a generous invitation of the owners at Tarbat Ness to come visit …

Tarbat Ness Tain Holiday Cottages

 Tarbat Ness Lighthouse Buildings (c) 2013 Tain Holiday Cottages

Sadly that did not happen. We have now sold the lighthouse buildings for our friends and they have returned to America. The Tarbat Ness Lighthouse visit was not to be.

Unsure how they would have reacted to a big bus arriving at their front door, but driving around the Stagecoach training road and without the usual sciatic pain in this wonderful mode of eccentric transport was a delight. Plus the knowledge that with the correct test pass ticket, I could visit with friends made through Unique Property Bulletin.

So where does all this leave us?

We have progress in the disability issue as it affects bus driving being addressed.

We have progress with media formatting this online Bulletin to something that may be considered useful for television [we do need a presenter please – I have a face for radio].

We have progress with property owners already getting in touch with invitations to visit them.

So here’s the thing:-

Would you like a visit? If and when we get the wheels on the bus going round and round? The idea is to come see and have a chat about your plans and your unique property. Please contact us by clicking here for more details.

Next: if you have a disability, keep going. You may be able to do more than you reckon. Though always take proper medical advice. This end the next stop is my local doctor to make sure a provisional bus licence is safe and appropriate.

Finally, if this bus adventure interests you in any way, feel free to get in touch: click here. Also keep a regular eye on our:

Bulletin Bus Blog

Bulletin Bus Top Deck UPB

Wide Open Spaces – Inside & Outside (c) 2014 Russ McLean

Hope to hear from you soon.

Very best wishes.