Follow Lincoln Away: Port Vale

Whilst the Stacey West has travelled away this season, yesterday presented the first opportunity to do so on the infamous ‘rustic’ minibus run by East Barkwith’s own Shane Lesman.

Last year we did a couple of videos from the bus, but having discovered that my Samsung Galaxy has little to no battery life, I abandoned that idea. Filming would be all well and good, but as I get a lift from my Wolds bolthole into Wragby and back, I wouldn’t be able to alert my other half when I returned. Much as I like Wragby, I don’t want to spend the night there.

Which means instead of a seven minute video you get a few hundred words on the trip instead. 

My day started with a phone call from Shane who was picking up friend of the blog Mike Downs for his first trip on the bus. Mike had agreed to be at a bus stop, Shane had agreed to collect him from there at 8.40am and instead turned up at his address at 8.20am. Mike had already left so I was contacted to sort it out. With Shane being politically to the right (that being an understatement) and Mike leaning left I figured it might be better for them to thrash out their views early doors.

From left to right: Neil & I, Riegan, Chris, Dad, Bryan or Ryan, Mike, Shane’s head

I got dropped off in Wragby, met my old man near the now-closed Adam and Eve and we headed to the Corn Dolly. There’s tow places to get breakfast in Wragby, one is Shortcakes where we’ve gone before and the other is the Corn Dolly. The former has fallen out of favour I’m afraid, due in the main to crap bacon (my assessment) and the food ‘being thrown on the plate’ much to my Dad’s disdain. The Corn Dolly has begun to win us over, mainly because the bacon is almost quarter of an inch thick and because I have fond memories of going to a birthday party there as a kid. It’s a long-standing establishment.

Some more of our party were already tucking in, Neil Carlton (known as Neil & I because of Stevenage away last season) and his son Riegan (which I hope I’ve spelled correctly). They’re the Rasen contingent of the rustic bus and they were already demolishing a proper full English. It wasn’t long before I was topping up my energy levels with the same. Chris and Bryan (or Ryan) arrived from wherever they came from to complete our motley crew of Imps invaders. I need not have worried about Shane and Mike’s contrasting politics as they’d found common ground. Neither have any time for Diane Abbott, although Shane used a far better collection of words that might not be appropriate here.

Nobody had told us but it was Neil’s birthday, so after we’d grubbed up it was off to the shop for supplies. We got Neil a whiskey miniature and I added some vodka and a bottle of lemonade to the purchase. With that we were on our way.

I’ve been on buses where’s there’s little atmosphere, but with some lubrication courtesy of Bud Light it didn’t take Neil long to get a song on. My Dad, recently turned 65 and he was soon hot on his heels. It was going to be lively, so I opened a bottle of Pepsi Max Cherry to get in on the act. I’m a lightweight you see.

I’m not sure Dad’s happy

Remarkably we made it a good way before the usual cries of ‘I need a wee’ came from various people. I’m not sure who it was first, not Riegan nor myself as we were pacing ourselves. On alighting the bus and lighting a cigar we bumped into non other than Bob ‘club saviour’ Dorrian and Peter Doyle on their way to the game. I always like seeing Bob because he saved the club and took a hell of a lot of stick along the way. Even though he’s now stepped down he has an air of delight about him whenever you happen to see him. He even remembered my name too which I thought was a nice touch.

After one or two of our party spotted a couple of locals and decided the #metoo movement needed some new enemies, we got back on the bus with me trying to explain why it wasn’t okay. I’m not sure anybody listened, Shane certainly couldn’t hear in the front and Bryan or Ryan didn’t want to. We were soon back on our way, accompanied by a rousing rendition of ‘we’re on our way’. Classy.

Next page – Burslem



  1. Thank god you didnt bring that camera! Great day for all of us that went but not on your mini bus!😉😂😉

  2. I was about to write that the final pic in the piece was back to front………then I read underneath, “The journey home turned reflective…” – hah, neat!
    Great read Gary, as ever.

  3. Me and (then Rob Dorrian) went to watch the Imps together in the 50’s. We both went to St Peter at Gowt’s Primary on the High Street.

    Rob lived in Vernon St and me on Sinny Bank! We hadn’t met since he went to the Grammar School and me to the City School aged 11 until we met up at the celebration do when we won the Conference.

    We chatted and immediately remembered the house numbers – 59 in my case; 15 in his.

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