This was a remarkably straight route, but none the less interesting for that. We started from outside Somerset House at 10.10, somewhat later than we had intended. But then who would have thought that a bus ride from Camden to Aldwych would take virtually an hour.
We set off along the Strand, pleased that the bus lane was helping a bit, and went past a number of handsome buildings along what we are learning to call 'Northbank'. We noted particularly the Army and Navy clock, and the sleek glass of Coutts Bank. This is clearly not for the likes of us, as it is a private bank, with a website which says
'With insight and judgement shaped by working with wealthy individuals, we appreciate the subtlety and complexity of the lives they lead. Expert in the drivers of wealth generation and the intricacies of international and ultra high net worth individuals, we are well placed to understand your needs.'
Past Charing Cross Station and its Eleanor Cross, and we came to Trafalgar Square, where we turned left, to travel down the tourist hotspot that is Whitehall. Among the many sights are the Adam screen in front of the Admiralty (I had suggested to Linda that it was Wren.... Doh), and the Horseguards. It was the Blues and Royal who were mounting guard (no, I did not recognise them, I looked them up when I got home) . We did think that the contrast between sleek horses on a London pavement (guarded by armed police, by the way) and tanks and armoured cars in nasty parts of the world was striking
These buildings, presumably full of agitated public servants preparing for who knows what*, hardly advertise themselves. They could learn from John Lewis and Next about branding.
*by the time you read this, we shall know, I suppose.
Next we turned right outside the Houses of Parliament, where demonstrators were active, and the press and media were encamped, in case something happened.
There seemed to be building works going on in the river alongside Spies-R-Us, or the MI6 HQ as it is sometimes known. Whether this is to do with the Tideway sewer, or merely an extension, we don't know.
Straight over the bridge and into Vauxhall Bus Station, where we paused for long enough to admire the hanging clock at bus stop G, before heading straight Eastwards, again.
We passed what Linda remembered as a post-16 Educational establishment, but a charming gentleman overheard her and told us it was now closed. It appears to be a private gym now.
We also passed a restaurant name the Lusitania. This is, in a way, not odd, because that is the Roman name for Portugal. On the other hand, the sinking of the SS Lusitania in May 1917 was one of the events which brought the USA into the First World War, so its proximity to the Embassy gives the name an added interest.
We enjoyed the Christian story on a mural, cramming in the whole of the life of Christ as happens during a calendar year!
Next we came past the Battersea Arts Centre, which continues to serve its community despite all difficulties. And the Falcon Pub, named for the Falcon Brook, as well as boasting the longest bar in the world, is also thriving as far as we could see.
Given how large and important Clapham Junction Station is, we found the entrance unprepossessing in the extreme. The St John's Therapy Centre was rather more striking, though
Now we came to Wandsworth Common and turned left (the first turn since Vauxhall Bus Station) to head into Wandsworth and pass the enormous Town Hall, before turning into Wandsworth Plain, where this route ends, at 11.00.
We had had a sunny and interesting ride, through an area which is changing beyond all imaginings. Given that property prices in London are falling quarter by quarter, we wonder how many of these apartments will be occupied.