Monday, 20 April 2009

The Number 9 Route

Monday 20 April 2009
This outing was unique: we think it is the only time when two consecutive numbers make an easy journey. Linda had family duties, so Mary and I met at Aldwych
on yet another sunny day. At 10.24, we boarded a genuine antique routemaster although we knew we should have to get another 9 at the Royal Albert Hall. I hope none of our readers is foolishly nostalgic for these things. Let us just say that you could smell old tobacco on the upstairs, twenty years on, and when a child fell forward, the rail on the seat in front was not at all padded. The Strand was quite slow because of water works (where isn't?) but we reached Waterloo Place and then Piccadilly, passing St James's Church, and then a blue plaque to show that Lord Palmerston lived along the road. Hyde Park Corner yet again meant that Mary had to endure the lecture on the various memorials there (see the Number 8) and then we were into Knightsbridge, passing the Paxton's Head Pub, apparently renamed in 1851 when the Crystal Palace builders used to drink there (what was it called before? Duke of Grafton). At the Albert Memorial we got onto a modern 9, and pressed on, past Kensington Palace and then noticing the dozens of bike racks in the middle of Kensington High Street. The former Commonwealth Institute is up for sale, and looked very depressing, but we saw a blue plaque for the cartoonist Low to cheer us up. Hammersmith was very bunged up by whatever accident had closed the flyover, but we reached the bus station within an hour and got straight onto a number 10.

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