Wednesday, 24 June 2009

The Number 18 Route

23 June 2009

A lovely sunny day and easy journeys to Euston meant that we were in good humour as we boarded the 18 at 10.20. Our bendy bus headed pretty well due west, passing the Friends’ House (which Linda knew from the days when her school held whole school functions there) the Wellcome Trust and UCH, which Jo likes to think of as ‘her’ hospital, since they pinned her broken wrist.

We were running parallel to the Underground system, passing Euston Square, Warren Street, Great Portland Street, Regent’s Park, Baker Street and Edgware Road stations, as well as a number of handsome mansion flats. Past Madame Tussauds, and Marylebone Library, Church and School, Linda was delighted to be crossing rather that going up the Edgware Road. We went over the canal at Paddington, and on past Warwick Avenue Tube, before inspectors boarded the bus under the Westway. The usual cohort of police were on the pavement, but the young man was in ‘plain clothes’ – a tee shirt and jeans – which may make him less obvious. We noted that the same was happening to an 18 going the other way. If you are interested, there is some FOI data here about fare evasion for your delectation
. For instance, the stats show that the 18 has a higher level of evasion than the 12!

The Harrow Road took us past intensive public housing, including the imaginatively named 6th, 5th, 4th etc Avenues. Modern public housing is more attractive than the unforgiving 1950s concrete blocks, though we realise this view may make us sound like the Prince of Wales. Kensal Rise Cemetery and Crematorium made us think of Sylvia as we passed from Westminster into Brent.
Once we were over the North Circular, the housing became much more suburban: Tudor type semis and new build with balconies and gardens from the Brent Housing Partnership. Our bus then announced it would terminate at Wembley Central, but we only waited a few moments for the next.

Having been in a very Brazilian/Portuguese area (judging by the eateries) we found ourselves effectively in South India, before moving into a more Jewish area. We also passed Copland Community School, regrettably famous as much for the recent financial scandals as its very sound results. And so to Sudbury and Harrow Road Station, in just about 90 minutes, and a gentle walk round the corner, and our next bus.

In case anyone is wondering, we did not spot a single blue plaque from the Number 18, which seems a little improbable!

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