Tuesday 2 February 2010
We were once again in Woolwich for our 12.00 start, and a short wait outside Tesco's brought us the 54, a double decker between two single deckers about which you will read in a few months. The 54 is Lucy Mangan's bus, according to her column about snow, so we felt we were sitting on the seats used by the famous. 'We', on this trip, were Linda, Mary and me. This was a very new bus, with huge windows upstairs, all the better to see the dreary and rainsoaked world outside.
This is not the part of Greenwich that tourists see; it seems run down, with boarded-up pubs like the Village Blacksmith and the Woodman, and a certain amount of new building. We passed Repository Woods, still the property of the MOD and were soon into the centre of Charlton village, with views of Charlton House and the Bugle Horn pub. The views down to the river and the Dome reminded us how steeply the land rises away from the Thames.
Houses in Vanbrugh Park Road matched the smartness of its name, and then we were onto Blackheath, with its handsome Georgian and early Victorian houses, and the drinking fountain endowed by Alderman Andrew Gibb at the start of the last century. Our bus went through Blackheaths smart shops and on past the enormous Church of St Margaret , Lee and close to Christ the King Sixth Form College, where it was clearly the lunch break.
We soon rejoined routes we have travelled before, past Lewisham Hospital and into Catford, noting Linda's office, the Theatre and the bus station and then past the Tiger's Head and the Green Man, both now closed and the Motown Soul Bar, still thriving.
Then it was a right turn down towards Beckenham, the 54 being the only bus that serves this bit of the 'greener Borough' of Bromley, and we crossed the Green Chain Walk again before reaching the Village sign. The centre had some very fine pansies, but we were slightly baffled by the sign for the Villager's Sausage Shop. Perhaps apostrophes would be better totally abolished (or perhaps only one villager is actually allowed to shop there?)
To add to our collection of hairdresser names, we were pleased to see 'Cutting Remarks' and 'Nut Hatch'. We may have to start a new category, as we were tickled by Cake Expectations (though we could not find a website for them)
Soon after that, we reached the large Elmers End Tesco's and disembarked. We had been puzzled by the less-than-convenient terminating place for the 54, but it turns out that the trams are to blame! The journey had taken 60 minutes instead of the advertised 45.