Monday 15 March 2010
We - Linda, Mary and Jo - arrived at Bromley North Station by varying routes, in warm sunshine, and were onto the 61 by 10.20, heading towards Chislehurst. This was a real taste of Kent's commuter belt, with large car parks (and a satisfactory number of cycle racks) at each station we passed. Though speaking of cycling, we saw a serious amount of the type of cycle track which is shared pavement, with the cycle track narrowing at each lamp post, leaving cyclists no choice by to encroach upon the pedestrian bit. This gives me an excuse to recommend the Warrington Cycle Campaign's fabulous archive of even worse cycle lanes.
Anyway, this is meant to be about the 61. We knew the first part well, round the outside of Bromley and then cutting in to get to Bromley South station, passing the Glades shopping centre, the huge Police Station and the magnificent Waitrose and with wonderful views over Kent down the steep hill. Many young people boarded the bus, but we were wrong to suppose that they were heading for Bromley College, as they stayed with us till Orpington.
We headed down the Hastings road, into and out of attractive Farnborough Village, where the old Police Station is now a 'boutique spa' and where a jeweller's shop offered 'pre-owned watches' as well as hand made jewellery.
Spring's arrival was demonstrated by the fact that there was weeding going on close to Orpington War Memorial, and then we turned to go down into Orpington High Street where pavement works slowed us down enough to spot Shimla Pink, offering contemporary Indian Cuisine, which is part of a chain more frequently seen in the Midlands. Most of the young people got off here, leaving us wondering what made Orpington College so attractive.
Out of Orpington we headed uphill again, diverted off the Chislehurst Road, for reasons unclear, into Poverest Road before reaching the business and retail area of Nugent's Business Park and St Mary Cray Station.
We townies were impressed by the size and amount of green space around Leeson's Primary School, already marked for rounders, we thought, and then we passed the Chislehurst village sign and the war memorial to reach Chislehurst Green with its handsome pond, complete with duck house, presumably not claimed on anyone's expenses. We were saddened to see what we thought was another defunct pub, The Legion, which is in fact, or was, the local branch of the Royal British Legion, now closed despite protests.
We arrived at our alighting point exactly one hour after leaving Bromley North, having enjoyed the swooping hills and descents of this route.