Thursday, 24 June 2010

The Number 81 Route

Tuesday 22 May 2010

Linda was on holiday in Wales, so Mary and I hoped that she was having the beautiful sunny weather we were enjoying, as we grappled with the issue of how to travel on the only London bus that goes to Slough. If we were not such purists we might have said, 'oh, leave it till later';  but rules are rules and the 80 was done last week, so we met at Paddington, took a train to Slough and its about-to-be-rebuilt bus station to get onto the 81 at 10.45

Neither of us knew Slough (as opposed to driving past it) and we liked the pedestrian shopping area, and were delighted with a shopping centre whose name we could actually explain:  the Observatory Centre because  -of course - William and Caroline Herschel lived and worked in Slough.  As we headed out of the town, we admired the excellent roses planted along the verges, and the shared pavement/cycle track.

We crossed the M4 at the Honda roundabout, sponsored by them as it is near their huge offices.  New homes were labelled 'Heathrow Gateway' as we approached Colnbrook, to pass The Ostrich, which claims to be third oldest Inn in the UK.  We were, of course, on the main road from the west to London (in the days before the A4 and the M4) so inns were naturally to be expected.  After the motorway, and the River Crane we travelled on almost country roads until we got to Heathrow, signalled almost as much by the 'no third runway' posters on every lampost as by the planes which appeared to be alarmingly close to us as we sat on the top deck.  A bus journey round two sides of Heathrow really showed us how huge the whole thing is: hectares of car parking, innumerable hotels, lots of minicab firms and lots of warehousing.

At this stage we got into conversation with the couple behind us, who were on their way to Peckham to have some stewed eels.  We did not think that the 81 to Hounslow was necessarily the ideal way to get there:  they usually catch a Green Line to Victoria.  We were very interested though, as the man had been stationed at RAF Uxbridge, and we were planning to be there later in the morning.

Travelling along the A4, the overhead planes were almost continuous as we got into Hounslow.  Given the host nation of the current football, we were pleased that our access was along Steve Biko Way.  We circled the Treaty shopping Centre, and then were a little taken aback as the bus said it was terminating, and then moved on, just as we and the stewed eel people were negotiating the stairs.  Still, no bones were broken and we got into Hounslow Bus Station at 11.45, ready to cross the road and hop onto our next bus.


  1. Have you spotted this description of your blog by another blogger: "While trying to find the route of the Number 24 London bus for a colleague on Friday, I stumbled upon an inspired and fabulous blog titled “London buses: one bus at a time”." (Posted on Tangential Ramblings at on September 6, 2009)

  2. A more specific link:

    I was disappointed you did not include what seemed to me to be the obligatory Betjeman quote.