Tuesday, 12 October 2010

The Number 109 Route

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Linda, Mary and I were on our way by 10.10, on this sunny morning, on a bus that was going to take us straight to Croydon.  By straight, I mean that the driver barely had to turn his wheel until we we were manoeuvring round central Croydon. We passed Brixton Station, and thought how the Victoria Line had revolutionised transport in this part of South London since its opening in 1971. (The fact that it was first proposed in 1948 is a reminder of how patient one needs to be when public projects are in consideration)

  Soon we reached Windrush Square, handsomely renovated in the past few years, with the Ritzy cinema and the Richard Budd Memorial.  Some of the houses along Brixton Hill have handsome tiling ornamenting them and, as we moved towards Streatham, we noticed that they are set well back from the road, allowing a bit of breathing space for the residents.  We were sorry to see that the Telegraph Pub is now boarded up, quite possibly as a result of a dispute between the owners and the Licensing Committee.
As on previous journeys, we were puzzled about Alexander Dumas House and, as on previous occasions, we have been unable to discover why a large building which houses, among other things, a pharmacy, should be named for the great novelist.  It is a little hard to imagine him inventing the Count of Monte Cristo and the Three Musketeers here.

We admired not only a 'ghost' Bovril wall advertisement, but also Sharman's, which we understand to have been a clothes shop before it became a WH Smith.  But it is sad to see both the Megabowl and the cinema closed.  It was with relief that we were able to note that the skating rink is still open.  Our route was taking us past both Streatham Hill and Streatham Stations, and then into Norbury.

The Viola McAnuff Memorial Fund, one of whose shops we passed, was a reminder of what individuals and their families can do, and we also passed the Employment Tribunal which was, you might say, a reminder of what some individuals choose to do to others.  We noted that Age UK Headquarters were already signed with their new title, logo, etc, though we were not entirely sure what had been wrong with 'Age Concern' as a title.

Meanwhile, we had been looking out for interesting food outlets:  The Baltic Staff Food Store, which is apparently Lithuanian, a butcher referencing the HMC, or Halal Monitoring Committee and then the Bunga Raya Restaurant 'spend a little, savour a lot'.

As we came to Thornton Heath Pond, we regretted yet again that it is only a bus stop and not a water feature.  And we were inspected.  This is the first ime that this has happened to us for months, and seems to us to indicate a lack of trust in the driver, unless of course you are on a bendy bus (or 'free bus' as they are sometimes known) We passed the Mayday hospital and the Thornton Heath Mosque as well as a block of flats with a metalwork tree up the outside of it, close to West Croydon Station.  We were interested in the Sunshine Tropical Delivery van:  we've all enjoyed ackee, but were puzzled by 'baba roots'; it proves to be a drink.

A right turn, our first turn of any kind since leaving Brixton, brought us onto the inner ring of Croydon, to pass one of the entries to the Whitgift Shopping Centre, as well as noting a pretty frightening bit of cycle lane.  Croydon has already planted excellent yellow pansies in its roadside baskets ready for the winter. We agreed that we should be sad if these spots of brightness were to vanish because of 'the cuts'.  Then we were past the Headquarters of the Border Agency, a reminder of how many unaccompanied asylum seeking children there are in the care of Croydon Council.  The final landmark was the HQ of Nestle (don't worry, I'm not going to make any comment at all) before we arrived at the terminating point of this nippy bus, less than an hour after leaving Brixton.

The driver, to whom we gave a card, was amused, and said he had always wanted to get on one bus to the end of a route, then another, then another. He had been a very pleasant driver, waiting for people running to catch him, but still keeping to his time.

1 comment:

  1. P.S. A salute to Maggi Hambling's 'Heron' weather-vane, the latest addition to Brixton's skyline, which we spotted on our return journey (Route 250) but which is perfectly visible from the 109 and worth looking out for.