Monday 6 December 2010
(St Nicholas Day, as I'm sure you all know, even if you aren't lucky enough to have grandsons called Nicholas)
Still, off we went, straight through Tooting and towards Streatham, noting the handsome Barclays on the corner, which is clearly smaller now than it was when the building was built and embossed with the word 'bank' in its plasterwork.
As we came towards Mitcham Station and Mitcham Public Library we noticed the snow remaining: far more than in North London. We passed the handsome building of Eagle House School which proves to be a private school for children with autism. The building is also of interest, the land having belonged to Walter Raleigh and the house built for Catherine of Braganza's physician.
We were soon making our way round Mitcham's extensive one way system, passing the Cricket Ground, the Burnt Bullock Pub and Mary Tate's Alms Houses, built in 1829 for 12 elderly women, but now rentable for seven women who are Anglicans and have lived in Merton for at least five years.
As we turned right to reach Mitcham Junction Station, we were the only bus on the route, through residential areas, with a lot of snow and ice on the side roads.
We needed to pause while a hearse reversed into the driveway of the Catholic Church of St Peter and St Paul: the evidence of the flowers suggested that the funeral was for someone's 'Nan'. Then it was on past Wilson Hospital and to the broad green expanses of the Common, leaving Merton to enter Sutton.
The strange roof embellishments of the Bioregional developments were of interest, contrasting with the boarded-up blocks of flats which we came to next. We wondered whether they were being demolished ready for more ecologically sound housing, or whether the downturn in the economy had stalled them at this sad stage.
We came to the river Wandle, looking cold but running too fast for ice,
and then entered Carshalton, passing the HQ of the Lib Dem MP for the area, Tom Brake, who is presumably wondering how to vote on student fees, and then Carshalton College, whose strap line is 'realising ambitions'. Carshalton Pond and the Ecology Centre were looking pretty wintery, and we admired the Tudor lady in a niche on the side of an otherwise modern looking house. Carshalton has a theatre as well as the college and a railway station, all in all a satisfactory small town!
We headed right into Wallington, and again went through residential areas, before reaching the shopping area and the station. We liked the recycling signage, suggesting that people should starve their bins. The Town Hall seems to have metamorphosed into a college.
Then we were almost into the country, the snow really quite thick and mist obscuring the distant view.
We were not excited by the prospect of going through the centre of Croydon: we have done it fairly frequently in the past few weeks, so I hope no-one will be offended; but in fact we entered the borough of Croydon only to nip smartly right and through the smart area of Woodcote, again the only bus except for a school journey bus. The pavements were still thick with ice, indicating a car users' area, rather than a walk-and-bus area.
Before we knew it, we were in Purley, noting 'Cutting it Fine' the hairdresser, as well as the offices of the African Child Trust, before arriving at the end, Purley Station, at 11.35, just under an hour from our delayed departure.