We had thought Leyton might be sporting triumphalist banners claiming following their success (or avoidance of defeat) against the Gooners in the Sunday cup-tie, but thankfully this was not too evident.
As we peered out the window at this bus stop we saw a man boarding and our hearts sunk – unkempt wild hair and beard, grubby t-shirt barely covering huge beer belly, sundry tacky bags. “Please let him not come upstairs’ we thought but he did. The accompanying odour stayed on board for several stops until he got off at Ilford, the next major landmark. He represented what is probably the single most common hazard of taking public transport since the crime rate has reduced so significantly. Arriving at the rather attractive Valentine’s Park, through which runs the river Cranbrook, always means we are approaching Ilford.
Ilford is fairly familiar to us seasoned bus travellers as we had our first contact with the never empty route 25 nearly two years ago. Today we noted that the the Kenneth More Theatre did not look its best in the gloom of a February morning, and we still can’t find that the late Kenneth More seems to have any links with Ilford? Most of central Ilford has the slightly tired look of Sixties building though there are some new homes going up.
Not surprisingly it was here that most passengers boarded, and we could tell it was half term as small family groups scrambled upstairs only to scramble down again 2 stops later. One young man was boasting that ‘he was up all night and never got home’ so we were a bit startled to see that he looked about 10 years old. Was he being truthful or just ‘bigging it up?’
If Valentine’s Park is one of Ilford’s gems where does that leave South Park? A smaller area than Ilford’s other park it does have a lake and possibly a much-threatened small boy in an anorak called Kenny ?.......
At the crossroads with Longbridge Way we stopped at what looked like a small front door but which proved to be a side entrance/exit to the vast east London bus depot. As ever the changeover was slick and we thought the relief driver must enjoy not having to linger on a cold corner but could spot his colleague approaching from the window.