Monday 21 March 2011
This was the first day of spring, after the equinox, and the weather behaved as it should, with blue skies and a light breeze. South London was looking very attractive.
Mary being away, Linda and I had travelled to Morden Station by another bus, about which you can read later this week. We made use of the facilities at Merton's unattractive but 'convenient' Civic Centre, and were onto our bus by 11.20, bound for West Croydon. We headed left, round the roundabout and then back, to stop opposite the station, where a considerable number of people got on. Linda tells me that the Baitul Futuh Mosque and Islamic Centre, which we passed, was built on land which had once been an Express Dairy depot. It seemed rather a handsome example of brown field building.
Next we were off along Green Lane, the bus occupying the supposed cycle lane all the way, since the road is too narrow. We thought that a better solution might be for cycles to use the path down the middle of the central reservation: we have seen a number of shared use paths in Sutton. We passed the attractive and extensive estate of Haig Homes, with a medallion of the Field Marshal as part of their embellishment.
Rosehill roundabout brought us to Rosehill Park, with gardens, tennis courts, green areas and, of course, daffodils. We had been here before but this time, as we passed The Winning Post Pub (formerly the Red Lion) and Petsville International, we turned left to run alongside the Salvation Army Church which has a well publicised coffee bar as well.
The Thomas Wall Centre is part of the work of the Thomas Wall Trust, the family of the sausages and - later - icecream, and then we turned into Benhill Road, and then Ringstead Road, an area of very pretty houses and gardens. Though honesty requires me to say that, on such a beautiful spring day, pretty well all the gardens we passed were looking ravishing. We briefly joined the 53 route but then, after we had gone past St Philomena's School we were again the only bus. The Saint is from Roman times but the school is clearly very up to date and is consulting about Academy status.
As we approached and passed Carshalton Beeches Station, we could tell we were in a prosperous area from the shops and cafes around, including an Italian restaurant with a 'bruschetteria' which we took to be a sort of Tapas Bar equivalent.
Our bus went past Little Holland House too fast for a photo, but it is open to visitors from time to time, and was the home of Frank R Dickinson, who truly merits one of those names like 'Man with a vision, since he designed, built and furnished by the work of his own and his wife's hands including, apparently, spending their honeymoon sanding woodwork....
We also saw signs to the QEF Mobility Centre, before coming to Stanley Park, with its Primary School and High School, and then were at the Shotfield Health centre building site. We had changed buses here only last week, so were not very surprised to see very little progress in the construction!
The area of Roundshaw was a big surprise, though I suppose it would not have been if we had realised that it is built on what used to be Croydon Airport. First we noted the Amy Johnson Primary School; then streets named for the Spitfire and Hurricane, as well as others named for designers, such as Douglas and Roe. There was also Mollison Avenue, named for Amy's husband.
We remarked upon the sculpture outside Sainsbury's, and also upon what appeared to be a number of electricians doing synchronised pole climb and wire repair (new Olympic sport?) at the Surrey Health and Racquets Club.
But then we were in Croydon, passing the rather Jazzy yellow Waddon Hotel, and some even more yellow daffodils. We did find ourselves wondering whether WW would actually have seen 10,000 at a glance. Probably poetic licence, we thought, though short of getting off the bus and counting any one of the many fine displays we saw, it would be hard to prove.
Noting the wind turbines on a new building, we speculated vaguely about how efficient they would be, but then we were swept up and round the various roads that lead past the Fairfield Halls, past the Whitgift Centre and past a number of large 'To Let' office blocks, interspersed with building sites putting up yet more office blocks.
It was 12.20 when we reached West Croydon Bus Station. It's not, perhaps, the most handsome and elegant place, by it is a really amazing transport hub: never mind the dozens of buses popping in and out; or the trams trundling past. The Railway Station - which could do with a bit of a facelift - has trains to Victoria, or London Bridge, or Highbury and Islington: and that's just the ones going north.
All in all, we had had a very enjoyable outing, passing westwards and then back east, through several of the outer boroughs of South London.