Monday, 11 April 2011

The Number 163 Route

Monday 11 April 2011

 This was the middle ride of a three single decker bus day.  We had barely a step from our first bus, opposite Morden Station, and were lucky to get straight onto a 163, as this is not a particularly frequent route.  Mary, Linda and I were enjoying what may be the last day of sun for some time.  We boarded our bus, and headed for a while along Mary's special way to get to the A3 when she heads west.

On our way out of Morden, we noted how the smallish terraced cottages, in their neat front gardens, are soon replaced by more suburban semis and large terraces, still with attractive and well tended front gardens, including the splash of pink that comes from pollarded cherry trees.  We could see that all these houses back onto the green of Morden Park.

This route was not new to us, and the Beverley Pub reminded us that we were near to the Beverley Brook;  as we went over it, it appeared very small and ditchlike at this stage of its journey to join the Thames near Putney.  Andrew and I enjoyed the Beverley Brook Walk a couple of years ago, though I hope Merton Council have updated the leaflet a bit since then.

Coming into Raynes Park, we were impressed by the amount of New Build, including some by Bellway.  It seems that the name 'Grand Drive' is not their view of their building, but the name of the area.  As far as we could tell, they seem to be building on part of the green space that was the Prince George Playing Field and bowling alley.

We have passed Raynes Park Station before but this time, affected no doubt by lifting the ancestral Meccano down as part of the roof-clearing-for insulation project, I noted for the first time the footbridge:  almost as remarkable as Willesden Junction, I thought.

Linda disapproved of a venue called 'Funktion', objecting to the spelling.  But I quite like the word 'funky' and so thought the pun was acceptable.

 We also passed a range of religious options, starting with the stern brickwork of St Saviour's Parish Church, then the Shofar Christian Church, which is a South African foundation, and then the Dundonald Church, which is evangelical and Anglican.  We were not clear whether the 'Options' pregnancy advice service next door was part of the church or not.

Along the road, workmen were digging (and fencing) small holes outside each garden.  I assume this was gas works, though it was strangely reminiscent of when we were all cabled, whether we wanted to be or not!  Here we were in territory that we had visited in January (on the 152) and we were saddened to see that nothing (other than having been closed for months) has happened to the Emma Hamilton Pub.  'Nothing Happening' could never be used to describe the life of woman for whom the pub is named, the quintessential 'other woman' of the late 18th century.  The 'save our parade' signs that we passed soon afterwards indicated that it was not only the pub that was at risk of change, but we were pleased to see that the reason the clock shop was closed was that it was Monday, rather than anything more worrying.

At Wiimbledon Chase we passed the handsome telephone exchange with its unsightly extension, and soon we were into Wimbledon, with its wittily named 'Centre Court' Shopping Mall.  We could see that Wimbledon station was having improvements, which slowed the traffic down.  Many people got off here, but we stayed on the otherwise empty bus to get to Worple Street, the terminating point.  We were held up while we waited for a 3663 van to move away from the double yellow lined, buses only stand space.

Even with this annoyance, we were off the bus by 11.45, ready to step onto the next bus in every sense of the word:  this is the first time since the 9/10 combination that we have travelled two consecutive routes in the right order, on the same journey.

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