Tuesday, 12 April 2011

The Number 164 Route

Wimbledon (Worple Road) to Sutton Station

Monday April 11th 2011

Mary was wearing her best fell boots today so that meant she was well equipped for the three metres we had to walk from getting off the 163 to boarding the 164 – consecutive routes in and out of Wimbledon, which has not happened since routes 9 and 10!!
We boarded with a young mother expecting Number 2 and she charmingly asked to have all the windows opened so the trip proceeded with fresh air galore. Spring clearly in the air.

Our first landmark was Wimbledon Station and transformation works had started just a month ago with plans for major overhaul of the  town centre - not suggesting anyone reads an 8 page leaflet but the artist’s impression should help. Perhaps when Merton council are finished they could spend some money in Mitcham?

There is another modern development which seems to comprise an Odeon, a Fitness centre, a Morrisons and a Bus station and so we called in there briefly before heading out of Wimbledon, direction Morden.

We passed a little block of flats called ‘The Pointe’ leading to pointless (groan) speculation as to whether this was a spelling mistake, an attempt to sound posh or some obscure reference to ballet in a place famed for tennis?

After bumping across the unguarded tram tracks – clearly not considered as dangerous as trains – we arrived at Wimbledon Chase and found two wedding dress shops going head to head. Jo thought one might be ‘wholesale’ but no sale might be nearer the mark. Nice day for a White Wedding, you might say…

The Wimbledon telephone Exchange has that classic look found in many of the London exchanges and well maintained but with some strange add-on bit at the back which must have happened before we all went mobile phones and digital.

Merton seems to enjoy remembering its MPs as after the Cyril Black Bus Station we had the range of facilities round the Martin Way estates named after another long-sitting Wimbledon MP, Joseph Hood.

Our swift progress was slowed down somewhat at Morden when a boarding passenger dithered as to whether this route would get her where she wanted to go – having engaged the attention of most of the passengers she then decided against the 164 and we carried on, back round to Morden Hall. There are quite a few roundabouts encircling Morden and we noticed they (presumably the council unless they have found a private sponsor as is often the case) were in planting transition between spring and summer bedding plants with a work in progress. Mary recommended the nearby Garden Centre inside Morden Hall’s grounds.

Meanwhile we were pondering what a Cheestrings van was doing in Morden – we can only assume it was full of what we think of us as stretchy cheese derivatives – but obviously a popular snack!

At the second roundabout we headed, straight as a ruler, down the very segregated and organised St Helier Avenue (see the photo in the 157). Talking of things in full bloom, we noted some sprightly Japanese Knotweed in the otherwise well manicured central reservation leaving by now Sutton council with a major eradication and disposal problem.

Maybe it was because much of this trip was rather ‘dej√† -vu’ places we had passed through not so long ago, some of them as little an hour earlier, we felt there was a sense of stability and continuity about this steady and sturdy corner of SW London – glamorous not but certainly home to many.

Our last section if the trip was familiar too: Mary noted that 15 routes including the letter buses pass this way – the bottom end of Sutton High Street is always a bit slow but the one way climb up the back of the High Street shops goes quite quickly. Jo commented on the similarity between Sutton’s logo and that of the Conservative party – see what you think but I suspect Sutton got there first.

By this time few people wanted to board a bus that was actually only going to take them round the corner dominated by the newish police station named in honour of Patrick Dunne, killed on duty, to stop at the very usefully served Sutton Station.

This was a short trip, barely 40 minutes but served as a good companion piece to the previous few routes

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