Friday, 28 October 2011

The Number 244 Route

Thursday 20 October  2011

Linda and I took the train together to Abbey Wood, to begin our first trip of the day, which was to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich.  A brief step from the station, under the caverns of the overpasses, enabled us to get the 10.07 departure.  Swinging out into Abbey Wood Road, we swept up to the high railway bridge and the official stop for the station, which we could not of course use, being committed to beginning at the beginning.  Besides, it was a long way  up, whether by ramp or stairs.

Heading towards Thamesmead, we passed lots of 1960s public housing, and also the depressed-looking Bargepole Inn, which Linda has mentioned before, though as we travelled along Harrow Manor Way, the residential stock was more modern.

The themed street names told us we were coming into Thamesmead:  Carlyle,  Bentham, Disraeli and Titmuss all offering insights into politics and economics, before we passed into an avian section, including wigeon and goosander.

The streams flowing through Thamesmead provide a villagey feel, though interspersed with less rustic shopping areas.  Thamesmead also boasts some substantial residential properties. By now, our bus was full, with people standing.  Tom Cribb Road (the great pugilist retired to this part of the world, and is buried in Woolwich) brought us to Plumstead Station.

As we came down into Woolwich, we noticed that the Riverside area, so long offering wonderful apartments for sale, is now being dug up for Crossrail, and the publicity for the flats now mentions the excellent transport links of the future 'high frequency, convenient and accessible'.  Many people got off the bus to go to the market, soon replaced by students from the college. The Tramshed  is close to the central square with its large screen. So is an enormous Wilmot Dixon building site which is, depressingly, to be a large Tesco's rather than a huge number of affordable houses.

We wriggled out of Woolwich, and onto Shooters Hill, to pass the plastic tent which will be the venue for the Olympic Shooting.  (Actually, I want to digress for a moment. As I'm sure you all know,  Diamond Geezer's blog is always witty and informative, but I have to recommend especially his Olympic information entry for 27 October, which had me laughing aloud.  Also I wish we knew how to do the clever index he has.)  Now, where was I?

As we passed Oxleas Memorial Hospital, a postal worker got off the bus to begin his round.  I did not know that use of public transport was part of the modernisation process for the Royal Mail.  It seemed to  us that we were pretty well into the countryside, but we were rapidly at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, disembarking at 11.00, though we should be back there in less than an hour, as you will read in due course.

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