Tuesday 23 March 2010
Linda and Mary were both busy today, so it was great to have Jenny with me. Thanks to early 'dropping-off-at-nursery' duties, we met at Walthamstow Bus Station at 09.00 and were on the 257 and on our way to Stratford shortly afterwards. Down Walthamstow High Road, I finally understood why Funeral Directors so often have corner plots: so that the vehicles can get in the back with their cargoes, and without disturbing the bereaved entering though the front. It may be obvious to my readers, but it hadn't previously occurred to me.
There were daffodils in profusion along Lea Bridge Road, but the lakes and trees we passed later were still very wintery. We saw the 6/8 (Inns of Court and City Yeomanry) TA Signals HQ, and then a number of cars parked in the layby indicated that we were near Whipps Cross Hospital. We were the only bus along Leyton Way, and admired the Sir Alfred Hitchcock Hotel so called because he came from the area, though this was not his house.
The huge roundabout with the A12 has amazing cycle and pedestrian tracks within it, under the roads, which was as well, since some of the on-road cycle markings in the area were frankly hair raising.
We twiddled round the one way system of Leytonstone High Street to visit the bus station, next to the Tube station, and there, to our surprise, were hundreds of people waiting.
Clearly something had gone wrong with the Central Line. They poured onto our bus; then the driver announced that the bus would not be moving as it was overweight, so they all poured off, and it became clear that the trains were moving again. They all flooded back into the station and we went on our way after a 10 minute pause.
On past the church and a couple more corner Funeral Directors, as well as the 'Loaded Dog' Pub. As usual, I can find details of its fame as a music venue, and information about the threat of closure, but no explanation of the name. There are lots of Caribbean eateries in the area, as well as an Eel and Pie House. The Plough and Harrow boasted a heated beer garden, bad news for the planet, though good for the smokers. But the most exciting pub we passed was the Cart Horses, proudly labelled 'The Birthplace of Iron Maiden' a rock band even we of the Elvis (or in Jenny's case, Beatles) generation have heard of.
Shortly afterwards we rounded St John's Church, Stratford and, with views of the building works for the Olympics, reached Stratford Bus Station, a mere 50 minutes from Walthamstow.