Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Number 261 Route

Thursday 8 December 2011

Our previous bus dropped us outside the Sainsbury's in Locksbottom, and we made use of the convenient - well - Conveniences,  opposite.  Fabulous new tiling but regrettably, previous users had been less scrupulous than one might have hoped.  Too much information, so on with the buses.

Round the corner and into the capacious car park of the Princess Royal Hospital, Linda and I had only a few minutes to wait for our 261 to arrive (a double decker, I'm glad to say) and we were off towards Lewisham at 11.30.

The traffic queues which had held us up a few minutes before had now been completed, and we steamed along, past the Bromley Bus Garage, and into green spaces, with allotments on our right and fields with horses in them on our left.  The autumn colours compensated for the serious chill in the air, though not on the bus.

There is a major house building project going on here, to be known as Trinity Village.  I commented on the splendid municipal planting of Bromley, with bright primulas:  Linda sniffed and said that it was a pity they did not devote similar love and care to the needs of their poorer residents, primulas being no substitute for decent social housing.

Linda having had her rant, it was as well that we came to some not-bad cycle lane, so I could have my turn.  Mostly it was OK, but the way it narrows for each lamp post must make it quite difficult for cyclists to stay within the lines and thus within the law. It does give me the opportunity to give readers a link with the fabulous Warrington 'Cycle Facility of the Month' site, so you can see that there are others worse off than the cyclists of Bromley.

We came past the Tiger's Head pub, which looked much more prosperous than it had on earlier trips to the area, and then noted the Richmal Crompton pub opposite Bromley South Station.  They seem to be doing 'works' around the station, but I can't discover what, unless it is an overflow from the track works in the area.  Meanwhile, Richmal Crompton had time to write her excellent stories while working at Bromley Girls' High School.

On through Bormley, we turned right to go through the shopping area, where many of our fellow passengers got off, and then left to go past the attractive murals outside the supermarket, and so to the area known as Plaistow.  It has always struck us as odd, since we associate the name with the East End of London.  But then we have been close to Hayes today, which also has a twin town elsewhere in Greater London.

The hill that takes you to Grove Park gave us fine views towards Canary Wharf, as we passed into the Borough of Lewisham.  We were not sure if the Baring Hall Pub, now saved from being turned into residential properties, has anything to do with Baring's Bank, though clearly the Lord Northbrook Pub, which we passed shortly afterwards is named for another member of the family.

We haven't done much haircutter spotting recently, but we liked the use of the scissors on this small shop, and we also passed the Allodi Accordion shop.  We admire the specialisation of these experts in one corner of the world of music.

Other pubs which caught our attention on this pub-filled trip were the Old Tiger's Head. thriving while the New Tiger's Head is derelict, and also the Duke of Edinburgh, with a sign depicting one of Queen Victoria's sons, rather than her great-great-grandson, the current one.

As we came towards Lewisham station, the Ravensbourne was visible because of building works, or more particularly the demolition that precedes them.  I made the mistake of commenting on Lewisham's rather limited planting on roundabouts and road dividers, and got told in no uncertain terms that the council concentrated on more important things, like social housing and proper care services.

 We were saddened to see a ghost bike on the approach to the station roundabout.  Recent figures show that we are still killing 10 people a day on our roads in the UK, almost all of them pedestrians and cyclists.

Our bus turned into the station at 12.20:  a much straighter route than the one which had taken us to Locksbottom earlier today.

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