Friday, 16 December 2011

The number 265 Route

Thursday 15 December 2011

Today was predicted to be cold and wet and even snowy, but in fact Linda and I met in bright sunshine at Putney Bridge Station to head to Tolworth, even if it clouded over by the end of our return journey (on the 281, if you were unaware of which two buses have Tolworth as their terminating/starting point)  The rain didn't arrive till the evening.

Leaving at 10.15, we headed over the river, coming at once to signs of the politics of sewage, a dispute which has been going on for some time now.  We turned right to travel alongside the river, passing a block of flats with not one but three blue plaques:  the one for Fred Russell, Father of Modern Ventriloquism, which we have mentioned before, and two neighbours,  Gavin Ewart and Lord Hugh Jenkins.  It would be nice to know if one liked the other's poems, or indeed whether they shared political views:  the one an artillery officer and the other a pacifist Trade Unionist and member of the Tribune group.  We also passed another plaque, this one erected by the Putney Society, to J R Ackerley, the author and editor of The Listener, one of whose claims to fame was that he was openly gay in a period when such honesty was more than a little risky.

Having moved from Hammersmith and Fulham to Wandsworth, we noted lots of rather smart eateries, as well as the Porson's Nose butchers, with attendant cow, and Will's Art Warehouse , before moving out into the green spaces of Putney Common and the Lower Common cemetery.

Crossing the South Circular, our driver needed all his abundant calm and good sense to deal with some very silly behaviour by other vehicles.  The concerted indrawn breath of his passengers on this crowded little bus proved unnecessary as we continued smoothly past Rosslyn Park RFU Club.  We went past the extensive campus of Roehampton University.  My A-Z is old enough to refer to all the separate institutions, many connected with the training of teachers, which have combined to make the University and so explain its geographical expansiveness.  New flats are being constructed on part of the land of Queen Mary's Hospital, itself a shining new building.

Here our bus began diving through the estates where Linda worked for some years in her Wandsworth days, returning to the main road before heading off again.  We headed onto the A3, where we made rapid progress, looping into and out of the great Asda which Linda and I regard as 'ours' since we made use of its facilities when we travelled the 72.  We travelled so fast that we barely had time to notice the green on both sides. A couple of young men were on their phones trying to ascertain where to get off.  (The conversations were so inconclusive that they stayed with us all the way to a far corner of Tadworth:  clearly a mistake as they got straight back on the bus to return)

We came off and under the concrete of the A3 to travel parallel to it, and visit the enormous Tesco, as well as passing the Fountain Roundabout and pub in New Malden and moved into our fourth borough of the day, out of Kingston and into Merton,  but soon were back alongside the A3 to the Tolworth roundabout, with its unattractive (and available) office block.  Here we finally left the major road, to travel along Tolworth Broadway.

We passed a couple of 'ghost signs', in quite good condition, though dated by the phone number they displayed, and so came to the little green area in King Charles Street where our route ended.  It was just on 11.00 and we were aware that we had come a serious distance, but had travelled fast because the route follows the A3 when it is not serving the residential and retail areas.

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