Tuesday 27 December 2011
You might expect us to be doing old things as the year ends, but this was a trip of new things: we have never travelled a route on a Bank Holiday; and we have never had two gentlemen to accompany us two ladies (Mary will be rejoining us in the New Year) Both these novelties were extremely pleasurable. We would not have known that the services were running at weekend rates, and the empty roads meant they ran pretty well to the nominal timetable; and having Andrew and Tim along was fun.
The 270 starts in Mitcham: the bus map says Madeira Road, but the first stop is actually in Commonside East, close to the Three Kings Pond. We departed at 10.10, Linda having been dropped off after a fruitless search for the bus and the rest of the party in Madeira Road. Our double decker was not very busy, though a modest number of shoppers did get on and off as we went along. The pond, by the way, was named for the nearby pub, now a chinese buffet, rather than any Christmas visitors. We headed through Mitcham, with its attractive Christmas tree on Fair Green, and passed a huge Lidl, which was open and busy. Mitcham Public Library, on the other hand, was closed.
After Figges Marsh (named for Mr Figge who owned the land in the 14th century) we came to the cemetery, glowing with flowers from Christmas visits, and then admired the pub sign for the Gorringe Park Pub, which is a punning 'G' made out of orange peel.
This is a Young's Pub, probably named for the House and grounds that used to be here before the needs of Victorian population growth replaced it with housing
As we came into Tooting itself, past the mammoth police station and Amen corner, we saw what we thought must be the nest of a homeless person, behind a roof of umbrellas. At least it has not been as cold this Christmas as it was last. We also passed Morley's department store, which we think must be a branch of the Brixton Store. This Tooting one used to be called Smith Brothers, apparently.
Coming up to Tooting Broadway Station, we admired, not for the first time, the statue of Edward VII. As we approach the Diamond Jubilee of the current Queen, it's worth thinking what a difficult time an heir to the throne may have, waiting until well into middle age for the proper job to start.
The road feels very much like a country lane as it wiggles towards Streatham, and we passed another cemetery as well as the Diprose Lodge Almshouses in their attractive enclave. They were built by the St Clement Danes Charity but seem now to be for sale.
We noted a minor incident at a bus stop, with a police car stopped and the officers having a conversation with a car driver. We did not know, as we moved on, whether two other, racing police vehicles were dashing to the scene or going somewhere else. The Halfway House, another Young's pub with a good sign, counts as Earlsfield, and we assume that the river being crossed in the picture must be the Wandle.
After the various Youngs Pubs we had passed, it was interesting to see that nothing has happened to the former Young's Brewery. Young's did move its operation to Bedford, but has now sold out of brewing altogether (can you tell that we had a CAMRA member with us today?)
We crossed the Wandle, moving into an area with several Fuller's Pubs as well as the Young's houses, and were impressed by the staying power of a small house squeezed between modern commercial premises, and soon crossed the Thames, to arrive at Putney Bridge Station at 10.45. Our double decker had headed fairly straight along main roads as it made its way north, and we were aware of the difference a Bank Holiday makes to the rate of travel.
We hope you have noticed the changes to the shape of the blog, as made by Tim, including an index page for ease of checking earlier buses, and the fact that the book list is now down the side. Thanks , Tim.