Tuesday 8 December 2009
In order to get to the start of the 46, today's bus, I met Linda at Angel, where major traffic realignment works meant the bus stop had moved. This gave us a chance to note the New River Path, on its last stage towards Clerkenwell. It does, by the way, make a very good walk. easily completable in two or three days, and convenient to access by public transport most of the way from Ware to here (if you'll excuse the phrase)
The 274 is the bus I use most frequently in everyday life, so it was exciting to be travelling its whole length.
The sun was shining, which made a change, and also made it possible to notice that the sundial was on British summer time, unlike the rest of us. We passed the dying Borders, and the Sainsbury's that seems to be surviving having Waitrose next door, and headed along Tolpuddle Street: the name is a reminder that the great Copenhagen Fields demo of 1836, demanding the release of the 'men of Dorchester' happened just here; 20,000 marched peacefully to Whitehall, and the government, aware that Peterloo had been rather poor publicity, kept the troops out of sight.
Islington Police Station is embellished with some youthful Art, which we admired as we headed towards the Caledonian Road, where we passed the Cally (swimming) Pool, and a centre for the training of cabbies, before turning into Market Road.
We turned briefly into York Way, before heading down Agar Grove. With few people wanting to get on, we made rapid progress and soon crossed the Regent's Canal for the first of several times.
The Camden Sainsbury's is famous (or notorious if it's not to your taste) for having been designed, together with some housing behind it, by Nicholas Grimshaw. The St Martin's Almshouses, built for the Parish of St Martin in the Fields, are rather more traditional in design. Once we were across Camden High Street, we moved into the Regents Park Area of prosperous terraces and mansion flats (spot the magpie in Linda's picture!). We passed Cecil Sharp House, home of the English Folk Dance and Song Society and then London Zoo.
After Lord's Cricket Ground and the Central Mosque, the route takes you down the length of Baker Street; One building has competitive plaques: the Arnold Bennett Society saying that their man lived there, and the H G Wells society saying the same. Other (tourist) passengers spotted the Spymaster shop, for all your snooping needs, but did not get off to patronise it.
The windows down the side of Selfridges were pretty, and we saw that there was a Christmas Market in that not-building site we have noted on every Oxford Street trip. (actually now a building site again: let's hope it's not more offices to stand empty)
The horse's head is still at Marble Arch, though initially meant to stay just a month but we were cheered by distant views of the funfair in Hyde Park, and a riding lesson on Rotten Row, before arriving at Lancaster Gate Station within an hour of our departure from Angel. A splendid bus, even if single deckers provide less good views than might be wished.