Monday 2 April 2012
Anyway, our small (only one set of doors) single decker bus arrived and we headed off to loop round a bit of the High Street, with the entrance to Hildreth Street Market and the large Sainsbury’s. There’s a Waitrose opposite, so you can see what we mean about the changing demographic of the area. We saw that we were heading along a cycling superhighway (8, I think) with the customary number of parked cars and vans rendering it ineffective.
Houses, as we headed towards Tooting, were large and well built: we thought a number of them were probably whole homes rather than being divided into flats, though this was only an impression gained from the neat front gardens and uniformity of windows.The Waldorf School of South West London appears to be a branch of the Steiner Schools: we only saw the charity shop by which it presumably raises funds.
There were lots of luminous forsythias everywhere, and a silver birch completely covered in catkins, as we came towards Tooting Common, and round two sides of it to join the Tooting Bec Road towards St Leonard’s Church in Streatham. (His home town in the Limousin is, by the way, the home town of the great cyclist Raymond Poulidor; I thought you would like to know)The equally large Catholic Church opposite is dedicated to the English Martyrs, who were of course executed for treason (refusing to reject the foreign authority of the Pope) rather than being burned as the Protestant Martyrs were.
Shoppers were getting on and off the bus as we came past some really substantial homes, including one with an almost Muscovite cupola. We also passed a ‘decontamination’ van parked alongside one of the houses. Our imaginations boggled: rats? Interstellar rays? Actually, I suppose asbestos is the most likely problem in these mid 20th century houses.
There were some steep hills, made even more difficult by parked cars, but our driver coped smoothly.
And so we came into West Norwood, passing the back of the station, and the large church dedicated to St Luke, one of the four evangelist churches built as the suburbs grew, and as a thanksgiving for the victory at Waterloo. Its foundation stone was laid by the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1823
A ghost sign on the wall for Brymay matches was a reminder of how much people used to depend on naked flames. We also admired the ‘Floral Hall’ florists. We thought we should end at the Norwood bus garage, but in fact went on for a couple more stops, the driver having said he terminated later on: he was amused and somewhat baffled by the project: did we realize that there were over 700 routes in London? And weren’t there more enjoyable ways to spend our time? We did not grudge him his opinion, as we had been impressed by the way he steered his bus through narrow, parked up streets, and round steep corners, and also by his good nature in the ‘hail and ride’ sections.
We had had a sunny half hour around this residential area of south London.