Linda has been blogging stored routes, and inventing interesting things for non-routes for so long, it was almost a shock to be back on a bus. And the day did not start particularly well. Linda, Mary and I were going to meet at the head stop and, naively trusting the online map and the listed route, we thought that meant County Hall, or at least York Road. I suppose we have had too many easy starts to our journeys. After a lot of wandering around (and I hope South Londoners will not object to me saying that walking down Lower Marsh is always a pleasure, doing it more than once and still not finding a bus is not) we consulted the paper map. Ahah. The asterisk that marks the start or stop was clearly in Baylis Road, right by Lambeth North tube. So we were well exercised when we boarded our double decker at 10.00.
We were headed for the huge Ikea in Edmonton, and we assumed it was going to take quite a long time, which it did.
First we went round the Imax and past the Hayward Gallery, which had a wonderful baobab tree made out of rolls of fabric outside it. But the website is full of Tracey Emin and David Shrigley, so I don't know what the tree is about. Over the river, we went round Aldwych to head along past the Royal Courts of Justice. There were press vans all over, because of the Leveson Inquiry. Today was the day that Mr Hunt the Culture Secretary was 'on'. You can watch and listen to him on the website. In passing I should like to remark how odd it is that people who are incandescent with fury about cyclists on pavements don't seem to mind motor vehicles on pavements, like the press vans outside St Clement Danes.
But anyway, we pressed on to turn left up Fetter Lane (the only bus to do so!) and passed the statue of John Wilkes. Left along Holborn, and up the Grays Inn Road, our bus reached the Clerkenwell Road at the Yorkshire Grey, a pub with its own website which explains the name, so three cheers for that. We turned right and then left up Rosebery Avenue, and then went straight up past Sadlers Wells to reach Angel.
We noted the Old Red Lion Theatre Pub and then headed along Upper Street to fork right into Essex Road at the statue of Sir Hugh Myddleton, developer of the New River. Among the other monuments we admired was a newish war memorial, apparently known as 'the doughnut', and then a possible Banksy dog on one of Islington's little green spots.
Heading on northwards, we crossed the Balls Pond Road and saw signs for new build on the site of the Mildmay Hospital. Strangely, this clip of the demolition does not seem to have any date on it, but the work that the Mildmay did with Aids patients is still going on. Through Newington Green we came to the Monarch pub with a picture of Charles I and an inn sign depicting his beheading. A good, macabre joke, we thought.
We realised we were in Green Lanes as the shops were mainly Turkish, and the traffic quite slow. The advertisement for the Fitness First Centre seemed rather appropriate, but mostly we were ogling the amazing cake and fruit shops of the area.
We had come past the Robinson Crusoe Pub and Clissold Park, before reaching Finsbury Park and crossing the New River. Now we noticed a slight tendency for pubs to have the names of politicians: first the Beaconsfield, with a gloomy Disraeli on its sign, and later Salisbury and Palmerston. It was at the Salisbury Hotel that we finally turned off Green Lanes to head along Harringay Road, passing George's Fish Bar with its handsome mosaic.
The Tottenham Ambulance Service HQ is along here, which reminds me that during our morning's travels we saw three different ambulances attending road traffic accidents. I don't know if this is a normal number or whether the sudden cooling of the weather had caused inattention on the part of road users. Up St Ann's Road, and left along Black Boy Road, we came to West Green and turned into Philip Lane. We passed the Marcus Garvey Library as well as the Bernie Grant Arts Centre, and looped round to get back to the main road and reach Bruce Grove Station. There is a mixture of housing types around here, including these embellished terraces.
We reached Northumberland Park Bus Station, and headed straight on, once again becoming the only bus. Turning right into Leeside Avenue, we came to a wasteland of large gas holders, and crossed the railway to arrive at the enormous Ikea at 11.20.
It had been a remarkable route, not least for the number of times it avoided the straight direction in order to serve different corners, from Fetter Lane in the city to Lansdowne Road in Tottenham.