Friday, 29 June 2012

The Number 353 Route

Thursday 28 June 2012

Linda and I decided to go from the Orpington end to the Addington Village Interchange in order to pick up another bus from there, so we met at Orpington Station in good order at 10.00.  

It was not quite sunny, but working towards it, and we walked down to the Ramsden Estate in order to stretch our legs.  It took us about 45 minutes to reach Rye Crescent, helped by a reassuring local lady who watched us trying to work out whether we were holding the A-Z the right way up.  We were delighted to see that the 353 is a double decker.  The other people getting on were clearly shoppers who were not interested in the front upstairs seats, so we were very happy as we set off just before 11.00.  The Ramsden Estate is having large numbers of houses built, we were pleased to see, so we expect this bus will get busier in the years to come.

The bus took us back towards Orpington itself, picking up a few people with empty shopping bags.  We passed the Priory School which, we were interested to see, is also the home of the Frank Bruno Boxing Academy.

Priory Park was looking lovely.  You have to say about the kind of weather we have been having, that it keeps everything green and lush.  This is where the River Cray begins its journey to join the Thames:  you can walk its length if you wish.

Orpington High Street was busy and bustling, and we headed along it to bring us to the War Memorial, which sits on a roundabout, so you would have to dice with death to read the names, which are attractively set out on low level stones in a half circle round the monument.

Heading out of Orpington, we passed The Maxwell.  As so often, I can find reviews of the beer and the gents' toilets, but no explanation of the name.  Those of us who come from Watford, associate the name with the  ... well, on a public blog I'd better just say 'person' ... who stole his workers' pension fund to continue to enrich himself and his family.  In these Leveson Inquiry days, it's quite funny to read the PM's gushing tribute to the man.  But that probably has nothing to do with the Orpington Pub, or indeed this bus trip.  Almost opposite is the Crofton Roman Villa, or at least the little bungalow which is the way in.  

Now we headed up the hill out of Orpington, and for the first time we had company on the top deck.  The downstairs sounded quite busy, presumably with shoppers who had filled their bags.  Most of the front gardens have been converted to parking spaces, though most with a bit of garden as well.  This is an area of large houses, pretty well continuous till you reach the handsome mock Tudor of Locksbottom.  Here we spotted the charity shop for Harris Hospiscare, which took the name in 2002 because of support from Lord Harris.  We were pleased to note also that the 'British Queen' pub's sign was of the first Queen Elizabeth, to echo the Tudor theme

 Moving on into the smart area around Keston, we wondered again what 'Keston Mark' meant:  according to Wikipedia it was once a pub.  Perhaps it was the mark put on livestock when this was a farming area?  Among the huge houses, we also saw some attractive flint faced cottages.  Linda was also pleased to see horses in a field.

Out of Keston, we nipped along green country-ish lanes for a while until we reached Hayes (or 'Hayes, Kent' as people tend to say to remind everyone that they are not near Heathrow) and passed the station.  The excellent central reservation flowerbeds which we have noticed on previous visits were looking rather dull, as the geraniums aren't yet in flower.

Out of Hayes, we came to the Coney Hall Roundabout, named for the housing estate that was built here early in the last century.  The wide green spaces on the right belong to the City of London, but we also passed a huge field of broad beans, indicating that Kent remains a bit agricultural even in Bromley.  They were not yet flowering, which is apity as the wonderful scent would have penetrated the bus on this muggy day.

And so, at 11.30, we reached the Addington Village Interchange, not really a destination in its own right, but perfectly convenient for stepping onto another bus after a few moments conversation with someone else waiting at the bus stop.  We had travelled through commuter land for the whole way, but pleasant and green, helped by the sunshine.

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