Thursday 25 October 2012
This was one of the shortest routes we have undertaken, whipping us from Kingston to West Molesey in less that 20 minutes.
Linda and I had reached Cromwell Road bus station by another bus, and had time to admire the neat, sheltered, clearly signed waiting areas and bus bays before climbing onto our single decker just before 11.30. It was nearly raining, and still very grey and misty, though, we thought, cooling down towards the promised freezing conditions for the weekend.
The bus heads out past the railway station, and left to pass John Lewis, with its attractive arcade and lamps and ugly over-the-road thing. There seemed to be quite a lot of shoppers around, several of whom got onto our bus to return to their homes.
We crossed the river, and then raced along the straight road towards Hampton Court, our bus registering 39mph on one of those 'watch your speed' displays. There was not much to see, since the wall of the Royal Park is too high for passengers on a little bus, so the speed did not trouble us, and soon we were at the roundabout construction and other works at the main entrance of the Palace. Notices at the gate said 'car park full' which we thought was rather impressive for a cold and wet weekday in term time. The pubs round here tend to echo the Tudor these, and the Old King's Head, as well as its painted plasterwork, had Henry VIII, looking a bit chubby. In his youth, he was said to be the handsomest prince in Christendom, and he does seem to be a warning for all who are athletic in their youth and then give sport up in favour of eating and TV (or, in his day, other indoor pursuits, obviously).
Crossing the river again (twice in less than 10 minutes! Linda was very excited) this time by Hampton Court Bridge, we entered our third local authority of the ride (we had left Kingston for Richmond, and now were in Surrey).
We passed some very pretty cottages, and noted a single mounted police officer, remarkable because we thought they always went round in pairs. He was holding up quite a lot of motorised traffic as he ambled along.
Molesey has some splendidly named shops: Christopher Cook Design promised 'interiors of distinction' and the florist was called 'The Buttonhole Florist' though clearly did more than the name implies. Then there was a French restaurant whose name rather shocked us. Also we rather thought that poodles were caniches not chiens. The Europa pub had the young lady herself, riding on the white bull who is really Zeus.
Another pub we passed was the Lord Hotham. The Barons Hotham are Yorkshire folk, so it would be nice to know which one gets a Surrey pub named after him. I have arbitrarily chosen to link to the first Baron's life story, a reminder that it is not wise to serve in the Navy at the same time as any really heroic commander. What we admired most in Moseley, however, was the fine mosaic work adorning the pharmacy.
We also noted the Football Club. They seem to be doing rather well in their matches and are due to play Colliers Wood on Saturday.
The War Memorial told us we were getting near to the end of the trip and indeed most people got off here, leaving a few to go with us to Central Square, which looked attractively autumnal as we climbed off