Tuesday 26 October 2010
The third bus of our day carried on the slightly depressing trend of the previous ones as we waited 40 minutes for this ‘every 8-12 minutes’ bus.
It did give Linda and me time to buy me a bite to eat, at ‘Delicious Bakery’ opposite Kensal Rise Station. The conversation went like this:
‘Do you have any soup?’
‘I don’t really like broccoli soup’.
‘You’ve never tasted ours’.
So I had £1.50 worth, and it was delicious, and clearly home made - very buttery.
Thus it was a warmed and nourished pair of travellers who headed towards Wandsworth Road Station at 13.50.
There were lots of new flats going up along Chamberlayne Road; as the road became Kilburn Lane, we were stationary for more than 10 minutes, before crawling slowly past a four way control for some road works at the crossroads with the Harrow Road. We passed the Mayhew Animal Home and Humane Education Centre, established in 1886. Their website does not say who Mayhew was. The great Henry Mayhew (London Labour and the London Poor) died the year after the home was founded, but I have been unable to ascertain whether he cared for animals as he did for his fellow humans.
We also passed Bales Independent School, which appeared to be a large Victorian Church. Presumably there was a school attached. Then we were over the canal, and turned into the Ladbroke Grove Sainsbury’s, where Sylvia used to shop, and where there is the memorial to the dead of the Ladbroke Grove Rail disaster of 1999.
But for us, it was yet another delay: we were seven minutes from turning in to getting back out and it would have taken longer had out driver not been fairly forceful with a number of other vehicles.
Back along Ladbroke Grove, we noticed a surprising number of houses painted blue. When we visited Jaipur, our charming if cynical guide had said that blue houses belonged to people who were Brahmins, or who wished to be thought of as Brahmins. I don’t know what the reason is in Ladbroke Grove, but it added a bit of colour to this murky day.
This may be the moment to apologise for the poor quality of the pictures. Not only was it raining, but the bus was very busy, with people breathing (!) and fugging up the windows.
Passing Ladbroke Grove Station, we turned right along Elgin Crescent and then right down Kensington Park Road to bring us to Notting Hill and the Gate Theatre. A left and then a right headed us down towards Kensington, past the Churchill Arms and the Kensington WineRooms, a tapas bar with high aspirations, judging by the website.
We have been here a number of times before: a bus that starts and finishes in less prosperous bits of London, but passes through these wealthy areas is always interesting.
As we turned left towards Kensington Palace and Queen’s Gate, I was amazed to see a TKMaxx. What is the world coming to? But then we had plenty of time to notice the more exclusive shops and houses as the traffic was again very slow. We were doing a little better than the cars who had paid £8.00 for the privilege, but the bus lane was not as effective as we might have hoped because building works and road works narrowed the street. (Of course by the time you read this the Western Extension to the Congestion Zone will have been abolished.)
After being stationary for 15 minutes, we got past Harvey Nichols and into Sloane Street, not stopping to pick up or drop passengers very often. We agreed that people who shopped in Chanel, MiuMiu etc were unlikely to board a bus. We were quite quickly past the various locked square gardens, through Sloane Square and on to the - still derelict – site of the Chelsea Barracks, a monument (if a disused building site can be a monument) to the interference of the Prince of Wales in planning matters.
Over the river, we came to Battersea Park station, and the bus stop we had used a number of times before but were now passing for the last time as far as the project is concerned, anyway. Then on Southwards, and into Lambeth, along the straight road that takes you past the garish Artesian Well Pub and the Lost Society to arrive at Wandsworth Road Station at 15.20.
A ninety minute journey, for a route which begins at a bus stop that promises 44 minutes. I suppose if there had been no road works and no-one about in these busy parts of London, we might have got close…