For the first time for many weeks we were heading off to the east. It was really, really cold as Linda and I met at Grange Hill Station to walk down the very slippery pavements to The Lowe in Hainault, where today's bus sets off for Ilford. As we checked at a bus stop a nice lady told us this was the place for the 462, but we explained we had to get to the head stop: she seemed bemused.
We passed the library. All libraries, from THE British Library downwards, are having to grapple with the question of what they are for, now actual books aren't the main way of researching, reading, skimming, etc etc. This one clearly offers much electronic access as well. We also passed the war memorial, which still had its poppies, and commemorates both men and women and also both World Wars and more recent conflicts. We concluded that it was fairly recent, and indeed it dates from 2010.
The pampas grass (of which there was much) was crisp with frost and looked rather good on the green verges. We swept down and round a housing area, realising that Grange Hill had actually been on a hill, and admiring the footbridge over our road. Then we were back where we had started, passing the Police Station (or police base or whatever they have now).
Here at last we began to collect lots of passengers, heading for Ilford's shops, we guessed. We came through Fullwell Cross, with its remarkable concrete library and swimming pool complex, and then we were straight into Barkingside. We liked 'Catwalk' as a name for a pet shop, and also noticed that the Percy Ingle Bakery, East London's traditional family bakery, had been established in 1954 which, even for us, seems a good long time ago. Linda enjoys bread shops, so we were pleased also to see 'Cakes and Bakes', a newcomer of the genre.
We came to the Dr Johnson Pub. It is all shuttered and derelict, despite (or perhaps because of) being a listed building and appears to be attracting squatters now. I'm not sure why this Lichfield man should have been commemorated in a 1938 Essex pub.
As we headed on towards Ilford, we liked the plasterwork swags and tassels on the semis, and then we turned left to face towards the tall YMCA building which identifies Ilford for us. We came past Gants Hill Station, noting that the central reservation of the road was looking a bit depressed compared to its brightness when we have passed this way in Spring.
We were again in residential areas, with some substantial properties and other more modest homes. Linda said she had always longed for a house with a green roof: there used to be a number in North West London, but we admired this handsome example.
Coming past Valentine's Park, we were still picking up passengers, but we were nearly at the end. We noted that Redbridge has a Diabetes Eye Screening Service with a shop as its base: no need to remind people living with the condition how important screening is.
And then we were past Ilford Station, and heading towards the large Sainsbury's, where our bus arrived at 11.20, having taken only slightly longer than the stated time. For once we did not mind being in a bus with only one door: reduced loading rate at bus stops more than compensated for by comparative snugness on the wintry day.