Tuesday 5 July 2011
I did this one alone, for the first time since the Number 2 Route (though the main route of the day was the 193) And on my birthday too. Still, it was a lovely day and I was at Harold Wood Station by 10.15, via Liverpool Street and no-train-before-09.30. There was a 496 having a rest. but by the time I had strolled the few metres to the stop, it rolled up, and so we were off towards Queen’s Hospital, Romford, by 10.20.
We headed through residential areas, with the traffic calmed by squeezes, so much more efficient than bumps, I always think. We were the only bus, and though we picked up a number of shoppers, no- one else came upstairs to join me. We went over Paine’s Brook, not that you can see much of it in the picture which seems to link the Rom to the Ingrebourne.
The housing was mainly bungalows, both before and after we crossed the A 12 and briefly joined the 174 route. We passed Drapers Academy: I assume that their new building will be finished by the time you read this, though there was a good slide show of demolition here when I did the journey (and there still is!)
Down Leamington Road (and quite steeply down!) we passed some public housing flats before we came to the Saxon King Pub with lots of locals disagreeing with the review here. A short way along the road we came to the William the Conqueror, an enjoyable juxtaposition of names for a former History teacher. I also liked the GigglyPig, a sausage shop and more.
I thought of Linda as we passed Broadford Primary School, since all their signage was in Comic Sans, which she abhors. The bus was now much busier, as we went through the business park, across the A12 and towards Gidea Park.
Tuesday is dustbin day round here, and we were held up by the van for a while
We passed Gidea Park Station, and then went round the roundabout at the Drill pub: Havering is bracing itself for climate change by making some of its gardens and roundabouts drought resistant. Interesting shop names on this journey had fishy resonances: first ‘Codfellas’, the fish and chip shop and then ‘Wetpets’.
We have been to Romford Station very often, so I was able to concentrate more on a loud and cross conversation behind me about babysitting obligations. But as we rounded Romford I noticed that major building works are still going on, including something that was blocking the main street. We came past the IceRink and the Taylor Wimpey building site for Reflections (presumably fully finished and occupied by the time you read this: yes! bus still with Taylor Wimpey fences and signs, so it may be getting even bigger)
We got to the hospital at 11.00: slightly longer than the 29 minutes suggested as we set off, but none the less, quite nippy.