Wednesday 31 July 2013
Having polished off the Hs, with their rather random numbering, we move on to the more orderly Ks. There are only five, all around Kingston.
The K1 goes from New Malden Station to the Cromwell Road bus station, one of two in the Royal Borough of Kingston. Linda and I arrived in New Malden in plenty of time to catch the 10.01 bus. The station at New Malden is dwarfed by large office blocks, but we were soon out and left along the High Street.
The roundabout with the fine lamp stand on it is flanked by pubs: the Watchman Free House looking across the road towards the Fountain, which shares its name with the Roundabout.
Almost immediately, we were into handsome residential streets, with houses so large that some had been turned into care homes; we admired a number of tamarisks and hydrangeas, flanking the hardened front gardens. We also passed the New Malden Tennis Club, which had as a member one of (!) our Wimbledon Champions. We enjoyed passing the club in the first year for decades that we could write that.
The houses grew somewhat smaller as we headed along Amberwood Rise, though the owners of these semis had mostly put in roof extensions. When we turned right into Sheephouse Way, we noted the only kind of traffic calming measures that really work, namely narrowing the road to single track every now and then. We also noticed, from the road names, that we were entering Old Malden, and we came to Morden Manor Station. We noted with regret that The Manor Pub is now defunct, and expect it will become dwellings in due course.
We passed Richard Challoner School named, as so many Catholic schools are, for a convert (Richard's father was a presbyterian). We were interested because many of 'his' schools are called Bishop Challoner, rather than Richard.
We ran alongside the A3 for a while, wriggling between the parked cars, and went over the Hogsmill river. This stretch of the river forms a part of the London Loop. A range of different house styles was what we had to look at, since there were very few shops, until we wriggled back to the A3 and joined it for a while to get to Tolworth. The huge office block at the Tolworth Roundabout has been available for rent since we first visited this area (on the 71, I think) so we continue to be baffled as to why people keep building more; it probably has something to do with tax efficiency? Works are going on in and under the Roundabout, as part of a major new look for Tolworth Broadway. I note they are planning a 20mph speed limit and can only say 'good luck with that' as I live in an area where such limits are imposed and ignored.
Tolworth Broadway has an interesting range of shops, including some Asian ones, but we did not linger, heading out past the rather bleak looking exterior of Our Lady Immaculate Catholic Church to turn left down Red Lion Road, rather than heading straight towards Surbiton. However, a right turn along Thornhill Road and another onto the Hook Road brought us there.
Both the Surbiton Day Nursery and the Surbiton YMCA had been about to hold onto all their signage, but Isobel House, the Surbiton Business Centre, had mislaid a lot of its letters.
The Surbiton Flyer Pub indicated to us that we had reached Surbiton Station, where Harry Potter once sat in the cafe to read the Daily Prophet.
We also saw a publicity car for a glucose drink, and wondered whether it was setting itself up for the cycling events of the coming weekend.
There are some striking buildings in Surbiton, and we liked the fine brick and plaster work over the shop of Roberts the Cleaners, as well as the former Assembly Rooms. We enjoyed Surbiton's Clock Tower, built in 1908 to remind people of the Coronation of Edward VII six years before.
There isn't much of a break between Surbiton and Kingston, though we did cross the Hogsmill River again, and we soon came to the Fairfield Knights Park and open space, as well as The Cricketers Pub.
The art on the roundabout, the work of two Kingston University Students, made us smile as well as bringing us into Kingston itself. We made our way through the one way system and the shopper, to pass the Rose Theatre, which clearly has a wide ranging programme.
Once we had passed Kingston Town Hall (its fish could do with a lick of paint, by the way) and a branch of the Halifax Bank with some - presumably spurious medieval writing above the door, we again failed to get a good photograph of the art-work phone boxes, though you can look at them here, and rolled up to the Cromwell Road Bus Station at 10.50.