Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The R 68 Route

Thursday 22 November 2012

This was our first R bus, not that there are as many as you might think from the numbers.  Indeed, the two R buses around West London have nothing to do, routewise, with the Orpington marathon of the Rs 1-11.  We speculated that these Rs might be named for Richmond, and this one passes through Richmond on its way to Hampton Court.

Linda and I had walked through the National Archive, having arrived at Kew Gardens Station, and were delighted to find reassuring signs to show us where our bus would be. A number of people were waiting, as was the bus, and we were off at 11.46, just as the timetable said we should be.  Only a single decker, but you can’t have everything.

 We came out of the car parking areas which separate the Archive from the retail park, and turned left to skirt the edge of North Sheen cemetery. The low flying aircraft reminded us that we were in West London, as we headed along the A 316: to our left, offices and warehouses; to our right, attractive little terrace houses, not to mention a rather good segregated cycle lane alongside us.
 We forked left along the A 307 to enter Richmond, where they were having road works, which gave us time to note the slightly dull but probably robust planting.  Linda is very fond of bread shops.  (But of course, since we made this journey, Paul's has vanished, gobbled up by Patisserie Valerie, a shame as far as I am concerned, because they fill their eclairs with yucky 'fresh cream' instead of the proper creme patissiere.) 

We also noticed that we were passing the Orange Tree before we twiddled round to reach Richmond’s bus station.  Actually, this is such a misnomer.  We know what a bus station should be, and a haphazard parking area, served by ONE bus stop, is not it.  Still, it did not detain us, and we went on, past the Fat Boys Thai Restaurant and then on to pass Marble Hill House  well worth, as M Michelin says, a detour.  But we LWB don’t get off our bus for tourism, perhaps as well on this route, since we were also to pass the ferry to Ham House, as well as Strawberry Hill, before rounding off our trip at a third large stately home.  But we’re not there yet.

 We came to what we think are the Offices of Medea Media, but we can’t find a website to expand on this bare and rather startling name.  Medea did, after all, produce poisoned garments which killed a number of her relatives, including her own children  which makes you wonder what kind of media services are on offer.

We were also passing a number of pubs, of course, since we were by the river:  the Old Anchor was followed by the Ales and Tails Bar and the Alexander Pope (though I think he did most of his quaffing at home)  We barely noticed Twickenham, as we sped along to Teddington Lock and with views of the river.
The Landmark Arts Centre is a former church, just across the road from what we take to be the current church, of St Mary with St Alban.  We were making this trip the day after the Church of England had produced its bizarre decision about women bishops. Neither of us is particularly concerned about career prospects in the Church; but an Established Church with a woman at its head must have had to do some fairly contorted thinking to decide that women may not be bishops. 

Through Teddington, we had time to marvel at the strange angled Christmas trees, which embellish the street, as well as envying the denizens their hardware shop.

An odd little building apparently on the railway bridge called itself The Powder Rooms, which led us to suppose it might be a beauty shop:  but it is in fact The Architect’s Gallery.  It’s obviously bigger and more modern than it looks!  Next we came to Teddington Memorial Hospital, the poppies around its monument still bright and eyecatching on this slightly murky day.

We had a change of driver outside the National Physical Laboratory which gave me time to tell Linda that when Andrew was trying to check his late mother’s pocket barometer, he found a bit of the NPL website which told him how and added ‘there is no need to tap the screen of your computer’  I don’t know if that joke is still on their website. 
We carried on along Hampton Hill, passing more pubs (The Bloated Mallard, the Rising Sun) as well as a number of charity shops, including Fara, which is a Romanian children’s charity 
Dazzling Dogs, ‘Excellence in Dog Grooming’ is also along here, suggesting that at least the pet owners may have a few pence to spare.  

We skirted Bushy Park and, as we came back to the river, we admired the amazing house boats around Taggs Island and Ash Island.  We were slowed down by two police horses plodding along in front of us:  as we finally passed, we read the tabards and noticed that one rider was a trainer, though whether of horse or accompanying rider we did not know.  A few hundred metres further on, we were again slowed by two riders with three horses.  One of the riders was school age (year 10 work experience, said I; huh, you’re very charitable, said my companion.)
By this time we were very close to Hampton Court Palace, and crossed the river to reach the railway station, where our journey ended at 12.50, just an hour after leaving Kew Retail Park. 


  1. The 'Powder rooms' was once a two story public toilet! Ladies on floor & gents on the other, can't remember which was upstairs.

  2. I believe the church which is now the Landmark Arts Centre was St Alban's, and was known as the 'Anglo-Catholic Cathedral in the pre-war heyday of High Church-iness.