Aquila Estate to Orpington Police Station**
Thursday October 10th 2013Jo & I (Mary was on extended grand parent duties) had managed to ride the train from London in adjacent carriages (not all doors open) and therefore met on the platform at Bickley to be told quite firmly ‘there were no toilets round here’.
** I noticed that our master list of routes, which we downloaded end of 2008/early 2009 shows the R7 as going from Bickley Station to Orpington station whereas a more up to date bus map told us we needed to get ourselves to the Aquila Estate, hence the opportunity to gawp at some of Bromley’s million pound residences. Given the name ‘Estate’ Jo was expecting to find our bus lurking in an area of social housing – but very much not so. The Aquila turns out to have been something of a controversial development with already established residents not wishing for green belt land by Blackbrook Wood to be built over. But here it is now with its own bus service (albeit but once an hour) and looking pretty deserted at 11am, the local residents being on the whole not habitual bus users.
The R7 panted up Hawthorne Road and turned round – we boarded immediately as it was slightly behind schedule, quite possibly because, as we were soon to discover, it was having something of a diversion.
Big houses also means big trees and plenty of room both for several cars and for mature front gardens so we had time to admire the various types of hedges - holly and pyracanthus are neither of them very friendly but do look quite jolly on a grey day. The route crosses Blackbrook Lane, continues round three sides of a square and then rejoins the lane to head south along the Jubilee Country Park (which Jubilee is not clear: 25, 50 and even 60 are possibilities) and eventually, with property sizes reducing gradually but gracefully, finds itself approaching Petts Wood. Prior to Petts Wood shops were non-existent and community facilities likewise though there were a fair few care homes all built quite recently.
Having not been into the town square we saw another side of Petts Wood (Purrfect Pets for Petts Wood anyone? – I’ve waited nearly 500 routes to be able to do that.) And there’s a Cat Rescue Centre just up the road. The colourful frontage of Niuco offered a less easy to pronounce name challenge but proves to be a gallery and café. Meanwhile the nearby Thai Moom (not a typo here) offered cookery classes for children and adults, and the Memorial Halls were also signposted, though some way off this route.