Well, now, this is a strange route. Although the bus stop at Waterloo says that it terminates at Lea Bridge Road, the front of the bus said 'Hackney Central'. Please hold this thought till we get to the end.
The head stop is actually in the inadequate bus space in front of Victoria Station, whereas our previous bus had abandoned us some was away. So we headed off at 11.00, and made amazingly slow progress. First it's up Buckingham Palace Road and past the Queen's back garden, and then to Hyde Park Corner, where we had ample time to admire the Royal Artillery Memorial in its brutal splendour and the rather less aggressive Machine Gunners' Memorial. The quote from the book of Samuel which so annoyed other branches of the army was not within reading distance of our camera s you can read it at the IWM register link.
We were also interested in GROM, a gelato shop whose strap-line is 'Il Gelato come una volta' which we think is sort of 'as mother used to make'. Interesting, they say they contain no flavourings, which I take it means that vanilla is an ingredient not a flavouring. Again, th the costly Boris buses worked as they were intended to, we could have stepped off the back, checked, and got back on.
Finally we came to Piccadilly Circus but this did not mean we increased our speed, because this route next goes along (or parks along) Shaftesbury Avenue. Slowed by works to renovate the Japan Centre, as well as by all the cars and cabs, we passed all the shows and eventually emerged at Cambridge Circus to go left along Charing Cross Road.
Still, 35 minutes into our journey (15 minutes on a bicycle, by the way) we were finally heading east, to pass the umbrella shop and the Conway Hall. We also passed Swedenborg House. Swedenborg believed, amongst much else, that, for salvation, good deeds were essential as well as faith. I only mention this because in the film of Little Women (the one with Winona Ryder, not the Elizabeth Taylor one) the March family are said to be Swedenborgians, although this is not in the book. But I digress.
Up Rosebery Avenue, we reached the gardens of the the Water HQ which marks the formal end of the New River, and then came to Sadler's Wells, which meant we were effectively at Angel.
The Old Red Lion Pub has pages and pages about it on the internet, but I could not find out why its inn sign depicts a dog. No doubt an explanation is in the cloud somewhere. Linda was interested to see the Lime hire bikes, which are electric, as there are not many of them in South London.
So then we saluted Sir Hugh Myddleton and continued up Essex Road, noting a taxidermy shop called 'Get Stuffed' whose website has galleries displaying their amazing work.
A former cinema is now the Resurrection Manifestation centre, and, we assume, religious, while the Walter Sickert Centre is named for a former local Islington resident, though he was part of the Camden group of artists.
Turning right into the Balls Pond Road, we passed the Metropolitan Benefit Society Almshouses, now rebranded as 'retirement cottages' but still with their pretty garden.
I thought the Duke of Wellington'a pub sign was probably taken from the portrait in the National Gallery, a picture I know well as I have it on a mug.
Anyway, we were now firmly in Hackney, and a series of residential streets brought us to Mare Street and Hackney Central Station. It was 12.25, a bit over the 78 minutes promised by the timetable. BUT, of course, we were not at the end stop as marked at the start of the route (I asked you to remember this). So when the driver and the bus announcement both said that this was the last stop, we obediently got off. And THEN! the blind at the front changed to read 'Clapton Pond' and the bus rolled on: without us. So what's this about? In the olden days there used to be what were called 'fare stages' and the price changed in various places. But this is no longer the case. So we are baffled, and all we can do is promise that we shall ride from Hackney Central to Leabridge Road at some future date.
It had taken a long time, but it is a rather enjoyable trip, nonetheless.