diamond geezer

 Saturday, December 06, 2003

Cube Routes: Day 6 x 6 x 6
Bus 216: Kingston - Staines
Location: London west, outer; Surrey
Length of journey: 13 miles, 55 minutes


"Get out of the road you dozy fuckin' idiot!"

We were still attempting to leave Kingston bus station when our driver let rip at a bemused-looking bloke trying to board our bus after the doors had closed. He was a charmer was our driver. Thirty seconds down the road we attempted a sharp turn into the main shopping street. A mother was trying to cross the road with her three children, each of whom had been transformed into a jungle beast by some nearby council-sponsored face-painting scheme. She blundered into the path of the bus, then hurriedly dragged her little animals quickly back onto the pavement out of harm's way. Our driver burst forth again with another warcry like a big game hunter.

"Get out of the road you bleedin' dozy twats!"

Delightful. I was on safari aboard the 216, tracking the wild waters of the River Thames to the west of London. It's a long journey, and one of the few London bus routes to venture outside the boundaries of the capital, in this case penetrating deepest Surrey. Or is it Middlesex? Of all the seven bus routes I'm sampling this week, this was the only single-decker, which appeared to mean virtually no legroom for anybody over five foot six. I should have sued for possible deep vein thrombosis.

We crossed Kingston Bridge, the sun shining up from the sparkling river below, and sped through royal parkland to Hampton Court. The riverside terraced house where Christopher Wren used to live is now neighbour to the Cardinal Wolsey pub (book your Christmas party here) and a traffic-clogged roundabout. A man with a smelly dog got on board and sat rather too close to my nostrils. We drove on into Surrey, upriver and upmarket - sailing clubs, exclusive residential islands, Kempton Park racecourse and Mail-reading couples out walking labradors. Sunbury Village with its narrow lanes and arty hotchpotch of cottages could easily have been in deepest Suffolk, except that there were three buses queued in the main street.

The view shifted as we reached the giant roundabout at the start of the M3, back into featureless semi-commercial suburbia. The bus detoured off the arterial road to visit a huge new Tesco superstore, picking up a doddery old man who shuffled slowly to the nearest seat. He was carrying two barely-filled plastic carrier bags, either all he could afford or all he could carry. The bus dropped him off two stops later - I guess he's forced to travel little and often.

We sped on through deepest Ashford, all diamond-lattice windows and nail bars, before sailing past the reservoirs of West London and inching into Staines. Just before our destination (at this week's umpteenth shopping mall) we halted unexpectedly on a bleak estate. Here we were treated to a new driver, a fountain of dreadlocks sprouting from the top of her head, who took five minutes to adjust everything just the way she wanted it. Meanwhile our old driver escaped into a waiting white van and pulled out into the traffic... directly in front of a honking car - the bleedin' dozy twat.

216 link
Route 216: timetable


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream