diamond geezer

 Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I could have caught this bus all the way from Romford, but no, I'd have missed out on the edge of London doing that. Instead I'm boarding the 370 towards the end of its route, shortly after exiting London for the delights of Thurrock. And there'll be no going back.

 Route 370: South Ockendon - Lakeside

 Length of journey: 3 miles, 15 minutes

South Ockendon doesn't initially look like it deserves a double decker, with its small village green, old church and minor parade of shops. But there is a considerable amount of postwar housing estate parked off to the south, plus it's on the way to somewhere greater... the mall at Lakeside. Hence when the bus arrives, even after its ride through the back of beyond, it's rather full. I climb upstairs to an unfamiliar sight. For a start almost everyone on the top deck is female, and for another thing they're almost all fairly young. If my last bus was the Retirement Express, this is very obviously The Bus To The Mall.

A lot of chattering is going on. Up front the schoolgirl section is rather gossipy, further back the talk is more of evening plans and potential purchases. A few houses along South Road have been here for some time - there's one set of villas datemarked 1903. But the great majority of housing is modern infill, and various roads lead off to sprawling postwar estates on either side. A lot more people board as we pass through, the 370 acting as a weekend escape route for the young. The houses break for a flooded meadow and a large garden centre, which I get to stare at for a while because it's here that the jams start. I then get to stare at some window-height blossom for a while, as pre-Lakeside traffic conspires to extend my brief journey by several minutes.

When an electronic voice announces that the next stop is Stifford Road the three girls in front of me burst into a prolonged fit of giggles. They cackle more when a branch scraping down the site of the bus sounds like a fart, then go back to checking their phones and showing each other stuff. Stifford Road is later revealed as the source of all this congestion, being one of only two ways for residents to cross the c2c railway hereabouts. We then curve downhill to cross the Mardyke, the slopes below almost scenic, past a thatched cottage no less. But that's the only brief nice bit as we return to the estuarine plain and enter Thurrock's built-up retail wonderland.

A big Sainsbury's, several pylons, warehouse sprawl - there's little here than Betjeman would have eulogised about. That's Chafford Hundred ahead, a modern maze of drives and cul-de-sacs set around a set of chalk quarries. The largest is now home to Lakeside, or intu Lakeside as the site's owners would now like us to call it, despite the bland weediness of their brand name. This is the seventh largest shopping centre in the country, as is readily apparent looking down from above across the domed mall and vast car parks. So so many cars glint in the spring sunlight, but we avoid the majority of the traffic by entering the site via the bus-friendly back road. There is much queueing to alight - I let the ladies off first - and then I have one bus to go. X80>>

» route 370 - timetable
» route 370 - live bus map
» route 370 - route history
» route 370 - The Ladies Who Bus
» map of my journey so far

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
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