diamond geezer

 Sunday, January 03, 2021

Normally at this time of January I would head out and explore bits of London related to the new year. Last year being 2020 I visited Twentyman Close, rode the 20 and N20 buses, walked some of the A20 and explored the E20, N20, SE20 and SW20 postcodes. Alas 2021 isn't so forthcoming.

Ten posts I won't be writing in January 2021

1) A walk along the A21
The A21 starts in Lewisham (at the tediously remodelled junction outside the station) and heads for Hastings. I wouldn't have walked the whole lot, maybe only as far as Catford or perhaps ticked off highlights as far as Bromley. Locksbottom might've been good for a giggle. Pratts Bottom I've already blogged. After Knockholt the A21 has been replaced by J5-J4 of the M25, and then it's essentially the Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Pembury bypasses. Everything gets a bit single carriageway across the Weald into East Sussex. And on arrival in Hastings it misses most of the interesting bits before ending on the seafront at Grand Parade. Sorry A21, I'm giving you a miss this month.

2) A ride on bus route 21
I've never blogged this bus, but alas it starts in Lewisham again. It's a good route because it spends half its time in south London and half in North London, pivoting across London Bridge on its way to Stoke Newington. I could have compared the Old Kent Road to the New North Road and New Cross to the City for a narrative steeped in contrasts. Some other time.

3) A ride on bus route N21
A key nightbus route linking the West End to Bexley, specifically Trafalgar Square to Bexleyheath. But a lot of it overlaps with route 21, and spending the early hours in Eltham and Blackfen is hardly essential travel.

4) A visit to postcode N21
That's Winchmore Hill in Enfield, and very much not within walking distance. But it is a fascinatingly obtuse corner of the capital, so in normal times very much my kind of stomping ground. I have walked its unlost river and the path beside the New River and hiked up to the very top of Green Lanes, so I know parts of N21, but I have yet to bring you the joys of Grange Park and Bush Hill.

5) A visit to postcode SE21
And this is Dulwich. That means Dulwich Park and Dulwich Picture Gallery, which I have blogged, but also Dulwich Village and Sydenham Hill station, which I really should have done by now. Sorry, you'll have to read about London's last toll gate elsewhere.

6) A visit to postcode E21
7) A visit to postcode SW21

Alas these postcodes don't exist because their respective sequences terminated with E20 and SW20.

8) A shopping trip to twentytwentyone
There really is a London shop called twentytwentyone, founded in 1996, so-called because it combines the best of 20th and 21st century design. They specialise in furniture and lighting for homes with a modern aesthetic, all highly desirable stuff, and very much targeting homeowners with surplus in their bank accounts. They have a showroom in Clerkenwell and a store in Upper Street but alas both are currently closed, plus I have no desire to go back to Upper Street until somebody fixes that perilous paving slab.

9) A visit to Pontoon Dock
This is more like it. The area around the DLR station is a fascinating one, including the amazing Thames Barrier Park, the relentlessly undeveloped Silvertown Quays and the emerging residential quarter of Royal Wharf. The latter's almost all finished now, and ripe for another post decrying dense flats interspersed with coffee shops. I could easily bash out 1000 words on the environs of Pontoon Dock, it's even within easy reach, but the link to 21 is probably too obtuse. That's the card game Pontoon, or Vingt-Un, if you haven't worked it out yet.

10) A walk along the A2021
For the first time in three years an A road exists with the same number as the calendar. But whereas the A2018 went to Dartford the A2021 is in Eastbourne, and that's rather more of a schlep. What's more it's only two and a half miles long and misses the town centre, the chief sights being the town's hospital and a railway bridge. It doesn't even terminate on the seafront but three streets back on a road called Seaside. Having followed it on Google Street View I feel like I don't need to do it in real life, plus I don't think it has any street signs saying A2021 so what'd be the point? But I am due in Eastbourne for my biennial hike over the Seven Sisters this year, so if I do make it I'll be sure to make a brief detour and replace that photo.

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