Monday, 9 December 2013

London Bus Ride

Sunday 1 December 2013. We left the Museum of London, happy and with a high wow factor after our morning searching its exhibits.

We made our way back down to St Paul's Cathedral, chatting about the museum and what a find it was and circled round to the front of the cathedral.

The statue in front of St Paul's is of Queen Anne - not Queen Victoria as many think. Queen Anne was on the throne at the time of the completion of St Paul's rebuilding after the Fire of London. The statue was first erected in 1712, but was badly weathered and was replaced by the present statue in 1886. Figures around the base represent England, France, Ireland and North America - all of which she had some claim to.

We caught a bus to the Tower and spent some time uhmming and ahhing, wondering whether to eat or to head back into the centre of London. We decided on the latter and just took time to take a few photos before heading back to the bus stop.

Whilst there we were visited and scrutinised by some of the locals, one of which is pictured here. We were totally devoid of food at this point though and they quickly discarded us for better prospects elsewhere!

We waited at the bus stop opposite the massive memorial to Merchant Navy crew members lost in the World Wars and were rewarded with the appearance of a 1950s Routemaster. London has got rid of most of its Routemasters now so this was a stroke of luck. However the new buses that are replacing the ridiculously inappropriate for London single deck bendy buses are a sort of homage to these, being double deck buses with an open platform at the back that you can jump on at your own peril. There is a conductor on them too - hooray for London Transport willing to employ people!

Anyway we took a seat on the lower deck near the back and admired the heater controls at the front of the bus with 3 settings from off to on to roasted. We also admired (actually this was me only - Miss Franny was slightly amazed that I should even notice it) the design classic of the original seat covering, below.

Then the rather excitable party of women got up en masse and we took the opportunity to move up to the front of the bus where we noticed the driver was wearing leather driving gloves for warmth - I suspect a distinctly 1940s lack of heating provision for bus drivers! It was quite nostalgic watching the driver wrestling with the long arm of the hand brake too!

We rode the bus to Charing Cross and jumped off to have a look in the Waterstones on the corner of Trafalgar Square. Didn't find a single copy of that classic: Blackpool Then and Now, but London readers should feel assured that it is available to order or from numerous outlets online. Click the book image in the column to the left. You still have time to get it before Christmas!

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