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12 buses from Westminster Cathedral

Inspired by nou and rjw1's bus challenge tweets, on June 7th, I decided to attempt the Dreamwidth Flâneurs Community June challenge I.(c) again - get on the first bus that comes along, then get off after n stops, and then get on the next bus that comes along and get off after n stops, and so on.

I have done this challenge before, and decided to use the same conditions I have twice before, to see what changed.

My start point was again opposite Westminster Cathedral in London, and n was set to be 9.

24 to Hampstead Heath

Westminster Cathedral - Westminster City Hall - New Scotland Yard - Westminster Abbey - Westminster Station/Parliament Square - Horseguards Parade - Trafalgar Square / Charing Cross Station - Leicester Square Station - Cambridge Circus - Denmark Street

The first bus I got on was the 24 to Hampstead Heath. A few months ago, I used to get the 24 every Thursday to go to an Icelandic lesson, so I wondered then if I would end up back at the Fashion Retail Academy, which was where I had lessons.

The bus was one of the new style routemasters, and gosh, it was hot inside.

"Aren't there any windows on this bus?" I heard a person behind me ask.

"There's a funny story about Italy.." I heard, but did not hear what the funny story was. I did hear the person behind me talking about the World War 2 veteran who went missing from a care home and was then found in Normandy.

Everywhere I passed was busy with tourists, looking at horseguards, taking photos of phone boxes, riding the lions at Trafalgar Square.

The bus stopped outside the newly opened Foyles bookshop, and I got off. I couldn't resist going in the shop and immediately found myself in a section with photos of 1970s London, books about people who have lived in London for a long time, and other interesting looking books. I flicked through A New Kind of Bleak: Journeys Through Urban Britain by Owen Hatherley, and noticed there was a section about Croydon. I looked at Jonathan Meades' Museum Without Walls and decided to buy that one, as there were sections about The Strand, London Bridge, Canary Wharf, Crystal Palace, and I thought that maybe sometime today I would end up in those places. I have enjoyed Jonathan Meades' TV programmes about Essex, and about brutalism in the past.

These are the opening lines in the introduction, which seem fitting:

"We are surrounded by the greatest of free shows. Places. Most of them made by man, remade by man. Deserted streets, seething boulevards, teeming beaches, empty steppes, black reservoirs, fields of agricultural scrap, cute villages and disappearing points which have an unparallelled capacity to promote hope.."

38 to Clapton Pond

Denmark Street - Tottenham Court Road Station - Museum Street for British Museum - Bloomsbury Square for Holborn Station - Red Lion Square - Gray's Inn Road - Rosebery Avenue - Mount Pleasant - Tysoe Street - Hardwick Street

The bus passes a man wearing a "Where is your God?" t-shirt, who is standing outside a church, and then later, a man wearing a t-shirt that says "Raised by wolves."

I see red lions on walls.

341 to Angel Road Superstores

Hardwick Street - Sadler's Wells Theatre - St John Street/Goswell Street - Angel Station - Islington Green - Packington Street - Cross Street - Essex Road Station - Northchurch Road - Ockendon Road

I see a silver halo, floating, which must have belonged to an angel once.

A wedding party gets off a green bus. One of them holds a star shaped balloon.

The bus goes past a statue of Hugh Myddleton, and past the Sea Dragon Aquarium.

38 to Clapton Pond

Ockendon Road - Mildmay Park/Southgate Road - Culford Road - Kingsland High Street - Dalston Lane / Dalston Junction Station - Stanard Road - Greenwood Road - Royal Oak Road - Mare Street - Hackney Central Station

I get back on the 38 to Clapton Road. Only when I go up the stairs do I realise that it is the same one I was on earlier, as it has the same people on it. I recognise the man who was sitting in front of me previously, but this time I sit in a different seat.

The people next to me are speaking in French.

I see spicy tofu baguettes for sale at the Vietnamese baguette shop. I've never eaten a Vietnamese baguette before, but perhaps I should.

Photo taken while on the 38 bus:


253 to Euston

Hackney Central Station - Amhurst Pond / Hackney Downs Station - Mare Street / Narrow Way - Hackney Baths - Glenarm Road - Clapton Girls Academy - Clapton Pond - Lea Bridge Roundabout - Upper Clapton Road / Brooke Road - Clapton Station

I pass the Pembury Tavern while I'm on this bus and think about the last time I went there, which was for a meeting of Computer Anonymous.

There are children sitting in the seats across the aisle from me on the bus.

"I'm going to find some bumblebees!" I hear one of them say.

The children start singing, "I'm gonna move my hands, I'm gonna move my feet!"

Amhurst Cafe

254 to Holloway Road, Nag's Head

Clapton Station - Rossington Street - Cazenove Road - Jessam Avenue - Forbury Road - Clapton Common - Stamford Hill Broadway - Amhurst Park / Stamford Lodge - Stamford Hill Station

At Jessam Avenue, I notice how suburban the streets all seem now, mostly houses.

The bus continues onwards, and I see a man wearing a furry hat, and then after a while, I see many men wearing hats, some furry and some not, and conclude that they must be Hasidic Jews. (I have now looked to see what the furry hats are called: shtreimel.)

At Clapton Common, I see a nice fountain.

I see lots of little girls, who look like they are dressed up.

253 to Euston

Stamford Hill Station - Cranwich Road - Bethune Road - Seven Sisters Road / Amhurst Park - Woodberry Grove - Manor House Station - Portland Rise - Alexandra Grove - Finsbury Park / Blackstock Road - Finsbury Park Station

I get back on the same 253 I was on before! The children who were singing, "I'm gonna move my hands, I'm gonna move my feet," are still on the bus. The seat I was sitting in before has now been taken though, so I sit somewhere else.

Out of the window, I see a lost pink balloon lying on the grass.

253 to Euston

Finsbury Park Station - Isledon Road - Berriman Road - Sobell Centre - Holloway Road - Caledonian Road - Hillmarton Road / HM Prison Holloway - Hilldrop Road - Brecknock Road - Camden Park Road

Another 253, but different to the previous one!

I see a sign saying, "Join the kindness offensive". There is a colourful bus and what looks like a pub. I have since looked it up, and apparently it is a free bookshop/library.

29 to Trafalgar Square

Camden Park Road - Sandall Road - Murray Street - Camden Road Station - Camden Town Station - Pratt Street - Mornington Crescent Station - Silverdale - Robert Street - Warren Street Station / Euston Road

This bus was quite crowded. At Camden Town, a girl wearing a Pac-Man t-shirt and sunglasses sits next to me and talks in Spanish to her friends. Other people on the bus are signing.

134 to Tottenham Court Road

Warren Street Station/ Euston Road - Gower Street / University College Hospital - Torrington Place - Chenies Street - Great Russell Street for British Museum - New Oxford Street - Tottenham Court Road Station - Bus Terminated

I did not manage to travel for 9 stops on this bus, as the bus terminated at Tottenham Court Road Station, outside the former Intrepid Fox, which is boarded up.

Some buildings I saw while waiting for the 134 or on the 134:






29 to Trafalgar Square

Tottenham Court Road Station - Cambridge Circus - Leicester Square St Martin's Place - Trafalgar Square / Charing Cross Station

This bus also terminated, and I got off at Trafalgar Square. There were so many people!

24 to Pimlico

Trafalgar Square / Charing Cross Station - Whitehall / Trafalgar Square - Horse Guards Parade - Westminster Station / Parliament Square - Great Smith Street / Westminster Abbey - New Scotland Yard - Westminster City Hall - Westminster Cathedral / Victoria Station - Victoria Station - Warwick Way

I decided to end my journey here, as it was close to where I started, and I had done a circle! This is similar to the first time I did this challenge from Westminster Cathedral, although the route was different.

The Elizabeth Tower:

Elizabeth Tower


Year of the bus

I enjoyed this journey. I took 12 buses, travelled just over 20 miles and it took about 3 hours (including a few short breaks).

Google map of the journey I took.

Previous maps of journeys using the same conditions: June 2013, March 2014.


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Ah, I know the 253 and 254 well! I am tickled that you kept getting back on the same buses.

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