No. 26 Bus Part 1
Last week I (for complicated logistical reasons) had to drive unto the big smoke and then journey onwards to Devon from Waterloo. I left the car in Hackney and decided to catch the bus directly to Waterloo, despite the TfL Journey Planner’s insistence that the bus & tube was the modern 21st Century way to go.
Time was when you wanted to get on a bus, you got on it and paid with money. Now you run the risk of being chucked off if you try that trick. They have new-fangled Oyster cards and ticket machines at some stops but those machines aren’t evident in Hackney – I didn’t wonder why. So rather than face humiliation by the bus driver for having the temerity to wave a pound at him (I was informed by control HQ it was “at least £3 to go on the bus these days”) I ripped myself off at a shop buying a highly expensive travel card. To salve that annoyance I left it in the ladies at Waterloo (I hope someone found it and used it to travel round Zones 1&2 until midnight, otherwise I have paid over a fiver for one bus trip). On the upside, the 30p wee at Waterloo was a free wee, due to a broken turnstile. Little things etc.
I used to take the No. 26 Bus when I worked in the City so it was a bit of a memory lane trip. It was also a practical solution to needing a semi to urgent wee – far better to sit still and clench (if necessary) than get involved in bus/tube/tube interchanges whilst lugging luggage. Plus you get a window, so I made the most of it and sat on the top deck. Then at the risk of behaving much like Japanese tourist I snapped away. I also wondered if having had two children in Homerton hospital I could still be considered an honorary Londoner (I was thinking forever if anyone reading has this kind of thing in their gift)? How terrible if I have to take on visitor status when I am not a visitor at all.
Anyway, they’ve been busy since I last took a seat on the No. 26 – building enormous buildings that I don’t recognise, knocking things down and excavating great muddy holes out of which I’ll warrant more enormous buildings will rise. What I want to know is: who the hell is paying for all this and what the hell is this one called?