Wednesday 19 December 2012
When Mary, Linda and I reached Epsom Clock Tower, by another route about which you will read in due course, we were prepared to be depressed, or even shop in Lakeland, as the 467 is a once-an-hour bus after the many journeys it makes to school or work earlier in the day. But to our delight we had only a five minute wait for the 10.49, which rolled up bang on time, and was a double decker. And it felt warm, which was an added bonus, on this grey day, with the rain barely holding off till the end of the route. We liked the imposing tailor's in the middle of Epsom, and were prepared to award a B+ to the lamp post decorations.
We whipped at a good pace along the road towards Ewell, passing many 'offices-to-let' signs, interspersed with building sites which, we fervently hoped, were for homes not more offices. Two of the well kept pubs we passed were the King's Arms, clearly newly done up, and the Green Man (or Famous Green Man, as it appears to call itself) with rather a fine inn sign of the mystic creature peering through foliage. The speed of the bus made photography rather difficult, but you can see him on their website.
Turning left along the Epsom road, we were impressed by the size of the houses, and the general prosperity of the area was further confirmed by the shops in Ewell Village, including an ironing service. The parade of shops in Ewell dates from the 1935 Jubilee. Poor old George V was the first monarch to call himself Windsor, German names becoming suddenly unfashionable in 1914. He also lasted for less than a year after celebrating 25 years on the throne, and his death caused all that Abdication trouble
The route then takes a loop round Bourne Hall, with its garden centre, as well as a library and other facilities, before reaching Ewell West Station, with a newish block of flats extremely convenient for the station.
This area is mostly residential now, but it was once at the centre of a cluster of mental hospitals. One of them, Horton Hospital (the name retained for the local country park) used in the 1920s to offer malaria therapy for people suffering from cerebral syphilis: apparently being infected with malaria was thought to deal a serious blow to the syphilis bacteria. I really don't know what to say about this!
We did not stop very often as we headed along these smart residential streets, before coming to Chessington, and the William Bourne Pub, formerly called the Bonegate, and part of a chain, regardless of its local-sounding name.
We admired some of the magnificent trees, growing both in gardens and in the public areas. In a way trees are at their handsomest in winter, when you can see their structure.
The charming little church of St Mary's Chessington has a long recorded history as it was part of the property of the great Merton Abbey, though the church was rebuilt in Victorian times.
Our bus route takes a right towards Hook, rather than sampling the many delights of the World of Adventure, but we were cheered up by a fine, if slightly tipsy, inflatable santa on a double glazing shop, and then by the gnome and santa infested garden of 'Shabby Chic Furniture'. I did not know that 'shabby chic' was an actual designation: clearly more television watching is called for, as there are dozens of references to the concept if you type it into your search engine.
So here we were in Hook, and were the last people on the bus as it reached its terminating point, and failed to get off. But the charming driver was very tolerant and, as he was heading straight back, took us round the roundabout where the Cap in Hand Pub is, and back towards a railway station.
We had completed our journey in 16 minutes, slightly faster than the advertised timing. And the rain was only just beginning as we finished.