On the buses.
It was such a beautiful Sunday afternoon that, at St Paul’s, we decided to stay on the surface, so we jumped onto a bus. It was a Routemaster, one of those practically indestructible vehicles developed in the late 1940s — a classic of British engineering.
I sometimes caught one to school, judging the exact spot at which to jump off the open platform at the back to a nicety (although occasionally being ignominiously sprawled on the ground, pencils and books spraying across the pavement, when I got it wrong). I’d expected a rush of nostalgia. Instead, I was only conscious of pokiness and discomfort. We’ve got used to the smooth, ergonomic Boris buses that our Mayor-cum-new MP introduced as a kind of homage to the traditional double decker.
As it happens, Making by Thomas Heatherwick, the bus’s designer, fell through our letterbox the other day. Not literally; it wouldn’t have gone through and, if it had, it would have made a hole in the floor. This celebration of the Heatherwick Studio is as heavy as Ed Miliband’s unfortunate pledge stone, although richer in ideas. Bring on the Garden Bridge, I say. As well as the magic of providing a garden over the Thames, it will siphon the crowds that fill Trafalgar Square along to the South Bank, in the process revitalising that ancient but dowdy thoroughfare, the Strand.