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.
Lucy Baring always seems to miss seeing wildlife.