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Dear 81…

81- possibly the most comforting number I will ever know on a sodden Saturday afternoon in St James’s Street.

They said that 42 was the answer to the universe, and for a while it was, until about 1987 that is. It was around then that the number 81 took over the Queens Park route and has magically stayed ever since.

This mobile shoebox, this timeless cabin, the bringer of relief to tired legs for whom Egremont Place brings a hill too far..

Sometimes, in particular on a dull day, the misery of its inhabitants gives it the air of a mobile prison. I guess these folk, faces that become evermore familiar despite my more infrequent trips nowadays, appreciate little of its history or servitude to Queens Park life.

Then perhaps it’s just the elements, but I hope their facial expressions are not a summary of their existence. Maybe we should have a Carpenters C.D playing softly in the background. Not ‘Rainy days and Mondays’ though….

My dear 81, though your fares may rise and your customers moan, I love you still. You’ve always been there for us hill dwelling folk, sometimes two or three of you at once to the belated rescue….

Hurried commuters, hassled shoppers, and nine ‘o’ clock pensioners of Queens Park unite… and celebrate our servant eternal !


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