The Bus to Shepherd’s Bush

Another post from earlier in the year that I failed to finish because of Brexit related nonsense. This one from late May…

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My son was keen for a Saturday out of the house recently, so I scoured the pages of “things to do” magazines about London and the south east for something right up his street. Eureka! He told me he likes buses. There’s a bus open day in Shepherd’s Bush bus garage…

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My plan was set and packed up a kit including my A7RII and Leica Q. Originally I was going to take my D810, but the light in the morning was exceptionally dank. I formed a view that a camera with excellent high ISO was the key requirement (wrongly, as it happens, but you can’t win everything)…
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The journey there wasn’t too bad, but it suffered from an attack of boredom that not even an game of “I spy” could cure. Luckily we arrived at Shepherd’s Bush, and after a moment of confusion about which road we were actually on, we headed over to the bus garage.

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Wandering in our attention was taken by all of the grand old buses near the entrance, so much so that when a smiley lady advanced towards us, I didn’t do my usual “not interested” stare that I normally reserve for chuggers, but rather actually had a conversation.

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Of course it turned out she had something to sell, but equally it was something my son was quite excited about, a book about a bus! It was the author of a children’s book about a bus called Bradley that travels the world, Inderjit Puaar, and she very kindly explained this to my son and autographed the copy of the book we purchased.

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Even more kindly, later on she spotted us again and ran over with a colour in foldable London bus model. It sounds oddly specific, but any parent planning a trip somewhere will explain how people who arrive with things for children to do are highly regarded…

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Wandering through the buses we looked around and in lots of the older ones, some of which were pre war. They are fabulous old machines from the days when a large application of elbow grease was required to keep buses working and it’s a testament to that hard work and the designer of London transport that examples are still running today.

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We were also lucky in that my son got to sit in the driver’s seat of a London routemaster when one of the team looking after one of the buses kindly let him have a go!

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There was a moment to head next door to an old pub, now turned into a coffee bar for a snack. To be honest I’m in two minds about places like this: I would rather they were a pub. Equally though, I would rather that people used them for a purpose analogous  to their previous use.

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In addition to looking at the buses, the open day provided an opportunity to ride a greenline bus around west London. The locations we visited didn’t seem that different from a tourist bus we took a while back, so it was well worth the trip.

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Sadly, in our last look around the bus garage before going home, my son’s water bottle was pushed out of the side pocket on my bag, which caused a meltdown. So much so that when I explained we had an identical water bottle at home, he didn’t believe me. Luckily, a certainly level of suspension of disbelief prevailed, and we managed to look around a few more buses before it was time to head home.

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I was very impressed with A7RII. The truth is that I like it more when I can use it as a lightweight kit. It’s SO much more satisfying to use when you can drop the focus into wide mode and let the camera get on with it. It offends my enjoyment of photography a little that the A7RII is harder to use in single point focus mode than it is in auto; but sometimes you need to let a camera do what its best at. After all, I don’t try to shoot sports with a Leica M…

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