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  • The #73 bus was once my world.

    As a kid, I caught it every morning from the corner of Stoke Newington Common, London
    And traveled to school, and then back again at the end of the day.
    Pretty simple really, but the whole experience was a lovely assault on the senses.

    The sound of the old Stagecoach engine rumbling to life as the bus conductor pulled on the bell twice to let the driver know it was time to take off.
    The "Ding!" of it's sound as a passenger signalled (s)he wanted to get off at the next stop.
    The warm scratchiness of the dark checkered seats, and the soft puff of warm air coming from the heat vents, as I rested my feet on the the wooden slatted floors.

    My favourite seat was always upstairs, left-hand side, one seat away from the back of the bus.
    From there, I could see pretty much everything on the long journey from the North to the West of London.
    The mixture of people of all races, ages and class getting constantly on and off at the different stops.
    Stoke Newington Church Street, the looong Albion Road, the cheerful Newington Green, with "No Body's Inn".
    Then onto the winding Essex Road, with it's mixture of council estates, old fashioned antiques shops, and well-to-do town houses,
    Trumbling into the Angel, Islington - so alive, so shiny, so busy...and years later, to be discovered as a sulky Angel in a Neil Gaiman novel... a description that always makes me smile.

    Then onto the long and old, and hugely interesting Pentonville Road and beyond...
    "There's a prison near here!" my mum once said when she accompanied me on the bus one morning, voice filled with mystery and a slight tinge of alarm.
    To me, this just added more to the interestingness, beauty and texture that is the grand old spirit of London.. so many lives have passed through, are moving and are intertwined here.

    I think London and her old stagecoach buses will always have been my first true love.
    She runs through my veins, through my heart, my dreams, my mind.
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