Aylesbury Bus Station Local Services Rank. Image Appledene Photographics / R J Cook
The Aylesbury I first knew was focused on Kingsbury Square where the buses massed along with countless passengers. The steady lazy beat of big AEC bus engines of Red Rover and City of Oxford ( COMS ) and the more silenced sleepy sluggish humming Bristols of United Counties was music to my young ears. The bus colours were bright, some green, some red. They had bus conductors to collect the fares. There were cafes for their refreshment and even pubs during breaks on the late night runs.
I had a pleasant conversation with a member of the Krsna group, recalling my days working as a tax adviser for an accountant in Oxford St, London in 1977 when they sang way down below our office window, jangling tambourines all sunny day long. . He said his group were going there this evening.
Aylesbury was hot on the music scene in the 1960s , 70s, and early 80s with ‘Friars’ run by Dave Stopps, a very popular venue. This memorial is to iconic David Bowie, under the arches that once led to the long gone cattle market.
I met Angela in Morrisons this afternoon. She was fund raising for the Alzheimer’s Society. She is walking around the country fund raising and has already walked 500 miles.
Back in the bus station, I wandered around looking at this 1960s grey underworld, recalling the first day of opening in 1968. I was studying in Aylesbury and on one of the first buses going into the new concrete world of Aylesbury, under the concrete shopping centre, where Woolworths had opened their biggest shop in Europe in anticipation of London’s third airport a few miles away at Wing. stimulating town tourism.
The British may be hot on the mission to be carbon neutral but that is not very obvious here. The Aylesbury to Buckingham Road was flush with cars. Aylesbury Bus Station waiting room was very quiet as can be seen here. Schooldays are busy at peak times, but there are always plenty of seats in this stark place.
All images Appledene Photographics / R J Cook January 15th 2022
Back on board the X60 bus service to Milton Keynes, the Arriva vehicle is clean on the inside and Covid cold. Zombie style zombie music is playing quite loud. I have never heard a loud radio played by a passenger before. The sound is coming from the backseat, but I don’t dare look round. Anyone who breaks the etiquette of keeping their multi cultural musical taste to themselves could be dangerous to a fragile old person like me. The sounds playing suggest anger. The voice and rhythm sounds primitive. I don’t like confrontation
The bus windows are filthy, but I have travelled this route since the 1950s. I carry on editing my photos for this story. I can just make out that we are nearly in Winslow. Time to check all my stuff is in my bag, pockets done up. Nearly there, so I have an excuse to check out the back seat to see who’s playing that music. I see a haunted haggard face staring back at me, tangled long blondish hair. It is the face of an old young woman, world worn and sad, huddled. I can’t see her properly, but her clothes are drab, utilitarian. I get off the bus in Sheep Street, opposite grand Winslow Hall. I think about taking a sneaky picture of her through the bus’s back window because she is sitting on my side.
Then I think of the African looking Big Issue seller who freaked out when I took his picture on Aylesbury Market Square earlier that afternoon. I had to respect her privacy, but checked her out. She had drawn up her knees, a scruffy bag squeezed between her body and her trouser covered legs. The bus pulled away , with a young woman who had come from God knows where and looked as if she had no idea where she was going. I wondered what she was thinking and feeling while that music for the alienated played her on her way. She could have been so beautiful , with that tousled mane of dirty blonde hair. R J Cook