But then the sight I had been waiting for appeared: RF679 came round the square to pull up at the station behind the red MetroRider.
With a couple of other passengers I joined the RF, and Mike Dawes drove the bus back down to the main road, north along to Longfield Crossroads, and onto the 452 route to West Kingsdown (The 452, a Northfleet route, unusually missed out Longfield Station on its trip from Dartford to West Kingsdown via High Cross and Fawkham. Buses for it reached Dartford from Northfleet in service on the 450 or 480 routes).
We passed under the railway and settled in for the long climb up the delightful narrow dry valley through Fawkham. One felt that rabbits and deer and the odd badger should dodge across the road ahead of the bus, and perhaps they do at other times of day. But today it was just gently pastoral as the green RF churgled up the gradient to Fawkham Green. There we paused for photos, before heading on towards West kingsdown.
Beyond Fawkham Green the valley continued, only to be interrupted by the giant embankment of the M20. The modern road goes through it in a tunnel, then turns left to run between the motorway and a wood, still climbing up to reach West Kingsdown, 400 feet higher up than at Longfield. Suddenly we were there, at the southern end of West Kingsdown. Mike pulled out onto the old A20, and promptly pulled off it into the bus lay-by by the Portobello Inn, the old terminus of the 452. We were rather late, so where was our connection? According to the timetable there should be an RT coming up from Wrotham any minute. But some work with a mobile phone elicited the information that the RT was still on its way out to us from Swanley. A little while later it appeared, drawing in past the RF to make the connection.
The RT pulled in to the stop - and then RF633 arrived on a 719 Greenline working. It too squeezed past and went up to turn. By now the villagers had started to gather. one green London Transport bus: unusual. Two: amazing. When GS60 came round the corner there was almost a cheer! But that's a story for Part Two.
All photos by Ian Smith. Click on most of them for a larger picture.
Back to Ian's Bus-stop Part 2: Wanders with GS60