Mystery Unfinished Sentences on London Bus Stops

Over the last few weeks I’ve discovered an intriguing and mysterious series of unfinished sentences lying on top of the bus shelter roofs.

Really, I mean that quite literally.

You know when you’re on the upper deck of a bus, sometimes you see strange random objects placed on the top of bus shelters? An old shoe, a rubber ball, a hat – All manner of lost oddities either from drunken scuffles or wayward students.

A few weeks ago on the way home from work, I saw the first one on the top of the shelter 3 stops before the stop at Angel.

At a Particular Speed

At a Particular Speed

I didn’t give it much thought, after all I had seen stranger things on the tops of bus shelters.

However a week or so after that I saw another one.

Or a Particular distance

Or a Particular distance

I wondered if it was a broken up road sign, chucked up there by some drunken student.

My more romantic side thought it was maybe part of a poem, to be found at the top of bus stops around London, to be pieced together once discovered.

But it didn’t seem to make much sense as either.

I told myself I would be ready and waiting with my camera the next time I was on this route back from work.

Easier said than done however, for various reasons.

  1. I only use this route on the way home from work in the evening.
  2. I needed the be seated on the left and in the front of the top of the bus for the best possible chance at getting the shot, but it entirely depended on how full the bus was and also where the bus driver pulled up.
  3. The bus kept moving. So annoying of it. Just when you want it to stay a while at a stop, off it went.
  4. My camera phone needs a bit of time in low lighting conditions. Very tricky also to get my hand not to shake.
  5. Sometimes I’d just forget to look out for them and they’d pass me by.

So I had no luck for a week or so, but one evening I saw a third bus stop with yet another phrase on it!

To Go Or Move

To Go Or Move

I didn’t have time to get my camera out and 2 bus stops passed me by unphotographed.

I was so excited I actually got off and walked all the way back to try to get another bus and photograph all 3 in one go.

Unfortunately the bus I chose was packed and I couldn’t get the seats I needed. Damn those busses.

Even with no. 3 located, it still made no sense.

But at last, by pure fluke (the bus had stopped for about 5 minutes there), I saw what I believe is first one in the series, on the bus stop outside Kings Cross Underground.

Exciting! I think it makes the phrases coherent now.

T_AVEL

T_AVEL

  1. T_avel (Travel)
  2. To go or move
  3. At a particular speed
  4. Or a particular distance

I’ve found no others at after this one.

There are still so many unanswered questions.

Who left these there?

Was it deliberate? Or was pulled apart from some road-side sign?

Are there other bus-stops in London with scraps of sentences?

If there were all sourced and pieced together would it construct a paragraph? Some poem? A hidden message?

I’m tempted to take a bus ride tomorrow just to check out the ones before Kings Cross.

But I like the element of chance in finding them. The perfect timing required for the bus to pull up in the right spot, and for you to be seated in the right spot. I don’t know if these would be as enjoyable if found though deliberation.

PS:

I found a bus stop near Euston where someone had put an entire turf of grass on the top of it. I pointed it out excitedly to the ex who grunted and hissed at me,

“I’ve seen it already! No talking!”

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16 thoughts on “Mystery Unfinished Sentences on London Bus Stops

  1. That is really awesome. I have seen a number of strange objects on top of bus shelters too but never words like these. The mystery behind it is quite intriguing.

  2. A fantastic find! I love how you couldn’t get it out of your mind and kept looking for more. Sounds purposeful to me.
    you should do a follow up installation and blog about it!

    • I dont think it is specifically ‘art’ types. It’s been lying there for a few months untouched(since i came back 2nd Jan) – and only yesterday did I notice 3 of them have been removed. I think it’s just vandalism but the fun kind. Like wool bombing or guerrilla gardening (i’m assuming the turf on the other bus stop).

  3. The Ex’s reply may be the most pithy and poetic of these fragments, of all.

    Though I think I have to bid farewell any lingering odd fantasies you have a blonde Boadicea in your bed.

    Not that I really believed that. But that “No talking!” sounds so quintessentially South Asian to my ears.

    • I don’t know sadly! I haven’t found any more yet, and now 3 have been removed. There is only one solitary one left. It’ll just remain a mystery I suppose unless the person or persons who chucked them have more planned.

  4. In Portland Oregon (where I’m from) I once noticed…. a miniature toy horse (the kind that is more or less anatomically correct) tethered to some kind of metal doodad stuck into the ground there at the stop. It was pretty bizarre, but I didn’t think that much of it… … then I started noticing them at other stops… different horses, but the same kind… I thought, who the hell is tethering plastic horse to the bus stop?? (Maybe I should have checked their bellies for a message!!) Anyway, great post and I hope you find out the mystery =)
    PS The ex does not sound like he much relishes mystery… :/

  5. Pingback: Mystery Unfinished Sentences on London Bus Stops: Update « Tin Roof Press

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