59. 1pm. Top deck, on the left, about a third of the way down.
Near the park a crowd of children boarded the bus in fancy dress.
First on: a tiny boy in a suit straight out of The Rat Pack – deep brown, big shoulders, massive stripes, wide slacks. He looked incredibly proud in it, reminding me of a tiny boy I met at a wedding recently who told me he had been wearing his outfit for the entire month leading up to the big day because he loved it so much.
Next: a boy rocking a handmade cardboard mask (unpainted) and waving around a cardboard sword. It doesn’t need to cost a lot to be effective!
Next: a girl in a full-on fairy princess costume, obviously shop-bought. She glittered briefly on the pavement before serenely stepping over the threshold of the bus. Her mother trailed behind in a plain black burqa.
As we pulled away I saw the outright winner: a boy wearing, over his head but extending about a foot in front and behind him, a homemade cardboard tank, complete with windows and front gun. He couldn’t see where he was going so was lurching down the road, rotating slightly from side to side, just like real tanks do on sandy terrain. Maximum costume points.