Monday, 5 July 2010

The Number 83 Route

Monday 5 July 2010
Another warm morning, though perhaps not as sunny as the past few days: and what better way to spend a birthday than a few buses?  Linda and I met at Golders Green, not for the first time, and were off by 10.45, destination Ealing Hospital.
The first part of our trip was along the Golders Green Road, and we spotted a vanity numberplate appropriate to the ethnicity of the area: M17VAH, as well as a ghost wall sign, presumably from the 1950s.

We crossed the North Circular and the River Brent, and admired the greenery of Hendon Park and the neat way the modern Magistrates Court had been attached to the older building.  We were the only bus for a while, but as we headed towards Kingsbury, we saw a learner bus.  we also noted the King George Pub, with a fine picture of the young George III.  Poor George, famous for being mad, just as Henry VIII is always depicted as fat, and Florence Nightingale always has to have that lamp.  But I digress.

Brent Town Hall was clearly a hub for buses, but we were more interested in the stadium just opposite, and then both Wembley Park Station and Wembley Stadium Station, with its handsome bridge, which looked a bit underused, but clearly is not.  Also in this part of Wembley is the Ark Academy, which looks as if its building programme will be complete before the cuts bite.  We saw the Queens Park Rangers Football Programme, called 'Kickz: goals through football', which proves to be part of a national scheme, funded through the FA and the police, among others. Rather a good strapline, we thought.

We were kept busy admiring Brent Council's excellent hanging baskets, with petunias and surfinias, as well as geraniums in beds and troughs along the roads.  There were many attractive front gardens as well, to compensate for those that had been turned into hard standing.  As we passed some street stalls, Linda wondered what 'methi' was: it's fenugreek.  Some of the stalls were also selling pretty clothes.  We passed a branch of the ICICI bank, one of the first Indian banks to become international, as well as Wembley Central Mosque and, pretty soon, the Neasden Mandir.  Over the Grand Union Canal, and the River Brent again, and we were into Ealing.  We went round the Hanger Lane Gyratory, relieved to see that its many underpasses are for cyclists as well as pedestrians, and along Hanger Lane itself.  Bridge repair works near North Ealing Station slowed us down, but then we were at Ealing Common, and then Ealing Town Hall, built, we thought, to match Christ the Saviour Church next door.

A reminder that Ealing used to be well outside London came when we passed cemeteries belonging to Westminster, and to Kensington and Chelsea.  Ealing High Street gave way to Hanwell, and we headed along the Uxbridge Road and over the River Brent again, to reach Ealing Hospital and its close neighbour St Bernard's Hospital, an earlier example of patient care.  Our bus had taken almost half an hour longer than the timetable promises, decanting us at 12.10.

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