Tuesday February 1st 2011
Our starter or appetizer for today’s menu was a broad sweep of classic North London Tudorbethan semi-detached houses, set well back and quite leafy with it. One house rather surprisingly called itself ‘Heaven’ but was well barricaded behind a grille gate, CCTV and a burglar alarm – time to check the Met’s new crime hot spot meter perhaps? There is a small bus garage round which is wrapped the modest Harrow Weald recreation ground which offers a range of tennis courts and pitches. After swathes of housing came the starter courses of the High Street for this bit of Harrow: side by side Noodle and Pizza Huts and a good range of hairdressers – ‘Hairs & Graces’ and ‘Hair 2 Order’ (later we were to get Mopheads) – interspersed with local charity shops. We were impressed with the range the charity shops had on offer, including bridal wear and a small café, all to support the hospice for Brent & Harrow area.
family firm has been here for over a 100 years and you can do a factory tour! Remember the joy of a new paint box till the colours get messed?
Talking of messing, we passed two rogue apostrophes – a Kiddie’s outfitter and ‘Shopping at It’s Best’.
Harrow Mosque. The locality also has the Safari cinema showing Asian language films and Asian sweetmeat shops. Also a street front Samaritans – I thought they only took phone rather than personal callers though this chap looks as though he might need their services?
By now we were nearly onto the main course of the day, namely Harrow proper – there has obviously been some regeneration going on in Harrow with a big shopping centre complete with massive car parks and a one-way system, and significant speculative building of both homes and offices – several of the latter quite empty in spite of glitzy statuary adorning the entrances. With its double station (and local knowledge tells me the Met line splits here so twice as good) and bus station it offers good transport links and access, but seems sadly lacking in character. There is still building with 2 massive cranes in evidence. Not surprisingly many passengers we’d acquired thus far got off to shop while we took as many back on board. Talking of easy access we spent the next 15 minutes crossing and re-crossing the Railway lines so were not surprised to see a pub, sadly defunct, called the ‘Fat Controller’. However the train crash memorial was a stark reminder that toy trains are a far cry from the real thing.
Sudbury was next: once unknown territory to us but ever since the historic trip on the 18 we know it well, and now the 18s are no longer bendy but back to being double deckers since earlier this year…
As we passed through Wembley it began to rain so our views of the Stadium were compromised. In case you had forgotten what the ‘old Wembley’ used to look like we offer this, another image courtesy of Little Gooner as a reminder – not quite sure why Legoland has failed to catch up with the soaring arch but perhaps it’s a little difficult to recreate in little bricks?
Even more spoilt were the views down over London which can be had from the next part of the route after negotiating a further one-way system round bits of Neasden and under the North Circular (don’t ask). The route map looks not like a spider but some gross anatomical sketch of the intestines so convoluted does it get. The route along the aptly named Crest Road usually offers stunning views but sadly not today (except for the Shard which is clearly ALWAYS going to be visible!). Also more noticeable today was the combination of potholes interspersed with traffic calming humps seemingly designed for a smaller framed bus. The net result of all this was a mile or so ride of truly bone-shaking proportions as the bus bumped its way along, eventually to emerge, after passing the Ox Gate pub and a few more industrial units, onto the great North Circular itself, just close to Staples Corner. In spite of road works we got past quite quickly (not always the case for this notorious traffic jam spot) and a few more wiggles and we arrived at the Brent Cross Bus Station.
The driver of this 182 surely deserved her break – it’s a long, arduous and tortuous route, busy as to traffic, complex in its many twists and turns and very popular with many passengers all along the route.