Wednesday 25 January 2012
We headed back along the Rickmansworth Road towards Northwood, noting signs to the Northwood HQ of NATO, which used to be known as 'Eastlant' during the cold war. I had a friend who was convinced that there would be a nuclear war (he had a bootleg copy of the 1965 BBC film which was not shown for years, War Game) and he moved his family to Northwood to be sure of being wiped out in the first strike. Hard to picture that level of fear nowadays.
There are handsome houses in Northwood, some displaying those green roofs which seemed so exotic when we were young(er) and evidence that we were in a prosperous area came with 'Pressed for Time' an ironing service. We also passed the London School of Theology which is the current name for the former London Bible College.
After the war memorial, and Northwood Station, we turned right just after St Helen's School towards Northwood Hills. My two South London colleagues were pleased that there actually was a hill. We were surprised at the number of closed-down shops in this apparently affluent area, but the William Jolle pub still seemed to be thriving. (Because it is a Wetherspoons establishment, I can tell you that he was a local 14th century resident) The former pub opposite had, however, metamorphosed into the Namaste Lounge.
Extensive and thriving allotments took our eye and we crossed the River Pinn a couple of times on our way into Eastcote. We had met the River Pinn when we travelled the 183, and Andrew and I have walked the Celandine Way which follows it.
We were also pleased to see some horses in a field. We townies like to imagine that we are in real countryside.
Once we'd passed Eastcote's War Memorial and Station, with its cycle parking, we saw more allotments as we moved into Northolt. The little clock tower in Northolt Green caught our attention as we realised we were leaving Hillingdon and moving into the borough of Ealing.
The large housing estates of the area are named for the farms which they replaced: Medlar Farm Rectory Farm.
Crossing the Grand Union Canal brought us into the outskirts of Greenford. Once again, the allotments were looking good, but then it has been an excellent winter for growing things. The allotments here were right opposite a parade of shops, which we thought unusual, since in many areas they are a back street feature.
Greenford has a handsome building, once a Burton Tailoring emporium, though now occupied by various other shops. Waiting to turn right towards Ealing, our bus driver gave way to an elegant Fuller's lorry, and then we were heading along the much wider and straighter Greenford Road, the A4127.
It had take us just over an hour from hospital to hospital, impressive, given the distance. It was also interesting that, though we were in West London, we did not hear much of Heathrow, cross the River Brent, or inch our way along Southall High Street, all of which we had experienced in previous visits to these parts.