Friday, 3 February 2012

The Number 288 Route

Queensbury (Morrisons) to Broadfields Estate (Edgware)
Thursday February 2nd 2012

A surprisingly bright but bitingly cold day found the three of us ready to go in front of the large Morrisons store adjacent to Queensbury station. The single decker 288 seems to be allowed to wait in the store’s car park but not to take on passengers there, and we were by no means the only ones stamping our feet to keep warm.
After turning, we passed by the station named for the area. Queensbury was apparently chosen by public competition in the 1930s, when this was all new housing for sale out on the Bakerloo Line.  In 1978 the line became the Jubilee line, now probably the fastest service with most trains.  A roundabout or a circus greets the arriving passenger, which in its time was surrounded by thriving shops – today few remain.

This was clearly a route to serve the homes back from the main roads as we headed along a series of residential streets generous enough to take a single decker bus; Camrose Avenue appeared to be on a bit of a ridge as we sailed along. Many of the house owners had given their front gardens over to growing bricks and car ports as is often the way, though we did see some large conifers. As we approached Little Stanmore, a recreation ground, we spotted the Krishna Avanti school – the first state funded Hindu School, which opened in its own premises in September 2009. That it was greatly oversubscribed gives you an idea of both its popularity and the local community.
Shortly after this, the only landmark in an otherwise homogenous area of housing, we emerged onto the Edgware Road at this point disguised as Burnt Oak Broadway, though we were well past the eponymous station. We made quite rapid progress (I only say this as later in the day we made painfully slow progress along this stretch of main road) and joined a clique of other buses heading to the crossroads and into Barnet Borough, one of London’s largest, and towards Edgware Station. We had recently heard a news item saying that nail parlours were the only new shops that are not part of chains to thrive on the high street and sure enough we passed three in quick succession.  It is also an unregulated business. On the plus side it employs mainly women.
The bus of course calls in at Edgware Station, where the drivers changed, but at least covering this route we did not have to backtrack on ourselves but could head straight out again and down Edgwarebury Lane – this is one of the more historic bits of this stolid North London suburb and the village, as it was then, probably served as a resting place en route to St Alban’s for pilgrims heading that way – not quite Canterbury but still significant. Now Edgwarebury Lane has Grodzinski's bagel factory and other similar ethnic food outlets.  L’Chaim means ‘cheers’ or ‘your good health’
The other place which caught our attention was a shop called we think ‘Paperiffic’ selling paper table stationery. Being more of a lover of the other sort of stationery I thought you might like this apparently unrelated blog some-one who can clearly use IT and blog but loves  old fashioned pens and paper as well. As for the shop there are suffering from using a funky but over-elaborate font!
The bus emerges onto the very busy, dual carriageway A41 just before an impressive footbridge (you really do not want to be a pedestrian in this bit of North London) and almost immediately turns off up Broadfields Avenue. It might have been more interesting to follow the lane to its end at the Edgwarebury Cemetery but the living need the bus more than the dead as was obvious from the number of passengers getting off, and to our surprise (given that we thought there was only one stop to go) on.
20 or so minutes had passed and we were already at our destination and ready to go, but in fact the 288 turns out not to stop at a definite end-point like most routes.  Instead at this end it does a loop round the estate so we turned and headed back the way we came but along the alternative Kenilworth Road, where the rather jolly local shops were, and then back across the A41. Being wished good health and to be fruitful all in one day seemed very bounteous.

We needed to be back in Edgware for our next bus and on a warmer day might have walked but this circular loop suited us as we saw all there was to see and arrived where we wanted to be.

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