Monday 18 October 2010
Linda and I had arrived at the Garryowen Bar in Twickenham on our first bus of the day, the 110, and the 290 uses the same stop, so we sat on a wall and waited. The bus timetable calls it the Twickenham Rugby Tavern, but it has been the Garryowen for some time, as we know from previous visits. I had thought that the ‘up and under’ type of forward kick was called after a person, but it seems it is a club in Limerick.
Anyway, we were pleased when a double decker 290 appeared; but our delight was short lived, as a single decker rolled up behind, driven by an engineer, and the driver swapped: this was to be an entirely single decker day. Still, we were off at 12.45 and were the only people on the bus till we got into the middle of Twickenham a few minutes later.
This was clearly to be a day for noticing pubs, as we came to the William Webb Ellis, named for the man whose ‘fine disregard for the rules’ appears to have invented the game of Rugby. But we’re not exclusive and we also admired the village pump with clock attached or possibly clock with pump attached.
Shops were also interesting: a Romanian Relief Fund shop, about to give up its lease, and a shop selling biltong and other South African goodies.
In Twickenham Green we came to the Prince of Wales Pub, with the Feathers on the front, but a chunky picture of Bertie, later Edward VII on the side, which I suppose dates the pub to the end of the 19th century.
At this stage, our driver’s radio told him that the engineer who swapped the buses had left some paperwork, so we paused until a van arrived to collect it.
We thought ‘Dirty Dogs’ a strange name for a grooming parlour, but were even more surprised that Squires Garden Centre was celebrating its 70th anniversary. It seemed to us that 1940 would not have been a very propitious year for starting a garden centre. But of course the sign was an old one, and Squires had actually been founded in 1935 as a result of the founder being made redundant from his former job.
‘Dig for Victory’ is clearly a strong slogan around here, as we passed a huge expanse of allotments before veering away from the M3/A 316 roundabout to pop into and out of Sainsburys, then up onto the A 316 to pass the Kempton Steam Museum based around what was once the HQ of the Metropolitan Water Board. It looks like a place worth returning to for a visit. We also passed signs to Kempton Park Race Course, before entering Spelthorne, with its large Sports Centre and a very modern church called the Iglesia Ni Cristo This, it appears, is a Philippine-based breakaway church with mainly Roman Catholic beliefs. We continue to be amazed at the range of religious experiences available to people living in the London area.
It was in Spelthorne that we noted the Black Dog Pub . Clearly the pub name has nothing to do with Winston Churchill’s periods of depression, because there was a cheerful picture of a mutt on the side of the pub. The War memorial had an angel on the top, or perhaps it was a personification of Victory, but our bus was moving too fast for detailed scrutiny.
Over the River Crane, and along past Fordbridge Park, we entered the Parish of Staines, as identified by the very modern Christ Church, and wiggled along a real country lane (aside from the houses on both sides!) We came to Staines Station, and then into the town.
We were puzzled by the Gariba pub – why would a pub in Staines be named after a small town in Ghana – but the wonders of the web indicate that its real name is the Garibaldi. The Italian hero was popular with the public in Britain in the middle of the 19th century. It seems the pub is now closed, and if the internet reviews are anything to go by, we are not surprised.
Passing the Elmsleigh Shopping Mall, we turned into Staines Bus Station, flanked on one side by a huge Matalan, but on the other by attractive greenery and landscaping. It was 13.35, so the journey had taken longer than advertised, for no particular reason that we could determine. We think that the timings on bus stops are often rather imaginative.