Thursday, 29 March 2012

The Number 314 Route

Eltham Station to New Addington Parkway 

Wednesday 28th March  2012

This was the spring day the weather forecast had promised us – like summer but with all the joy of spring flowers bursting out everywhere, and today’s photographer Mary was taking full advantage.

We met at Eltham Station, where the forecourt plays host to several bus lines including our choice today – the 314. From the start there was an auxiliary transport official standing beside the driver from which we surmised perhaps the driver was new to the route – certainly he drove somewhat as though the stops and passengers were a little incidental to his journey, though after the initial jerky braking things smoothed out a little.
We crossed the main Eltham landmarks of which today I shall say little – even though we shall not pass this way again. One of our readers/followers has pointed out the repetitiveness of our blogs and that we should include more demographic details. Well I am not sure that we wanted to get into economic graphs. Usually the size of the domestic properties, the liveliness or other of the High Street shops, and the range of passengers is a good indicator of the economic prosperity or not of the areas through which we pass. Like many routes this one went from High Street shopping through 2-garage detached properties and finished on one of London’s larger social housing estates. 
Back to Eltham, which it remains impossible not to remember as the location of the Lawrence murder – though at least the achievement of 2 convictions finally offers some suggestion of progress in the direction of justice. Greenwich (now officially and very proudly Royal) tries to keep the schools looking modern and the High Street maintains its pseudo Tudor facades – totally appropriate given the nearby former Royal Palaces. 

On a day like today we were relishing the blossom trees with a magnificent alley of palest pink enhancing New Eltham  from where we turned  through to the Mottingham Estate via the broad William Barefoot Drive, named for a former councillor whose work through the Thirties is commemorated; this is when the bulk of the Estate was built on former farmland  with the Coldharbour bits post war to house displaced persons. The range of local shopping is limited, so hence bus services to a greater range of shops. There are small parks and recreation grounds abounding with willows in the sharpest of new greens.

Taking Elmstead Lane the contrast could not be greater as suddenly there were large and detached homes set well back, some close to a golf course and all nearby to the ancient Elmstead Woods which feature in both the capital Ring and Green Chain walks – they are more extensive than you might think and I have known local friends who can remember getting lost there.  

By this time we were looking rather lonely on the bus as no-one joined us as we headed up the aptly name Hill Brow to Sundridge Park; the actual house and golf course are set back of course. At the top of the hill there seemed to be a clutch of Catholic establishments; St Joseph’s Church, the primary school of the same name and inbetween the sizeable Trinitarian Convent. However unlike some convents this one does not seem to have a website – nuns online – I like it.

We had almost by stealth reached what I always think of as the square roundabout at Plaistow, which is the Plaistow in Bromley North rather than the East Ham one, and doing an almost complete circuit allowed us to admire the bright spring planting, at which Bromley borough so excels.  

We passed St Mary Plaistow: Bromley seems well endowed with places of worship though all of the Christian variety – this is the first trip for ages not to include a mosque or temple, though there is of course always the Temple to Mammon that is the Glades shopping centre. Alongside many other routes the 314 nips down the back of the pedestrianised High Street and the afore-mentioned Glades, passing both Bromley North and South stations before turning down Hayes Lane. It was lovely to see this affluent enough thoroughfare in bright sunshine after several memorable rain sodden and snowy trips on the 119 and 246. Today, as befits a smaller higher number route we turned off at Norman Park down Mead Way and took a couple of turns round further suburban housing before emerging in Hayes – more spring colour. Two quite chatty schoolboys had joined us and got off for Hayes School, one of Bromley’s shining stars.

 The next part of the trip leaving Hayes and on to Addington offered green vistas and this seemed to be a signal to the driver to speed up. Admittedly there were no other passengers boarding but after Spring Park the driver was going so fast that Mary and I were holding on to counteract the bouncing.

The bus then drew into the Addington Interchange, and the engine switched off. The back-up operative came down to us and asked if we were getting off. We said we needed to go to the end of the line both because of the Project (card duly handed to puzzled operative) and because we needed to catch the 464 which does not call in here. He then launched into protective mode, not recognising us as ‘locals’, warning us of the risks of ‘up there’ (New Addington) while we tried to persuade him we lived in or near Peckham, had travelled widely and could look after ourselves. This then triggered a fond reminisce about Peckham and Brixton (no trouble there he said)  and his favourite route to Belmarsh (Thamesmead was no picnic, he said, but better than here); however, he still felt he needed to explain that the level of vandalism was such round this way that buses had been suspended from running to the Parkway. Last winter TFL had needed to abandon two buses because of the snow and when they came to rescue them all the windows had been broken. It was not about not having a service (the Parkway gets 5 routes plus the tram) it was about respecting it.

By now he was convinced we could not be persuaded and the 314 continued; however as we were engaged in conversation our observations and photos of this bit of the route were limited. It took at least another ten minutes to reach the top and both he and the driver reckoned this was one of London’s longest routes, and in fact several more passengers got on clearly wanting the Parkway interchange too.  Inspired by King Henry’s drive the side roads are also all named for Tudor worthies such as Walsingham and Bothwell (wasn’t he a murderer?); perhaps the locals might behave better if the streets were named for more modern role models? 

The last thing he said to us was that the route was about to get new buses (or possibly hand-me-down newer buses) but when we failed to look suitably impressed at the news that they would be a Mercedes Bus he said goodbye.

Potentially we could have had 30 minutes to wait for our next service (a 26-seater heading into the hills twice an hour) but as luck would have it we only had 8 minutes. New Addington Parkway of course looked quite benign in the spring sunshine, at the end of a long route both in time (1hour 15 minutes) and in distance covered.  

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Number 313 Route

Potters Bar Station to Chingford Station
Thursday 23rd February 2012

This was the spring day the weather forecast had promised us, and sure enough while not brightly sunny (and frankly the bus windows were so dirty it would have needed an equatorial sun to penetrate the mire) it was unseasonably warm. I was interested to watch a couple of hikers board the bus complete with boots/backpacks and floppy hats and they opened a bus window and then promptly moved – she to the back of the bus, he across the gangway. They did get off together so it clearly was not some deep domestic dispute.

We did go into the station but did not find any very obvious memorial to the rail crash victims from 2002; their families having to wait 9 years for an outcome to various enquiries and court cases.
From the outside it looks more like a neglected office block with an afterthought station below…Talking of office blocks, we liked the maple leaves on the Canada Life Insurance offices – they obviously conduct most of their business online as it took me some time to find they still have some staff based here.

We purposely missed an earlier bus in an effort to locate some toilets but neither Sainsbury’s nor the station could help us so we had about 15 minutes to wait for this 3 times an hour single-decker service, which was popular all the way.

We left the station and down the High Street, which still has some individual shops although the larger supermarkets flank Potters Bar – we were soon to pass Tescos on Mutton Lane. The continuation of Mutton Lane crosses over the M25 (at one point it looked as though we might head that way ourselves) and along the very straight and ridge-like Ridgeway we sped along stopping only once. We also must have crossed over from Hertfordshire to Middlesex (Enfield) but there were no obvious boundary markers between these ancient domains.

Between the speed of the bus and the dirty windows it was impossible to do photographic justice to the countryside very evident on both sides – horses are quite frequent sightings even from London buses but today we saw sheep and ducks and hens too. About halfway along is a stop called Botany Bay which seemed very out of place (last seen in Australia?) but seems to be a farm, then there was the Robin Hood pub – he also a displaced person more usually at home in Nottingham or Lincoln – followed by the Windrush which we associate with a ship which brought the early Caribbean workers to London in the Fifties... All in all we were thoroughly disorientated. At least the stop called ‘Roundhedge Way’ seemed more appropriate.

A large hotel appeared on our right and as it was called the Royal Chase hotel we knew we were getting closer to Enfield. Though the bus had been belting along the driver was encouraged to notice someone running and let her board. Not surprisingly most of the passengers were headed for Chase Farm Hospital. This hospital has had something of a chequered history having started life as a series of schools which were under utilised (not surprising the population is not that dense round here) so between the two world wars infirm women and children were sent out here from Edmonton and inner London, then next it was a geriatric unit when the NHS took over in 1948 from which time it became a more general hospital – having recently been told that it was to lose its maternity and A&E facilities we were interested to see there was a picket outside but I can imagine that this site might be considered more valuable sold off. Then came Enfield itself – today being market day most of the passengers got off here but we did take on a few more.  

The traffic was flowing well through Enfield again too fast to capture much of New River but we can say it looked much cleaner than on an earlier visit.

The stretch of road between Enfield and Southbury was slow – not so much because of the major road junction with the A10 but rather some substantial road works narrowing the options. Still it gave us time to appreciate Southbury Station and the very substantial Arriva Bus garage next door.

We have been here before, this stretch of the route being well served, but today no delights for us in Ponders End or Brimsdown as were to take the Valley Road across, or rather between, the two major reservoirs, named for King George and William Girling (of whom more anon)  On the bus map this looks like a delightful bit of the trip – you might imagine a causeway between/bridge over 2 lakes. The reality is very different as in fact Valley Road is indeed that – a sunken lane between 2 dammed up reservoirs – the public of course kept well away as this is one of London’s main water supplies. The attached site explains how the first dam collapsed until some engineers devised a better way.   William Girling was chairman of the Board and a Hackney Labour mayor and he opened the completed tank, which is essentially what a reservoir is. Having heard this week that we are in an official drought we really would have liked to see how much water there was but not possible from our low lying bus.

Running alongside the reservoirs and altogether more visible is the Lea Valley Navigation. By now we were nearing Chingford and back in a London Postal District – E4 as it happens – and a very pleasant approach to Chingford past a small extension of Epping Forest just glimpsed, the Green complete with some historic looking cottages (19th Century I gather so not that old), another Ridgeway and the Chingford Assembly Hall complete with a rather jolly mosaic celebrating local talent local talent  (not of the TOWIE kind).

Chingford Station road has a good range of still-functioning independent shops and the bus station is conveniently situated next to the railway station to get us home via an extremely old and dirty train which eventually works its way down to Liverpool street picking up the River Lea south east of Walthamstow.

An interesting route that starts beyond the M25 then cross countryside complete with all the requisite toy farm animals you might expect on through Enfield and past the Chingford/Lea Valley reservoirs all in 55 minutes. 


Thursday, 22 March 2012

The Number 312 Route

Thursday 22 March 2012

This was one of the briefest buses we have ever been on:  leaving South Croydon Bus Garage at 11.00, we reached Norwood Junction Station at 11.18, just inside the time stated on the bus stop.  We have always assumed that these timings were fantasy, but not on the 312.

Of course it is not far: in the olden days, there was no such bus, and instead, the 12 ran - amazingly - from South Croydon to Shepherds Bush;  then from 1972, the bit between Norwood Junction and South Croydon (our bit) was cut off to be the 12a, later the 312;  and, before 2005, the 312 ran up to Peckham.

Our journey brought us very soon to the Lord Eldon Pub named, we assume,  for the 18th century Lord Chancellor, though he doesn't appear to have any direct connection with this part of London.  We also passed Whitgift School, before coming to the Swan and Sugarloaf pub, destination of several buses, but now closed.  It seems it might become a supermarket, which would be a shame for some of the smaller local shops, but it is listed, which might slow the giants down.

We did admire the local shops with their attractive soffits of almost filigree wood.  We noted a startling number of Hispanic eateries (I use that word because there were Argentine as well as Spanish steak houses, tapas bars and so on).  Coming further into Croydon we passed Christopher Wren Yard, which is offices.  We don't think the man ever lived here, though he is one of the great men who are sculpted on the town hall.  We were also pleased to see that while the Italian restaurant under the flyover, Ponte, had closed, it had reopened the other side of the road, calling itself the New Ponte.

Heading onwards to pass the Town Hall, with its war memorial 'to the men and women of Croydon who suffered and died' we felt we liked the comprehensive nature of the inscription, given the heavy civilian death toll of the Second World War as well as the battlefield deaths of the First.

The Fairfield Halls are celebrating their 50th anniversary . They must have been pretty new when I came with Roger to hear The Byrds (Hey Mister Tambourine Man for all those of you who are younger than me, and there are a lot of you!)

This was not a bus which wasted time pulling into stations, and we swept past East Croydon Station with barely a pause, as we had West Croydon Station.

In the gap between Croydon and Norwood, we felt that almost all the terrace houses had been improved one way or another, whether by replacement windows, porches, or roof windows.  We were interested to pass Croydon Animal Samaritans, and I was relieved to discover that they were concerned with binding up wounds rather than listening to unhappy creatures, since communication problems might be acute.

Approaching Norwood Junction, we passed the Gladstone Pub, which looked to be in good condition;  a certain symmetry in starting our journey with an eighteenth century politician and finishing it with a nineteenth century one.  It is hard to picture dour old Gladstone being conducive to jollity and merriment in a pub.  Did you know that he chewed his porridge 72 times a spoonful?

This was a beautiful sunny day to travel through a small section of south London, and we enjoyed our brief trip.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Number 311 Route - not

This is the first time we have had two sequential non-existent buses.  But it won't be the last, as they come (or don't come) thick and fast soon.

There are 311 buses in the wider London area, just not TfL buses in our sense of the term.  There is the 311 which runs between Enfield and Hertford.

Then strangely, Mullany's of Watford has numbered their Harry Potter Bus as a 311.  I remember when.... no, you don't need to know about Mullany coaches and school trips from Watford, do you?

But it does bring me to what we wanted to share with you this week, namely three amusing advertisements from Belgium via Youtube.  Of course when they say bus we would say coach, in the sense of group travel, rather than in the sense of sport, where we would use coach (or train, indeed, though with no transport meaning) to suggest teaching.

Gosh, language can be difficult.  Anyway, click here or here or here to be entertained (do have the sound on), and thank you Nina, who sent them to me.

Normal bus service will be resumed with the 312


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

The Number 310 Route (Not)

There has been, and for all we know still is, a 310, but only in the outer London, non-TFL sense so the Rules Committee (see FAQs – Route 301) has determined that it should not appear on our list.

In order to convey we have not merely forgotten or jumped some numbers (would we do such a thing when OCD are our middle initials?) we have allowed ourselves to fill in such gaps with modest riffs on route linked themes. This week Almshouses, which are a whole lot more common than you might think – we have passed them on all the following routes:

Number 44 – near the Tooting end of Garratt Lane
Number 77 – as above
Routes 58 & 158 – Leyton Almshouses
Route 123 – Ilford Almshouses
Route 142 – Stonegrove Almshouses
Route 149 – West Hackney
Route 199 – Greenwich Almshouses
Route 243 – Wood Lane
Route 307 – Barnet (2 sets)

and on the following routes which we have already travelled but not yet posted:

Route 337 – close to Richmond
Route 344 & 345 – Battersea

Essentially Almshouses were and continue to be affordable housing for the more vulnerable, usually the elderly and sometimes tied to a particular trade – for example the Watermen’s Complex in Penge.

Nowadays they are mostly run by charities. Many are now listed buildings which of course brings its own issues – can you fit affordable heating, modern kitchens etc, and double glazing to make the properties more comfortable, and yet maintain the charming exteriors?   We like them as they represent a long-term investment by previous generations to provide social housing for the less privileged, even if prior to the Reformation some of the seemingly altruistic founders were aiming to guarantee themselves a short-cut to heaven. Also they provide an architectural change from other neighbourhood domestic buildings. 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Number 309 Route

Wednesday 29 February 2012

Since neither Mary, Linda nor I felt inclined to propose to anyone today, we went on the buses:  the 309 took us from Canning Town, where the 300 had dropped us, and we headed towards the London Chest Hospital in Bethnal Green.

This was, I think, the smallest bus we have ever been on:  it did have two doors, but only two lots of seats before the central space and four including the back row behind the middle doors. 

We set off at 11.35, somewhat cynical about the bus stop’s suggestion of a 24 minute journey.  The first hazard is the roadworks around Canning Town Station, which have been going on as long as this project with, it seems to us, fewer signs of coming to an end.  Crossing the Lea, we realized we were close enough to the Thames for the tide to be right out, sucking the water from the river and leaving mud.  We also (well, all right, mostly it was I also) noted the Cycling Superhighway 3, which is at least on the pavement and away from the busy traffic of these big roads.  We were, after all, close to the A13 and the Blackwall Tunnel access.

We took a right to serve the Aberfeldy area, impressed with our driver’s calm negotiating of narrow roads and parked cars.  We were also impressed with the firm way he had with two people who tried for a free ride (‘but I put some money on this morning…’) though I accept that those of us who ride free anyway have little right to criticize.

We saw St Michael’s Court, a church converted into flats  as well as the huge block which is Glenkerry House, a Goldfinger building which is now, of course, listed.  But the key feature of this route was the phenomenal amount of new housing under construction. though we did also pass established streets and green spaces.  There are, therefore, a number of schools, including the St Paul’s Way Trust School, formerly Community School, in the throes of getting a handsome new building. 

Another interesting moment was spotting Geoff Cade way.  After briefly wondering whether it was the sportsman (NO! that’s Geoff Capes) I ascertained that he was a local hero

Always conscious of the rich diet of religions available in London, we noted the Vietnamese Catholic Chaplaincy as well as, at a later stage, the London Buddhist Centre, a couple of mosques and a number of evangelical churches, before reaching St John’s Bethnal Green.

We crossed the Limehouse cut, and later on, we also went over the Regent’s Canal:  again surprised at how watery this part of London is.  There were daffodils wherever there was a green space, to cheer up a cloudy day, less warm than we had expected.

Along Roman Road, we came into Bethnal Green, passing St John's Church and also the Tube station, where there were poppies commemorating the dreadful events of 3 March 1943.  A memorial is being built here.   

The Museum of Childhood is altogether a more cheerful prospect.  Then we turned along Old Ford Road, forcing Linda and Mary to listen to a lecture on the 1866 cholera Epidemic, caused by contaminated water from the Old Ford Reservoir.

We reached the London Chest Hospital at 12.15.  It was, as we surmised, set up in the mid nineteenth century to deal with tuberculosis, which was causing 20% of all deaths in the East of London.  

Our journey had taken just about double the official time, but we had enjoyed the varying scenery of East London.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Number 308 Route

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Our East London tour today began at Wanstead, where Mary, Linda and I met by 10.00.  We had been hoping for a beautiful sunny day, but it was quite cool, and the sun did not break through until the afternoon - too late for us.  Still, the little bus had amazingly clean windows and a cheerful and careful driver, so we were happy.

Wanstead is an attractive place, with a High Street which seems to be doing fine,  and the Green was well tended, with a sort of lych gate at the corner, sheltering a drinking fountain.  A measure of the sober respectability of the area might be that the public toilets in Woodbine Road had the toilet paper just on domestic type holders, rather than being caged to prevent theft!

We liked the plasterwork on the 'Older People's Centre' as we headed off along the green, noticing a number of apartment complexes of the kind we have come to expect near commuter stations.  We passed the Convent of Mercy before turning to cross the A12, and enter an area of more substantial houses, with the courts of the Aldersbrook Tennis Club in the central reservation, as it were.
We were skirting the edges of Epping Forest, but I will spare you the lecture about Disraeli and open spaces.   We were amazed at the huge block of flats that seemed to dominate the landscape in a way that made us wonder about planning permission;  but this is an area where people were rehoused from the war-devastated dock areas of London, so maybe this kind of building is not surprising

Wanstead Flats were looking, well, flat, but with swans and other water birds milling around the pond near the road as we passed, it seemed a pleasant area of green for the borough of Waltham Forest's residents to enjoy.  Victorian terraces were interspersed with ore modern housing, and we noted streets named for Anna Neagle and Vera Lynn, which date quite precisely the period of building around here.  Some of the gardens were glowing with the most lovely spring blossoms, and we saw a number of camellia bushes which had survived the cold of a few weeks ago to remain covered in flowers

We came past the Wanstead Park Overground Station, and a surprising number of thriving pubs:  the Railway and the Fox and Hounds almost next door to each other, for example.  Along Forest Lane, we came to Magpie Close, which appears to be part of  Forest Lane Park, established where Elizabeth Fry's brother, Samuel Gurney, lived and did his good works.  It is an imposing facade, with housing behind it.  The Manby Arms Pub came next.  You will not be surprised to know that I can't find out who he was, or what his arms were.  Manby is rather a Norfolk and Lincolnshire name.  It is easier with school names:  Sarah Bonnell left a serious sum of money in the 18th century to educate girls in West Ham, and her school moved to Forest Gate in the last century.  It now has handsome new buildings.

We also passed the Stratford Campus of the University of East London, as we came into Stratford. We were pleased to see the Newcred offices.  Being simple old folk, we are unable to understand why banks owned or mostly owned by the taxpayer cannot be forced to lend our money to people who need it, but credit unions are a way of bypassing the whole scummy, bonus grabbing lot of them.  The daffodils in Stratford, around the church, were lovely.  We turned into the very-much-improved bus station, and were amazed at the art work all around.  At least we think it is art, but can find no reference anywhere to the cloud/lily-pad shaped things on grey pipes. (PS just shows how much cleverer some people are than me:  have a look at Diamond Geezer's blog for Saturday 17 March 2012 and it explains the whole thing)

Soon we were out of Stratford and heading towards Leyton.  We admired the King Harold Pub, with a fine inn sign, but were also interested by a building with (we guessed) Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in iron work on its side.

After passing a Greek Church, we reached the Lea Interchange and Spitalfields Market, moved out of the City in 1991, as well as the Olympic velodrome and BMX area.  And then we came to Hackney Marshes, our second large expanse of green, alongside the canal.  We were going through the huge blocks of the Kingsmead Estate, and then, after passing Hackney Hospital, the smaller and newer blocks of the Chatsworth Estate.

We reached Clapton Park at 11.05, just inside an hour from Wanstead, after a journey through the many communities and varied developments of this edge of east London.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Number 307 Route

Barnet (The Arkley Hotel) to Brimsdown Station
Thursday December 1st 2011

A mild December day found us walking along a very pleasant ridge just above Barnet Hospital to find the start of the 307 route, just beside the Arkley Hotel (? pub) where it has space to rest and turn. 

Just opposite was a small farm with domestic geese and a pony – this route gets very close to the ‘edge’ of TFL London, that is Zone 6 limits. Close to the hospital was the Barnet Union offices – not Union in the sense of workers’ rights but a legacy of the Poor Law Amendment Act when several parishes were grouped together for the purposes of administering Poor Relief, the legislation which led to the Workhouse and all that deserving and undeserving poor attitude which still dogs us today. My turn for a rant.

 Leaving Hertfordshire behind us we set off back through Chipping Barnet, which seems to be the oldest part complete with a range of historic buildings – 2 sets of Almshouses and an old school. Also Barnet Museum, which seems to have rather restricted opening times. Opposite the church is the newly built Barnet College and sure enough several young people boarded at this point.

The views from the descent down Barnet Hill are good, even on a winter’s day and we could see all the more recent housing developments in the Dollis Valley below.  As our destination was very firmly towards the East we needed to bear left so soon the 307 finds itself going through New Barnet, which from the age of many of the houses looks quite old but obviously not as old as the bits round the church. There was a Psychic Night planned for the Old Red Lion (I wonder if they ever combine Quiz Night and Psychic Night – it might be considered cheating) and New Barnet has two rival pubs still open – the Railway Bell v. The Railway Tavern clearly built when rail came to Barnet. Also the Lord Kitchener (before he got a bad press later in the century). As we climbed steeply up as the only bus hereabouts we passed our second gun shop of the day and entered the borough of Enfield and Middlesex. County – or what remains of it. 

Enfield has some attractive cycle paths hereabouts – set behind hedges to share with pedestrians and well away from the busy traffic – a change from many we have seen on our travels where the paths are taken up with parked cars and heavy traffic…

Middlesex reasserts itself as the bus serves the Trent Park site of Middlesex University – a very handsome rural campus set amidst woods, golf courses and stables. The site has a long history; originally hunting grounds for Henry VIII, then variously owned and landscaped by Humphrey Repton before passing onto Middlesex Poly later University. We also crossed Salmon's Brook, which rises here and flows down through Edmonton and Tottenham into the River  Lee/Lea. Enfield Chase has its own station which marks the beginning of Enfield Town: the High Street remains pretty traditional complete with Thursday Market Day and war memorial.  It also still has an independent Department Store today, in honour of Christmas, sporting a huge red bow (which from the top deck of the bus looked rather like a giant bosom). The town itself also had its own fairly modest Christmas tree, of the everlasting variety.  In spite of the town being busy we swept through and noted that the New River looked much much cleaner than on our previous trips through Enfield, either by design or the autumn death of duck weed?

From here on the journey becomes more mundane with industrial sites and multiplex cinemas clustering round the major crossroads with the A10 Cambridge Road and once en route towards Southbury and Ponders End the very large ASDA distribution centre. There is also a substantial Arriva bus depot but today we did not change drivers here – as we have on previous trips.

The 307 asserts its individuality for the last time as it turns down Green Street and quite close to Enfield Town FC’s ground. Enfield has as many if not more component parts than Barnet so the two ends of the trip complemented each other quite well.  Though Brimsdown has a station (and how well we know it) its main function seems to be as home to a range of light and not so light industry – we actually photographed a ‘smoking chimney’ of the industrial as opposed to domestic variety on the day that the Prime minister welcomed the establishment of yet more Starbucks and ‘drive in’ ones at that as a welcome addition and ‘a great boost’ to the British Economy – industry used to mean manufacturing and factories, even if many of them were not in London.

It was not surprising that one of the local pubs the White Horse looked thoroughly dejected and rejected but was being born again in the new housing of White Horse Mews. The Izaak Walton is still going, prompting us to wonder whether he ever fished in the River Lea? The answer is apparently 'yes', though I had always associated him with Derbyshire. Just shows you never know what is on your own doorstep. These ponderings (Ponders End anyone?) and our proximity to Brimsdown station marked the ‘compleation’ of the trip for us – a journey which had lasted 55 minutes.

PS It also marks farewell to Brimsdown, which always sounds like something out of ‘Harry Potter’ though the reality is much less bewitching, as no more routes pass this way. And to think when we started the Project we had never even heard of Brimsdown…