Monday, 30 July 2012

The Number 368 Route

Thursday 17 July 2012

A brief train ride from our previous bus (the 364 for those of you too busy to watch the dates) brought is to Chadwell Heath and we walked the few metres to the new ugly police station (I make this value judgment about it only because we shortly passed the old police station, with the word ‘Police’ above its imposing door)

It is of course now the Eva Hart Pub, named for a survivor of the Titanic, and quite a feisty one at that 

Chadwell Heath clearly has something musical in the air, as both Millicent Martin (1970s) and Jessie J (now) were born here
Back past the station, we came soon to what had once been the Hind’s Head pub, now long gone and its freehold for sale. According to the Estate agent handling the sale, it should fetch £1,100,000;  we noted that both it and its ‘For Sale’ sign looked somewhat shabby, however.

Turning right along Bennett’s Castle Lane, retracing the 364 route, and then along Becontree Avenue, we noted the huge amount of formerly public housing, much of it improved by new owners.  We spotted Tudor type beams, crazy paving facing, Grecian pedimented porches and, of course, hardened front gardens since these houses were built before cars became ubiquitous.

As we passed Barking Football Club’s grounds, and St Cedd’s school we spotted the tell tale pink signs of the Olympics.  We speculated that an area was being prepared for the Flame and the accompanying fun and jollity next Saturday

We also admired a sort of ghost sign for the Co-op and spotted that W Wade sells live eels in his fish shop.  We speculated briefly about how you would get an eel home, but stopped short of envisaging the grisly sequel.

Goodmayes Park was looking green and lush and we liked the shop name of an appliance repair shop in Goodmayes: 'Safe Handz Domestix'.  Here we were held up in a long traffic queue, for about 10 minutes.  We feared the worst as an ambulance forced its way through, but once we finally moved on we saw no sign of what had held us up.  We went under the A 13 to head along the Barking Road. The large expanses of Rippleside cemetery were on our right for some time, before we came into Upney Lane.  The Harrow was another closed pub, as was the Bull later as we entered Barking town centre, but we cheered ourselves by remarking upon the dry weather planting that Barking and Dagenham has put in, ready for climate change to dry us out…. 
Ripple Primary School’s building dates from a time when there were separate boys’ and girls’ entrances. What am I saying?  With the proliferation of faith schools, no doubt a return to this segregation is on the way.

The bus was very busy here, with people standing, mostly, we thought, shoppers.  We noted a new Cosmopolitan shop about to open and passed an assisted care block called ‘Millicent Preston House’  But who she was I cannot discover.

The BroadwayTheatre in Barking  is where the memorial to Job Drain VC was erected in 2009 (pic)

Barking always seems to have masses of building going on, and today was no exception. We had also gone past the remains of Barking Abbey, founded by St Erkenwald for his sister, so it’s not all new build around here.

Now we came into the high street and passed the station to loop along Cowbridge Lane.  We passed the public art with the fish (we had previously noted the Jolly Fisherman Pub), reminders of Barking’s history as a fishing port 

This brought us to Hart’s Lane, where we finished our journey at 12.40.  It had taken about 15 minutes longer than it should, explainable by the traffic hold up earlier.

It’s been some time since we were in this part of the world, and we enjoyed renewing our acquaintance with it on a day when thick black clouds did not drop any rain on us at all.

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