More than three years since we rode the 383, here we were heading back to the Barnets. Linda and I hoped that Mary was having a good time, and met at Cockfosters Station. We were on the bus by 10.20 and heading out and right along Mount Pleasant. Our single decker was in 'hail and ride' mode from the start, picking up people heading for the shops, we thought, and later, people heading home from the shops. It was the sort of bus that pops into and out of residential areas, the driver skilfully squeezing past parked cars on both sides of most roads.
We admired the well kept properties, and liked the fact that most of the verges-between-driveways were planted up as auxiliary flower beds. The attractive green area in front of the parade of shops reminded us that councils like to take care of the spaces they have, and we were pleased to see the Jester Pub was still operational, though of course quiet in the morning of a Wednesday.
Through mixed semis and flats, most with parking areas for front gardens, we came to Pymme's Brook, and ran alongside it for a while before crossing to head back along the other side of it. We were surprised to see a gas holder among all the residential properties as we headed along Lawton Road, and interested to see two police cars, with officers talking to the residents. But however much London may seem like a cluster of villages, we knew we should never find out what it was all about. As we went on through the housing area to get to the East Barnet Road, the bus stopped often to let people off conveniently near their front doors.
This was to be a route with confident looking pubs. We thought the Lord Kitchener was looking much healthier that when we were last hereabouts, as did the Railway Bell Pub, the name of which told us we were approaching New Barnet Station. We headed past the war memorial with Victory at the top, sculpted by Newbury Abbot Trent. He apparently also embellished a number of cinemas, and made other memorials.
As we came out of the bus station, and headed onwards, we were still in 'Hail and Ride' areas until we reached the stop proudly labelled for the Barnet Odeon. I say proudly, because a history stretching back to 1935 is something to admire.
We noted an 84 bus with its modern electric display reading '100 years old' as it headed home from St Albans. Then we spotted the Susi Earnshaw Theatre School at the Bull, once a pub. Not all the entertainment venues we passed this morning were thriving, sadly, and we saw that the Ocean restaurant had ceased to offer 'fish in matzo crumbs'.
Arriving at the Spires, this bus barely pauses to change drivers, before heading on to other parts of Barnet. We passed a small mirror shop which had looking glasses of every imaginable shape, including a golf bag and a running shoe. The route then continues to Barnet Hospital, it being a rule of nature that buses always go to hospitals if at all possible. After a pause to say hello to a 384 heading in the opposite direction on these narrow roads, we were again into 'Hail and Ride'.
We gasped at the impressive new building of Whitings Hill Primary School. As you may have noticed, we like the new schools built by the last government, as we know that students do better in attractive surroundings, and efficient classrooms and public spaces.
Thus at 11.00 we reached the Quinta Drive Parade of shops, where the 384 terminates. It had taken 40 minutes to travel through the various residential areas and, though the sky had looked pretty grey at times, we had enjoyed snatches of sun and no rain.