Wednesday 1 August 2012
The 397 is a bus that runs once every 30 minutes, so when Linda and I spotted one leaving Chingford, where our previous bus had brought us, we leapt onto a 97, which was pursuing it, and then got onto the 397, to be sure of it after it turned round. A bus in the hand, after all…
The start is at the Crooked Billet Sainsbury’s, dominated by huge pylons, and we set off at 11.15, sorry that it was not a double decker, but glad that the rain had held off.
Out past the Holiday Inn Express, we turned left and left again, to pass Walthamstow Stadium, whose future is still in doubt, though with the local MP, IDS, weighing in, there may be hope. This was what had happened the day before we travelled.
We have seen the King’s Ford pub before, and assume that some king or other must have crossed the Ingrebourne around here, but we were more interested in a jewellers shop with a piercing studio above: a kind of symbiosis, I suppose.
As we headed towards Chingford Mount, we thought that Bollywood’s was a good name for an Indian restaurant. We came to Chingford Mount cemetery, where the Kray twins are buried, though I doubt if that is what was celebrated by the green plaque which we glimpsed but could not read.
Continuing through residential areas, we saw a lot of solar panels, as if one salesman had had a spectacularly successful day along here. Crossing Larkhall Road, we wiggled through the houses, before returning to the main road.
This is an area where estate agents, dry cleaners and cafes tend to be called ‘Churchill’ after the former MP of this area, or at least of Woodford Green and Epping.
As we came towards Chingford Station, for the third time today, we passed the Remar Charity Shop. Remar proves to be a Christian charity helping the homeless We also, as we have mentioned before, like the craft shop very much. We were surprised to see the Club House of Chingford Golf Club, right opposite the station, with little sign of rolling green fairways; but it seems it was founded by local tradesmen who weren’t posh enough for the other clubs around, so a town centre club house makes sense.
Out of Chingford, we were into Epping Forest scenery and soon were past the Queen Elizabeth pub and Bancroft’s School and into Buckhurst Hill, with rather substantial homes and then to pass some new flats called The Artisan. We were not sure whether it had once been a pub, but it seems to be an artistic place as well.
The next place was Loughton. There were coaches parked outside the station, from far flung parts of the UK, with notices on the windscreens naming sports clubs, so we thought these might be people coming to the Olympics, though whether it is possible to buy more than 4 tickets never became clear in the impenetrable IQ test that was the ticketing ‘system’.
Next came St Mary’s Church with its handsome hall, and the ‘Last Post’ Pub which was clearly about missing the coach, rather than military bugle calls. We also saw a startling number of shops selling party clothes, including one offering cup-cakes to its customers. A trainee guide dog was belting along the pavement at a good pace, its handler showing it how to deal with other footway users.
Back out into the countryside and following signs to Epping Forest College, we came towards the end of our journey.
And so we arrived in Debden’s Broadway, with its attractive central reservation planting. When we came here on the 20, we had hardly heard of the place. Now, at 12.05, it felt familiar, as we disembarked from our bus and headed for the station and the Central Line.