Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Number 427 Route

Wednesday 7 November 2012

PS Well, now, as Mrs Redboots helpfully pointed out, I have not mentioned where were were going to and from:  very sorry.  Blame the people working on the kitchen ('putting in the sink is not going to be as easy as we thought') or of course, old age. 
We went from Acton to Uxbridge, as Linda mentioned in the comments below.  

Linda and I met via the wonderful Overground, and walked gently through the park, admiring the wood sculptures made from elm trees.  We thought, regretfully, that there might be scope for ash sculpture in the near future.  We found our 427 resting in a side street and, delighted that it was a double decker, set off for Uxbridge at 10.15. Turning into the High Street, we admired what had clearly once been a cinema and a building which could have been depressing, since closed shops always are, but had been enlivened with attractive art work (pic 3). This was to be a route of many pubs, and we liked the sign for the King’s Head – a detachable head is always so convenient – (pic 4) and the big ‘Embrace your Local’ banner at the Acton Arms, before reaching the Red Lion and Pineapple. This is a Wetherspoons pub which took its name from two older pubs in the area, a bit like churches labelled St Someone with St Someone Else.

 Effectively, this route travels in a straight line, with no need to use the steering wheel until the roundabouts of Uxbridge. But we could see down side roads of impressive houses and also flats to let, both in blocks and above the shops and we passed Ealing Strings  Reaching Ealing Common, we were able to admire the autumn colour and also the Sir Michael Balcon Pub. Not for the first time we wish to acknowledge the splendid job Wetherspoons does in explaining the names of its pubs. This one is of course a reference to the Ealing Film Studios and the immortal comedies.

Passing the parish Church of Ealing, we came to the gothic town hall,  with the brutalist council offices next door. In contrast, the fire station is rather good Art Deco. Then came the huge police station with the offices of Dunnhumby next door. You may imagine that you have never heard of them, but they are of course the inventors of the Tesco Club Card, and therefore know more about the shopping habits of the nation than one might think possible.

 We had earlier passed Monty’s Nepalese Restaurant (why Monty's? we thought: was the great Field Marshal connected with the Gurkhas?) and now spotted the Gospoda Vito, with Ukrainian colours flying outside.

Through West Ealing Broadway, we came to a boarded up Funeral Director’s. I must say, I thought undertakers, like lawyers, never went out of business, and it seems that this is merely the closing on one branch of their enterprise. It is close to the cemetery, but maybe they needed to rationalise. We came to the Viaduct pub and crossed the River Brent, and so reached Ealing Hospital which is, of course, in Southall rather than Ealing.
We knew were into Southall when we passed a camper van all glittering and sequined, like an Indian bus (the day was too sunny and bright for the photo to be more than a glimmering blur, sorry) Southall appears to have turned a cinema into a Lidl, but most of the shops along here were glowing with festive saris, Punjabi suits and jewellery. We were a bit surprised at what can be found on top of a bus shelter. I know about throwing the toys out of the pram, but bus windows are surely too narrow for these items?

 A church with solar panels on its (admittedly extensive) roof caught our interest, and then we were at the Lombardy Shopping Park, where the 207 terminates, having come from White City and trailed us since Acton. The bus stop is called The Grapes, which we think must now be the Beefeater, though we did also come to a restaurant called The Grapes Tandoori. More entertaining was the Adam and Eve’s pub sign, an apple with a bite taken out of it. At this stage we were impressed (well, let’s be clear, I’m the cycle track obsessive in this project) with the cycle lane, which appears to be what was once a service road, and keeps cyclists off the (still straight and therefore fast) main road. What a pity it does not extend for the full length of the A4020.

Crossing the Paddington Branch of the Grand Union we saw a lot of swans. After some of the interesting buildings we had passed, we were a bit shaken by Point West, which seemed rather ugly, but were cheered by the funky crane hire HQ. We wondered if anyone could just walk in and drive one away, to prune the buddleia, say.

Then we came to the Blue Dragon drycleaners and laundry. It is a relic of the Imperial past to use the term ‘Chinese Laundry’, but here was one. By the way, did you know that until the handover of Hong Kong, the Royal Navy used to employ Chinese dhobi men, recruited there, on board their ships? We passed signs to Hillingdon Hospital, a clue that we had changed boroughs, if not direction of travel and then a couple of Fullers Pubs, the Prince of Wales (with feathers) and the Red Lion.

 On the right is, or rather was, RAF Uxbridge,(pic 23) nerve centre of the Battle of Britain, and the base for Number 11 Squadron which helped defend London in 1940-41. It is now to become a residential area, and demolition has already started, though the Ops Room is a Museum.  Uxbridge is dominated by its two huge shopping Malls, the Pavilions and the Chimes, and new we finally looped round a large roundabout – Uxbridge has many– with a building and the War Memorial on it, to get into the middle of the town and the Good Yarn Pub. This is yet again a Wetherspoons Pub so I am able to tell you that it takes its name from the fact that it occupies a site once used by a tailor and outfitter shop.  And so we ended our  - very straight but also interesting -journey at 11.10.


  1. You forgot to put in your starting-point for today's journey, which sounds fascinating!

  2. We walked from Acton Central (don't get me started on Acton's wealth of stations)through pretty little Acton Park to pick up the 427 just off Acton's High Street which is really the interminable Uxbridge Road.

  3. I was going to say the same thing - you seem to be missing the starting and end points which is a bit confusing.

    Can you not post the tfl map?

    tfl map

  4. The objects on the bus stop roof are probably the result of "Bus Tops", which was a project to put things just like this on top of bus stops that I read about a couple of years ago, but I didn't realise they actually got anywhere.
    Googling for it though brings up just a more recent project involving red and black LED screens on bus stop roofs that appears to have ended in September without my having been aware of them at all.

  5. I know I may not be the world's most perceptive art critic but this looked like children's toys, and the odd bottle, chucked from an upstairs window, but I guess it has generated some discussion!