Wednesday 10 April 2013
There is no E4 route, though there used to be until 1997, as is explained here.
I was on my own, the other two Ladies who Bus having popped off to Vienna, where I hope the Danube is being blue and the cream on the cakes sufficiently whipped. The E5 runs from the Tesco in Perivale to the Toplocks Estate in Southall, and my trip began somewhat later than I had planned, for reasons which I shall not explain, but which are not unconnected with the fact that the Central Line branches after North Acton...
Even someone with my limited navigational skills was able to find the huge Tesco, helped by the facts that we had passed it on the way into Perivale, and that there is only one exit from the station, so there was no risk of my stepping smartly in the wrong direction.
The bus moved from its resting place as I arrived, but then paused for a while alongside the handsome 1930s building at the edge of the car park before moving out along Teignmouth Gardens, alongside the intimidating A40 and crossed by one of those grim pedestrian bridges so commonly used to put walkers in their proper place at the bottom of the food chain. We took a loop to the Medway shopping parade, where we picked up two passengers, doubling the number that had left the supermarket car park. The we headed back to the main road, to pass Hanwell Town Football Club and head into Argyle Road alongside Perivale Park.
By now the little bus was beginning to fill up, the single door slowing things down a little as people got on and we came towards Greenford, alongside the River Brent, past Cuckoo Avenue and so on.
The down side of the letter buses is, I suppose, that we get repeat journeys around an area for several weeks, and all this seemed strangely familiar. But I did think of Linda as we passed the apartment block of Central West, because she thinks that wood cladding is a bit of a maintenance nightmare. I also noticed a Salon Fryzjerski, and feel my Polish is developing well.
After we had turned down Greenford Road to pass Cardinal Wiseman High School, with its new buildings on the way to completion, the bus announcement said that we would now wait for a driver change, which we did, for about five minutes. Then we took a turn around residential streets named for scientists (Fleming, Darwin, Edison) where we picked up a number of Southall-bound shoppers, who greeted each other and chatted as we moved through streets of well maintained properties. I liked the magpie on the bus stop.
There was still some green around, but this is a densely residential area, and we were a bit slowed down by parked cars, including those that colonise the pavement (perfectly legally, I know)
House improvements are clearly a major feature of the area, and I admired the various columns, porticoes and replacement windows as we passed.
But once the bus reached Southall Broadway, there was much more to enjoy, including the Himalaya Palace Shopping Centre, and the many sari and jewellery shops, though of course there were also American fast food outlets, hardware stores and so on.
Once we had passed Southall Station, we were back amongst residences, and dropping people off with their shopping.
I am always a bit worried by the huge blue tower with the letters LHR and an arrow on the side. I thought aeroplane pilots no longer navigated by objects on the ground, though there is a certain 1940s resonance to the idea.
This is an area of many religious and political options, with St Anselm's Catholic Church tucked next door to a Gurdwara, and the Southall branch of the Indian Workers' Association close to the Sikh Missionary Society. Actually, the Missionary Society is as much concerned with protecting Sikhism as with spreading it. The interesting link here is about the turban, and the continuing campaign against prejudice and misunderstanding of its significance.
As we came past the Panjabi Centre, with 'Sounds of the Five Rivers' as its strap line, I ignorantly imagined that this was a pop group. Doh! of course the word Panjab MEANS five rivers, and this is the HQ of a Panjabi Radio Station. Our route took us past one more Gurdwara, this one large and handsome. I also had time to notice that the traffic wardens (parking attendants?) round here are still using paper and pencil rather than electronics.
We then turned into the Havelock Estate, rather an apt, if imperialist, name for an area with such close links to the Indian subcontinent, and having wiggled through the estate, we turned alongside the Grand Union Canal, to finish at the edge of Glade Lane Park at 11.50.
This had been a pleasant and varied route, on a lovely sunny day, and I was pleased that the plan for the day involved walking along the Canal to Bulls Bridge to pick up my next bus.