Thursday 20 June 2013
The H14 starts at Hatch End. I make this statement to explain why Linda and I began our trip today at 11.30 rather than earlier. Hatch End is NOT EASY if you live in south London, and not brief, even if you live on one of the many branches of the Overground.
Still, having arrived at the station, and begun by walking in the wrong direction (my fault, of course, not Linda's), we were at St Thomas Drive and on the way by 11.50.
This was a single decker. We headed back through Hatch End, passing the station, and noticing the varying types of housing in this leafy bit of north west London. We came past the Harrow Arts Centre, and headed along Headstone Lane for a while. The Letchford Arms clearly had a shaky history before it was forced to close, in 2011, and now it is being sold, presumably to be converted into apartments. There were also properties which had once been publicly owned, but were now individualised. As we came towards Pinner Park Avenue, we were into an area with flats, some of them with well planted communal areas. We liked the masses of blossom on elder trees as well as ceanothuses and of course roses.
Once we were over the railway we came to the Kodak leisure centre, rather wittily named the Zoom Leisure Centre, but now clearly up for redevelopment with all the rest of the huge former works. I have not been able to find details later than 2011 about this part of the site.
By now we were coming into Harrow, and this was to be the last time, at least as far as the Project is concerned. Many people got off at St George's for the shopping, including a young mother who had had to pay cash for her bus ride, and was delighted to find that her paper ticket offered £2 off in Macdonalds. Everything conspires, doesn't it, to make unhealthy eating an attractive option.
I don't know whether we have missed the Bradstowe House signs before, or whether they have just gone up: but that abandoned building, which we have passed ever since we rode the 114, is now clearly 'due for completion in 2014'. We are pleased that it will be homes, as Harrow has plenty of spare office blocks as it is. We went into and out of Harrow Bus Station, which we have got to know rather too well in the past weeks, and on through Harrow town centre. We spotted the HQ of the Harrow Churches Housing Association, set up in 1967 to provide safe housing for vulnerable people : then, young women, apparently; now, elderly people and dementia sufferers.
We turned into Peterborough Road, and passed some strangely overgrown areas, almost like the countryside, before reaching Northwick Park Hospital at 12.10, after a journey of just 20 minutes.
Our bus pulled up outside the Maternity wing, so we spared a thought for the poor mothers and babies of Furness Hospital before heading off to the tube station to reach our other bus of the day.
Without wishing to insult the H14, I have found it quite hard to say anything interesting about the route so here, as they say with the lottery, is a bonus ball, in the shape of a picture of a bus shelter at Inveralligin in the North West Highlands. It's there to remind us all how lucky we are to live in London: this living willow construction is redundant because they have no buses in the village.