Linda and I, hoping Mary was feeling better, met at Hatton Cross Station, where there is a neat little bus area and large ‘Welcome to Heathrow’ signs. This, numerically, was the second of two H buses that go from Hatton Cross, but since it is only three an hour, and arrived promptly, we climbed on, at 10.25, bound for Sparrow Farm. We wondered whether this would be some kind of rural idyll, but it is in fact a large residential area outside Feltham.
We headed out and along past the end (or start) of one runway and then skirted the airfield for several hundred metres. The Duke of Wellington Pub is here, possibly named for the former pub in Staines Road which is now a Sainsbury’s.We also passed the Marjory Kinnon School, which caters for children with moderate learning difficulties, but their website does not mention who Marjory was.
These houses and the school are so close to Heathrow that we had to assume they had amazing double glazing, or just suspended all communication other than sign every two minute as a plane went over.
St Mary’s Church, with its church hall on the other side of the road, has a fine wooden spire. Then we came to the Bedfont Lakes Commercial Estate, next to the Country Park of the same name and apparently housing the BP pensions office, Cisco UK and parts of IBM.
As we pulled into Feltham Young Offenders’ Institute, several young people got off, though whether they had been on day release, or were visiting friends, we could not tell. We also met the H26 going in the other direction and using the same bus stop. Here there were fields but also a startling number of flats, surprising since, though we were near the railway, we were not near the station. Then we were back into residential areas again.
After these narrow streets, lined with parked cars, despite the hardened front gardens, where no-one wanted to make use of the Hail and Ride facility, we came along Rochester venue to reach Feltham: first a Tesco, then the war memorial and pond, then the Red Lion Pub, as well as several shops.
Passing Feltham Station, we noted that Hounslow Homes, one of the first ALMOs in Britain (go on, guess: yes! Arms Length Organisations…. ) have offices in what was once a church. I suppose all the great institutions of the past, local government, church etc become ALMOs in time. Once we had gone over the railway we saw the Lahori Karahi Banqueting HQ. They specialise in Asian and other weddings and started in Birmingham before expanding south to Hounslow. Having headed past one or two of the huge hotels of the Heathrow area, we turned into narrow residential streets, like The Drive, much of it clearly in the hands of Hounslow Homes.
We spotted a pink ‘black cab’ in a driveway; I suppose it would be stereotyping to postulate a lady driver. Then we carried on to reach the Central Parade of Sparrow Farm at 11.00, a journey that had taken less than half the time we took to arrive at the start of the route. The Parade was looking somewhat depressed, though there was a Londis store for everyday food purchases.
linda has explained our problems when we tried to walk between the end of the H26 and the start (or end) of the H25. She did not blame me, though I blamed myself a bit: but I had phoned Hounslow Council (or rather the ALMO which controls their parks and gardens) and spoken to a young woman who said she 'believed' we should be able to follow the river from Feltham into Hanworth. Clearly we were on the wrong branch or something, and Hounslow Heath is so overgrown and untended that there was no chance of picking up clues like distant views of buildings. So we looped around and caught the H26 again.
Ah well, and we shall never visit Hatton Cross again!