Wednesday 24 July 2013
This was our last visit to Hounslow and the H buses, though there are a few H buses which we have travelled but not yet blogged. I can't say that we shall be sorry to move on to the Ks, but it has certainly been interesting to get to know this part of West London.
Linda and I began our journey with a train ride to Southall, and a short walk down the High Street to where the H 32 lurked. We could never have dragged Mary past the alluring stalls where the honey mangoes were available by the box, so it was perhaps as well that she was busy. We thought the Methodist Church might be the town hall, which is where the route begins, but in fact the town hall itself was a bit less impressive!
Our double decker was rather aged, and the seats at the front of the top deck were worn to a numbness-inducing hardness, but the driver was careful and gentle, and we enjoyed the ride. We were off by 10.20, heading for Hounslow Bus Garage.
As we came out of Hounslow, we admired the fine hanging baskets, and also noted the two towers. One of the many benefits of writing this blog is that helpful people tell us things we didn't know: so we do now know that the blue gas holder, labelled with an arrow pointing to Heathrow, was one of a pair, the other one (now demolished) labelled 'no' to prevent pilots heading for Northolt. We were not able to discover whether the TRS apartments, with their large label, were related to the major Asian supplies wholesalers, TRS, but assumed so.
This route has innumerable places of worship, probably more gurdwaras than anything else, and we were intrigued to see a Hindu temple next door to the parish church, and a war memorial in the grounds of Featherstone school and next door to one of the temples
We noticed a butcher's shop called Southall Meat Suppliers, and it occurred to us that running a butcher's shop in such a mixed faith area might have its problems: Sikhs are not supposed to eat any meat butchered in a ritual fashion, and yet the Muslim consumers would want Halal meat. Almost enough to encourage vegetarianism!
At the Prince of Wales pub, we saw that 'Indian Food is served all day' which is, I suppose, a further reflection of the main ethnicities of the area. The bus had been filled for much of the way by a variety of friendly and conversational people.
Heading over both the canal and the railway (more ways to get out of London to the west and north west) we came to the golf course, parched yellow by our few days of summer and heat. A number of Sikh gentlemen were playing golf. With Muirfield in the news recently, we wondered if we should see any ladies playing, but we did not.
The open space and play area was similarly dry and yellow as we came down Convent Way and passed the little shopping precinct which serves this large residential area. We saw that the North Star Pub had turned into a Tesco, which may mean that the shopping precinct gains a few more boarded up shops.
The bridge over the M4 brought us into Heston, passing new homes being built almost alongside the motorway, and we passed the Heston Community Centre, where we hope their parking problems of last year have been solved.
Our route took us straight over the A4: we seemed to have spent the journey crossing assorted westward transport arteries. Straight ahead of us was 'Casino Corner, which seems to be run by a firm called Roar Betting. Monte Carlo or Melbourne riverside it wasn't. As we went into and out of Hounslow West Station's forecourt, we looked across at the Ashoka Banqueting Hall. This clearly did not begin life as an Indian venue, but the website is silent on whether it was a dance hall, or what.
We also passed a branch of Brahma Kumaris, a meditation based religion, with a fine flag, to add to our tally of religious institutions for this trip. (there are songs to help you meditate here (after the nappy ad....) We next came to the Catholic Church of St Michael and St Martin. This was opened in the 1880s by Cardinal Manning, the Saints being chosen as appropriate for a garrison town.
Turning right along Steve Biko Road, we had time to wonder for the last time just WHICH Treaty the Treaty Shopping Centre is named for.
As we came along Hounslow High Street and to the bus garage, we passed the West London Revival Book Shop and Fellowship, to round off the collection of religious offerings available on this route. Linda also managed a rather good photograph of an aeroplane, though I suppose we shall be back under the flight path when we get to the Rs.
Our trip finished at 10.55, only a little later than the predicted time.