diamond geezer

 Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It's well-known there aren't many Thames crossings to the east of London, but there aren't that many to the west of London either. In the ten or so miles between Kingston and Chertsey there are only two bridges, one at Hampton Court and the other at Walton-on-Thames. This lack of connectivity is bad news if you're a Surrey driver, but there are two additional options for those on foot or two wheels, both of which are ferries. And Woolwich it ain't. [5 photos]



There's been a ferry between Shepperton and Weybridge for nigh on 500 years, such has been the historic need for folk to cross the Thames hereabouts. Shepperton lies on the northern bank of the river, originally clustered around the medieval church, then slowly strung out to the north after the railway arrived. The Shepperton branch line opened 150 years ago this month, but the planned extension across the river to Chertsey never materialised hence the terminus today has a fairly unrushed feel about it. The famous film studios are to the north, on the banks of the Queen Mary Reservoir, while the M3 motorway curves through the edge of the built-up area between a series of flooded gravel pits.

Old Shepperton is cut off behind the cricket ground, a single winding road with cottages and larger homes off to each side, bending out towards the Thames. It's most pleasant, or would be without all the parked cars, not least the focal point of Church Square running down to the river. St Nicholas's is built on the site of a 7th century church, and is about the only building hereabouts not to serve beer and/or food. The Anchor used to be a coaching inn and is now a hotel, and a romantic haunt of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor while they were filming up the road. The Warren Lodge hotel is merely 18th century, but boasts Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton amongst its more famous courting couples. Which begs the question what are quite so many hostelries doing here on the edge of nowhere opposite nothing much at all?

The answer's the Shepperton Ferry, which once ran from the quay by the church but long ago shifted half a mile upstream. Ferry Lane is a bit of a trek out of the village, through waterside meadows to the edge of the Thames proper. This is a place dominated by Britons Who Like Boats, indeed if you own any of the large homes hereabouts it's probably because some nearby sleek motorised craft is at the heart of your recreational life. The only shop is therefore a marine suppliers, namely Nauticalia, also found in Covent Garden and Greenwich but which began here in 1974 as a floating antiques shop in a converted rubbish barge. It's less rope and anchors and more jackets and giftware, but ideal if you ever need a comedy brass plaque for the door of the captain's cabin.

Tied up at a short jetty is the latest incarnation of the ancient ferry, this a small skiff with bench seating down each side and two outboard motors at the back. Getting aboard's intriguing because the timetable's unusual. The ferry only runs every 15 minutes, specifically on the quarter hours, but to summon service you have to ring a bell. Arrive at any other time and you're urged to wait, presumably because the boatman has other activities to fit into his life and doesn't want to be called out willy nilly. I arrived at 11.46, which was awkward, but while pondering what to do the boatman emerged from deep within Nauticalia and introduced himself. Game on.



A crossing costs two pounds, or one quid extra with a bike or for a return, There's even a weekly season ticket for a mere £6, which is a bargain, but only if you have regular need to cross between two fairly quiet Thames-side outposts. The pilot gets to stand beneath a protective awning, but you're out in the open so get wet if it rains. You may also have to wait for river traffic to pass, in our case a pair of rowers and a narrowboat, which extended the minute-long crossing time by about 100%. From midriver there's a fine view of the Weybridge Mariners' boathouse on Shepperton Lock Island, and someone very wealthy's back lawn, plus a steeply arched footbridge to a private island a short distance downstream.

And then you're across, at the steps on the Weybridge side, not that the centre of Weybridge is especially close by. Impressively there's also a ramp, making this a step-free ferry crossing and therefore more accessible than several much younger southeastern transport projects. By this time the boatman will be off, steering back across the river and tying up on the northern side, then using his intermediate ten minutes to do the crossword, have a cup of tea, go to the toilet, whatever.

The Shepperton Ferry has a fictional claim to fame, which is that HG Wells set most of chapter 12 of The War of The Worlds right here.
We remained at Weybridge until midday, and at that hour we found ourselves at the place near Shepperton Lock where the Wey and Thames join. Part of the time we spent helping two old women to pack a little cart. The Wey has a treble mouth, and at this point boats are to be hired, and there was a ferry across the river. On the Shepperton side was an inn with a lawn, and beyond that the tower of Shepperton Church - it has been replaced by a spire - rose above the trees. Here we found an excited and noisy crowd of fugitives. As yet the flight had not grown to a panic, but there were already far more people than all the boats going to and fro could enable to cross.
This idyllic scene doesn't last for long, not once a Martian comes striding across the meadows from Chertsey burning up the valley with its heat ray.
A violent explosion shook the air, and a spout of water, steam, mud, and shattered metal shot far up into the sky. As the camera of the Heat-Ray hit the water, the latter had immediately flashed into steam. In another moment a huge wave, like a muddy tidal bore but almost scaldingly hot, came sweeping round the bend upstream. I saw people struggling shorewards, and heard their screaming and shouting faintly above the seething and roar of the Martian's collapse. For a moment I heeded nothing of the heat, forgot the patent need of self-preservation. I splashed through the tumultuous water, pushing aside a man in black to do so, until I could see round the bend. Half a dozen deserted boats pitched aimlessly upon the confusion of the waves. The fallen Martian came into sight downstream, lying across the river, and for the most part submerged.
Fear not, no Martian has collapsed here recently and the ferry continues to run daily from 8am (nine on Saturdays, ten on Sundays). And that's especially good news for anyone walking the Thames Path, which officially crosses the river here to avoid detouring round the mouth of the Wey. So you might well have good reason one day to come pay the ferryman... but time it right, else there's a three mile detour to get to the other side.

 Tuesday, November 25, 2014

If you read the Evening Standard, you'll know that one of the greatest threats facing the capital today is the mansion tax. This annual imposition might be levied on every UK household valued at over two million pounds, should a Labour government come to power, and the revenue used to help fund the NHS. The Evening Standard is very much against the introduction of a mansion tax, as you can tell by the frequency with which they publish stories about how awful it will be. There are rarely any balancing arguments, only facts against and negative public opinion, often supported by editorial comment. It's plain that the Evening Standard strongly supports the interests of London's £2m+ homeowners, and would like the rest of its readership to do so too.

Yesterday the paper published the results of a survey in which a well known property website was asked count up the precise number of properties worth over two million pounds. Around 20000 homes outside the capital would be affected by a mansion tax, but 86000 inside, which is a higher estimate than expected and therefore ghastly. The survey also totted up the total number of £2m+ homes borough by borough, including the terrifying news that 22454 homes in Kensington and Chelsea would be hit, 18596 in Westminster and even 37 in Redbridge. And OK, so Barking and Dagenham gets away with having none at all, but imagine the number of 'asset-rich cash-poor' residents who might be left seriously out of pocket elsewhere.

So relentlessly one-sided is the Evening Standard's reporting that I thought their figures could do with a sense of proportion. I checked out the last census and discovered that there are approximately 3¼ million households in London, of which less than 3% might be affected by a mansion tax. In inner London that percentage rises to 5%, whereas in outer London it's less than 1%, with over half of London's boroughs even lower than that. Indeed the number of homes in the capital not affected by a mansion tax would be 3,180,000, which puts the Standard's headline figure of 86000 firmly in the shade.

This map shows, borough by borough, how little the mansion tax would really affect the capital. Don't expect to see it in the Evening Standard any time soon.




If you're smug enough to have an annual season ticket, and hence a Gold Card, the terms and conditions are changing from 2nd January 2015. And mostly for the better.

until 1st January 2015from 2nd January 2015
Network Railcard Area covers most of southeast England, but stops just short of Leamington Spa, Rugby and Ipswich [map]Network Railcard Area extends to Shrewsbury and Stafford (including Birmingham), and covers all of Suffolk and Norfolk [map]
Does not include Eurostar servicesDoes not include East Coast, Virgin Trains and Eurostar services
1/3 off Standard Single and Return tickets for yourself and up to 3 adults travelling with you1/3 off Standard and Off-Peak fares for yourself and up to 3 adults travelling with you
First Class upgrade for £5.00 (except on journeys departing London on weekdays between 1600 and 1900)1/3 off First Class Anytime fares for yourself and up to 3 adults travelling with you
£2 flat fare for up to four children aged between 5 and 1560% off child fares for up to four children (£1 minimum fare)
Up to two children aged under 5 travel free of chargeUp to two children aged under 5 travel free of charge
Buy a Network Railcard for another adult for just £1Buy a 16-25, Family & Friends, Senior, Two Together, Disabled Persons or Network Railcard for another adult for just £10
1/3 off Off-Peak Day Travelcard Zones 1-61/3 off Off-Peak Day Travelcard Zones 1-6
1/3 off Oyster Off-Peak pay as you go fares and Oyster Off-Peak daily price cap for the cardholder when you get your Annual Gold Card discount set on your Oyster card1/3 off Oyster Off-Peak pay as you go fares and Oyster Off-Peak daily price cap for the cardholder when you get your Annual Gold Card discount set on your Oyster card
1/3 off adult PLUSBUS Day tickets in the Network Railcard Area 1/3 off adult PLUSBUS Day tickets in the Network Railcard Area
Discounts on journeys to and from the Isle of Wight using Wightlink, Red FunnelDiscounts on journeys to the Isle of Wight using Wightlink, Red Funnel or HoverTravel
Valid for travel from 10:00 Monday to Friday and any time on Saturday, Sunday or on public holidaysValid for travel from 09:30 Monday to Friday and any time on Saturday, Sunday or on public holidays

As someone who often catches the 0938 to Norwich, I am well chuffed.

 Monday, November 24, 2014

The future of the Bow Roundabout (according to the deeper recesses of the TfL website)
"We are working with the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham deliver the Vision for Bow: a place which is safe and accessible for all road users."
A 'Vision For Bow' sounds remarkably grand, whereas in reality it's the creation of a non-lethal road junction.
Late 2014: We are developing a scheme to provide signalised crossings at the roundabout. The proposal will go to public consultation in late 2014.
Mid-2016: We are developing a scheme to provide signalised crossings at the roundabout by mid-2016.
So that's good, probably. It's about time there were signalised pedestrian crossings at the Bow Roundabout, indeed it's almost criminal it's taken so long. The four entry arms could have one already, because all the traffic stops anyway so it'd be simple to add a red/green man for pedestrians. It's the four exit arms that are the problem, because vehicles can come off the roundabout at any time, so adding lights is non-trivial. Any solution will involve stopping the traffic, be that cars, lorries or bikes, so won't be especially popular. Indeed it'll go against the policy of "smoothing the traffic flow" that has until now given Bow's A12 connection priority. Will TfL suggest an all-red phase, whether any pedestrian wants to cross or not, or will we be asked to press a button to bring the entire roundabout to a halt?
2018-2020: We are also looking at opportunities to deliver more substantial changes at Bow to support the regeneration of the area including long-term plans to remove the flyover and roundabout. This is as part of the Road Modernisation Plan. More details on these proposals will be shared during the 2014 consultation.
And blimey, will you look at that? The long-term vision for Bow is the removal of the the flyover and the roundabout, both structures inflicted on the neighbourhood when the A12 was dualled in the 1960s. Presumably this means we'll be getting a crossroads instead, or some similar kind of junction at which all turns can be tightly controlled. There's plenty of room, or there would be if the flyover were removed, which'd require a pretty mammoth piece of engineering. Indeed East Londoners should expect a particularly lengthy period of major disruption, which isn't ideal when local crossings of the River Lea are few and far between. But no doubt the A12 underpass will survive, because the great flow of tunnel traffic must continue, and by dipping underground it doesn't kill cyclists.

None of this has anything to do with the upgrade to Cycle Superhighway 2 whose consultation period ended earlier this month, and on which work is due to begin early next year. This explicitly excludes the Bow Roundabout, which means the early stop lights are scheduled to survive until the junction gets a bigger makeover later. Road users might find it pertinent to watch the videostream of cyclist @SW19cam who's using the roundabout twice a day and uploading a video feed to YouTube. Most people behave, some people don't, that seems to be a summary of their findings so far. But not ideal, whatever.

We should find out TfL's proposed plans for the Bow Roundabout within the next few weeks. Safe passage for pedestrians? It's about bloody time.

 Sunday, November 23, 2014

London has no F-prefixed buses, so we're straight on to G. And there's only one of those. The G1's a real peculiarity too, having started out in 1988 as an attempt by Wandsworth Health Authority to link as many hospitals as possible via a variety of unserved streets. Initially it had a partner, the G2, but that was removed in 1992 leaving just the G1. It follows a slightly less convoluted route today, but only just, hence it's very much a bus for short hop journeys rather than anything end-to-end. Oh, and the G stands for St George's Hospital, obviously.


 An A-Z of LONDON BUSES
 Route G1: Battersea - Streatham
 Length of journey: 10 miles, 85 minutes


To the northeast of Clapham Junction, nudged up against the railway, lies the Shaftesbury Estate. It's rather lovely too, with leafy avenues of basic but well-proportioned terrace houses built for the working man, but now snapped up by those rather richer. The G1 starts its epic journey up a dead-end street in the far corner, outside a scout hut from which the sounds of gospel singing are temporarily emanating. About a dozen of us are waiting, the last bus having seemingly been cancelled, and only the small toddler scooping up leaves seems immune to a general feeling of polite restlessness. When the bus does finally arrive it still has to turn round, which proves awkward, and then the driver (who looks like he's just out of school) finally whisks us away.

"Why did we get the bus?" Two well-spoken lads are sitting behind me on their way to watch some rugby in a pub. They nipped aboard as we crossed the Shaftesbury, as did a dozen others, but are regretting that decision now we're stuck at traffic lights trying to filter onto Lavender Hill. "I can't believe how long this is taking." We need five attempts to get through, and then we join another snail's pace line heading up towards Clapham Junction. A suspiciously high number of passengers alight outside the enormous Asda - some have travelled barely half a mile - and then we wait while the ramp is deployed so a wheelchair shopper can come aboard. "Should've walked," says one member of the increasingly-irked rugby chorus, but they still reach The Northcote in time for the majority of Sky Sports' pre-match banter.

The terraces off Northcote Road are often known as 'Nappy Valley', a reputation well justified as the bus progresses through. Our first pushchair is swiftly joined by a second, carefully lodged opposite the wheelchair, then somehow a third ("yeah, but you'll have to fold that up"). Mummy and Daddy number four are not so fortunate and are left at the roadside with the news that there'll be another G1 along soon... which may not be entirely true but alas our mobile crèche can take no more. Space is limited outside the bus on Broomwood Road where a Tesco delivery driver has parked slightly too close to a traffic island and is blocking the road. A honk from our driver gets the van shifted, but also merits a curse and a one-fingered salute from Mr Tesco (LM60 UFH) as we drive off.

The western side of Clapham Common is busy with joggers and several games of football. Due to the cursive nature of the G1's route I note that I could have walked here from the start in the time it's taken us to get here, and hung around to watch part of a match too. Our vehicle half-empties at Clapham South station, because that's how London buses work, then immediately refills with folk going back west again. One has brought an IKEA shelf unit as a travelling companion, another his ice hockey gear including two skates and a pair of gloves slung over his stick.

Our next Common is Wandsworth, which we narrowly missed ten minutes ago, and very smart it is round here too. The lady sat in front of me has been checking her phone ever since she boarded, repeatedly googling the Central London Golf Centre to work out pecisely where to get off. The ice skater kindly nudges her to alight at Tilehurst Road, whereas she should have waited for our doubleback to Springfield University Hospital, the first of the G1's blatant diversions for medical reasons. We waste time doubling back again just down the road at St George's Grove, but once you realise these 500 flats are all NHS keyworker accommodation the extra detour suddenly makes sense.

I may be riding all the way to Streatham but the driver isn't. On Garratt Lane he pulls up and greets his replacement, who's just popped out of a red van parked in front. They swap tales of driving conditions and shiftwork for a bit, then Young Driver crosses to the van and drives away while Older Driver spends a minute beeping the ticket machine. Are we done? It's finally time to enter St George's, a hospital on a huge campus to the west of Tooting. We're not seeing its best side, we're rounding the perimeter past a sequence of entrances to delivery bays, wings and clinics. It's here at last that our wheelchair passenger alights, justifying the Wandsworth Health Authority's route planning all those years ago, although why she needed to go all the way to Battersea for two bags of shopping is beyond me.

After four hospital-edge stops we finally escape. We're down to just five passengers now, and barely get a sixth as we enter Tooting High Street. The lady in question's Oyster card beeps empty, then beeps empty again, and the driver decides to refuse her passage. She attempts to pay by cash but is four months late, then plays the "not being very good at English" card in a desperate attempt to stay aboard. This works inasmuch as the driver lets her remain "For One Stop Only", but then she retires somewhat sheepishly, presumably to try her scam on someone less strict.

It's hard to turn right at Tooting Broadway, but eventually we do, and suddenly a whole load of new passengers pile aboard. This end of the G1 is effectively a whole new route, dispersing shoppers and tube users into the deeper suburbs, and every seat aboard is soon taken. We're heading for Furzedown, Wandsworth's largest interwar estate, pleasantly tucked around the back of Tooting Graveney Common. As the only bus to venture this way we've soon dropped off most of our human cargo, eventually emerging near Tooting Bec Lido, which is virtually in Streatham. Oh good, nearly there.

I've not been through Streatham for a while, so it's a bit of a shock to see the Mega-Tesco and Leisure Centre development on the High Road that's recently replaced the old ice rink. A new ice rink lurks within, above a swimming pool and surrounded by flats, and the end result is very clever but utterly devoid of visual joy. A bus lane helps us speed ahead - it's possibly the first time we've hit thirty since we set out nearly an hour and a half ago. The bloke sitting opposite is jabbering almost as quickly into his phone. It's a relief when finally we turn off and stop round the back of a Lidl, parking up in a grotty temporary bay beside a building site. The bus blind calls it Streatham, though I'd call it Norbury, into which I am only too happy to escape.

» route G1 - route map
» route G1 - timetable
» route G1 - live bus map
» route G1 - route history
» route G1 - The Ladies Who Bus

 Saturday, November 22, 2014

There are ten 'E' buses, all of them in the Ealing area, the first three inaugurated in 1968 as Flat Fare routes. I could have chosen any of them, but with no stand-out option I decided to go with the bus that shares my postcode. Perhaps not my best ever decision, the route twisted all over the place and took forever to get nowhere very exciting. Enjoy.


 An A-Z of LONDON BUSES
 Route E3: Greenford - Chiswick
 Length of journey: 9 miles, 75 minutes


Greenford sounds lovelier than it is, along the main shopping street at least. The E3 pulls out of a sidestreet and doesn't hit its first stop until the other side of some traffic lights, giving adequate opportunity for any potential rider to break off from shopping and still catch it. I beat a cabal of post-church kids to the front seat on the upper deck, from which I shall be mostly underwhelmed for the next hour and a quarter. Immediately beyond Lidl we traverse the floodplain of the River Brent, not especially overdeveloped, and familiar if you've ever walked this section of the Capital Ring. The sports field where we turn right is completely speckled with seagulls, from the nearest goalmouth to the furthest rugby posts. And then we climb Greenford Avenue to a relatively lofty peak, between leafy avenues down which certain other E buses deviate as indirectly as possible.

We're in the vicinity of Castle Bar Park and Drayton Green, two of the least used stations in London, but running parallel to the railway so never intersect. Instead we head for Hanwell, a more socially mixed locale and our second burst of shops. Three large places of worship dominate Church Road, a big Methodist, a more trad Anglican and a rather more modern Roman Catholic. Behind me everyone is sitting politely and not talking, which would normally be great except that nothing noteworthy is happening, so you'll have to make do with me looking out of the window and telling you what I see. The Pamela Howard School of Dance on the Broadway. The entrance to the Kensington & Chelsea Cemetery, seemingly miles from home. The Diamond Hotel, which looks like it definitely used to be a pub. As you can see, the E3's highlights are legion.

Despite being an E bus we're not heading straight on to Ealing Broadway but turning off to escape the congestion early. The run down to Holdenesque Northfields station features an increasingly upmarket retail selection, from a Wine Shop selling beer's and can's to the artisan Cheddar Deli. We pause a while outside the Ealing Christian Centre, formerly the Avenue Theatre, where the younger churchgoers have emerged onto the front step to check their smartphones. A more elderly worshipper waves her stick at the driver as she hobbles across the road, and we drive off a minute later with her safely aboard. Our next passenger has heels and a gold designer bag, hence Little Ealing Lane must be swisher, or is this South Ealing now - I've lost all geographical sensitivity.

You can tell from its wiggle that Popes Lane was once a country thoroughfare. Today a long curve of tasty semis shields the open space of Gunnersbury Park, which comes to the fore only when the gateposts of the Rothschilds' former mansion butt up against the street. Our dalliance with the North Circular is thankfully brief, making a direct beeline for Acton Town station, and in the process becoming an E3 in W3. Acton's 1930s fire station survives, but the Mill Hill Free House hasn't been so lucky and languishes all boarded up on a street corner. Ahead one badly parked car blocks our progress, and it's only when an E3 turns up travelling the other way that headlamps flash and we're on our way again.

Hang on, we're now back on the Uxbridge Road we left two paragraphs back, as the E3's meandering journey continues. Here it's known as Acton High Street, home to the very first Waitrose (now a takeaway), and where two policemen are keeping order by queueing at a cashpoint. But we don't stay on the main drag for long, instead nipping round the back of the old town hall to aim for a dog grooming and hypnotherapy studio in bijou Bedford Park. A blue plaque marks the former villa of John Lindley, orchidologist, whose son-in-law is responsible for turning a few sparse villas into the world's first Garden Suburb. Many passengers alight at Turnham Green station, at which point the shops vault up a gear to sequential bistros, boutiques and brasseries. My local postcode of E3 could never support a patisserie called Château Dessert, but on Chiswick Broadway it's positively buzzing.

We've been going an hour now and we're still not done. Indeed my ordeal is about to be extended by the dreaded crew-swap announcement. "This bus will wait here for a short time for a change of drivers to take place." We have an almost entirely new complement of passengers by now, boarding the E3 for its final leg out into tube-less territory. They're not best pleased at waiting either, but are probably well used to it, even the man to my left clutching a large laminated shelf. When our new driver's finally settled in we take the cut-through across actual Turnham actual Green, past Gilbert Scott's Christ Church isolated at its centre.

We have one last big road to cross, the busy A4, where the traffic lights let out only a few vehicles at a time. Annoyingly there's a bus stop partway down the lengthy queue and we're taking ages to reach it, but our driver kindly drops off expectant passengers early in the hope. Annoyingly one local resident doesn't take him up on the offer and holds back, dinging fifty yards down the road just before the stop, hence we miss our chance and get to queue one more time. But then we're across, entering the tongue of land inside the Chiswick meander and continuing almost all the way down to the Thames. But not quite, we halt finally on the lip of a housing estate - such a long way from Greenford, and so indirect too. An eye-opening ride for an east Londoner, but never again, E3, not all the way.

the crash location, beneath the bridge, east of St John's

» route E3 - route map
» route E3 - timetable
» route E3 - live bus map
» route E3 - route history
» route E3 - The Ladies Who Bus

 Friday, November 21, 2014

Primrose Hill is not a village.
Wimbledon Village is not a village.
Stratford's new East Village is absolutely not a village.

But London does have proper villages, because in some areas the suburban sprawl doesn't quite stretch as far as the Greater London border.

So here's my attempt at a schematic map of London's villages.
Click on the name for more information from the excellent Hidden London website.
And click on the postcode for a map.

Hill End [UB9]
Mount Pleasant [UB9]
Harefield [UB9]
South Harefield [UB9]
Barnet Gate [EN5]
Rowley Green [EN5]
Arkley [EN5]
Monken Hadley [EN5]
Totteridge [N20]
Botany Bay [EN2]
Crews Hill [EN2]
Bulls Cross [EN2]
Havering-atte-Bower [RM4]
Noak Hill [RM4]
Newyears Green [UB9]GREATER
LONDON
VILLAGES
Hacton [RM14]
North Ockendon [RM14]
Wennington [RM13]
Harmondsworth [UB7]
Sipson [UB7]
Longford [UB7]
Petersham [TW10]
North Cray [DA14]
Hockenden [BR8]
Kevingtown [BR5]
Chelsfield [BR6]
Maypole [BR6]
Malden Rushett [KT9]Little Woodcote [SM5]Keston [BR2]
Nash [BR2]
Leaves Green [BR2]
Downe [BR6]
Berry's Green [TN16]
Luxted [BR6]
Pratt's Bottom [BR6]
Cudham [TN14]
Hazelwood [TN14]
Horns Green [TN14]

The largest concentration of London villages is to the southeast, in Bromley, across several square miles that probably ought to be in Kent. Several more villages run across the top of London along the outer edge of Barnet and Enfield. Meanwhile the county of Surrey generally begins before the houses stop, hence to the southwest there are barely any villages inside London at all.

But what precisely is a village?

I've plumped for settlements disconnected from London's built-up area, generally surrounded by fields or undeveloped land. I've included hamlets if they have an identity, but not mere clusters of houses. But I haven't done that religiously, I've also used judgement and common sense, which means you'll probably disagree with some of my choices.

Isn't Harefield big enough to be a town? Is Arkley more a suburb than somewhere rural? Do Luxted and Horns Green technically exist - their woefully brief Wikipedia entries suggest not. And where's [insert name of village here], shouldn't that also be included?

You may well have some comments to make about my selection, and how it should be tweaked, reduced or increased. If so, please let me know, and we'll try to make this as definitive a list as possible.

Because Notting Hill, Marylebone and Highgate are not villages, whatever the property-thumping media try to claim. The real thing is readily available within London's borders, so let's not pretend.

 Thursday, November 20, 2014

Three East London villages: 3) Noak Hill

My third village sits in the north-eastern corner of London, at the top right-hand corner on the map. Not the precise right-hand corner, because that's on the M25, but sprawled across the Havering Plain one field in. It's very much off the beaten track, not really on the way to anywhere, nor with any intention of being. It's an hour's walk from the nearest station, and not quite served by bus, but then if you lived out here you'd almost certainly drive. It has one church, one pub, the odd thatched cottage and the obligatory garden centre. It's Noak Hill, and it's a proper Essex village in every respect except that it's not quite in Essex. [4 photos]

Once known as Nook Hill, this is another village that owes its survival to the Green Belt. This whole area north of the Brentwood Road was once part of the estate of a manor house called Dagnams (not to be confused with Dagenham, which is the other side of Romford). In 1772 it was bought by a merchant called Richard Neave, whose meteoric rise to the nobility included posts as the Governor of the Bank of England and the High Sheriff of Essex. In 1919 the 5th Baronet auctioned off a large portion of his estate to a number of farmers, but kept hold of the land immediately around his mansion. The remainder was compulsory purchased in the late 1940s by the London County Council who promptly covered it with ten thousand houses to create the Harold Hill estate. Planning legislation has ensured that no finger of suburban sprawl quite reaches out to touch the original village today.



You can almost take the bus, indeed two routes advertise themselves as terminating at Noak Hill. But they stop by a patch of green beside the last houses in Harold Hill, and to reach the village proper requires five, ten, fifteen minutes walk. While you're here, perhaps visit the pub. Once called The Goat it changed its name in 1715 to become The Bear, and upped its game still further in the 1960s by actually acquiring a pair. Landlord Ron kept two brown bears called Rhani and Honey in a cage in the pub garden, along with a public menagerie of lesser animals, and occasionally brought them into the bar to enjoy a brown beer and a bag of crisps. Don't come expecting the same devil-may-care attitude today. The Bear is now a pub grill targeted far more at the neighbouring estate than the village up the hill, and serves nothing more exotic than a Chilli Dog.

Noak Hill Road rises steadily after crossing Carter's Brook, passing a handful of delightful cottages on the climb. Thatched Cottage speaks for itself, and used to be a village store, while Rose Cottage and Old Keeper's Cottage are timber-framed and weather boarded. What used to be the blacksmiths until the 1970s is now a characterful long house with four motors parked outside, and the former Post Office across the road has long turned residential. It's left to three signs at the main road junction to reveal what Noak Hill does best today - a plant nursery, a potato merchants and an aquatic centre.

The Ingrebourne Way starts here, a cycle track and footway running 11 miles down to Rainham. If you ride I think you'd like it, not least because it's so utterly different to most other London bikeways. A short distance through the first section the woodland opens out to reveal an unexpected public park, this the former grounds of Dagnams Manor. Of the house itself there's no sign - this because the LCC installed a caretaker after the war who promptly pinched all the lead from the roof and the rain got in, forcing demolition. A few fenceposts and the cobbled stable floor are all that survive, this at the Noak Hill end, whereas most of the parkgoers are dogwalkers from Harold Hill to the south.



Back in the village, one of Noak Hill's two places of worship is what you'd expect - redbrick Anglican with a slippery path to the front door, the last Lady of the Manor buried outside, and Zumba classes in the church hall every Tuesday. The other is a Hindu mandir, the Radha Krishna Temple, which in reality turns out to be the old school converted to community use, and not the glamorous turreted marvel you might have hoped. Tisbury's offers the only coffee in the village - a machine brew in a huge shed whose main purpose is the sale of tropical and marine fish, if that's your bag. And the garden centre's closed until the end of February, sorry, in case you were thinking that might be a good reason to visit.

Step further north along the lane and you'll catch the unmistakeable tang of manure, as if to prove the area's rural credentials, and then the smallholdings kick in. It's quite horsey out here, and pigeony and cattery too, and the sort of place you'd build a bungalow if you were trying to flout a planning regulation or two. Hence I found Benskins Lane quite oppressive, forever afraid that the local Neighbourhood Watch firmly wished there wasn't a public footpath passing their front gates. Ditto the tunnel at the end of the track where the path dips beneath the M25, in a cutting that destroyed the rural calm forever. The top right-hand corner of London lies along the hard shoulder, indeed it's somewhere you've quite likely, fleetingly, been. Essex looks a lot prettier on the other side.

[Today's challenge: risk a third trip to the outskirts of Havering before the remaining readership departs]

Friday update: I've been taken to task by the webmaster of the FriendsofDagnamPark website, whose excellent resource I linked to eleven times above. "In the main you did a pretty good job. I have two minor complaints; one that we got no acknowledgement and two that one part paragraph is grossly inaccurate. I accept that you had a lot to take in and your synthesis of the data on our site was not bad." Hopefully the second half of the second paragraph is now less inadequate as a result of their helpful feedback.

 Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Three East London villages: 2) Cranham

I'll confess it was Ian Nairn sent me to Cranham.
Nairn's London, chapter 7, final entry, just after Romford Market and Upminster Windmill.

"Of all the ways in which London meets its countryside, this is the least credible. When the Green Belt came into force in 1938, the outward swell of building stopped dead, two fields away. So you can look back to the serried roofs from what is still an unspoilt Essex hamlet - farm, house, rectory and church (unhappily Victorian) in a big leafy churchyard."

And fifty years later he's still not wrong.



"There is a terrifying forty miles of solid brickwork behind those demure-looking semis half a mile away. You feel as if Canute might have on the beach, but unexpectedly successful."

To get to Cranham today, head past Upminster and stop on the big estate before the M25. If the District line went one stop further its terminus would be in Cranham, and it's here you'll find an extensive depot for the storage and maintenance of trains. Surrounding this is a considerable residential area, now pretty much merged with Upminster so it's hard to tell where one suburb ends and the other begins. But it's straightforward to spot where both end and the countryside begins, with the medieval hamlet of Cranham now isolated on a low rise to the southeast. Its survival is thanks to a timely coincidence - the local landowner put his estate up for sale in 1937, a year before the Green Belt was introduced and protected the southeastern quadrant in perpetuity.

The only road into ye olde Cranham turns off south just before the railway bridge, this the c2c link line via Chafford Hundred. I say road, it's much more a lane, and soon drops into hedgerow mode once a single house is passed. At first the adjacent grass is a school* playing field, alive with raucous rugger folk as I passed. But then a proper field opens out, all ploughed and muddy at present, and with Nairn's urban edge clearly visible on the opposite side. It's a shame about the metal bollards positioned at very regular intervals along the lane (this purely from an aesthetic point of view - if you live up the far end I'm sure they're essential for avoiding ending up in a ditch after dark).
* The school is Coopers' Company and Coborn School, which until 1971 used to be based in Bow Road.



And people do live up The Chase, in some very large houses indeed. Three are set back behind high hedges to obscure goings on from all those pesky dog walkers who will insist on traipsing past. And from churchgoers, because Cranham's parish church is still housed out here in the fields rather than amid some more convenient housing estate. The original medieval church had a semi-octagonal tower, but the current spire-topped building is Victorian, and hence seen more easily over the trees. A potter in the churchyard reveals little out of the ordinary, but inside is a memorial to James Oglethorpe, a British General who founded the American colony of Georgia and who lived out his later years nextdoor at Cranham Hall. Of this you can see the gates and a long drive, but the remainder is hidden behind a high brick wall of Tudor provenance, and the current tenant likes it that way.

The only other residents hereabouts are holed up in what was once Cranham Hall Farm, now a large quadrangle of converted barn units and livery stables. And all around, a sea of green (or gold, or brown currently, depending). To travel further you can only walk, or maybe trot, following a web of footpaths and bridleways out across the fields. One carries straight on past paddocks to Cranham Marsh Nature Reserve, and eventually the peculiarly named Stubbers Adventure Centre. Another path, well hidden round the back of the churchyard, leads down across the railway to Pike Lane (a mile long and totally undeveloped) and the Thames Chase Forest Centre. And the path that Ian Nairn would have taken tracks west down the side of something ex-agricultural to a small pond and the last hedge before civilisation.



I was fortunate enough to arrive in the hour before sunset as the sky above Argyle Gardens blazed pink and gold. Arriving with muddy boots through an alleyway I found myself on a pleasantly nondescript residential street of broad semis and postwar infill. With paved front gardens and littering leaves, and a boy on a bike passing a group of teenagers heading to the corner shop, it could be any of ten thousand streets across the capital. But as Nairn pointed out it's simply the first, the borderline zone between town and country, the latter paved over from here all the way to Uxbridge. Praise be to the Green Belt, and all who live inside her.

[Today's challenge: write several more paragraphs about almost as obscure a corner of London as yesterday]

 Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Three East London villages: 1) Wennington

And if you don't need to look that up on a map, congratulations. Wennington's the last village in London heading east towards Lakeside, about halfway between Rainham and Aveley, and very very nearly in Thurrock. It sits alone on the Thames marshes, just high enough not to flood and disconnected to any residential sprawl. It's also very old, with a mention in the Domesday Book and an early medieval church, in which the ashes of a semi-famous mathematician are interred. Three hundred people live here, almost all along one side of one street, paying their London taxes and voting for London's Mayor. And if only the trains stopped you might have heard of the place, but there's a reason they don't, and the solitude's probably part of the appeal. [7 photos]



The village exists as half a dozen runs of cottages plus two farms amid some fairly squelchy fields. First up from the Rainham end are New Cottages, which'd rank as Fairly Old Cottages in most other London boroughs. Walk a bit further along the road and the terraces run together... Laundry Cottages, Marine Cottages, Kent View... each comprised of relatively affordable two-up two-downs. There's no shop anywhere in the village, but one slightly larger house proudly proclaims itself as The Old Post Office 1886-1967. Oh, and "Kent View" may have been true once but the county no longer appears clearly on the southern horizon, which is blocked by the landfill heaps of the Aveley Marshes, now grassing over in the middle distance.

A particular quirk of Wennington is that it has no public footpaths. One long pavement along the main street yes, but there are no tracks off into the marshes in case you fancy a walk. I did see one local resident wander off into the wilderness behind a trotting dog, but you'd probably not get too much further at this time of year without ending up knee-deep. Another barrier is the Channel Tunnel Rail Link which speeds by a few hundred yards away behind a concrete barrier, blocking access towards the Thames. A more ordinary c2c service runs parallel, but only Rainham and Purfleet get stations, and intermediate passengers can only stare as they rush through. Immediately behind the railway is the A13, stalking across the Wennington Marshes on a long viaduct. And beyond that is an equally inaccessible bird reserve which the RSPB are currently scraping out to improve the habitat.

The church of St Mary and St Peter hugs up close to the road, but then the whole village does so that's no surprise. The present building dates back to the 13th century, and survives with a regular Sunday service because the village ganged together a while back to kickstart fundraising for roof repairs. Just outside the northeast corner is a squat obelisk to the memory of Henry Perigal (1801-1898), a Huguenot stockbroker's clerk who dabbled in mathematics and meteorology in his spare time. His main area of expertise was compound circular motion, but today he's remembered solely for an elegant cut-and-shift dissection of Pythagoras' Theorem. Henry was the first to discover the pleasing geometrical proof depicted here, and which also appears on the side of his obelisk (though considerably harder to see on the weathered post).

Next up is the village green, originally the site of a large manor house, now with 20 interwar semi-detached houses around the perimeter. This could easily be part of the Becontree Estate, were it not for the atypical village sign depicting the church and a tiller of the soil. The parish noticeboard features two posters warning about lung cancer, both since obscured by a faded printout that screams SAY NO TO GRAVEL EXTRACTION IN WENNINGTON. It'd be all too tempting for some company to move in on the surrounding marshes and dig them out, but earlier this year residents raised a 2000 name petition against, and local MP Jon Cruddas is firmly anti too. As things stands the worst that's currently confirmed is the seeding of a new golf course on the edge of the village, completion date unknown.

The next building beyond the green greatly surprised me - a fully functional fire station! Here we are in a tiny village only a few hundred yards from the edge of the capital, and yet the London Fire Brigade has closed a dozen other more central stations and left this one open. To be fair I suspect Thurrock pays a fair amount towards Wennington Fire Station too, plus it is jolly conveniently located near an A13 junction for speedy egress, but even so... you can't buy a Mars Bar in the village, but you can find a dozen folk who'll offer smoke alarm advice.



And it's just up the road past one last farm that Wennington, and Greater London, terminate. A busy road rushes by, with the Premier Inn and the Lennards pub fractionally on the London side and the Willow Farm Giant Bootsale (Every Sunday) fractionally in Thurrock. I arrived in time to see the last purchase-laden stragglers walking away, or maybe a few vans selling leftovers in a field was the height of the day's trade. A pint in the Lennards might have been welcome, but it appeared to be deep in Sunday roast mode so I took advantage of the village's one excellent transport link and escaped. The 372 bus runs through Wennington two or three times an hour on its way to Lakeside, or Hornchurch, should you ever wish to visit. I may have just saved you the effort.

[Today's challenge: write seven paragraphs about as obscure a corner of London as possible]

 Monday, November 17, 2014

If Time Out genuinely covered the capital, it'd occasionally venture outside Zones 1-3.
Because there's stuff of interest everywhere, if you look.


Great Bits of London #35
Rainham


Rainham Hall, a sadly underappreciated National Trust property overlooking the Thames marshes, is currently closed for renovation. A £1½m lottery grant closed the Queen Anne house in February, and next summer it reopens to visitors all scrubbed up and properly refreshed. In the meantime if you'd like to take a look inside, a behind the scenes hard hat tour is taking place on Saturday 6th December, pre-booking required. But if you were the person who left a Thompson Local Directory at the front gate over the weekend, all you get is a slow handclap.



Meanwhile over at the railway station, zone 6, c2c's Not Very Good Signwriting Team has been hard at work outside the toilets. You can see what they did, but I still can't see why they did it. Desperate times.



Rainham's new library opened in the summer on a plot of land between the station and the Norman parish church. It's a very 21st century building, a bold red-brick cluster with asymmetric ceilings, which hasn't endeared it to all residents. The library's at one end, with enlarged facilities including meeting rooms and a crèche, the aim being to create a brand new community hub at the heart of the village. Adjacent is a stack of 16 shared-ownership flats, because that's how libraries get funded these days, plus two retail units at ground level that remain stubbornly empty. Havering's head of culture Andrew Curtin has declared the combination "arguably the most perfect building in the borough", while former councillor Coral Jeffery calls it "an abomination reminiscent of a workhouse", "overbearing" and "totally out of character for a conservation area". Coral's closer to the truth than Andrew, alas, but it seems that to gain a new public building these days there's always a price to pay.



Up the Wennington Road is The Wool Shop, Rainham's very own knitters' paradise and baby boutique. This is the kind of shop that still has knitting patterns pegged up in the window, along with knitting bags, knitting wool and brown ribbed knitted garments. Wouldn't you much rather Time Out covered proper long-standing businesses such as this than the usual round of pop-up fashion outlets? Closed afternoons, closed Thursdays and Sundays.



If you are tempted to the outer reaches of the Wennington Road, be careful where you park. The residents don't like cars churning up their verge, so metal signs have been plonked in the grass to warn you off. A frightening one pound fine could be yours, this being the going rate when Essex County Council set the rate in 1952. Let's hope that Havering council never notice the potential loss of revenue, and that these heritage plaques continue to ward off transgressors long into the future.



Only in Rainham.

 Sunday, November 16, 2014

Three years ago Anne Ward published a sparkling little book called Nothing To See Here, detailing several dozen offbeat places scattered around Scotland. It was based on a blog of the same name, now on hiatus, which also sometimes ventured south of the border. And that's helped set up Anne's latest publication, Northern Delights - A Guide to the Hidden Joys of the North of England. For this she's visited fifty oddities from the Wirral to Kielder, dragging her family and her camera on various car tours to complete her research. Every entry thus comes copiously photographed, seemingly always on a blue-skied day for which I am very jealous.

Don't expect the usual. Learn where to go on a rhubarb tour, where to find a collection of steam organs and where to spot a life-sized steam train made from 185000 bricks. Concrete lovers will appreciate the Apollo Pavilion in Peterlee, Forton Services on the M6 and Preston Bus Station. And yes, of course the Cumberland Pencil Museum is featured, because that's the law in any compilation of quirky bits of the north. To my shame I reckon I've only visited five, so I'm treating the other 90% as a wishlist for the future. Maybe one day I'll burrow through the Tyne Pedestrian and Cyclist Tunnels, gulp down a Scarborough ice cream sundae and dine in a South Shields cave - Anne's bright prose and pictures make them all look temptingly fine. Her handbag-sized volume costs £6.99, and is published by a small company based in Dumfries and Galloway (hence my copy arrived from a DG postcode in two days flat). It'd make a lovely stocking filler, but I'm definitely keeping mine.

I joined Ello this week. I tried to join in September but they were too busy coping with becoming popular, so it took until Friday for a sign-up invite to arrive. Ello is a brand new social network, like we need another, but this time with a privacy. They promise never to sell user data to advertisers or third parties, never to show advertisements and never to enforce a real-name policy, so of course that was ideal. It's a bit quiet on Ello at the moment, because they don't make searching for people you know very easy, which turns out to be both a selling point and a curse. But anyway, if you're on there, do please say hi or make friends or whatever Ello-ers do, I'm not yet sure. I also don't yet know whether it's worth investing time and effort in posting anything much, but then I once thought that about Twitter, back when I was a very early adopter. It pays to nip in early because then you get the ID name you want rather than dgeezerE3 or something else unmemorable. If you're tempted I have a handful of invites, apparently. But it'll probably be Goodbye.

Docklands buses, the original eleven*
D11990-99Waterloo - Isle of Dogs(Docklands Express)
D21989-93Ilford - Beckton 
D31990-93Old Street - East Ham(withdrawn Old St - Poplar 1991)
D41989-90Mile End - Poplar(reintroduced as a loop, 1992-94)
D51989-99Mile End - Becontree Heath (cut back to Crossharbour, 1990)
D61989-now Hackney - Crossharbour 
D71989-nowMile End - Poplar(via Isle of Dogs)
D81991-nowCrossharbour - Stratford(to Stratford City, 2011)
D91991-95Bank - Crossharbour 
D101991-92Liverpool Street - Leamouth 
D111991-95London Bridge - City Airport (Docklands Express)

An earlier D1 ran from Mile End to Poplar/Crossharbour between 1984 and 1989
In 1999 the current D3 was introduced between Bethnal Green and Crossharbour

* not because you're interested, but because I was

 Saturday, November 15, 2014

Around 1990 a whole suite of Docklands 'D' buses was introduced to make connections with the Isle of Dogs. The DLR wasn't so extensive in those days, and the Jubilee line had yet to be extended, and bankers needed a network of buses to help get them to work. The current D3 wasn't one of those, it was introduced a decade later using a redundant number, and followed pretty much the same route as it does today. And that's a wildly twisty route - barely three miles end to end as the crow flies, but over ten on the bus. Only the driver, or a fool, would ride the lot.


 An A-Z of LONDON BUSES
 Route D3: Bethnal Green - Crossharbour
 Length of journey: 11 miles, 50 minutes


London buses flock to hospitals like moths to a flame, with the D3 drawn to two. It kicks off in the leafy avenues surrounding the London Chest Hospital, deathly quiet at weekends, and a short walk from Victoria Park. Only two of us are waiting, the other considerably younger than me but with the inner confidence of a regular traveller. I climb aboard and wave my Oyster card at the reader... which doesn't beep. "Take a seat, it's not ready yet," says the driver, in a weary yet particularly trusting manner. The iBus display also has yet to kick into action, and I mention this only because it will turn out to be significant later. In fact quite soon.

We squeeze out of the sidestreets onto Cambridge Heath Road, where suddenly many passengers pour on board beside the exit from the Central line subway. And as we turn onto Bethnal Green Road, Emma Hignett's automated voice kicks in with an unexpected lie. "This bus is on diversion. Please listen for further announcements." We very much aren't on diversion, we're going the completely normal way, past a bustling selection of shops and the general E2 massive. I can hear the sound of much beeping from the front cab as the driver attempts to reset the system. The iBus display gets one stop right and then fails again, as Emma's dulcet tones continue to fib about our diversionary status. We pass the house built on the site of the house where the Krays used to live, and a bus stop called Fakruddin Street, which Emma usually pronounces extremely carefully.

The majority of passengers alight as we graze the Royal London Hospital, where we should be carrying straight on except there's a red metal sign blocking the middle of the road. The driver yells to confirm the news, that this bus is about to go on diversion, and suddenly everyone else skedaddles. They've judged how long the alternative route is going to be and wisely escaped, leaving only me to enjoy the mile-long Aldgate deviation. And unexpected silence. It's finally Emma's moment to shine and make her diversion announcement properly, except she doesn't, despite having made it repeatedly and inappropriately earlier on. I smile, because this is narrative gold and means I won't have to spend eight paragraphs simply repeating what I can see out of the window.

Out of the window I can see all sorts of things I wasn't expecting - the textile shops of the Whitechapel Road, the pristine skyscrapers of Aldgate and the luxury flats being erected where News International used to stand. I decide that this extended loop is a good time to touch in, so surprise the driver by appearing behind him and beeping. He kindly checks that I'm not being too greatly disadvantaged by the diversion, and then continues with my one-man tour of the East End. I'm expecting someone else to join us, surely, as we finally rejoin the correct route on The Highway, but no, it seems I'm about to get Wapping all to myself too.

The D3 is one of two buses to serve this compact riverside community, its cobbled backstreets notorious for their narrow twisting nature. But the driver's clearly well practised and hurtles along, judging the gaps between the speed bumps perfectly so as not to have to slow down. A pop-up dockside market is underway, where a small girl hiked up on her father's shoulders waves to us as we zip by. Back on the main road we continue to make up for lost time, taking advantage of an empty bus lane to undertake the Limehouse traffic. But then my solo run is up, as a diminutive shopper flags us down and drags her spotty wheely basket aboard... for two stops only.

There is no rush of bankers heading for Canary Wharf today, only the temporary company of an oversized man in a graceless parka. The estate's security guards raise the barrier for us as we approachWestferry Circus - they look as if they're glad to have something to do this far outside normal working hours. Alone again after the DLR drop-off I realise I'm about to be treated to my second private detour. A major development on Heron Quays, and a plethora of water nearby, means a riproaring alternative route is temporarily required. We dip underneath the new Crossrail station, head briefly onto the dual carriageway and then, really, up the backroad past the cinema? I've never been right to the end before and down into the tunnel, where Canary Wharf's secret delivery entrance leads off beneath the towers. It's been good this special diversion, if a proper timewaster... and no, of course Emma hasn't mentioned it.

At last we're back on the proper route, and about to undertake a spiral round the Isle of Dogs. The D3 exists to distribute the residents of Millwall and Cubitt Town around the peninsula, but two other buses do the same and today they're clearly taking all the strain. This and the fact that if you really wanted to go to Asda at the end of the route you could walk faster that the looping path we're tracing. I can sense the driver edging up to bus stops in a "you don't really want me, do you?" manner, and accelerating triumphantly when body language indicates "no". Eventually two ladies call his bluff and actually get on, though again not for long, more like they couldn't be bothered to walk for a few hundred metres.

The rim of the island is a fascinating mix of habitats, from shiny apartments paid for by annual bonuses to out-of-sight out-of-mind council flats. We also kink into the interior for a bit up the delightfully named Spindrift Avenue, where actual dockers would have lived back in the day, and where a "20 Slow Down" sign lights up as we pass through. No chance. Light loadings and lack of traffic on Manchester Road allows the driver to speed up to the extent that the seat in front of me vibrates and hammers repeatedly against my kneecaps. It therefore comes as light relief when we finally pull into the 1980s technovillage on Marsh Wall, and curl round to the supermarket car park where several buses terminate. Don't get me wrong, I've enjoyed my chauffeured private dash through Docklands, but the D3 is a route that feels like it's on diversion even when it's not.



» route D3 - route map
» route D3 - timetable
» route D3 - live bus map
» route D3 - route history
» route D3 - The Ladies Who Bus


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matchgirls
hurricanes
buzzwords
brookside
monopoly
peter pan
starbucks
feng shui
leap year
manbags
penelope
bbc three
vision on
piccadilly
meridian
concorde
wembley
islington
ID cards
bedtime
freeview
beckton
blogads
eclipses
letraset
arsenal
sitcoms
gherkin
calories
everest
muffins
sudoku
camilla
london
ceefax
robbie
becks
dome
BBC2
paris
lotto
118
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