diamond geezer

 Friday, December 05, 2003

Cube Routes: Day 5 x 5 x 5
Bus 125: Finchley Central - Winchmore Hill
Location: London north, outer
Length of journey: 8 miles, 40 minutes




From Thatcher to Portillo, this is a red bus journey through a true blue world. The 125 winds its way through the lesser-known parts of Barnet and Enfield, from the constituency of the former Prime Minister to the former constituency of the man who never quite was. Margaret Thatcher once famously remarked that anyone over the age of 30 who was still using buses was a failure. I was here to prove her wrong. This whole area of North London looks like it was built in one go in the 1930s. It's comfortable suburbia, and the very essence of Betjeman's Metroland (except that the Metropolitan line is miles away). As a result all the houses are at least twice the size of the average shoebox that passes for a new home elsewhere these days, and all the better for it. They just don't build proper affluence any more.

I set off on this particular bus journey as dusk was approaching, little realising that I was about to take my life in my hands. The first bus stop looked so safe, so inviting, nestling between a nice Jewish school and a low-rise Catholic church. I took my grandstand seat at the front of the top deck - not difficult to arrange when there were only two of us on board. As we pulled away I heard the sudden sound of rapid gunfire to my left, although this turned out to be merely a low-hanging branch thwacking repeatedly down the side of the bus. A dented green Primera pulled out unexpectedly in front of the bus forcing our driver to slam hard on the brakes to avoid a collision. Dulcet tones could be heard yelling at the culprit from the driver's cabin downstairs, but alas I suspect the incompetent Nissan driver heard none of it. It was an inauspicious start to our journey.

Through North Finchley countless shoppers darted across the high street, risking their lives weaving between the semi-stationary traffic. At Tally Ho Corner two passengers boarded the bus wielding oversized curtain rods. In Whetstone a white van overtook us with both rear doors gaping open, a cargo of what looked like oil drums on show to the world, but a few honks from our driver prompted white van man to nip out at the next set of lights to slam everything shut again. In Oakleigh Park a selfish car driver parked illegally at a bus stop outside a carpet shop with her hazard lights flashing, then walked straight out into the path of our oncoming bus. We ventured deeper into suburban traffic-calmed streets, our driver now battling against countless road humps, traffic islands and mini-roundabouts, each originally designed to slow down vehicles considerably smaller than our own. Do they sell travel insurance for bus journeys? I'd gladly have signed up.

Finally we reached Winchmore Hill, somehow still in one piece. There was only me left on board by this time, which didn't seem entirely surprising given the circuitous and risk-packed route we'd taken to get here, and the fact there wasn't much to see when we finally did arrive. Our driver faced one final moment of danger when some idiot took a flash photograph of his resting bus, no doubt temporarily blinding the poor bloke. Sorry mate. It seemed safer to escape the area by rail rather than by bus. I tracked down the local overground station, only to find that this part of London merits merely two trains an hour, and so sat freezing on the platform until my deliverer arrived. Public transport's not what it was, you know. Me, I blame the local MP. Well, the old Finchley one, anyway - the residents of Enfield Southgate appear to have already Twigg-ed.

125 links
Route 125: anorak-level bus information
Route 125: anorak-level route information
Route 125: timetable


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream