Six miles from south to north, an old drovers road.
Follow it from end to end to see London as it really is - its people, its businesses, its life.
Newington Green to Winchmore Hill.
Green Lanes, High Road, Green Lanes again.
Hackney, Islington, Haringey, Enfield.
The 141 bus, then the 329.
N16, N5, N4, N8, N15, N22, N13, N21.
Or walk. I walked the lot.
Green Lanes from Newington Green. A redbrick spire topped off in AD 1892. Kofte at Red House Bistro, modern European at Perilla (freshly-opened). The Mildmay Medical Practice. A private hire company with a dubious purple roundel. The Motorists Do-it-Yourself shop - Cabbies Delight. Flat-roofed terraces. Bric-a-brac at Warning Do Not Enter Bailiffs Secured (a vase and a dressing table in the window, a flat cap on a stuffed dog beyond). The Monarch, Ale and Stout, part time pizza chef required. Berber Salonu, Cyprus Turkish Airlines. Free papers in the local language, plentiful food from home. The New River Path, but no river. 21st century Methodist church beneath a pinnacle of modern flats. CDs were stolen from my BMW, they are of sentimental value, please return. Dry cleaning from Spot Raiders, groceries from Shopping Garden, coffee from Sleepy Owl. The western edge of Clissold Park; dalmatian on a lead, pushbike with sidecar for toddler, pair of joggers, a motorised skateboard, leafless trunks, an autumn sheen. The chalet-style Robinson Crusoe (steak night Thursday). Avukatlik Bürosu. Regeneration of the Kings Crescent Estate in full effect. The New River ducks below ground. Former pumping station with turrets. The first mile.
Green Lanes from the Castle Climbing Centre. Sign up for Hackney Recycling Rewards, win £100. Brief view of the West Reservoir between flats. A dustcart attempts a three-point turn and halts the traffic. Oblivious bus shelter lurkers block the pavement. John Scott House, the future Woodberry Down estate. Two lone interwar semis. A BT engineer kneels before his green box. Manor House station. Finsbury Park gates, crunchy leaves spilling out towards the traffic. Look left, look right. A stumbling woman babbles her way home. The Finsbury. Now downhill, the rooftops of Haringey spread to the horizon. Hire a man and a van, tear a strip, ring 07592... Across the New River. The next playing field is baseball and softball only. Leaping squirrel with monkeynut held in its teeth. 20mph Please Slow Down, impatient queue of honking traffic, a red van rushes the lights and brakes sharply. The Arena Shopping Park; Homebase, Next, Argos, McDonalds. Live jazz at Cafe Tramp. Harringay Green Lanes station is closed. Adali Cake Show Patisserie. Diyabakir, Mezzo, Taksim (where dough is being made in the window). We Repair Gold While Your Waiting. The second mile.
Green Lanes as one upright of the Harringay Ladder. Victorian terraces rise in parallel. The four-storey shopping parade goes on and on. Gökyüzü, Devran, Brouhaha, Chickenways. A raised concrete flowerbed outside The Salisbury. That same red van has pulled up by the kerb, another van in front, the drivers arguing furiously. Tesco is a rare non-independent intruder, tucked under the Harringay Snooker Club. Two small dogs peer out beneath a pram. Lychey, Necktarin, Confarence Pear. The Turkish Cypriot Community Association. Missing cat from Saturday, his name is Kane. Outside Marina a man spits across the pavement, then turns with an offended stare. Welcome to Ducketts Common, leaf-strewn, basketball courts empty, the Roj Cafe. Turnpike Lane station. Hi-lites, lo-lites, hairdresser required. Here Green Lanes changes name, to High Road, Wood Green. Crepe Station - all the fun of the food. Costa, Betfred, Maplin, Halfords. Footfall increasing, the retail offer now more mainstream. A beggar's cup. Poundworld Extra, Mightypound, Poundland (everything reduced, 90p). It's faster by mobility scooter. Chinese acupuncture for Acne, Sinusitis, Vitligo. All the bike racks are full. Clarks, Foot Locker, Schuh. The third mile.
High Road at The Mall. A deep redbrick canyon, a modern gateway funnelling shoppers beneath the cinema overbridge, Cineworld 12 screens. Bags of clothes (for tonight), bags of Christmas (for later), bags of future clutter. Argos, Primark, WHSmith. A designated Free Speech Zone outside the library, collect your Free Koran from the trestle table. Scattered Nat West flyers. Baskets on wheels, slowly pulled and pushed. Spouter's Corner, Hollywood Green, The Goose. An abandoned microwave. Lordship Lane, then Holden's Wood Green station. Wood Green bus garage (At walking pace, Hazards on, Head lights on). Up the hill to St Michael's. War memorial, communal gardens with shrubbery, Haringey Civic Centre. Outside the police station a broken drinking fountain is filled with fag ends and a floating Lucozade cap. Custody Centre. Now taking bookings for Christmas. Woodside Park, bowls club, playground. Ten onions in a bowl. Man stacking identical brown boxes into the back of a van. Toilets for customer only. Double room £650 per month. To the imperceptible edge of Haringey, where the road's name changes back. The fourth mile.
Green Lanes from the Enfield border. The Old Country Bakery, Polski Sklep, Taškas, Anjappar. Mothers sat outside the Lefteris Bakery with a pram and pastry, young men huddled outside the other cafes with a coffee or a beer. Exclusive Christening Wear at Lollipops, Beauty by Tosh, Millennium Nail. Unbranded white carrier bags. The North Circular Road at Clockhouse Junction, wait for the lights to change, then wait again. TFC Supermarket for all your Turkish Food needs. The Pymmes Brook flows beneath This Bridge (Which Is A County Bridge). Bourne Parade. Across the New River again, this time with ducks. Southgate Town Hall is now Prytaneum Court (19 bespoke apartments), with library attached to the rear. Chartered accountants, Solicitors, Sports osteopath. Efesus, Aksular, Efestia. The Palmers Green triangle: one signpost, 2 CCTV cameras, three clockfaces. A rising parade of shops, Boots, Little Waitrose, probably the best coffee to go in Palmers Green. The Alfred Herring, The Fox. Phone in one hand, vaping with the other. Top Tyres, private poker club (closed), the man from Star Pest Control has arrived. The fifth mile.
Green Lanes from Bourne Hill. Come inside to review the revised cycle lane plans. St John's CofE, then St Monica's RC. Mourners pouring out from the latter, pausing to discuss the service while top-hatted men marshal the hearse. The Intimate Theatre (panto in January). Large semis on the descent to the library. Babinondas. A bouquet of wilting chrysanthemums tied to a parking sign. The New River nudges in, again. Sainsburys, plus car park, plus Starbucks. Former police station, site acquired. The heart of Winchmore Hill. Paddy Power, Bang & Olufsen, Cafe Brunello's, The Three Wishes. Coming soon your new smart phone kiosk. Natural Look Dogs, the Village Vet. HMRC fill the suitably dystopian Capitol House. House numbers now up in the mid 800s. Hond & Langer, glaziers since 1931. Marino & Roberto's Italian delicatessen. The Green Dragon English Pub (& Thai Diner), 1726-2015, now boarded up awaiting Waitrose-ification. Past Present Toys (and Dolly Land). One last run of detached gabled houses, peaking at 949. Masons Corner, ending with Tessa Stevens Health and Beauty Clinic at 948. The main road continues round the bend towards Enfield under a different name. The sixth and final mile.