diamond geezer

 Saturday, February 22, 2014

Here's another long one. I'll be riding almost all of the 313, which sweeps across the top of London from Potters Bar to Chingford. That's the equivalent of Paddington to Stratford, were this a few miles further south, only through rather greener scenery. The 313 journeys so far that I'll be missing out on a potential borderline deviation near Waltham Cross, but that's probably for the best because I ought to get to the end of my orbit sooner rather than later.

 Route 313: Potters Bar - Chingford

 Length of journey: 9 miles, 50 minutes

I have a long time to wait, outside what used to be the Potters Bar Lion, for my 313. The view's not great, with a tall office block blighting the crossroads and an abandoned business HQ behind. I'm sharing the shelter with two local wideboys, they far more geezer than I. At one point they spot a mate they know driving by and yell "Sweet!" as he winds down his window. Neither has Oyster so they pay by cash, the driver at first not noticing that one of the pair has already boarded. I take up my favourite seat on a single decker, above the rear left-hand wheel arch, affording views all around including through the front window. To begin with all I see are houses, but before very long we're out of Potters Bar, more precisely at junction 24 on the M25. From the roundabout I can look down over roadworks on the motorway - the cones are out and traffic's passing through in contraflow. Just a couple of hundred metres more and I'll be back inside London again.

The Ridgeway is an amazing road, for London at least, because it truly lives up to its name. It runs along the top of a ridge between two streams, the larger of which - the Salmon's Brook - flows unspoilt along the groove below. I enjoy what's an entirely atypical view from a London bus, all hedges and sky, as we speed onward through Enfield Chase. The landscape is astonishingly agricultural, just field after field after field, with the only buildings for the next mile a quartet of farms. Those and two independent schools, built so far from anywhere that it's fortunate Mummy can probably drive. Those and a single cottage called Windrush, an Art Deco home so remote that the adjacent bus stop has been named after it. Where the road starts to dip is the hamlet of Botany Bay, allegedly named to mirror the remoteness of Captain Cook's first Australian anchorage. The cricket club doubles up as a jazz venue, while the Robin Hood pub boasts 'great food', and judging by the busy state of their car park they might well be right.

I recognise the end of the ridge from London Loop section 17, but not the tractor we're suddenly stuck behind. Beyond the fields is Chase Farm Hospital, whose casualty department was itself a recent casualty of NHS restructuring. A big sign out front alerts parents-to-be that the Maternity unit closed in November 2013, but it was undoubtedly a PR error to illustrate this with a photo of a smiling mother. Hospitals bring custom to buses, and as a result of the influx my forward view is suddenly part-blocked by a rather large Afro. Further passengers board along the built-up end of The Ridgeway, but this lot look like they're off shopping, as we descend down Windmill Hill into Enfield proper. Meanwhile my two fellow geezers are busy bantering in the back seat about an upcoming 21st birthday and how Smithy's not been invited. There will be proper hassle later.

Because we're heading east we get to follow the one-way system up the main drag, that's Church Street. A mass changeover occurs outside McDonalds, as most of those aboard pour off and a brand new contingent pours on. The two rows behind me are now filled by a clutch of smartly-dressed teenage girls, who continue their outside gossip in this more confined space. "Pizzas are changing at school to thin," says one, to an immediate response of "Nooooo!" Another is struck by the slogan above Enfield Market - "How is that vibrant?!" she mocks. Nobody points out the site of Britain's first cashpoint on the front of Barclays, nor the New River in its artificial channel opposite the station.

Ahead is Southbury Road, a long Victorian terrace which leads gently downhill to Southbury. This suburb'll become more well-known capital-wide when its station appears on the Overground next year, but North London folk are already familiar and are queuing to visit in large numbers. A truly massive retail park has grown up alongside the Great Cambridge Road, easy to reach by car, and my God don't they? First up are all the mid-range chain restaurants a community could need - a TGI Fridays, a Harvester and a Pizza Hut - the latter the destination of choice for the six schoolgirls sat behind me. Beyond the A10 come the megasheds, including an orange B&Q and various furniture warehouses, where several more passengers alight. I'm impressed by the genuine choice of a Morrisons or a Sainsburys, both enormous, plus a huge Tesco on the other side of the railway.

We pause awhile outside Ponders End bus garage for a driver changeover - a delay I've experienced only rarely on my round London journey. An inspector can be seen hanging around outside, keeping tabs, while the sweet smell of a carwash, or maybe a launderette, wafts aboard. It's good to return at last to a street with actual houses, though not so good for the 313 stuck in a very long queue of traffic (not) heading the other way. Only seven of us remain aboard the bus, though one of the departees has left behind a crushed coke can and a Subway wrapper on the floor. Two chatty old ladies then alight at consecutive stops ("Bye Maria, bye") after what may have been a grand day out, or may just have been tea somewhere.

We're approaching the Lea, close to where Ponders End's four tower blocks rise in pastel harmony. The 313 is the only London bus to cross this far north, taking advantage of a gap between the two King George reservoirs which otherwise form a three mile barrier between east and west. The viaduct crosses four threads of the river in close succession, plus another Harvester in case somehow the Southbury branch is too far away. Beyond the sailing club is Kings Head Hill, the king in question being Henry VIII, at least according to the pub sign. It's a steady climb into Chingford, quite relentlessly so to reach the old village centre at Chingford Green. The wind is whipping the trees in the churchyard, which is annoying because I'm getting off here a smidgeon before the shelter of the bus station. Nine miles nearer my goal, and definitely getting there. 179>>

» route 313 - timetable
» route 313 - live bus map
» route 313 - route history
» route 313 - The Ladies Who Bus
» map of my journey so far

<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>

click to return to the main page

...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan21  Feb21  Mar21  Apr21  May21  Jun21
Jan20  Feb20  Mar20  Apr20  May20  Jun20  Jul20  Aug20  Sep20  Oct20  Nov20  Dec20
Jan19  Feb19  Mar19  Apr19  May19  Jun19  Jul19  Aug19  Sep19  Oct19  Nov19  Dec19
Jan18  Feb18  Mar18  Apr18  May18  Jun18  Jul18  Aug18  Sep18  Oct18  Nov18  Dec18
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17  Dec17
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

twenty blogs
ian visits
blue witch
the great wen
edith's streets
spitalfields life
in the aquarium
round the island
wanstead meteo
christopher fowler
ruth's coastal walk
the ladies who bus
round the rails we go
london reconnections
dirty modern scoundrel
from the murky depths
exploring urban wastelands

quick reference features
Things to do in Outer London
Things to do outside London
Inner London toilet map
The DG Tour of Britain

read the archive
Jun21  May21
Apr21  Mar21  Feb21  Jan21
Dec20  Nov20  Oct20  Sep20
Aug20  Jul20  Jun20  May20
Apr20  Mar20  Feb20  Jan20
Dec19  Nov19  Oct19  Sep19
Aug19  Jul19  Jun19  May19
Apr19  Mar19  Feb19  Jan19
Dec18  Nov18  Oct18  Sep18
Aug18  Jul18  Jun18  May18
Apr18  Mar18  Feb18  Jan18
Dec17  Nov17  Oct17  Sep17
Aug17  Jul17  Jun17  May17
Apr17  Mar17  Feb17  Jan17
Dec16  Nov16  Oct16  Sep16
Aug16  Jul16  Jun16  May16
Apr16  Mar16  Feb16  Jan16
Dec15  Nov15  Oct15  Sep15
Aug15  Jul15  Jun15  May15
Apr15  Mar15  Feb15  Jan15
Dec14  Nov14  Oct14  Sep14
Aug14  Jul14  Jun14  May14
Apr14  Mar14  Feb14  Jan14
Dec13  Nov13  Oct13  Sep13
Aug13  Jul13  Jun13  May13
Apr13  Mar13  Feb13  Jan13
Dec12  Nov12  Oct12  Sep12
Aug12  Jul12  Jun12  May12
Apr12  Mar12  Feb12  Jan12
Dec11  Nov11  Oct11  Sep11
Aug11  Jul11  Jun11  May11
Apr11  Mar11  Feb11  Jan11
Dec10  Nov10  Oct10  Sep10
Aug10  Jul10  Jun10  May10
Apr10  Mar10  Feb10  Jan10
Dec09  Nov09  Oct09  Sep09
Aug09  Jul09  Jun09  May09
Apr09  Mar09  Feb09  Jan09
Dec08  Nov08  Oct08  Sep08
Aug08  Jul08  Jun08  May08
Apr08  Mar08  Feb08  Jan08
Dec07  Nov07  Oct07  Sep07
Aug07  Jul07  Jun07  May07
Apr07  Mar07  Feb07  Jan07
Dec06  Nov06  Oct06  Sep06
Aug06  Jul06  Jun06  May06
Apr06  Mar06  Feb06  Jan06
Dec05  Nov05  Oct05  Sep05
Aug05  Jul05  Jun05  May05
Apr05  Mar05  Feb05  Jan05
Dec04  Nov04  Oct04  Sep04
Aug04  Jul04  Jun04  May04
Apr04  Mar04  Feb04  Jan04
Dec03  Nov03  Oct03  Sep03
Aug03  Jul03  Jun03  May03
Apr03  Mar03  Feb03  Jan03
Dec02  Nov02  Oct02  Sep02
back to main page

the diamond geezer index
2020 2019 2018 2017 2016
2015 2014 2013 2012 2011
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006
2005 2004 2003 2002

my special London features
a-z of london museums
E3 - local history month
greenwich meridian (N)
greenwich meridian (S)
the real eastenders
london's lost rivers
olympic park 2007
great british roads
oranges & lemons
random boroughs
bow road station
high street 2012
river westbourne
trafalgar square
capital numbers
east london line
lea valley walk
olympics 2005
regent's canal
square routes
silver jubilee
unlost rivers
cube routes
Herbert Dip
capital ring
river fleet

ten of my favourite posts
the seven ages of blog
my new Z470xi mobile
five equations of blog
the dome of doom
chemical attraction
quality & risk
london 2102
single life
april fool

ten sets of lovely photos
my "most interesting" photos
london 2012 olympic zone
harris and the hebrides
betjeman's metro-land
marking the meridian
tracing the river fleet
london's lost rivers
inside the gherkin
seven sisters

just surfed in?
here's where to find...
diamond geezers
flash mob #1  #2  #3  #4
ben schott's miscellany
london underground
watch with mother
cigarette warnings
digital time delay
wheelie suitcases
war of the worlds
transit of venus
top of the pops
old buckenham
ladybird books
acorn antiques
digital watches
outer hebrides
olympics 2012
school dinners
pet shop boys
west wycombe
bletchley park
george orwell
big breakfast
clapton pond
san francisco
children's tv
east enders
trunk roads
little britain
credit cards
jury service
big brother
jubilee line
number 1s
titan arum
doctor who
blue peter
peter pan
feng shui
leap year
bbc three
vision on
ID cards