Tuesday, 23 April 2013

The E9 Route

Ealing Broadway Haven Green to Yeading  
Monday April 22nd 2013

This was my first official trip (as opposed to innumerable business and compassionate journeys) since returning from Vienna, where thanks to a weekly travel card I had criss-crossed the admittedly quite small city using all forms of transport for a mere 15 Euros. What’s more no-one ever checked my ticket, nor are there any controls to enter the buses, trams or Underground system. There is the odd punch machine but no one takes much notice. I gather the fines are pretty hefty if you do get caught ticketless so perhaps that’s enough to deter the Viennese from cheating, but it all looked a bit trusting to me. Lovely trams, now smoother than the buses, which was not the case when I was a little girl.

Anyway back to Ealing in the Spring, and that was the overwhelming experience of this route – how many green spaces there are in Ealing and the tentacles its routes reaches,  all seemed to be bursting into leaf. At last a reward for travelling several of the earlier routes in Arctic blasts.

The E9 is one of the routes which starts as what we had come to recognise as the ‘posh end’of Ealing – mansion flats overlooking the common, a huge Victorian red-brick church, and large double-fronted detached homes up the aptly named Eaton Rise, with bright pink cherry trees.  After that the homes get even more fanciful and large with turrets and driveways but these are the sort that by now have been turned into multiple flats/schools or care homes.

St Barnabas (‘a mate of St Paul’s’ Jo said helpfully for the heathen amongst us) church marks the start of Pitshnager Lane which wends its way nearly to Greenford, in true country lane style. Further along the shops, with flats above, were built in more unified style and this stretch certainly has the feel of a village, with more independent than chain shops.  ’The Director’s Cut’ proves to be a hairdresser, ‘Hook & Cleaver’ a butcher’s and Navarros a wine merchant.

Rounding the corner to drive along Scotch Common and what proves to be an extensive green space variously called Pitshanger Park with some golf course hangers on. As the River Brent is very evident through much of this trip I suspect the green spaces were left as possible flood plains, but whatever the origins we delighted in the avenues of  visibly budding trees. In one corner lurks Pitshanger Football Club which offers competitive games for 7 year olds upwards – today all there was to be seen was a solitary walker. 

If exercise is what you are after then rounding the corner brings you to the extensive car park for the Gurnell Leisure centre, and the Ruislip Road East running alongside the aforementioned river Brent, as eulogised by  John Betjeman.  You can tell that spring has gone to my head.

However there is nothing like the diversity of Greenford to bring one back down to earth, or market day. The pavements close to the Greenford crossroads are wide enough to take some market stalls. It is a wonderfully mixed area with shops adorned by different languages – as Jo said last week our Polish is improving no end but we’ll struggle with the non Latin scripts and cannot even guess what the corner greengrocer was offering without a helpful picture. Fara Charity shops  prove to be there to help fund raise for abandoned Romanian children.  The E9 has been pretty busy for its length and Greenford meant a significant interchange of passengers. Ruislip Road West is well used and by now the E9 is one of five bus routes along here, necessary I suspect to take the people from the various blocks of social housing to school, work, shopping etc.  

After crossing the Grand Union Canal (cue more greenery) the bus leaves the busy roads behind and heads down into Yeading, that is Yeading to rhyme with heading (as in football) rather than reading (as in book) but like Reading (on the way to Swindon) I am ploughing (as in plowing, not ploffing) my way through a book on the origins of English spelling but I think knowing more is making it worse. A case of less is more perhaps.

Please feel free to ignore last ramble. Talking of rambling we were by now into ‘Hail & Ride’ territory as we drove through a large 60s and 70s estate probably built over the brickworks which used to be Yeading’s main industry. There is a Yeading brook too but the bus comes to a halt alongside some local shops rather than anything more watery.

As this was the easiest way back to Ealing we got off politely for 4 minutes while the driver ‘rested’ and then returned with him to our starting point. On the return trip we spotted ‘the Civil Engineer’ presumably a tribute to Brunel, whose work helped build up the main railway lines from the West into the centre of the city.

With a trip of about 40 minutes this is one of the many E routes on offer from Ealing town centre. On the whole though we blogged our number buses in order we did not always ride them in order so having to ride 10 different but overlapping E routes has meant something of a challenge to ensure that we, and therefore you do not pass out with boredom.
Two more to go….

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