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#66: West Ruislip – 27/08/2019

A 10 mile walk on one of the hottest post Bank Holiday Tuesdays ever recorded. Phew! Today’s visit is a final farewell to the Central Line. This time to the north west of London in what was  once the county of Middlesex, but now the suburbia of West Ruislip which is entrenched in the London Borough of Hillingdon.

A particularly challenging day, not only for the distance I travelled, but for the harsh daylight conditions too. I’ve decided to set my camera in black and white mode and a fixed ISO of 100. Ideally I would like to have had a lower setting to help with the harsh lighting, but alas this is a limitation of my camera. One of the outcomes from today is that many of my pictures appear somewhat ‘flat’ in monochrome, but that challenge has been part of the fun in trying to get a well lit and composed picture.

 I’ll let you be the judge.

The Station

The station’s island platform serves two lines with trains arriving and departing every 10 minutes or so. An early 20th Century station which is adjacent to a separate Chilterns Railway station served by a separate entrance but with a walkway joining the two. Although there is nothing particularly striking about the station or its surrounds, the feeling of ‘big brother watching’ is clearly evidenced by this picture of these overhead cameras. They look somewhat sci-fi and menacing as they could easily have appeared as a large winged drone hovering overhead.

At the end of the platform there’s a gateway to the driver’s rest rooms reached up a flight of steps and a gangway across the railway line. And whilst contemplating a shot, the driver of the recently arrived train walks up and we chat. He outlines his itinerary for the day, which includes two return trips to Epping, a lunch stop and rest break in Acton before ending his day, returning home for his tea – all before making his way to Watford to watch his football team play Coventry in the EFL Carabao Cup that evening. I’m pleased for him that Watford won 3-0.

HS2

Whatever your thoughts, views and emotions surrounding the HS2 project, it’s impact on West Ruislip’s residents is clearly set out on notices surrounding the station despite development work having already started just across the road.

And it’s across the road I wander and poke my nose around the West Ruislip Golf Centre. I find I’ve made my way, unchallenged, to the 40 bay driving range and I’m somewhat surprised there’s no one’s about other than a singular golfer whose picking up his golf bag and walking out. All becomes clear as I’m approached by an employee asking me to leave the premises. I explain my purpose and ask if I can take some pictures but I’m told that the business was sold to HS2 the day before and therefore the Golf Centre is no longer an operating business. We exchange a few comments on the impact of HS2, but the employee remains non-committal but her sadness is etched across her face.

Ruislip

Ruislip is very much suburbia at its best and is well served by 5 stations bearing its name (West Ruislip, Ruislip Gardens and South Ruislip all on the Central Line, and Ruislip and Ruislip Manor on the shared Met/Piccadilly Lines). There is little of interest around West Ruislip so I head off to the main town centre which is about a mile away. En Route, I pass Training Ship (TS) Pelican, the Sea Cadet’s home in Ruislip. An otherwise indistinct building but it catches my eye as it reminds me of my days as a Sea Cadet on board TS Hydra which once had a presence on the shores of The Menai in Y Felinheli (Port Dinorwic) on the North Wales coast. This was over 50 years ago, but I’m still thankful for the skills I learnt – in particular how to tie knots: the sheepshank, bowline and clove hitch.

The station in Ruislip opened around the same time as its counterpart in West Ruislip and reflected the population growth in suburbia in response to the ingress of the railways into the ‘Metropolitan areas’. This station has a little more character than the one to its west where a well maintained disused signal box has been preserved within the station’s boundaries.

Into the town, I head to its northern approach and browse around Manor Farm and associated buildings. The Manor Farm is a 22-acre historic site incorporating a medieval farm complex, with a main old barn dating from the 13th Century and a farm house from the 16th. Nearby are the remains of a motte-and-bailey castle believed to date from shortly after the Norman conquest.

The buildings have been renovated courtesy of a National Lottery grant, and although the site promotes that it is ‘open’ 365 days of the year, the only accessible building is the Library. A beautifully renovated barn with exposed beams, now filled with rows and rows of books and as part of this summer’s theme, workshops are run for children introducing them to space exploration as part of the 50th anniversary of the moon landing celebrations.

Sadly, I found little else of interest in the immediate vicinity, and unwisely I decided to walk the one and a half miles to Ruislip Gardens. In the searing heat, it was no fun, but equally it was unexciting as I passed rows upon rows of similarly designed houses. The purpose of my sojourn was to return to the Central Line and head for Perivale.

The Hoover Building

As I’m in the vicinity, I decide to head for and explore the iconic art deco style Hoover Building as it would be a shame to pass up on the opportunity to bask in the buildings historic architecture. But before I do, a final mention about the heat: well I can only imagine it is the heat that’s led to my bemusement as I get on the tube at Ruislip Gardens and see this discarded bra on the floor. WTF (sorry) – WTH?! What on earth makes anyone believe it’s OK to just leave such a thing lying around, presumably having been taken off because of the heat; who knows?. I ponder this thought for the ten minutes or so it takes me to travel the four stops to Perivale station.

The Hoover Building is less than ten minutes from the station and in recent years, this Grade II* listed building has been converted into a Tesco Superstore, a Halal Friendly Asian Restaurant (The Royal Naawab), and a collection of 66 luxury apartments. But thankfully all of the iconic features have been retained for everyone to see. I’ll end today’s blog by letting the building speak for itself – well more specifically its original architects: Wallis, Gilbert and Partners

Picture of the Day

I’ve taken this picture within the grounds of Ruislip Manor Farm buildings. In particular within the green area enclosed by the Great Barn, the Library and the Cow Byre Gallery. I’m looking directly at the Great Barn and as I walked through the first time I was struck by the magnificence of the restored buildings, the starkness of the black wooden cladding and the contrast this created with the sun soaked roof tiles. 

Getting the right tone of black is difficult, especially with the sun directly overhead, so I take a few practice shots to get the camera settings just right.

Now I’d seen this lady when I first walked by; she seemed to have stopped for her lunch and is now intently studying her mobile. My first thought is to capture The Barn without her in the frame, but the more I played with my positioning, the more I thought her inclusion helps to set the scene. I deliberate on whether to ask her to stay, but decide against this as it would then have made her conscious of my presence and she may have portrayed a different visage. It’s her intense concentration and complete lack of awareness of her surroundings that I believe adds to the final picture.

I started with a shot from afar which captures too much foreground, so I walk closer to tighten the shot, and then maybe after every 10 steps I take the same picture. In this final shot, I’m probably no more than 3 or 4 metres away and I’m very happy with the outcome. Even as I walk right past her, she still doesn’t acknowledge me, so whatever she’s doing, it’s certainly very riveting.

In post production, I played a little with Google Photos filter settings to get the starkness of the black I was after to represent as close as possible the colour I saw. The ‘Vista’ setting does this justice.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ5.6; Shutter Speed – 1/80; Focal Length – 47mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google filter effect – Vista; Camera effect – B&W

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#60: Epping – 18/07/2019

I have a confession to make. In all my 30 years living in Romford, I have only once passed through Epping, a mere 12 miles away and only half an hour by car. That one pass through was on a heritage bus operated by the Epping Ongar Railway as part of a Christmas Special which picked us up by Epping Station and took us to North Weald station where we enjoyed the steam train journey to Ongar and to the edge of Epping station and back to North Weald. A glorious bright but crisp winter’s day with the grand-children who enjoyed the Santa Express. A trip I’d highly recommend.

You see the Central line did once run through from Epping to Ongar, but this service was closed in 1994, and thereafter that part of the line was sold off, and subsequently bought as a heritage railway.

The Station

This is the third most northerly underground station on the Tfl network just behind Chesham and Cheshunt. But it does boast of having the longest possible journey on the Underground without changing trains to West Ruislip, and according to the train driver I chatted with who was waiting on a red signal, takes about 100 minutes to travel the 55 kilometers through the 36 stations en route. The driver, a keen golfer, was in a particularly happy mood as after the four round trips he would make today, he’d be returning home to his family in Santiago de Compostela in North West Spain for a four week holiday.

I was once told, during my early commuting in London, that if I applied a rough rule of thumb that station stops are every three minutes, I’d have a good guesstimate of the length of my journey. And I’ve used this ever since when planning routes if in a hurry to catch a timed event.; obviously this excludes any disruptions of course.

The station is fairly typical of those built in the mid 19th century but because of its rural location the railway lines are emphasised by the long curving arch of the tracks as they approach the station. And as I stand on the railway bridge at the bottom of Bower Hill, the state of the tracks are somewhat contrasted as I look along the disused line in the other direction.

This next image is pure indulgence on my part as whenever I see these numbered markers on the side of any railway line, I’m always reminded of a scene from Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ film. The one where after crash landing on Vogosphere, Ford, Zaphod, Arthur, and Marvin cross a wide expanse where they are tormented by shovel-like creatures that slap them in the face whenever they think of an idea. It’s an amusing thought as I wonder how many railway workers have had a similar fate as these shovel-like markers sprung from the ground? Childish I know… 🙂

The Market Town of Epping

Although mentioned in the Doomsday Book of 1086, I am somewhat underwhelmed by what the market town has to offer by its lack of character and architectural features. So much so I had to walk the length of the High Street twice to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. However I am sure had I visited on a Monday when the Market is here, I would have a different impression, especially as I read from their website that the market was the place to buy a wife! Nevertheless, The High Street is busy with shoppers enjoying the array of predominantly independent shops and eateries.

The town centre is dominated by the impressively built, Gothic style St John the Baptist Church, with its dominant clock tower; and directly opposite there’s a row of old and tired looking cottages in the style of early American colonial architecture.

Similar to many other market towns, Epping has done much to recognise those who have contributed to the community by the erection of blue plaques on the relevant building. And it’s because of these I now know what Dr Joseph Clegg achieved in the late 19th century – that of improving the water and sanitation conditions of the town through the erection of its water tower.

Gnomes and Fish

There’s a simple pleasure in walking around places I haven’t been to before as I see things from a fresh perspective. Some images I find amusing and with those I stop and talk with, I learn of new life experiences. This is the case with the next two images. The first in the shop window of Lathams, one of two shops catering for contemporary interior design in Essex and Hertfordshire. I walked past the shop window and smiled at this scene, and on my second route around the High Street I decided to walk in, and when asked, the assistant was more than happy for me to take a series of pictures. This one represents what I believe to be a humorous and imaginative display.

At the other end of the High Street, in a courtyard between the Sorting Office and a butchers, I met Noel McRae, a fresh fish reseller from Grimsby. Noel is a little reticent at first to chat, but after I explained what I was doing he was happy to share his story. Originally a trawlerman who caught and processed his fish, he explained that the trawlerman’s life is much harder these days; partly due to depleting stocks and the international competition and partly to age. He now concentrates on travelling across the country in his van selling freshly caught cod, haddock and salmon and some smoked trout. I’m pleased that Noel is happy to pose as he explains his return to Grimsby later in the afternoon will see him stop several times at pubs where he has a regular trade.

I shared one story of my own with him when, as a very young lad, I was out with my father fishing for sewin off the wooden jetty in Aberystwyth and I recall my father’s split cane rod bending back upon itself and snapping under the strain of the fish he caught. Alas he didn’t land the fish because of this.

Theydon Bois and Debden

Journeying back from Epping, I stop at the next two stations out of curiosity and out of hope of spotting something inspirational. Alas, and by the time you read this, you will have missed the Tortoise Racing at the 109th Annual Horticultural Show in Theydon Bois, a sleepy little hamlet of a few shops and a large green. Debden, equally unimpressive, stylised by The Broadway; a sweeping arc of mid 20th century flats sitting above a parade of shops.

Picture of the Day

This is the covered footbridge over the railway line by Epping station joining Station Approach with Hillcrest Way and onwards onto Bower Hill. No doubt a much used footbridge when the side entrance from the station into Hillcrest Way is closed, but equally an unloved one judging by its state. A narrow bridge with just enough room for two people to pass side by side, and covered with a metal cage to allow some light in and to prevent anything and anyone (yes) being thrown onto the railway track below, as now prescribed by current highway standards.

The wide angle shot is taken to draw the eye down the tunnel and accentuate the grill effect of its covered meshwork. In doing so, highlighting its necessary yet unwelcoming feel and one you probably would think twice about walking through on a dark evening. The picture has been manipulated using a Google Photo ‘Reel’ filter to enhance the colour contrast.

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ8; Shutter Speed – 1/160; Focal Length – 18mm (75-300mm zoom); Film Speed – ISO250; Google Photo Filter – Reel

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#38: Woodford – 22/01/2019

Woodford underground station is on the Central Line and sits on the destination northwards from Stratford to Epping. But it’s also the end of the line for the Fairlop Loop that runs from Stratford via Newbury Park and terminates here – and thus my visit today. A wintry cold day with bright clear skies to start with that ended, somewhat surprisingly with a sudden and unexpected snowfall in the early evening.

The area immediately surrounding the station to the north is known as Woodford Green and serves a residential community of largely early 20th century property mix of large detached and semi-detached houses. Growth through the suburbanisation of London has seen the ingress of multi-occupancy social housing nevertheless the area immediately around the station, which dissects the town, is clean, tidy and well cared for. Shops to the west of the station having a more traditional ‘village’ feel and those to the east of the station are of a multicultural mix suggesting they serve a diverse community.

For more information on the general area called ‘Woodford’, follow the link.

Station

Nothing out of the ordinary about the station, which has a potted history in becoming established as part of the commuter route to Epping and onwards to Ongar since its origins in the late 19th Century when the line was first built. The expansion of London during the two wars helped cement its place as a fashionable location, and in becoming the terminal destination for the loop.

I speak with Chris, the station supervisor, to try and determine the origins of the two tone green colour scheme on the station as I had a notion it originated from the earlier years. He had no knowledge of its origins, and neither can I find anything online other than the scheme reflect the ‘lner/br(e) (1940s-1960s) colours’.

We chatted about the introduction of the night service on Friday and Saturday nights, a service that runs every 20 mins, and with some heartfelt reminiscing Chris commented on how reveller’s behaviours have changed. No longer do they need to dash to catch the last train, and end up as very drunk passengers, as they can now pace themselves and return home more gracefully. He also explained the station starts operating services from 5.00 am with services running in all three directions as trains would have been held overnight in the large sidings adjacent to the station as Epping (the other end of the line) doesn’t have the capacity to store trains overnight.

The Broadway

Heading away from the station, I explore The Broadway; a small shopping parade full of independent shops (with only one obvious exception). And these shops are what gives this area it’s character. I stop to admire the somewhat jaded facade of the solicitors CCH & Co and as I turn around to head up the street I see I’m being looked at quizzically by someone from inside a Turkish Barbers.

I go in and introduce myself to Sevkan and Ego, the two barbers who are working there. I explain my purpose and ask to take their pictures and of the shop. They readily agree, and after finishing with a customer, they preen themselves for the photo-shoot. Both gentlemen took the session in good humour especially after telling them I wouldn’t charge them for the pictures. My only ask is that they share my blog details through a bundle of business cards I left with them. They tell me they’ve only been open a few months and the shop was previously a bakery.

Now I’ve often wondered what’s the difference between an English and a Turkish barber, and now I know. The extras on offer include a wet shave, a hot towel, ear flaming and a head massage although I believe these are now becoming more fashionable in the trendier gentlemen’s grooming parlours. Should you be in the neighbourhood, then pop into The Kingsman and tell them how you heard about them… 🙂

The Broadway Deli & Grocery

Across the road is a delightful Deli & Grocery recently opened by Jan, in what was once the Post Office (which has now moved across the road). I’m surprised and delighted by the welcome I get after tentatively asking to take some photos explaining my mission and how I’m drawn in by the interior displays and general ‘look and feel’.

It’s lunchtime and customers are enjoying their Monmouth coffee as they perch at the front of shop bar looking onto The Broadway, and customers eagerly buy their healthier lunches too. So I was doubly surprised with the time Jan spent with me sharing his passion for the food he sells recounting their origins and individual, and some personal, stories of how the food is created by craftsmen and artisans. For example the olive growers of Puglia (Italy) who use traditional methods to grind their olives with herbs instead of infusing them to create flavoured olive oils; or how Becky Griffiths picks her Sloe berries from around Essex to create her award winning Mother’s Ruin gin. I could easily stay listening to Jan for a very long time as he has a story for every product on display, so that will be a treat on a return visit.

I hope I didn’t outstay my welcome, and on reviewing my day’s photo shoot I realise over half the pictures I’ve taken are of the Deli, so as a thank you to Jan and his team, I’ve created a special YouTube video of those pictures as I feel I can’t quite do justice by the few pictures I can post here. Have a look here: YouTube – The Broadway Deli & Grocery

Snakes Lane East

Heading through the station underpass to the east side of Woodford, there’s a different feel as the array of health & beauty shops, supermarkets and restaurants reflects a very multicultural mix; there’s evidence of economic hardship too as seen through the high proportion of closed and derelict shops.

I have to admit I’m always impressed with the way some supermarkets show off their produce, and the Food Park is no exception with their fruit and veg carefully selected and placed providing a splendid technicolour display.

Further down the road I wander around Saint Barnabas Parish Church a couple of times hoping to find an open door to peek inside, but it was not to be, and as the afternoon is drawing to a close, I decide to head south to South Woodford.

Following St Barnabas Road all the way, I pass row upon row of typical London mid-1930’s houses. Nothing exciting to report until I reach the North Circular Road. I was hoping I’d be able to walk over a bridge as I had a few ideas on photos to try out, but at this juncture it’s another underpass.

Coming out the other side, the sky looks ominous and, as it turns out, the clouds are a precursor to an unexpected snow storm. Thankfully I make my way undercover before getting wet.

Picture of the Day

This one fits the bill for several reasons:

  • It’s a reminder of the time spent at the Deli & Grocery
  • Although the picture is ‘busy’, everything is framed and each window has its own story – if you zoom in on each pane, you can decide for yourself
  • The brief inclusion of the letter box acts as a reminder this was once the post office
  • There is an interesting juxtaposition with Sainsbury’s reflection providing a contrast between independent and chain retailer – I know which I prefer

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/100; Focal Length – 30mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – Blush

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#26: Ealing Broadway – 23/10/2018

Why a return to Ealing Broadway? In my first Ealing Broadway blog, I referenced that the station acts as a terminus for two lines: the Central and the District lines, so this concludes my travels to Ealing. Hard to credit it’s 6 months (almost to the day) from my first visit – so much fun and so many interesting things seen since then.

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The station is the same, of course, so a quick pass through, but as I do I take note of an evangelical saying written up on the Tfl update board that displays the current train status. Such boards have become popular across the network providing an opportunity for local staff to humanise the customer experience as you pass through. Today’s quote was from Robert H Schuller, a US televangelist who wrote ‘…Today’s accomplishments were yesterday’s impossibilities…’

I march out of the station careful to follow a different route from my earlier visit.

Town Centre Development

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The area around the Town Hall in New Broadway has seen significant redevelopment in  recent years, and continues to do so, but some are now close to completion. Adjacent to Christ the Saviour Parish Church stands the newly built Dickens Yard development. A mix of housing and soon to open retail opportunities on the ground floor. In the piazza between the church and this development stands an homage to George Formby in the form of a sculpture by Gordon Young celebrating words from one of his songs sung during a 1940 film produced at Ealing Studios – ‘…Make life go with a swing and a smile, Laugh at trouble and sing all the while, Now count your blessings and smile…’

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Close by is the former Fire Station, now repurposed into a smart retail outlet but sympathetically restored, and overlooking New Broadway is the imposing 19th Century Town Hall, a gothic masterpiece. A wander inside reveals intricate architecture and window displays, but alas I’m not allowed to take pictures although I was told a request to the council’s Chief Executive would get me permission – alas too late for my purpose. It turns out the Town Hall is also in line for redevelopment with one wing being turned into a boutique hotel, however there appears to be some residual opposition to this.

Across the road there’s another development branded Filmworks, which will blend historical art deco and contemporary styles into a functional and modern complex. Both this and the Dickens Yard developments have both been built by the Berkley Group under their St George brand.

I turn to head down Barnes Pikle heading for Walpole Park, but stop to consider the place name. Research suggests that Pikle is a derivation of Pightle –  a small field or enclosure usually near or surrounding a building (as a house, barn, shed)…the place name made me smile.

An Arboreal Study

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Returning into Walpole Park was my aim but the park wasn’t as busy as my first visit in April. 

Not surprisingly as although still sunny and bright, the ambient temperature was probably at least ten degrees (celsius) lower, nevertheless, lots of dog walkers, runners and mums with pushchairs about. In fact at one point there was a fitness class being taken by Jo Martin, a fitness instructor, with several new mums in tow. How do I know it was her? Well her t-shirt with her name emblazoned across it was a give away. Looking at her website, I see she specialises in pre and post natal fitness. I left all the ladies to it…

The main tree lined avenue is a pleasant walk and there is evidence of good tree management around as there are two distinct mounds of logs left around as play areas, so I took the opportunity to capture the autumnal colours and leaf fall.

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Heading for the southerly exit, I meet Ed, who is perched against a tree and is pencil sketching a tree ahead of him (see my Picture of the Day’ below). We chatted for a while and I learn that as a Mancunian he had spent time in Australia, and now enjoys sketching trees and life drawings. He explains he finds a synergy between the two formats as he works to capture how the tree growth and shapes created by trunks and branches symbolise life itself. The work he shows me clearly demonstrates his passion and eye for detail.

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Out of Walpole Park and directly across the road into Lammas Park where I try my hand at more tree studies. I’m not sure the pictures I take are in themselves of particular interest but after some post production Google Photo editing, cropping and colour filtering, this might help to bring the form and colour to life. You be the judge.

An Autumnal Walk Through Suburbia

Out of Lammas Park, I reach Northfields; not an intended destination, but the beauty of not having a plan is in itself a plan. That is – to just follow my nose to see where I end up.

Northfields is a small collection of shop , like many in London that have sprung up over the last century or so as suburbia has sprawled out of London to meet the demands of the growing population. Housing is typically London 1930’s terraces constructed from London brick, a colour easily recognisable.

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I follow the main road through to South Ealing, a route I could have done on the Piccadilly line, but I walk instead in the anticipation of finding some interesting distractions. The first comes in the guise of St Mary’s C of E Church north of the station. The church’s tower is the first thing I see from a distance, a somewhat imposing bell tower which no doubt helps to draw the congregation together when the bell tolls? The church has an interesting history which can be tracked from the 16th century to date, and outside, the church does much to promote this.

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South of the station, I go into South Ealing Cemetery to explore, but I soon realise it’s a 21 acre site so I stop to look at a couple of headstones and feel drawn to one in particular, and to my surprise I find interred therein is a Joshua Thomas. No relative (as far as I know), but it does so happen to be the name of one of my grandfathers. Because of this I take a closer interest and read the following:

  • Joshua Thomas aged 75 died 30/12/1868
  • Maria Thomas (wife) aged 87 died ??/12/1877
  • Elizabeth Jane Thomas (daughter) died 12/12/1905
  • Maria Pyne Sharp (eldest daughter) died 04/07/1906
  • William Sharp (husband) interred at Southport

Out of interest, I take note of the adjoining gravestone which records the following:

  • Marie Louise Kight aged 3 died 20/03/1870
  • Mary Louisa Maud Kight aged 3 months died 07/07/1872
  • Clara Agnes Kight aged 5 died 24/12/1874
  • John Kight (father) aged 74 died 18/03/1906
  • Louisa Kight (wife) aged 74 died 06/11/1906

Sad that the children died so young. But maybe a reflection of the squalour and disease associated with the urbanisation that accompanied the industrialisation of England at that time, and no doubt contributed to the Smallpox epidemic of 1871 along with its spread by refugees coming to England to escape the French-Prussian War. God bless the little children!..

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I decide to end the day by heading to Acton via Acton Town station, which is only one stop on the tube and walk northerly into the heart of the town along Gunnersbury Lane. It’s a short hop, but along the way I pass the Passmore Edwards Cottage Hospital. Now a nursing and dementia care home, but originally built by John Passmore Edwards, a victorian philanthropist, reported in The Times as someone who  “… did more good in his time than almost any other of his contemporaries…”

As the light begins to fade, I stop at the The Aeronaut pub, and view Twyford School through the railings before heading for the train at Acton Central station.

All in all, another varied and eventful day…

Picture of the Day

This is Ed, who I met sketching trees at the bottom of Walpole Park. My narrative above explains a bit about Ed who was kind enough to let me use him as the subject of an ‘ad hoc’ photo shoot. He was completely engrossed in his sketching and this was great to get the concentration on his face.

At one moment, the sun peered through the tree canopy and this shot captures that through his hair creating almost a halo effect. I have no knowledge of Ed’s saintly connections but he was angelic enough through the photo shoot.

I had the camera set up in Black and White mode and I think this helps to add depth to the picture and strengthen the final shot. I’m pleased with it, and ‘thank you’ Ed

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ4.5; Shutter Speed – 1/125; Focal Length – 33mm; Film Speed – ISO100; Google Photo Filter – None

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For more info, look up Ealing Broadway Station on Wikipedia

My Route

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#02: Ealing Broadway – 19/04/2018

The second hottest day of the year so far, and this time suitably dressed in shorts and t-shirt journeying to one of the two westerly ends of the Central Line at Ealing Broadway station to explore the surrounds of Ealing. This will be one of two visits here as the District Line also terminates here so whilst looking around, I had one eye on where to go next time.

Out of the station and surveyed the immediate surroundings to get my bearings and spotted an interesting authentic Japanese restaurant, the Hare & Tortoise. Not sure how an ‘un-authentic’ Japanese restaurant would differ: I guess it would just be a restaurant? This drew me slightly westerly so carried on walking in this direction and drawn to a marker on Google maps; that of Carlton Road Ancient Oak I decided to visit. Some research indicates it’s the site where an elephant has been buried, and explains why it remains in the middle of the road. It reminded me of the old Oak tree in Carmarthen in the middle of the road and the local fable that once felled, the town would drown…of course it never did (see reference Merlin’s Oak, Carmarthen).

Heading back to Ealing, I came to Haven Green Baptist Church, and here’s a theme…I popped in to browse inside the building. The church was open and being looked after by a lady serving tea and biscuits; I sensed she was more than a caretaker, but she was somewhat sceptical of my enquiring nature until she realised I was Welsh – as she came from Pontypool. She explained the church’s congregation had dwindled in recent years but had started growing again to 100+ following the recent appointment of a minister. She accompanied me whilst I explored the gallery and explained how they are slowly refurbishing some of the fixtures and fittings. I would best describe the inside of the church as likening to an overgrown Welsh chapel – some of you reading this will understand what I mean.

I bid farewell and pause outside to check my bearings , and as I turn around, I see a familiar TV face walk past – John Sergeant, he of political news and Strictly Come Dancing fame (or infamy? You decide).

Into the heart of the town through its modern, yet secluded shopping centre and I’m drawn to a pink sheep in a doorway. A great marketing symbol for the Neon Sheep shop. I of course have to stop and call in and chat a while with the shop manager who explains they are the only shop in the UK, although another opening soon in Basingstoke (although they website states there’s one in Grays in Essex as well). She proudly invites me to look up at the ceiling where there are three red sheep grazing upside down too.

Wandering out of the shopping centre, I pass a very attractive office block entrance and help myself inside and take some pics. Climbing up the escalator to the out of site reception area, I’m confronted by two security guards come receptionist who politely ask me to leave and seek my assurances not to take any pics, ‘of course’ I say without letting on I’d already taken some – oooops!

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Around the back of the town and I find the facade of the former Walpole Picture Theatre before entering Walpole Park which was being enjoyed by local residents and families in the sunshine. Maybe worth a deeper exploration when I return.

I end my visit to Ealing on a short bus ride to Alperton. This might seem out of the way if you look at the tube map, but actually only a 20 minute diversion to visit the Shri Shantan Hindu Mandir. I had seen references to this Hindu temple and thought it worthy of visiting and I’m glad I did. Such an elaborately decorated temple both outside and inside, although on this occasion I respected the ‘no photos inside the building’ request. The temple is a shrine to all the hindu gods which have their own space around the inside of the outer wall, whilst in the centre, there was a gathering of about 30 ladies chanting – I left them to it.

Another successful day, but don’t forget, please comment on quality, content, improvements or suggestions, and for more info, look up Ealing on Wikipedia

Picture of the Day

An easy pic today, simply because of the Welsh connection. This display is of a pink neon sheep which symbolises the shop’s name. It is an interesting experience and one that helps me overcome the feeling of embarrassment whilst taking pictures surrounded by passing shoppers. 

Settings: Camera – Canon EOS 200D; Aperture – ƒ11; Shutter Speed – 1/80; Focal Length – 55mm; Film Speed – ISO2500; Google Photo Filter – Alpaca

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