After a crowded early morning swim at Larkswood (What a clean fresh place! Hope Better’s Cathall Road Leisure Centre after renovation and refurbishment grows up to be like Larkswood), I thought I was clever working out a W16 and 123 route to The Bell in Walthamstow. I wanted to see if charcoal fixative were less expensive than on Ebay at the art shop next to the Waltham Forest Town Hall E17. Heavens above! The shop was gone, was no more. My first thought was “How do the artists of Walthamstow manage? ” Then I was very Graham Norton and thought that as they journeyed here from outwith E17 they maybe shopped in Spitalfields, that other quarter. Then I smiled, thought of allotments (and the one I rented and worked on like a slave for five years) and resigned myself with a satisfying smile, “They grow their own!”
A speaker from Brick Lane is coming to Lea Bridge Library Seniors tomorrow 3rd June to talk of Spitalfields to an audience including by chance old Jewish tailors from old Brick Lane itself. Free Kosher and Halal biscuits and a cuppa too.
So I back tracked, fascinated by shops and architecture I’d seen in old Highams Park as the W16 curved towards Chingford Mount..
There was a 1950s quietness about and I overheard the charity shop volunteer say that the station was shut.
“How much are the bras?”
The woman from the back shouted. “A pound for the small ones and £2.50 for the big uns.”
I pretended to joke. ..”That’s discrimination”.
She took my money.
Bundled up with my bargains, I crossed by the level crossing (shiver), was accosted by a man in a car and really thought I was somewhere else on my timeline. It turned out he thought I’d called for a taxi. Silly me. I got to the safe pavement just as a fish ‘n’ chip shop was opening its doors for the day. Hmm.. swim, chips. I looked about over the chimney pots and saw thick forest, turned around and saw a closed cinema, thought of Huddle and Boote and all the local walks I’d been on, took some pictures, heard my tummy rumble, entered the tiled sanctuary and ordered as standard the freshest biggest cod ever to land on my plate. The chips were out of this world.
I’ll never go back because what does Highams Park offer me? There’s a Tesco. I remember the objections about that before it was built. Highams Park was pretty snobby but hey! we all have past glories. I remember having to go there once before, something to do with the Guardian local paper, another piece of hoity toity. From the tracks.
From the bus window I do like Winchester Road. I went to the church there about six years ago for an U3A event. What a sea of white women in their seventies! Not my scene at all. I was so at someone else’s party. In Winchester Road there are named houses such as “West View”, “Matlock” and “Haselmere” and there’s Swanage Road where from the bus stop there you can see an avenue of Plane trees. What a lovely sight. Most houses have nice fronts and many are casually neglected. There are floral designs on the porch roofs and much to love.
Shunning bias, I will actually go one day and look at the Stink Hole as the locals call the artificial pond up there situated next to the River Ching. Long live red buses.