Walk the Lines (3 or 26)

Three more walks to go and we’re done. We really want to get this finished so a week after our long hot nightmare walk to Uxbridge, we are up early again and riding the Tube out to Watford to finish the Met line.

Watford station

I always think of the Tube as something very London; very city. But you realise when you get to the end of a line (any line except the Victoria) that the Tube also connects London to “the country”. Watford may not be country proper (for that, Go to Epping, you’ll see) but it’s certainly a different environment to what I see in my commute every day. I guess that is the difference between zone 3 and zone 6.

Leaving Watford station (one of three serving the town of Watford – but Watford Junction and Watford High Street are in the town centre, Watford Met is in the suburbs) we walk past some big fancy houses. Yes, it feels affluent out here. And then we pass an old wooden house that looks like something from a Russian fairytale.

However there is a different vibe when we get to Croxley. We stop here for breakfast simply because there were no cafes on our route from Watford Met.

Croxley Cafe is typical of the places we have eaten full English breakfasts throughout our walking odyssey: Turkish-run, speedy but friendly service, frothy instant coffee and a pile of white bread toast.

Croxley Cafe is also tremendously busy when we arrive and we are lucky to get one of the last tables. However this breakfast rush passes by the time we leave and retrace our footsteps a few paces to an unpromising side alley behind some shops which leads us down to the open spaces of (canal) and Moor Park Open Common.

Walking across Moor Park Common you cant see any buildings, although, on occasion, you do see a tube train rattle by on a railway line that’s otherwise hidden behind shrubbery. It’s a little bit like not being in London; and I guess we actually aren’t.

We emerge out the other side and after a short walk through an ugly industrial area we face a long straight walk along a busy main road WITH NO FOOTPATH. I hate this kind of walking, as every time a car whips by at high speed, and you’re hunched onto a narrow strip of grass, you feel like you might slip and fall into the path of the car. Or maybe that’s just me.

But we made it through this challenge and passing through a boom gate, entered the Moor Park Conservation area. Big houses again, but on tiny bits of land. Still, it was a sunny Saturday and a good day for gardening it seems. Oh no wait, it’s a good day to get the gardeners in to see to the garden. These are houses with 3-4 cars parked outside, immaculate landscaping and by the time we reach Moor Park station with its cute 70s look, I am suffering from Acer envy.

(Why is it that all these rich people have got beautiful well-established Japanese Maple trees that look big and healthy, while mine is sickly and not quite dead but certainly not any bigger than when I bought it three years ago?)

We emerge from the conservation area and take a short detour to visit two houses that are supposed to be in Surbiton. 53 and 55 Kewferry Road were the properties used for the outside scenes of 1970s TV show, Tje Good Life. Margo and Jerry lived in glamour and luxury at 53 while Tom and Barbara with their pig, goat, chickens and home allotment lived at 55. These days they are just ordinary (albeit large) suburban houses, no hint of glamourous TV history remains.

We walk on to Northwood, with its perfectly respectable high street, then on through suburban streets to Northwood Hills, where we take a short pause to rest our feet outside the Namaste Lounge, formerly the Northwood Hills Hotel, the venue where young Reggie Dwight (better known to you as Elton John) started his concert career.

Onward through the hilly and leafy green streets of Pinner, passing by grand houses and the lovely Pinner Memorial Park (home to the Heath Robinson Museum) before reaching the small and ugly Pinner station.

Quite footsore by this time, we push on to North Harrow (taking advantage of their free toilet facilities) and then a last long push down a long straight main road. I am singing matching songs in my head to give me energy and take my mind off my feet.

Through a last underpass and we are there, Harrow-on-the-Hill.

And that is the Metropolitan line completed!

Now as it starts to rain, we just have time to grab some food at Marks and Spencer and head home.

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