Full Circle – London LOOP 17.

Hello dear readers and thanks for checking out yet another episode of my walk round the London LOOP orbital path. If you’ve been reading the previous posts then just skip down to the read more button as the next paragraph is merely a cut and paste of an earlier one for the benefit of readers who may have just landed here. You know the drill by now.

The London LOOP is a little over 150 miles of designated and way-marked public right of way which is just concentric to the M25 motorway and as always I start with a quick word of advice. This post is one of a series and it will make more sense if you start at the beginning to discover what lunacy had compelled me to undertake such a large project

So, where did I leave you last time then? Ah yes, standing at the door of St. Dunstan’s Church in Cranford like a jilted bride (or indeed groom). Sorry about that, I thought it was for the best but now that I am here, shall we take a walk down the aisle together? It is OK ladies, I am being flippant as I am not the marrying kind by virtue of the fact I am completely unmarriageable. I appear to be in another one of my “funny moods” this morning which is probably attributable to a mixture of being so close to the “finish line” of the LOOP that I am getting “demob happy” and the insomnia isn’t helping.

I am not sure if St. Dunstan’s is a traditional Church that always leaves it’s doors open or if it was just because it was Sunday but the doors were indeed open and in I went. It is a matter of constant regret to me that when I am walking that so many Churches are locked up. I am an atheist but places of worship of whatever faith are like a magnet for me, I find them endlessly interesting on a number of levels and I find it a sad indictment of modern society that Churches, traditionally a place of sanctuary and refuge now have to be locked against the evils of the 21st century.

The first thing that caught my attention was a beautiful stained glass window with an accompanying plaque commemorating the fallen of the First World War. This attracted me for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I love stained glass as a medium and I could look at, or through, stained glass windows all day. The second reason was that it was a war memorial and I contribute to an excellent project overseen by the Imperial War Museum which hopes to document every war memorial in the UK.

By this I do not mean just the traditional war memorials as seen in every town and village in the country which are overwhelmingly the result of the First World War, with subsequent additions for the Second World War and occasionally later conflicts as well. It is amazing how diverse war memorials can be, ranging from memorial parks and gardens, public benches, arches, towers, and a host of other things. Churches are a prime place for finding such memorials and this was a particularly fine example as you can see.

I still have not worked out who the central figure is in the window but my best guess is either the Archangel Michael or St. George, although he is usually portrayed with his dragon. I suspect it is Michael, who is most generally accepted as the patron saint of soldiers (and policemen) although there are various military patron saints recognised. These include Joan of Arc, which I suppose is understandable, and Sebastian who, amongst other patronages is the patron saint of archers which I find somewhat ironic.

Something I had not noticed at the time and only saw when I was checking my images for this piece is that some of the small external panels appear to be regimental badges. The only one I can recognise is the one in the extreme lover right corner which is the badge of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Another thing I noticed on the memorial plaque was that of the 20 fallen who are commemorated here, three of them were called Lipscombe. For the benefit of non-British readers I should explain that Lipsocombe is not a common name in the UK so these three men were obviously all from the one family and I could not help but speculate about their relationship.

Of course, you know what happened this morning as I was writing this piece. Yes, I had to investigate and it appears that Henry and Frederick were brothers, both the sons of Josiah and Lucy Lipscombe of The Cottage, Cranford House, Hounslow, Middx. I am guessing either Josiah or Lucy or both were in service at the “big house”. I cannot definitely identify Archibald but I discovered that Henry was 27, married with a wife in Godalming when he died in 1918. Frederick was only 21 when he was killed in Belgium in 1916. What an absolute tragedy for their poor parents and Daisy, Henry’s wife. What an awful bloody war.

Having had a good long look at the window and memorial I set about looking at the rest of the Church. It is Church of England and I get the impression it is “High Church”. It is not a huge building but there are a few things of interest of which the most notable was the tomb of Elisabeth, Lady Berkeley who we met in the last blog. Her effigy depicts her in her shroud and is impressive and very well rendered. If you look closely at the i age above you can just see the tomb to the right hand side of the altar. I cannot imagine why I did not take a closer image of it bit I didn’t. Sorry.

It is the work of the very aptly named Nicholas Stone and I give you fair warning, he is a very interesting character so stand by for another bio. You may wish to skip a few paragraphs if you have had enough history. Here goes.

Stone was born c.1586 near Exeter in humble circumstances, the son of a quarryman but he was yet another of the tales of “poor country boy goes to London and makes good” with which English history is liberally strewn. Nicholas Stone is a proper Dick Whittington. He obviously inherited a love for matters lithic from his Father and, as a young man, moved to London apprenticed to a Dutch stonemason where he showed great promise.

In London he met the renowned Dutch Master Mason Hendrik de Keyser, who was chief mason for the City of Amsterdam and contracted himself to go and work there. Not content with working, he also married the bosses daughter! Returning to London, he quickly established himself as the country’s foremost sculptor of funeral monuments which is obviously how I stumbled upon him.

In Georgian Britain masons were much more than sculptors or workers in stone, they also performed many of the functions of a modern architect, not to mention a bit of interior decorating on the side. It was probably through the latter that he met the famous architect Inigo Jones who was to be his mentor and benefactor throughout his life. Perhaps Stone’s most prestigious decorating project was the Chapel at Holyrood Palace, home to the Scottish monarch.

With the assistance of Jones, Stone was appointed to the royal Office of Works and his first post was as “master mason and architect” to Windsor Castle. Not a bad job but it got better as he was appointed Master Mason to the Crown in 1632. As well as his regal duties his other output was prodigious. Amongst the projects he oversaw was the construction of the Banqueting House and Goldsmith’s Hall, both in London, both still standing and both magnificent. He designed the entrance arches for Oxford Botanic Gardens, sculpted statues for Woburn Abbey and worked on York House (now demolished) in central London.

Things went sour for Stone when the Puritans ousted (and eventually beheaded) King Charles I as Stone was deemed to be too close to the Royal Family to be employed in those strange times and he died in 1647 before the monarchy was restored. He was buried in St. Martin-in-the-Fields, close to his home in Long Acre. In a cruel irony, the memorial erected to the man who made so many of them has been lost and we only have a drawing to look at now. Quite how you can lose a bloody great lump of stone is beyond me. A portrait perhaps but a huge funeral monument? Very careless if you ask me.

I enjoyed learning about yet another historical figure I had never heard of but let’s get back to Cranford now. Once outside again, I paused for a brief look at and photograph of, the impressive Berkeley coat of arms adjacent to the South wall of the church. I also paused briefly to pay my respects at the grave of Sgt. Ronald McNamara of the RAFVR who died on 14th October 1941. I took the image you see above purely out of habit. I have mentioned before that I contribute to the Imperial War Museum War Graves project (a separate entity to the Memorials project) which aimed to obtain images of every Commonwealth War Graves Commission grave around the globe. The project has been going some time now and just about every grave in the UK has been photographed but I just cannot get out of the habit.

Onward, ever onward and under the perpetually busy M4 motorway by means of a subway. I only found out later I was lucky to have that option. When the M4 was being planned in 1960 they intended to route it right through the Parish of St. Dunstan’s which would have completely bisected it and left half the parishioners with no reasonable way to attend their place of worship. Pretty typical motorway “planning” (do they ever actually plan anything other than disruption?) which was only amended after some serious lobbying from the Church of England and the subway was built to allow the faithful to attend divine worship.

I soon found myself in the delightfully named Watersplash Lane and you are probably ahead of me with the taxonomy of the name. I do love that word. Yes, we are back to the matter I spoke about in the last episode, fords, and it appears there was one here although there is no sign of it now.

What there was sign of was a pub, O happy day. Closer examination showed that it was not open, not so happy day. I am sad to have to report that it will never open again as it is yet another of the lost pubs I keep telling you about, O completely tragic day. It closed a few years ago and, guess what, a planning application has been approved to build yet more flats (apartments). Once again some property developer is going to make a killing at the expense of a community resource. It really does depress me.

My slightly deflated mood was lightened considerably after a few hundred yards when I came upon one of my greatest delights in life, a canal, in this case the Grand Union. The GU is a waterway I know quite well along with it’s extension the Regent’s Canal which runs about fifteen minute walk from my home.

The Regent’s and the GU featured quite a lot in another lunatic scheme of mine where I went for a walk along it one day and ended up walking the almost entire Jubilee Greenway which is like a smaller version of the LOOP, concentric to it and only about 31 miles long. I only had one easy section to complete to finish it but a certain virus from the East put paid to that notion. I have no idea when, if ever, I shall have a chance to complete it. If you want to read about that little escapade you can do so here, I hope you enjoy it.

I have spoken often about my love of all things canal and I am never happier than wandering along a towpath. Actually that is not quite true as I am happier when I am crewing a narrowboat, which I have done on the GU before but you get the idea. There is something about canals that just calms me no matter what mood I am in, not that I was in a bad mood then, just a trifle miffed about the Crane being shut but not in any sort of rage. It was a nice sunny June morning and I was out for a walk on the Cut, how bad can it be? Also, I knew that thee was zero chance of getting lost as my start / finish point was on the canal so all I had to do was keep to the path and I could not go wrong.

I’ll explain the sign you can see in one of the images above. It is obviously a milepost to tell the boatman how far it is to Braunston. Where? Chances are you have probably never heard of this small town at the extreme Western edge of Northamptonshire with a population of less than 2,000 (2011 census) but for the canal enthusiast like myself it is a cross between Heathrow airport where we have just been and Mecca.

It is like Heathrow in that it is the junction of the Grand Union and Oxford canals and is the busiest stretch of inland waterway in the country, it is very much a transport hub for the network. If you pass on the train, as I have done many times it seems like there is nothing else to the town but marinas, boatyards, residential and non-residential moorings and so on. There are literally thousands of beautiful narrowboats there and they support a thriving industry supporting them. My dear friend Jan who owns and lives on a working boat as well as writing canal based poetry and prose, not to mention running training courses reckons the word boat is an acronym for Bring Out Another Thousand! They can be expensive to run.

The letters at the top of the sign, which I appreciate are slightly difficult to read are G.C.J Co. Ltd. which stands for Grand Junction Canal Company Limited which was the private company that opened the canal in 1803 and before the name changed to the more popular Grand Union as most people call it today although Grand Junction is still technically correct.

I have included the image of the bridge not because it is of particular interest but to show what a typical canal bridge looks like. When the canals were being built in the “canal boom” of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, the construction was all funded by private companies and money saving was everything. The bridges were constructed just wide enough for two boats to pass and I can tell you from personal experience that two 60 or 70 footers passing under a bridge like that requires a bit of concentration. Also, there is just enough headroom to allow a fully laden craft underneath. I am quite tall at 6’5″ and depending on how high the canal is running I have occasionally had to duck if I am at the tiller.

Just by way of a little interest I have included a small selection of myself, the afore-mentioned Jan and some other friends having a few days on the Grand Union near Rickmansworth which is not far from where we are on the LOOP now.

Apologies for the sight of me stripped to the waist, not a pretty sight I know! Without being indelicate, there was one occasion on another trip, running a boat down from Banbury to Denham to moor it, when I ended stripped further down than that and got very “up close and personal” with the Grand Union! Near Bletchley our prop got fouled courtesy of a thoughtless fisherman whose self-erecting tent had gone in the canal and fouled our prop shaft good and proper. Your humble narrator ended up stripped down to his underwear and up to his waist in filthy, disease ridden, freezing (it was November) canal water trying to unfoul said shaft. Not much fun at the time but amusing to look back on.

I think by now that you have probably got the idea I am a big canal fan and so it was a fairly jaunty Fergy that stepped it out along the towpath. Not far to go now. As a matter of technical note, a short way along the path is the end of walking section 10 as per the TfL website which divides the LOOP into 24. At three and a half miles from Hatton Cross it is the shortest section on the route and you can jump off here to access Hayes and Harlington rail station but I had no intention of doing that, it was a case of Uxbridge or bust. I did not know it at the time but it was only another seven and a half miles (12 km. in modern speak) but I did know it wasn’t too far and I was sure I could make it.

After a short walk the LOOP leaves the towpath and you are immediately catapulted from the old technology of the Industrial Revolution into the 21st century world of the Technological Revolution in the form of Stockley Park. Stockley Park is an industrial estate which is home to some of the biggest teech companies in the country. It was built on the site of old brickworks in the 1980,s and looks ultra- modern if a bit soulless after the canal. Being a Sunday it was like a ghost town as the image shows and I was just waiting for the tumbleweed to blow down the street but there wasn’t enough breeze for that!

After Stockley Park I crossed a similarly futuristic footbridge and was straight back into the country and skirting the boundary of Stockley Park Golf Club which looks very new and very expensive. The countryside was not to last, however, and I was soon back into a more traditional industrial area which was not particularly exciting but it had one redeeming feature which you can see above, the Brickmakers Arms, a lovely little backstreet pub whose name reflects the major trade that used to flourish here. Remember I said that Stockley Park was built on old brickfields?

I suppose you know what I am going to say next. You’ve got it, the pub closed in late 2016 / early 2017 although all my internet sleuthing cannot establish what might happen to the building or the site if they demolish it. It was quiet on a Sunday as it presumably existed to serve the workers from the industrial estate but it was friendly and I had a good chat with the barman and a very welcome pint. At some point I must go through all my London LOOP entries and count up exactly how many closed pubs I passed. Then again, maybe I won’t as this pandemic house arrest has me depressed enough already.

Suitably refreshed I carried on and was soon back on the towpath where I went on a bit of a shutter frenzy as you can see in the slideshow above. I particularly liked the slightly scruffy old boat with the painted front panel which is certainly not the most handsome craft on the GU but if you look closely you will see that it is named “Cirrhosis of the River” and with a rather well rendered cartoon of three guys drinking beer in a rowing boat. I thought that was very clever.

For a brief while the LOOP followed the Slough arm of the GU which was one of the last canals built in the UK, being completed in 1882. By this time the railways dominated transport and canals as a commercial proposition were fairly well doomed. This arm was built to transport the bricks made here up to Slough. After my brief flirtation with the Slough arm I was soon following yet another waterway, the river Colne. I was now in the Colne Valley Regional Park and not only that but I was no longer in Buckinghamshire. I was surprised they didn’t send me a welcoming committee!

The Colne Valley Regional Park bosts several paths of it’s own and this brings me onto another interesting point about the LOOP and walking in and around London in general. For such a busy international metropolis, London serves the walker very well and there are literally hundreds of waymarked and designated paths many of which overlap or cross each other. Try just putting “London walks” into your preferred search engine and see what you get, you might be surprised.

It never ceases to amaze me how much “green” there is within the Greater London area as I hope I have showed you in this series of blogs. Now that I am officially old I have a bus / Tube / train pass which lets me visit it all for free, at least it does if I am ever released from my current house arrest. I am beginning to know how Aung San Suu Kyi felt!

For those readers in and around London, I exhort you to get out and about and explore these places. For those visiting, I appreciate you will have so much you want to see in this fabulous city but, if you have a free day, please seek out some of these peaceful green spaces and for those who will never visit London, just sit back and enjoy the millions of images and descriptions available online of which this blog is merely one minute fraction but I hope it is of value.

In the Colne Valley Park I passed a lake known as Little Britain Lake, supposedly because it looks like an outline map of the British Isles if viewed from above. I have looked at a satellite image and I would say it is a bit of a leap of the imagination and I certainly would not like to navigate from Land’s End to John O’ Groats using it as a map but it is a pleasing story.

After my brief flirtation with the Slough Arm and the Colne River, I was soon back in the arms of my true love, the Grand Union. There must be a folk song in there somewhere. Not far along the towpath I game upon the excellent XXXX General Eliott pub which was open then and, I am glad to report, appears to still be open (subject to virus law) in December 2020. It was a beauty, obviously built to serve the needs of the boatmen in days past but now caters for locals and thirsty walkers like me.

General Eliott? Never heard of him so you can guess what is coming next, my compulsion has taken over again. The right Honourable George Augustus Eliott, 1st Baron Heathfield, KB, PC, to give him his full title, was born on Christmas Day 1717 in Roxburghshire in the Scottish borders and it seems I have followed him round the world a bit in the strange way these things have of happening to me.

Foe some reason I cannot discover, Eliott studied at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and then at a military college in France, going on to serve in the Prussian Army for a year before transferring to the (British) Engineers and then the cavalry.


Leiden is a beautiful city and dear to my heart as it was here that my lunatic and unplanned European “Grand Tour”, which I have spoken of before, began. Digression alert. Not long ago I was writing here about Rotherhithe in Southeast London from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail to head to the New World via Plymouth. You can read about it here.

What is probably not so well known about those on the Mayflower is that they had lived in Leiden for some years attempting to avoid religious persecution in England before deciding to strike West. I watched an excellent documentary about it on the BBC not a week before writing this. Is anyone subscribing to the concept of “the inter-connectedness of all things” yet?

Eliott served as ADC to King George II for three years and was raised to Colonel. He distinguised himself in the War of Austrian Succession (1742 – 1748) where he was wounded twice. It appears he was not a commander to lead from the rear. He fought in the Seven Year War, including the Battles of Emsdorf and Minden and after this was part of the force that captured Belle Ile in 1761 and the next year captured another island across the Atlantic namely Cuba in the Battle of Havana.

In 1774 he was appointed Governor of Londonderry and I am following him again because it was in that city that I spent the first 11 years of my life. In 1775 he was placed in charge of all British forces in Ireland.

Perhaps Eliott’s greatest achievement came when he was Governor of Gibraltar, a post he took over in 1777. In 1779 the French and Spanish besieged “the Rock”, attempting to starve out the garrison which they could not breach due to Eliott’s upgrading of the fortifications. The seige was eventually to last until 1783, just imagine that, a four year seige but the garrison held and Gibraltar is British to this day, much to the consternation of the Spanish although I suppose the French have long forgotten about it.

My connection to Gibraltar is that I played a residency in the Cannon Bar there for a couple of weeks about 30 years ago and had a great time. Thankfully, it still seems to be in business although curtailed with the virus restrictions.

In 1787 Eliott returned to Britain where he was created Baron Heathfield of Gibraltar and appointed a Knight of the Bath which is a high chivalric award granted by the monarch and accounts for the KB in his title. The PC refers to him being a Privy Councillor. PC’s are a group of respected people, usually now either serving or retired politicians, who advise the monarch.

Having been lavishly feted in Britain the newly created Lord Heathfield set out overland to return to Gib. where he was still Governor but he never made it. He was taken ill in what is now Germany and stayed in and around Aachen until he died there on 6th July, 1790. Again, I have a connection to Aachen. I have mentioned VT Euromeets before on this blog. These are annual events which grew out of the sadly demised Virtual Tourist website and in 2015 it was based in Aachen, organised by my dear friend Valentina who now lives there. Perhaps I shall get round to writing about that some day. So now you know all about General Eliott and so do I. Happy days.

A pleasant half an hour was spent in the pub named for the hero of Gibraltar, chatting to the barman who was not too busy which surprised me. It is a great pub, it was Sunday afternoon on a glorious day and I thought it would have been busier. I could have stayed all afternoon but the finish line was metaphorically in sight if not visually.

Pressing on, I did not get too far and the image above shows you why. You’ve got it, another pub, this time the Dolphin so at least you will be spared another bio as I do not intend to go into a dissertation on matters cetacean, although I could tell you about the time…………………STOP IT. (Ed., that’s me!)

Like it’s neighbour along the towpath, this was a great boozer, again presumably constructed to serve the boatmen and whilst it was better patronised than the Eliott had been, I was again surprised how quiet it was. The Dolphin is actually sideways on to the canal as the picture of the lovely little beer garden shows. If you look closely you can see my by now pretty battered guidebook sitting beside my pint. It was no shame for it as it had seen a few miles.

Again, the place was quiet and perhaps this is part of the reason so many pubs are closing. A combination of exorbitant rents and business rates and a completely unfair situation whereby pubs have to pay VAT on alcohol when supermarkets do not has led to people drining at home instead of going to the pub. There are other factors of course but it is not the time nor place to go into that here. Another pleasant time was spent watching the occasional narrowboat moving sedately along the cut and then it was time to move on, I really was getting close and I am glad to report that the Dolphin seems to be still functioning in December 2020 despite virus restrictions.

There was still one final hurdle to cross and you are looking at it above, the Swan and Bottle. You might wonder why I kept delaying my finish by going into so many pubs but those of you who have read this series through from the beginning may remember that one of my self-imposed rules was that if I passed an open pub, well, I didn’t pass it. I had tasked myself to have a drink in every open pub I found.

Of course this was before my health deteriorated and which possibly contributed in no small measure to that deterioration but it was fun. Also, you did not have to book ahead, sit by yourself and not even go near the bar, talk to people and you voluntarily allow the Government to track your movements. Of course they did it before but you are now giving them permission to do so thereby circumventing all the usual checks and balances in place to regulate surveillance. Sorry, but I am not doing that. Not that I have anything to hide but I am just not doing it. This Chinese virus has a lot to answer for, it has effectively finished life as we knew it and things will never return to January 2020 status.

The Swan and Bottle is a huge place and very pleasant. I would describe it as more a restaurant with an attached bar rather than the other way round as the emphasis was very much on food. Although I did not eat, the food I did see served looked excellent although, yet again, I was surprised at how quiet the place was. The overheads here must be huge and if this was a prime time and it was so quiet I do not know how they turn a profit but apparently they do as it is still open.

If you are wondering about the strange name, it derives from the fact that this was originally two pubs, the Olde Swan and the Leather Bottle, which is reflected in the slightly assymetrical architecture. It probably dates to the 17th century so it pre-dates the canal and probably owes it’s existence due to the crossing point on the Oxford Road. It is mentioned in contemporaneous accounts of the flight of King Charles I during the English Civil War, more of that unfortunate monarch later.

As I went in the door of the pub I could see the bridge over the canal which marked journey’s end for me. I knew that barring a freak accident crossing the Oxford Road (not impossible but unlikely) I had done it and my pint of cider in a nice comfy chair tasted all the better for it. I finished my drink, walked the hundred or so yards to the bridge and stood looking back along the canal the way I had just come and took the image above. You can see the pub on the left.

I then crossed the road and looked on up the canal where the whole affair had started all those months ago, it seemed like a very long time ago.

No, I did not dance a little jig or get down and kiss the ground a la Pope John Paul II but I did allow myself a small smile of satisfaction. I had started out all those months ago in just my street kit and armed with nothing more than a guidebook I had bought that morning with no real plan to walk the entire length of the LOOP. I was just bored and fancied a wander but, after a few days walking, the idea slowly formed that I might like to do it all and now I had.

I was never bothered if I did finish or not until maybe three quarters of the way round when it seemed feasible. I never set out to do a particular distance on any day although the sections do make convenient distances for a day’s walk between between transport options. I had had a thoroughly enjoyable time despite a few soakings, some unplanned diversions and a few days of tired feet. The route is 152 miles long but I reckon I must have walked about 180 the number of times I got lost. Well, not lost but just not where I should have been, you know what I mean.

This was the longest LDP I had ever done and it looks like it will be the longest I shall ever do so it was a good one to go out on. Time to go home now but don’t you move dear readers, you are not quite finished yet as I have one more place to tell you about and you can see it above.

This is the Crown and Treaty pub close by the bridge I have just spoken of and a look at the tall chimneys will tell you that it is a very old building. It actually dates to 1576 although it has been much altered over the centuries. It is Grade II listed and not just for the architecture but for the historical significance of the building which gives rise to the odd pub name. I promised you a few paragraphs ago that we would meet King Charles I again and here he is.

In 1645 between 29 January to 22 February, at the height of the English Civil War, there was an attempt made to reconcile the three sides involved. Three sides? Surely that bloody and divisive period of English history was fought between Royalists and Parliamentarians? Yes, it was but there were three delegations present at this meeting, the Cavaliers and Roundheads as mentioned and also the Scots. It is an often overlooked fact that the “English” Civil War was being fought out North of the border as well.

At the time the pub was very much larger and was the home of Sir John Bennet, a senior politician probably best remembered for being found guilty of bribery and extortion, it was ever thus. It was only later on that the building was reduced in size by about two thirds due to road widening and became a coaching inn and subsequently a pub.

Despite the lengthy period of negotiations very little was actually decided as both Royalists and Parliamentarians both thought they were gaining the upper hand and so were not prepared to concede much. The so-called Treaty of Uxbridge was very much of a nothing and so the war went on.

There is an interesting sidebar to this story. The original wood panelling from the time of the Treaty was sold off in 1924 and ended up adorning an office in the Empire State Building in New York. It was returned as a gift to Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of her Coronation in 1953 and she very graciously returned it to the pub where it now graces an upstairs dining room.

I didn’t go into the Crown and Treaty for several reasons. I had finished my day’s actual walk and so was released from my “obligation” to have a drink in every pub plus which it looked a bit posh for a scruffy bugger like me. Also, and I do not wish to be indelicate here, it is a long Tube ride from Uxbridge to my home and I had already had a few pints. There are no “facilities” on Tubes or in Tube stations so it could have become uncomfortable to say the least.

A short walk brought me back to the Tube where it had all started so many months before and I took a final picture just to round the whole affair off. As I said in the very first episode of this series, I think Uxbridge is one of the more attractive Tube stations and in such stark contrast to the obscenity that is Hatton Cross where I had started that morning. There it was, I had gone full circle, not on the epic scale of Michael Palin’s great adventure but whereas he had a massive BBC budget, an army of fixers and researchers arranging every detail of his itinerary (along with his five man film crew), I had a pair of old boots and a paperback guidebook. I was quite pleased with my effort.

End of the line in every sense of the term.

I do hope you have enjoyed my travels on the LOOP and I shall construct another short entry with details of resources and general tips for clothing, transport etc. but for now this is the end of the road, or should I say path? Job done. Don’t worry, I already have my next plan in place for some more of my rambles so stay tuned and spread the word.

Author: Fergy.

Hello there and welcome to my blog which is the last attempt of a retiree and child of the 50's to overcome advanced technophobia and create a memoir of my rambles having had three commercial travel blog sites pulled from under me in just over a year. A learning curve like Everest! I am rapidly approaching a senior citizen bus pass and realistically I have more days independent travelling behind me than before so I intend to "do it while I still can" and am trying to cram in as much as I can now. Apart from travelling, I love playing music (guitar, vocals and a bit of percussion) as the profile pic suggests and sport, although my active participation is now restricted to the very occasional game of pool. I read voraciously, probably a legacy from my dear late Mother who was a librarian and encouraged me towards books from an early age. I'll read just about anything although I do have a particular interest in military history of all periods. I live alone in fairly central London where I have been for over 30 years since leaving Northern Ireland which was the place of my birth, youth and early manhood. Partially by necessity although more by love of the art I adore cooking and I can and do read recipe books and watch food programmes on TV / online all day. Nothing fancy and none of your nouvelle cuisine nonsense, just hopefully tasty, proper food. To my knowledge, I have not poisoned anyone yet! No doubt other little personal facts about me will emerge during the course of my writings here so stay tuned if you are at all interested.

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