■ 22:32 (UTC±00:00), 30 OCT 2014 | GBR HARROW, GREATER LONDON
The only bit I’m not too happy with Pinner is the fact that if you’re on a Metropolitan line train to Uxbridge, it won’t take you there. Too often, I rush down to platforms with a Met line train waiting — only to see it ending at Uxbridge.
I was like: OK, so there’s one less option for me to spend my time in.
To me the reason why I’m in for Pinner is because it’s the England I grew up knowing it would be. Never mind I was educated first in Switzerland, then in China. The England I was brought up knowing it to be (a la what I have seen on the BBC, read in UK-authored textbooks and on the Web, etc) would be one with a nice little High Street, a fair bit of shops, people talking to you at establishments (like restaurants), and a fair bit of peace and quiet.
Pinner has all that. It’s the details that have made me consider Pinner when I could be heading into town to get a little rest, or simply “the usual” grocery for Master Chef Tracy here in Harrow. Things like…
- A Tube station with a lift (never forget the wheelchair users)
- Street signs with a post code on it
- Buildings with a lot of history (one’s been there since the 1580s!)
- A never-too-huge supermarket by the Tube station, good to grab water or to satisfy a huge shopping list
- A few good cafés (I admit I’m a regular to the Starbucks, but it brings back memories of expat life in China: places like Starbucks and Costa were places you went in Beijing to get a connection without the chimneys, as in China cafés were otherwise hopelessly clogged up in cigarette smoke — it felt awful!)
- Very romantic bus stop names like Love Lane (Tracy approves!)
- Benches which were next to lawns and places with history — not like those in the massive urban areas
- Streets with beautiful scenery, especially in the autumn
- Crossings by the Tube station with zebra crossings and the blinking yellow lights where cars actually stop for you
- (And of course a Tube station to bring you back to civilisation. But is Pinner not already part of “civilisation”?…)
I could go on and on. In my recent Top Five lists for part of London I loved, Pinner took pole position. I think it had to be that as I spent 14 years in a city now hopelessly mired up in smog, but I also didn’t forget about the 12 before that — where you had hills, lakes, and the mountains. If in some crazy 25th century evolution, restaurants became “insert card for robot-ised food” places, I hope Pinner doesn’t fall prey to this. People make up the town, and it’s that bit of England like Pinner that I’m all for.
Having said that, it’s useless for me to babble on about this at any more length. It really is a case of getting my (beep beep!) outside of the M25. That jaunt to Watford Junction did not do (nor did the deed poll place in Witham). I keep reminding myself the UK is small (compared to a colossal China). To me, that’s now meaningless. I might want to experience other bits of the UK before I go back and wonder:
Where to next?
(As in a destination outside of the British Isles…) ■ ■ ■