If Greater London hadn’t expanded to include Uxbridge we could be accused of missing it

We had a plan for a day in London but the Metropolitan Tube line was down for maintenance on Saturday. Our minicab driver informed us that Uxbridge (pronounced Ox-bridge) is however part of Greater London. So we have been to London but we didn’t see the Queen. Before leaving us to make an alternative plan the driver explained where to phone the minicab company and what to say so they would know where to pick us up. More about this later in our story.

We were going to go into downtown London to test run our connections for reaching the Eurostar train that will take us through the Chunnel which is the short name often used for the Channel Tunnel. The Chunnel runs from Folkestone in the south of England, to Calais in northern France. Lucky for us, the security person at the Uxbridge station was less than busy due to the closure so he helped us get our “Oyster Card” that uses a touch system for travel fare.

Uxbridge Station England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 038

He provided us a practice run on using the card, checked the schedule to help coordinate our times and said he would be starting work at 7:00 am on Monday and would keep an eye out for us in case we had any trouble. Since we neither had a Tube traveling in our director  nor a reason to go into downtown London and we were free to spend the day walking the High Street of Uxbridge. But before we go wandering there is one more conversation we must have. Like most people since we have arrived, he asked where we were from which then leads into other people’s experiences with Canada. His story was having his plane turned back on its cross Atlantic flight following a hot place vacation for his honeymoon. The plane had to return due to a medical emergency and  landed in a town someplace on east coast of Canada where it was -35 degrees. These are some of the beautiful value-added experiences when arranging every detail of ones travel. We spend a lot of time talking with local people out of necessity. Because of these exchanges my impression of England is one of a warm, helpful, entertaining and engaging population.

Now, would you like to see a few highlights of our Uxbridge stroll?

Warmth and aroma of Italian coffee seem to be at the heart of today’s High Street in Uxbridge England. A historical market for corn and a place of flour mills, Uxbridge has kept a market-like feel and is a pleasant walk-about as bits of time surface and merge between old and new.

heart and capaccino Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 024

There are places where it is still easy to imagine the clip-clop of horses’ hooves on the cobble stone as they turn into an entry way.

clip clop Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 033

Though this passage way is more likely to echo the clicking of heels of smokers these days as they seek shelter from the rain.

the smoking bench Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 037

We were prepared for the more obvious abundance of public cigaret smoking in the United Kingdom and Europe but I had somehow forgot about the leftover evidences of this habit. These folks are sitting on what is obviously used as the public smoking bench. It is nicely positioned right beside the waiting area for London’s Black Cabs.

black cabs Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 040

These are an expensive travel option except for short distances and when necessity of timing makes the parting pounds justifiable. To give you an example, the Black Cab price to our Airbnb from the airport was 40 pounds. The minicab price is 15 pounds. After mistakenly taking the Black Cab on arrival, I now have money on my Skype account to phone the minicab company. The price for city bus from Iver Health for two was 7.50 pounds while the minicab was 5 pounds. And all we needed to do when we were ready to leave Uxbridge was to phone the company from in front of the Uxbridge Station. We were to give our name and say “pick us up at the three phones.”

pick us up at the three phones Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 043

At first, I was confused because they were three RED telephone booths and they were located in front of the Uxbridge Station. I was sure these clarifying factors must be relevant to finding us.  However, apparently most if not all phone booths are red and these are the only three together like this in Uxbridge. So a destination of “the three phones” is enough. The rest is just unnecessary details.  But I am getting ahead of myself. We have more to see yet.

Like the perfect pairing of the flower shop and dental surgery.

perfect pairing dental surgery and flowers Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 055

And The Queens Head public house.

The Queens Head Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 047

that has been serving real ales since 1544. The Queen’s head is in commemoration of Anne Bolyen who “was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 as the second wife of King Henry VIII and Marquess of Pembroke in her own right.[5] Henry’s marriage to Anne, and her subsequent execution, made her a key figure in the political and religious upheaval that was the start of the English Reformation.” (reference: wikipedia)

Real Ales  since 1544 Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 050

Right directly across from the public house is of course the St. Margaret’s Church, parts of which date back to the 14th century and the grounds have been used for worship since the 12th century.

St. Margaret's Church parts of which date back to the 14th century Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 058

A casual explorer must be careful to search out the history of buildings and not to assume that two buildings that look similar are about the same age. Here is a perfect example. I at first thought the church in Iver Heath must be about the same age as this one in Uxbridge as it does look similar.

The Pairsh Church of Iver Heath England  by Terrill Welch 2014_04_04 006

But no. The St Margaret of Antioch, the Parish Church of Iver Heath in England was built in 1862. The building is a good impression of a 13th century English parish church, with open faced flintwork walls, a tower beside the church, a lychgate at the entrance, and many tilting grave stones in the churchyard (though I am sure this is due to the soft ground and not a design feature.)

Well this concludes our meanderings in Uxbridge and the Minicab driver is taking us on the route out of town that goes between church and pub.

The Church view Uxbridge England by Terrill Welch 2014_04_05 052

Pedestrians alert. Remember, in Greater London, if the road isn’t wide enough to pass or park, then the sidewalk is a perfect alternative.

I now have an “England” album in my Redbubble Storefront containing a few of my images from these two recent blog posts about our travels.

 

Tomorrow is a travel day as we make our way to Dijon France.

 

What is one curious fact you would advise visitors about in your community?

 

© 2014 Terrill Welch, All rights reserved.

Liberal usage granted with written permission. See “About” for details.

Creative Potager – Visit with painter and photographer Terrill Welch

From Mayne Island, British Columbia, Canada

For gallery and purchase information about Terrill’s photographs and paintings go to http://terrillwelchartist.com

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13 thoughts on “If Greater London hadn’t expanded to include Uxbridge we could be accused of missing it

  1. Ahem, I noticed in your second photo a shop canopy stating ‘coffee break’ perhaps a local coffeeshop hangout amidst the tea-timers and pub crawlers???!!!HA!
    Too bad about the tube being out of service. It really is the best means of getting around London and environs. I have fond memories of our family hopping the tube in town and going into Kew Gardens for the day during our own ‘creative journey.’
    Enjoy Dijon!
    peace

    • Ah, you saw that coffee break sign too Laura? It is ran or owned by a fellow with an Italian access that served one mean capaccino! Yes! We will be taking the tube tomorrow but it is just part of a sequence of connections to move us on out of England and into France. We will come back this way to fly out of Heathrow on our way home so possibly we will get to spend some strolling time in downtown London yet before we are done. Thanks for sharing and will see you in a post from Dijon in a few days.

  2. Terrill – I thoroughly enjoyed gobbling up your vivid photographs and guided tour with my morning cuppa. A delicious way to start the day!

    You asked: What is one curious fact you would advise visitors about in your community?

    Watch out for “five corners” — car, bike, or foot traffic, a tricky intersection at best.

    • While you all were waking up and enjoy this post, I took David through the brambles, mire and muck on search for heathland in Black Park. You should see our shoes! We found the spot but it surely didn’t live up to my imagination. Now I am reading more than fiction out this human made and yet treasured environment. A good way to entertain on a Sunday. And if I ever come your way, I shall surely watch out for the five corners.

  3. Ah Terrill, some of these locations come to mind immediately, since we all spent a week in London back in August during our two week stay in the U.K. We were at the first location, and there was a British Heart Foundation storefront directly across the street from our hotel. We also saw the Queens Head and some red telefone booths. So great to hear you are both having a wonderful time charting your paths in discovery. I know you have so much more to see and I plan on looking over your shoulder the rest of the way! Enjoy!

    • Was it fun to see the place you have been Sam? I sometimes like it when that happens. It is like “Hey! I know that place.” Yes there is much more to see and I plan on doing my best to capture my experiences right away while they are fresh. Therefore, there may possibly be more blog posts than usual. It is the best way really to combine images and experiences quickly. All this to say, there will be more to come 🙂

      • Oh absolutely Terrill. My absolute favorite visits while in London were:

        The Tower of London
        Westminster Abbey
        The Globe Theatre
        The London Eye Ferris Wheel

        But there is so much to see and you will do your own prioritizing of course!

  4. This is just lovely! Thank you for all the complicated travel advice ! History and the ability to get around a city is important facts to have.
    I am so enjoying this adventure!!

    I usually offer assistance to people standing on corners in Philadelphia, with map in hand and a dazed look about which way to go to get to something historic or just to the next location!

    • What you do Jeff is exactly what makes traveling enjoyable. Most of the complication is only because it is all new and unfamiliar. I am sure that three trips on the Eurostar from London to Paris and then taking the RER across Paris to Gare de Lyon and I wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow of confusion. But tomorrow it will likely be hard work. I am sure I will have the same expression on my face as those people standing on the corners in Philadelphia that you have stop to assist in the past. May the world be designed to present a person or five like you tomorrow as we travel.

  5. One correction, please: benches are not public smoker corners, but ordinary benches for people who are exhausted from shopping. In the UK, smoking in public area is generally allowed as long as you don’t do it inside. There are no moral restrictions as in North America.

    • Point noted Ben. I was referring to this bench in particular because it seemed to be more favoured by those who were smoking than the others in the area. I too had mentioned to David how being from the west coast of Canada, those who smoke almost do it in secret. This is because of that moral restriction you speak of. It is socially unacceptable to smoke even as much as it is against the law in most public areas outside and in – similar to drinking and driving or not wearing a seat-belt. This practice isn’t so socially restrictive in all parts of Canada though. In Montreal and Toronto there is visibly more public smoking on the street than in Victoria or Vancouver.

      These social differences is what gives locations their identity I think. For example I asked for two croissants with our expresso this morning in a small cafe in Dijon. Two napkins were provide with the coffee. I attempted to ask if we were to help ourselves but my French is limited. The server signed a little impatiently, pulled out a basket reach over and picked up the croissants with her bare hands, plopped them in the basket and slid it over to me. At that moment I realized that we are reminded and admonished for touching food that is for sale. It might spread germs… and likely does… but I was diffidently being shown by demonstration not to be afraid to touch the food as it is part of the experience of buying and later eating it. There is something freeing and satisfying in this more direct handling of food.

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