Uxbridge – London?
Uxbridge is classed as being in London despite the fact that it is about 18 miles from Charing Cross and although it has a tube station, the trip to Euston from here would take 50 minutes which is about the same time as a train trip from Rugby in Warwickshire would take.
Traditionally in the East End of London, cockneys were defined as having been born within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow in the Cheapside district of the City of London. Today it seems that to qualify as a Londoner one just has to be born within earshot of London’s orbital motorway, the M25 and the residents of Uxbridge would certainly fall into that category.
For the last month we have almost circumnavigated Heathrow airport and now we are probably closer to it than we have been at any point on our journey. Strangely enough, this location is also the quietest one that we have moored in with hardly any aircraft noise at all. This is because we are on a stretch of canal which runs parallel to the runways at Heathrow so arriving and departing aircraft are never passing overhead.
Our mooring lies about two miles away from Uxbridge town centre with its multitude of shops. Closer to hand is a Tesco and an Aldi so pretty much everything is catered for. The buses, as with those in Brentford, Richmond and Kingston are London buses and for those of us who live outside the London area and are unfamiliar with them, let me tell you how good they are. The bus fare is a flat £1.50 regardless of how far you are travelling. The buses are cashless, regular users use an Oyster card but for the casual user or “out of towner”, a contactless debit or credit card is acceptable. There is a daily charge limit of £4.50 so there is plenty of scope for travelling around. It’s impossible to know how much time is saved by the bus driver and admin staff but it does mean that the buses stop for just a minimal period at every stop.
On Saturday we decided to walk into town and explore the central area but we were caught out by an unexpected and un-forecast rain shower along the way. The rain was never very far away as we wandered around so upon finding that there was cinema in the town centre we decided to go in and watch the latest Planet of the Apes film. By the time we left almost three hours later, we had been suitably entertained and better still, the weather had brightened up and the rain had gone for the afternoon. We walked back to our mooring by way of the towpath and made a refreshment stop at the Malt Shovel which is just above Cowley lock. As we settled down, the Jam Butty boat appeared so we said a quick “Hello and Cheerio” as they headed northwards. We last saw them at Thrupp at the beginning of June, since when they have cruised the Thames and then toured the central London waterways.
We took another trip into town on Sunday and we were surprised at how busy it was for a Sunday morning, Uxbridge certainly seems to be a thriving commercial centre. After shopping for a few items we caught the bus back to the Tesco store near our mooring, shopped for some lunch ingredients and then returned to the boat where we settled down and watch the men’s singles final at Wimbledon.
Monday was yet another hot and sunny day but nevertheless we walked into town again, we didn’t need to do much but I wanted to get my hair cut. It was mid afternoon by the time we got back to Caxton and there we took shelter in the shade of the front cratch until the heat of the day began to subside.