Monthly Archives: May 2010

Improving the commute – Part 1: why we should care

I normally spend around an hour commuting to work and other back. Two hours of my day that are often spent in rather too cramped and close company with strangers than I would certainly choose to be. A bad commute can cause stress bearly before the day has begun or can ruin an evening. I’m a firm believer that commuters should take an active interest in this important part of their day and not sit by the passively British way when conditions are below standard.

For 3/4 of a year I’ve commuted from Rickmansworth to central London. On a good day it can be passable and tolerable. On a bad day it can be extremely long, awfully crowded and thoroughly uncomfortable. Now, I’ve commuted from a good few places in London in the past and have become used to busy, basic inner-London commuter trains. However, moving beyond the boundaries of London made me hope that a better commute would accompany the other improvements in living standard. So far I’ve not been impressed.

My feeling is that the service could and should be better. While changing the status quo with large transport operators is unlikely to ever be easy, this does not put me off trying. After all, if we don’t make our grievences known, why should we expect anything to change? Action may not produce quick results, but fighting our corner and arguing for a decent service can only help going forward.

A big part in making an argument is to be informed and empowered. Most commuters may be all too familiar with their own commute but are likely unaware how it compares with commutes on other, similar routes. Perhaps if they did they’d feel all the more compelled to taking action. Many facts and figures that would assist a campaign aren’t made very public friendly, however they are out there if you know where to look.

In this series of blog posts I’m going to try to better empower other commuters to make their views known and hopefully also reveal just how good or bad commuters in Rickmansworth and the local area actually have it.

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Coy Carp pub, Harefield

When cycling along the Grand Union Canal to the south from Ricky, the first water-side pub I encounter is the Coy Carp. After many months we finally got around to trying it out for Sunday lunch.

Each of the roads leading to Harefield seem to be quite small and narrow. Although not unusual around these parts, Harefield is larger than some of the other villages we’ve encountered yet seems somewhat tricky to reach. On arrival however, there’s a very good size pub car park, able to cope with even the busiest of Sunday lunchtimes it would seem.

From the car park the pub is accessed over a small pub which crosses a small river, running parallel to the canal. There’s both a sizeable seating area inside the pub and outside, however the weather made the outside off-limits to all put the hardiest of patrons.

The Coy Carp’s interior is fairly standard pub, fairly comfortable without being either modern or historic. Despite some poor comments on beerintheeventing.co.uk we found the service to be fine. It’s primarily ordering at the bar, although waiting staff did take our order directly for dessert.

Tara trying the fish platter at the Coy Carp pub

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Artichoke, Amersham and Queens Head, Chesham

It’s been quiet on the blog recently but we’ve been continuing to make some great local culinary discoveries.

Few restaurants in the area so regularly feature in top food guides as the Artichoke in Amersham. Being closed on Sundays, we booked in for Saturday lunch a few weekends ago. It quickly becomes apparent that this is the home of fine dining; the service is top notch from the moment you walk in while the menu exudes quality. It’s priced accordingly without being prohibitively expensive. Definitely worth a visit for a special occasion.

Another weekend took us again over the border to Buckinghamshire; this time to Chesham on the Metropolitan Line. Curiously, Chesham is the largest town on the Amersham branch of the Met Line, however the path of history has meant that rather than a mainline stop is it an infrequently served station at the end of a single line spur of track from Chalfont & Latimer. Despite the relative inconvenience of reaching this farthest flung outpost of the tube network, our visit revealed some surprises. Chesham’s high street isn’t bad, but it’s the old town which is the biggest highlight. Based on recommendations we tried out the Queens Head, famed around these parts for its Thai food. It lived up to the reputation and was a fine old pub with it. Round the corner there’s also a Chess River walk to be had.

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