Well, it’s moving day tomorrow and we’re off to Dara Towers in Rickmansworth. At 8am tomorrow the Aussie Man with a Van team will be round to pack everything up and cart it up two or three flights of stairs at the other end. Full packing is the best thing since sliced cheese.
We’ve had a tough week painting the new flat ready for occupation. I had a crazy fool idea to paint three of the walls in the living room with stripes in the manner of the decor at Delisserie in Hatch End (one finds inspiration in the strangest of places). While Dan and his parents attended to the rest of the flat (three shades of coffee in the bedroom, green hall and bathroom), masking tape and careful edges were my territory for three days. Provided you use decent masking tape (the blue stuff from Homebase is good) and have a reasonably steady hand for the touching-up, it’s not too difficult.
It’s a bit sad to be leaving Pinner with its snickets and strange assortment of people, but semi-rural Ricky awaits with the promise of lakes and a lovely Waitrose!
On to numbers 8 and 9, which are both marked on maps, so should be easy to find. Number 10 is a bit special, and will feature in a future post.
8. Church Lane to Moss Lane
I’ve found this one to be the most used snicket of the selection I’ve shown you. It can get a bit muddy in the winter as a result of the through-traffic.
As you walk past the lovely Pinner House (built in the 17-18th centuries, now a nursing home) on Church Lane, which leads off the top of the High Street, you’ll see to your left a small road called Ingle Close. The footpath is signposted clearly and is made even more obvious by the pavement vanishing after this point. There are often conkers to collect around the entrance in the Autumn.
According to the Urban Dictionary, a snicket is defined as a “partially vegetated alleyway or cut-through in the north of England, usually with bollards at both ends and is poorly lit”. I suppose, in the leafy suburb of Pinner, we just call them alleys – and our mothers usually forbid us to go down them alone at night.
With that warning vaguely in mind, I consider the snickets of Pinner are by far the best way to walk around quickly and they’re absolutely all over the place. Quite a few are on the map, or at least identified by a footbridge over Woodridings Brooks or the Pinn, but there are several that aren’t marked at all. My plan is to take you on a tour of the top ten or so, so that no longer will you stare down a fence-lined path and wonder where it leads. All paths are paved and lit unless stated otherwise.
1. The Dell to Elm Park Road
If I’d known about this earlier, this would have been a very useful little cut-through. The Dell itself proclaims loudly that it’s a private road and do be aware that there are three deliberately tucked-away little cottages at the beginning of the snicket. As you proceed, you’ll find the dainty path becoming more genuinely snickety as you go along. You reach a t-junction a few minutes in where a fenced and formerly gated path takes you left into Little Common, which is a smallish park with a children’s playground. If you wanted, you could continue through the park on to Elm Park Road, which connects Bridge Street with the Uxbridge Road.
More interestingly, however, if you continue along the snicket proper, you eventually come out right by Haywood Close (off Elm Park Road), which would have, for us, made getting to Tesco and the vet’s a whole lot easier. You live and learn.
This week saw the annual Pinner Fair; a single day where the normally sleeply, suburban corner of London turns its main streets over to the fairground. Unlike the more varied Rickmansworth Fair we visited a few weekends ago, Pinner’s offering is very much concentrated on rides, games and fun for the teenagers of the area and they come out in their droves.
Pinner Fair has struggled financially in recent years, if the headlines of the local paper are to be believed, with organisers struggling to raise funds to hold the event. Unfortunately the weather didn’t assist, with the morning of the fair being something of a washout, unlike the rest of the week which largely enjoyed fine summer weather. Who know’s how this’ll affect the future of the fair but the local youth certainly weren’t thin on the ground, braving the weather in the morning and filling the streets as the weather improved in the afternoon.
The event doesn’t receive universal support, as Twitter comments on the day attested. I must say I prefer the nature of Rickmansworth’s ‘Ricky Week’ which brought the town’s community together with a range of activities (Pinner sees more of this on the likes of St George’s Day), however I’ll certainly not begrudge the local young-folk a day of fun in what otherwise must be a less than enthralling surburban surrounds.
Defeat snatched from the hands of Victory
A few weeks ago the local paper, the Harrow Observer, covered the unexpected closure of the Victory pub, one of central Pinner’s four hostelries (this excludes the fine Vintage Wine Bar, of course). At the time it was reported that the pub would likely reopen within a couple of weeks, however we noted this week that the rear windows and doors of the pub have been boarded up with rather sturdy metal covering, although ironically and I assume for asthetic reasons the frontage appears unchanged. Reopening in the near future, therefore, is now looking unlikely.
Similar to the Fair, local opinions of the Victory are varied with it often regarded to as Pinner’s chav pub. I’d suspect its demise therefore will be less than universally mourned. Nevertheless with pub closures well publicised, I find it sad to see their loss and moreover another empty business in Pinner. It’s a fine, historic building and I hope it sees use again soon, perhaps in a more appealing form.
This week has seen no end of traditional fayre and period costumes in Pinner with the St George’s Day festival last weekend and a May Day medieval festival today. The historic surrounds of Pinner seem to well suit these brief returns to times past. Here are some highlights from the last week: (click images to view larger version)
The mule comes to you from the heart of Metroland, that area to the North West of London along the Metropolitan line of the Underground, publicised as the enticing Metroland by the Metropolitan Railway (as was) during the inter-war years of the 20th century. Thanks go to local blogger Brady Rafuse for bringing Diamond Geezer’s excellent guide to Metroland to my attention. In it he revisited the stations and places, past and present along the Met line.
Back in the summer we also explored a few other pleasant corners of Metroland, including charming Old Amersham and the canal at Rickmansworth:
Hatch End high street is a funny yet appealing place, containing as it does a preponderance of home furnishing stores and restaurants. Following an arduous day of sales shopping it was time to try out one of the many eating options on offer. Having already tried Hatchetts (intrigingly 70’s appearance and clientele) and ASK (good service and surrounds from this chain) it was time to try another option.
We decided upon Delisserie, a spot we’d already marked out due to its breakfast and lunch offerings, although on this occasion it was an evening meal we were in much need of. The menu is a largely meat-based affair with central European influences. Dishes range from steaks and burgers to salted beef and Hungarian goulash to substantial deli sandwiches. The speciality is the salt beef, which although new to us is, as I understand it, broadly similar to jerk or corned beef, albeit prepared in a different way.
Ever since the sainted Hand in Hand – now mainly Prezzo – closed to much booing and gnashing of kneecaps, furtive activity has been going on behind the newsprint-shrouded windows of its smaller wing. Just in time for Christmas, the Vintage Wine Bar declared its presence on the site. We went along for a Christmas Eve drink to see if there might finally be a reasonably priced antidote to the chavvy/sexagenarian atmosphere of Pinner’s existing High Street pubs.
It’s insanely tiny. I’m starting with this fact, because it’s unavoidable and makes me worry that the Vintage may not long survive. There’re four tables at a push with some standing room at the front and the back by the bar. The decor can only be described as a cross between the Habitat home catalogue and several tubs of metallic paint (see photo by Dan)…. I liked it, anyway. We managed to lurk long enough for a table to become free and settled in for an hour.
Given it was Christmas Eve, there was a reasonable number of people about, but not so many as to relieve the relative piece and quiet. We might have to go back on a normal night to see how the Vintage stands up to Saturday night crowding – and whether they turn the music up or put unsightly things on the telly.
As for drinks, a round of two beers and a couple of glasses of wine cost £14, which isn’t bad going. The Vintage is definitely a wine/cocktail bar rather than a pub. Expect only bottled beer here – though they do have a decent range (Dan had Cobra). The organic rosé was lovely and there was plenty of choice.
As people who don’t really enjoy noise and overcrowding, Dan and I thoroughly approved of the Vintage. We’ll have to see how it fares.