A day in Farnborough
Trip Start Mar 29, 2006
232Trip End Feb 28, 2007
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We left early this morning for Farnborough, the town in which I was born and educated in the '50s & '60s. We drove via Kingston-on-Thames on marginally wider roads than around Richmond. I forget how narrow British roads are even though they are classified 'A'. We motored towards Woking and whilst some stretches of the road were wider I doubt whether there was a single length of straight road for more than a 100 metres in the whole journey. But we saw some real country...briefly. We took a wrong turning around Woking but discovered all sorts of lanes and farms and pubs as we struggled to get back on the main road. The road signs on the whole are clear, ie very large, but they can be confusing. Too much information, too little time to take it in with traffic coming from all directions, bus lanes every few metres and markings on the road that look like games of snakes and ladders
It's Spring and for all life forms it is the breeding season and roundabouts are no exception. They pop up everywhere. T-junctions and crossroads are obstacles of the past. They have gone the way of the horse and cart. Roundabouts are prolific.
Through to Mytchet where we stopped at the Basingstoke canal which has been cleaned up considerably since my youth. The road from Ash Vale to North Camp had been rerouted so I got lost again but found my way along Sycamour Road to Queens Road and my old primary school. Parked the car in one of those rare empty spots and walked into the recreation ground next door. There was a soccer game on and one of the teams was the Farnborough under 11's. How about that! I used to play for that team. I watched for five minutes, took a few photos and had a word with the coach who described the whereabouts of Cherrywood Road the home of Farnborough Town Football Club.
Walked around the outside of the infants school which had not changed much except for the artwork on the brickwork and some landscaping around the playground
It was coffee time but the one and only cafe was busy and smoke filled so we went back to the first craft shop, a kiddies shop, which advertised a coffee and cake while the kids presumably played in the shop. We were the only customers so we chatted to the young proprietor while we supped our drinks. He put us straight on a lot of things about the town and England in general.
Off we now went to Osborne Road where number 70, the house in which I grew up, had been changed to 114 for some reason. There was a young man working in the front garden so I struck up a conversation with him about his ownership and previous owners and so we were invited around the back. Naturally everything looks smaller than it was but the house is as I remembered. The innards have been ripped out and opened up with modern kitchen and French windows. The apple tree had long gone and apparently the garden had been overgrown for a couple of years whilst it was vacant. These new owners are trying very hard to put it back together. We took a photo and walked around the corner and back again.
Down to the local park we walked and I was pleased to see that the paddling pool had been filled in and a basketball court marked out
To Kingsmead, Queensmead and Princesmead...the shopping malls in north Farnborough/Cove. I had my first Wimpey burger. Not very impressed. It did not have that salty, imitation meat taste I remembered so well. It actually tasted quite healthy! Bought myself a map and some trousers with side pockets. A very successful day so far in Farnborough.
Towards my grammar school next which I discovered had been renamed as a 'sixth form school' which as the name indicates is for sixth formers only...boys and girls. We found the football club but the team was playing away that day. The club bar was practically empty but we bought an ale and chatted to an old timer and the barmaid/lady. She let me into the corporate box area so that I could look at the playing field...just another football ground really.
It's 3 o'clock already but onwards. We have to find Church Lane where was my second home and which last time we were here was a nursing home. Well that had gone and now it was divided into 8 flats. They must be very small in spite of the additions at the side and
That was it for nostalgia so we headed back to Richmond the quick way via the motorway.