My Mother’s Voice

Alzheimer’s being the conniving thieving bitch that  it is, my mother wasn’t herself in the final years of her life. The  woman I visited in the Alzheimer’s special care unit was a stranger wearing my mother’s skin but not much else, like the invasion of the body snatchers had taken place, month after month beneath the surface, until one day we looked and the woman we knew was gone, replaced by some alien being. An imposter. Intruder alert. Intruder alert. She died back in 2012. Don’t worry; I won’t be getting maudlin on you.  My real mother–not that stranger in a wheel chair, head nodding on her shoulder–is who I want to think about today.  My real mother —Enid Maude Good nee Hayden, a prim, old-fashioned name, perhaps the only thing about her I didn’t love— was British-born and had a lovely London lilt to her voice her whole life even though she left England in the mid-1950’s. I suppose at thirty, her vocal patterns were already frozen in place.  Sounding like a cross between

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Above Ground on the London Underground—Day 18: HELP! I’m nowhere near Abbey Road

I’m taking a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide and my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings. I'm back on track, following the Piccadilly Line. This is Day 18.

Today Im heading out from Boston Manor Station,  that beautiful example of art deco architecture, taking an inbound stroll along the Piccadilly Line route. 

Passing South Ealing my plan is to hit Gunnersby Park in Chiswick, where there’s a lake—do all British parks come with lakes? are there ladies of the lakes too?—a history museum, a ‘small mansion’ and several other ‘historically significant buildings’ including a folly or two. 

Follies are those imaginative little structures that don’t do anything except add a magical touch of interest to a garden. From the French for stupidity, a folly suggests some real purpose, but lacks it completely. American gardens have follies too, those tiny little wooden bridges we plonk into our backyards over a bed of gravel, neither one necessary but adding a touch of whimsy. 

 Strand on the Green  image credit:

Seeing that the museum is closed until 2017 for renovation and checking my map, I find I can’t resist taking the short walk from the park down to the Thames River.  Along its shores is the picturesque Strand-on-the-Green. It’s not just picture postcard pretty, the strand is rich in ancient history—in the 19th century almost 100 skulls were found along the river bank, skulls that date back to 600 B.C. 
Kew Palace, just across the river, contributed to larger homes and a variety of industrial buildings springing up in the area, including three ancient pubs: 

Bulls Head in 1722 
 The Bell & Crown in 1751
image credit: Brenda O’Connell

 and the baby of the group, the City Barge in 1786, reincarnated from her 14th century iteration, the Navigator Arms

The City Barge is of interest not just to pub crawlers but to fellow Beatle fans who may recognize it from the movie Help. In the scene where Ringo drops down through the floor where a tiger prowls below? That was shot at the City Barge. 

As long as we’re talking Beatles and we’re sort of in the neighborhood, let’s boogie on over to Chiswick House & Park where they filmed some promotional material for their new singles, Paperback Writer and Rain in 1966. Could it be the Beatles invented music videos? Just home from touring, exhausted, burnt out, the boys opted not to tour but to send out some promo films instead. Here’s what George Harrison said about the films.
“The idea was that we'd use them in America as well as the UK, because we thought, we can't go everywhere. We're stopping touring and we'll send these films out to promote the record... these days obviously everybody does that - its part of the promotion for a single - so I suppose in a way we invented MTV.” 

I’m not the first Beatles fan to hit Chiswick House hunting for the Beatles shooting location. Just like the legions of fans who flock to Abbey Road to recreate that famous Beatles in the crosswalk photo, there are recreations all over the internet.

 Image credit:

Image credit:

Let’s close out today’s Daytripper trek by watching a bit of Paperback writer which first screened in black & white on BBC 1’s Top of the Pops on June 2, 1966. Rain followed on June 9, 1966. 

Gunnersby Park
Popes Ln, London W3 8LQ
+44 845 456 2796

Chiswick House & Gardens
Burlington Lane, Chiswick W4 2RP
+44 370 333 1181

The Bulls Head
15 Strand-On-The-Green, London W4 3PQ

+44 20 8994 1204 

The Bell & Crown
11 Thames Rd, Strand on the Green W4 3PL
+44 20 8994 4164 

The City Barge
27 Strand-On-The-Green, London W4 3PH

+44 20 8994 2148

Counting the Fitbit Steps

    Day 1-17:             145, 450 steps / 66.8 miles  (approx)

    Day 18:  Boston Manor Station to Chiswick House
                                    11,025 steps / 4.9 miles 
    Total Imaginary Miles to Date  
                               156, 475 steps / 71.7 miles 

      As usual on Fridays, I’m linking to Joy’s Book Blog where we celebrate British Isles Friday. 


    1. I think I would like a folly on our property! We saw those in Ireland too. Love your tour although it makes me want to grab my passport right now.

    2. I'm saving a link to this post so I can add it to my plans for 4 days in and around Kew:

      My husband might go for the City Barge for the Beatles connection, but The Bell & Crown sure looks inviting!

      1. I love that idea! I feel pretty good that you’ve found something of value here, especially as your blog is my inspiration.


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