Masie Parker visits old flame Barney Bubbles’ hometown, Whitton.

By way of expo, Colin Fulcher was the protoname of Barney Bubbles a renown bloke what done art back when. His contemporary, Masie Parker writes about a visit to his hometown:
” I just got back last night from a day out in Twickenham, Whitton and environs. I got a ride up to see my kids and grandkids in Whitton because my partner had to go to the rugby match between France and England in his capacity as a corporate host.
In between the hoards streaming into the newly expanded rugby complex/ground (80,000 capacity) and the hoards streaming out of the ground we had a brief window in which to drive down to Twickenham town centre and grab a curry from Palavi (the Indian restaurant in the cinema building).
Every house along the road leading from Twickenham station to the Chertsey Road (past Egerton Road) had a burger van, or doughnut stall, or Thai curry van, or sausage van parked up in their front garden. Vendors selling flags, banners, hats, scarves, hooters, vuvuzelas, animal masks, face paint, proliferated between the food stalls.
They aren’t allowed to park in the street or on the road, and so people rent out their gardens for the day.  Some peole charge £50 for a day’s parking and as so many people have concreted the front of their houses they can accomodate up to four cars.
The whole of the area around the ground on the Whitton side has parking restrictions and residents have to buy parking permits for themselves and any visitors.  All those lovely Edwardian and Victorian houses (Do you remember the house with the small tower built onto the corner of it?  It was very much like an Edwin Lutyens design.)  that were along the road in front of the rugby ground have been demolished and the ground is about four times bigger than ever and has so many conference suites and shops in it and it even has a Marriott hotel built into it.
Although it’s been about a year since I was up in Twickenham, it was a shock to see how things have changed.  The worst it used to be on rugby days was that you couldn’t drive along the road outside the ground for parked cars, but this has moved to a whole new level.
On the way back from Twickenham centre, we took the road back past Twickenham Green.  My first house was in Third Cross Road.  The ammount of development along the Staines road is frightening.  There are rows of what used to be little Victorian artisans houses that have been turned into furniture show rooms, spa showrooms and car sales rooms.  The Five Oaks pub is now called The Bloomsbury and is painted in shades of cream and mushroom with the name in 3ft high letters across the front. (Joe tells me it’s still frequented by pikies).
When we decided to leave for home at 9pm, the roads were still filled with people leaving the rugby ground and so I told Frank to turn right at the Co-op along Whitton High Street and take the back roads around the centre of Whitton and join the traffic at Percy Road.  It was just an excuse to drive past Colin’s old house in Tranmere Road…  BTW, the whole Co-op building has been bought by Lidls supermarket, soon to be opened in Whitton!There seems to only one reason for ever going back to Twickenham/Whitton (apart from my kids) and that is the Indian food.
The sweet shop across the road from Joe’s house sells fresh baked samosas every day for 40p each.  The lady who owns the shop makes them, but nearly all the corner shops make them… My grand-daughter Honor buys them like sweeties on her way home from school.”
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