Finchley Herons and Municipal Dreams

Back up the northern line towards High Barnet, for a meeting with a friend who had high hopes for a long walk, but wasn’t able to sleep last night. And so we changed the plan according to our collective capabilities; we had a long sit in her garden, with the noise of kids at summer camp floating over the stream and heron that defend and define the boundary of her residential block.

Before our scheduled period of hanging out, I arrived early and wandered up to the high road for needless coffee. The speeding and pavement mounting of the local traffic left me on high alert; after my recent, still-vivid collision, I might need a break from being around cars. No easy task when you live in London, on a main road.

Traffic weighing on my mind, I took the sudden decision to veer off the road and explore an interesting modernist block for a short while.

My knowledge of architecture isn’t that good, but I would date this as late seventies: the last gasp of postwar social housing. I appreciated the street in the sky, the gardens, the pseudo-buttresses at the back, and the occasional unexpected detail.

There was thought and care put into this design, with residents protected and given space and light away from the main road. A gently impressive, but not overbearing suburban fortress to live in.

On the other hand, some of those windows are tiny and, I am told, the basement flats aren’t much fun to inhabit.

After doing a tiny bit of snooping around, I headed off to Dollis Brook, found a space by the water, took a photo, put my bloody phone down, and finally sat and enjoyed my book.

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