Cool Oak Lane

An incongruous country lane, just off the Edgware Road. When I was a child, we called it Blackberry Way because it was lined with blackberry bushes. My mum would send us up there to steal the blackberries so she could make weapons-grade home made wine. We really thought we were in the countryside. I was reminded of it last night by a BBC2 documentary, charting the regeneration of the West Hendon estate, which backs on to the blackberry bushes. The estate had become quite grotty, but some of those flats had wonderful views over flowers, fields and a huge lake called the Welsh Harp. It’s just five miles from Marble Arch, so inevitably the developers moved in and forced council tenants to move out. Poignant viewing because some of my family had lived there. So as the residents left in tears, I found myself sadly humming “Goodbye, Blackberry Way”