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Walking: Bushey to Wembley

On my second SlowWays walk of the year I walked from Bushey to Wembley.

Fields of Mud

I started at Bushey station, which isn't quite the start of the actual route. From there, I made a bee-line towards the Attenborough Fields. Going directly up them was a bit of a chore, as the fields could more accurately described as a "flood plain". The actual path was a fast flowing stream, so I wandered along the other side of the hedge up the hill. Here cows blocked my path and I had to divert and jump a fence (sorry) to rejoin the route just before it crosses Merry Hill Lane. From there the paths where mostly different grades of mud, with some standing water. I followed a straight line along Merry Hill circular footpath, where my planned route directed me to cross a stream before turning west. I couldn't get through the scrubs and woods, and across the stream here, so I had to backtrack to one path north, and then go west again.

The route that I was following shows to cross the stream on the north-west corner of the golf course. OpenStreetMap shows a ford here. Due to the rain, the stream had turned into a fast flowing, 8 inches deep, river. I checked around for 15 minutes if there was another route across (there wasn't), or if I could find big enough sticks to build a makeshift bridge (there weren't), but ultimately decided to walk through the stream to the other side. I should have worn my hiking boots instead of hiking shoes, as they were certainly not up to the task. Squelch squelch for a few miles!

I then continued along the path through the woods between the sections of the golf course, and across another mini ravine, to end up on the golf course, where this route joins the London LOOP. I followed the well sign posted route all the way to a view point, after deciding I didn't want to walk along the road with traffic. The route as mapped here isn't that accurate, and following the LOOP is probably recommended. There was some construction near Gilberts Lake due to some invasive species.

Gilberts Lake

After the view point I went down a minimally muddy path and ended up at Uxbridge Road, which was a little tricky to cross due to a lot of traffic, and had no official crossing point. From this point, I walked for a while along residential streets with an occasional dedicated footpath, and then a long stretch along Harrow View with loads of new flats and other housing, before weaving through buses to end up at Harrow-on-the-Hill station where my first section ended.

From Harrow-on-the-Hill station, my route followed College Road and then Station Road to end up on the bottom of a hill covered with grass. I should have paid a little more attention and gone through the station, and leave it through its southern exit. This would have avoided a slog along some shops. That exit also handily has free public toilets, which I have used on previous occasions, when walking the Tube.

The path up the hill is steep, but it has pleasant views at the top Β­β€” even on a dreary day as this one was. After following a little muddy path, the route goes straight up the hill to the church, with more great views, and then back down steps to end up at the north end of Church Fields, which I crossed to join the narrow and twisty streets of Harrow. I nearly slid on my bum though due to the mud. If you don't care about the view and don't want to go up all the way to the church, you can walk through the bottom rung of the graveyard instead. Spookier though.

The View from Harrow on the Hill

After leaving Harrow-on-the-Hill, I proceeded along the busy Northolt Road for a bit, and turned away from it just before South Harrow station. I then walked along a recreation field, but made sure to not go into the park, as I wouldn't have been able to leave it at the other side. Instead I followed the less glamorous public footpath on the other side of the fence.

View From the Tube Bridge

I then crossed the railway and across the Harrow sidings, to continue along the fairly busy Mandeville Road to end up, and finish the second section Northolt tube station.

The third and final section was pretty dull, and without much green. From Northolt I walked through a residential crescent, and then I turned right at the church on the hill. More residential streets and busy roads followed, with parades of shops. The little bit of green on this section of the walk was when I went up Horsenden Hill, where my route follows the Capital Ring for a short bit. After another parade of shops on Whitten Avenue West, I walked up onto a bridge to cross the tube tracks, where there was quite a fair view.

Sudbury Town Station

After coming down, I spotted the nice looking Sudbury Town tube station, and continued along boring and car heavy Harrow Road. Barham park is on the other side of the road, which would have been nicer I suppose. I finished my walk at Wembley Central tube station.

Hopefully for the next walk the weather is better, so I can pick a nicer walk with less street walking and more green.

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Walking: Wembley to Uxbridge

I have been walking SlowWays routes for about a year now, but I never put their reviews with photos on my own blog. I like owning my own content, so this year I will be publishing them here in a more prosaic form. So here is the story of my first walk in 2023, from Wembley to Uxbridge via Southall and Northolt.

Perhaps it wasn't the wisest day to go out for a walk, with drizzle forecasted for most of the day, with only a sliver of hope for a bit of sunshine in the afternoon. But it was the first Saturday of the year and I couldn't let a good opportunity for a walk slip.

As there were National Rail strikes going on, I decided to walk something in London, and opted for routes that I had never done, but were close to being verified β€” each SlowWays route needs three positive reviews for them to get verified (or "snailed").

The Grand Union Canal at Alperton

And so I set off from Wembley along some residential roads before going along Ealing Road and past Alperton station towards the canal. The stint along the canal was very short, but I would return to it for a long stretch later on in the walk. Alperton is mostly dominated by low-height industrial areas, with lots of garages and body-work shops. After crossing the A40 at Perivale the walk became a lot nicer with at least some greenery on the left, before crossing Perivale Park with its golf course.

At the far left of the park some burly blokes let their aggressive looking dog of the lead, which promptly came sprinting right at me, but also luckily straight past me. I wasn't particularly pleased with this!

Perivale Park

Then the route continued following the River Brent, where the path was fairly muddy, and crossing not just one, but two golf courses in the space of a few kilometres. I don't quite understand why there need to be so many, especially with the housing need that we have. I went a little off-course after crossing Greenford Road, but that was my own fault for not following the route precise enough. The last stretch to Southall was along a brick-walled public footpath.

This first section from Wembley to Southall was quite a nice walk, with some minor nits such as the Alperton industriousness, and that bloody dog!

I continued on this wet and drizzly winter morning to Northolt, continuing along it's busy "The Broadway", towards the Grand Union Canal, which it follows for most of the walk. It also shares a short section here with the Hillingdon Trail, which I previously walked. I would see more of that in the third section (Northolt to Uxbridge).

The Grand Union Canal

It's pleasant along the canal, with plenty of wild life and boaters to keep your attention, although it can get a little monotonous at times. At Northolt I crossed a bridge over the canal, and nearly fell on my bum as the tarmac was suddenly very slippery. Disaster averted, I then climbed up the hill into Belvue Park towards St. Mary's church and the gardens of the former Northolt Manor. The SlowWays route tried to make me go through a field, with a ditch, which was decidedly not possible as there was nearly a foot of water. There was however a nice path along the Northern edge which I followed to avoid having to go for a swim. After leaving the park, it was a short stretch along a road with a few shops and a lovely clock tower (with the wrong time) to Northolt underground station where this second section finished.

After leaving Northolt station with its clock tower and shops, the route starts off through Islip Manor Park. After a short stretch along residential roads, I crosses the A40 with a footbridge, and then it was mapped along a foot path straight through to the A4180. This path wasn't passable due to large amounts of water on the path, and my boots weren't high enough. Instead, I followed Compton Crescent and Vanbrought Crescent to by pass the impassable section.

Muddy Paths

On the other side of the fairly busy West End Road, the route continues first over a tarmac path, then a gravel path, and finally a dirt path through the woods, towards the Yeading Brook Meadows, where the paths were decidedly muddy, but still passable. It was here where the route also started (mostly) following the Hillingdon Trail again, through Ten Acre Wood, on top of banks along Yeading Brook, and then along the edge of the field. I had to make a minor detour here as the path was temporarily closed due to a heavy dead branch in a tree.

The next section was narrow, and also still muddy, but it wasn't a disaster. After climbing along a too narrow kissing gate, I did have to jump over a little stream though (and I didn't land on my behind).

The final section of the route then proceeds along residential roads. It is mapped to cut off a corner near Park Road/St Andrews Road, and although the path is there, I didn't spot it, and instead walked around the construction area. It's not enough of a bother to redo the SlowWays route as mapped, but I have updated OpenStreetMap to be more accurate here. I was pleased to see that much of the High Street is now pedestrianised. The route finished at Uxbridge station, which has a lovely interior.

And that concludes the first walk of the year!

Uxbridge Tube Station

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Xdebug Update: December 2022

In this monthly update I explain what happened with Xdebug development in this past month. These are normally published on the first Tuesday on or after the 5th of each month.

Patreon and GitHub supporters will get it earlier, around the first of each month.

You can become a patron or support me through GitHub Sponsors. I am currently 45% towards my $2,500 per month goal. If you are leading a team or company, then it is also possible to support Xdebug through a subscription.

In the last month, I spend 25 hours on Xdebug, with 21 hours funded. Sponsorships are continuing to decline, which makes it harder for me to dedicate time for maintenance and development.

Xdebug 3.2

Xdebug 3.2.0 got released at the start of December, to coincide with the release of PHP 8.2 which it supports, after fixing a last crash with code coverage. Since then a few bugs were reported, which I have started to triage. A particularly complicated one seems to revolve on Windows with PHP loaded in Apache, where suddenly all modes are turned on without them having been activated through the xdebug.mode setting. This is a complicated issue that I hope to figure out and fix during January, resulting in the first patch release later this month.

Plans for the Year

Beyond that, I have spend some time away from the computer in the Dutch country side to recharge my battery. I hope to focus on redoing the profiler this year, as well as getting the "recorder" feature to a releasable state.

Smaller feature wise, I hope to implement file/path mappings on the Xdebug side to aide the debugging of generated files containing PHP code.

Xdebug Cloud

Xdebug Cloud is the Proxy As A Service platform to allow for debugging in more scenarios, where it is hard, or impossible, to have Xdebug make a connection to the IDE. It is continuing to operate as Beta release.

Packages start at Β£49/month, and I have recently introduced a package for larger companies. This has a larger initial set of tokens, and discounted extra tokens.

If you want to be kept up to date with Xdebug Cloud, please sign up to the mailinglist, which I will use to send out an update not more than once a month.

Xdebug Videos

I have published two new videos:

I have continued writing scripts for videos about Xdebug 3.2's features, and am also intending to make a video about "Running Xdebug in Production", as well as one on using the updated "xdebug.client_discovery_header" feature (from Xdebug 3.1).

You can find all previous videos on my YouTube channel.

Business Supporter Scheme and Funding

In December, no new business supporters signed up.

If you, or your company, would also like to support Xdebug, head over to the support page!

Besides business support, I also maintain a Patreon page, a profile on GitHub sponsors, as well as an OpenCollective organisation.

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