As part of my work - I often find myself having to go to a place called Slough - which is a non-descript village-become-town around 30 miles West of London. Actually - Slough is like a big trading estate - rather than a village or a town.
Anyway - for me - there is one great pleasure associated with my days in Slough - and that’s the car journey there. Specifically: it’s the part of the car journey from Perivale to around the point that it hits the M25. The part of the journey entirely defined by the route of the A40 Westbound.
Yes - the A40 along that stretch is sheer and utter pleasure. I don’t normally drive as part of my daily routine of work, it’s mind-numbing to be sitting in traffic - but there isn’t much of a practical choice for Slough - and surprisingly - there isn’t much traffic - or the traffic flows fairly quickly. But it’s not the fact that it’s a fairly fast drive that makes it a pleasure - it’s not that at all. It’s actually a combination of things …
- … it’s the delight associated with glancing up at the art deco facade of the front of the famous Hoover Building at the point that I join the A40 in Perivale. Simply marvellous!
- … it’s the panoramic vista one gets as you get to the top of the incline just past the Target Roundabout. Especially at dawn - when the sun (behind you) is rising and the sharp sunlight at low angles lights up the valley ahead in a spectacular way. Absolutely breathtaking!
- … it’s the weird spectacle of simmering fog that occupies the fields on either side of the three-lane highway as you pass the Polish War Memorial. Amazing!
- … it’s the childish spookiness of the way in which the street-lamps suddenly become shorter in height as you enter the stretch of road that runs alongside Northolt RAF base towards the Master Brewer Hotel. And driving through this stretch - is itself like being in a toy car on a Scalectrix set. Facinating!
- … it’s the innate sense of freedom you get diving-down, beneath the roads that criss-cross the highway - like you somehow are set free like a flying bird - free to avoid the chaos of the suburbs. I get this feeling normally as I just pass Hillingdon - the tube station high up above the road. Quite refreshing!
Yes - it’s all these things together that make the A40 Westbound such a pleasure to drive. And it doesn’t work Eastbound either - it just isn’t the same! It looks completely different driving back home on that stretch. The same charms just don’t exist on the Eastbound.
Simply put: I love the A40 Westbound!
The spectacular Hoover Building - now a Tesco - from the A40 Westbound at Perivale
(Image courtesy of http://www.rocknroll.force9.co.uk/ )
This article adapted from an original written and published by moi at Views from Broadway in late 2001. Posted by jag at November 12, 2003 07:14 AM