“Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
“It isn’t fit for humans now,
“There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
“Swarm over, Death!” [from Slough by Betjeman]
I mentioned earlier that Jackie was off to America for a couple of weeks and I am taking the time to do some solitary tourism here. My plan is to run every day in September and to do longer runs during this break so that I can hit a few pubs in some new territory. The first three days of the month involved runs around Swindon (Saturday the 1st and Sunday the 2nd) and another down in Oxford (Monday the 3rd), but today I rode down to Heathrow with the spouse and once she was safely through the security check I headed off toward Slough.
Or, rather, I eventually did so with some difficulty. Asking how to get to the cycle path elicited directions to a free shuttle bus from one ‘information desk’ attendant and, more perplexingly, a question regarding the location of my car (which, I can only assume they thought I wanted to drive over cyclists and pedestrians). I eventually found it myself but only by running to the top of the parking decks and scouting locations from there. After reaching Terminal 5, several miles into the journey, I got lost again and eventually just ignored the ‘no pedestrians’ designation on the bus path that took me across to Bath Road. Jeez.
Less than a mile from the airport I was surrounded by meadows, lakes, pastures and creeks although most of these were choked with aquatic vegetation. It was still sort of industrial, but the sort of area where piles of fill dirt are stored for later usage. Then, it got sort of residential and very nice indeed.
Slough has to be one of the ugliest names for a town in the English language; it is so horrible and evokes such bleak imagery that Jackie refuses to even consider it as a potential home. I believe John Betjeman felt as strongly about it as his lines, above indicate. But, what I saw today was a charming and affluent town with mostly semi-detached and very large houses and great parks. The High Street is mostly pedestrianized similar to Regents Street in Swindon; and while it is overrun with the aimless shoppers you might expect, it is clean and the people seem alert, mostly fit, and civil. I like Slough.
I planned the run through here because of the distance and access to trains that stop in small villages along the way (to do a sort of Rail Stop Pub Crawl). My first stop was a bit of tourism, though, checking out some things related to The Office, that Ricky Gervais show with the annoying boss (but this is covered in that pub’s post).