Monday, September 23, 2019

101 Things #3 - Hayes

Not all of the items on my list of 101 Things I Refuse To Do Before I Die will be found on anyone else's bucket list of things they positively want to do. Some are deeply personal. Inevitably, there are places that we choose to avoid, to eschew, to blot out from memory. Today I consider why I will not, under any conceivable circumstances,

Buy A Property In Hayes.

First we must clear up a few things. I am referring to Hayes in Middlesex, unhappy neighbour, within the surrounding envelope of the London Borough of Hillingdon, to my very own beautiful Ruislip. This must not be confused with Hayes in Bromley, or the one in Staffordshire or the many Hayes' in the United States.

I have a history with this once-village, now suburb of West London. As a young accountant I spent some time working on the audit of a company located in the heart of the trading estate. The job was alright but the surroundings were so deeply depressing, the pubs so rough and the shops so dingy that even the prospect of a long journey homeward on the 140 bus was cheering.

Now, many years later, this is the view that greets motorists as they speed down the Hayes By-pass (and what a wonderful name that is, if you think about it) on their way to Heathrow (or perhaps on their way from Heathrow, or somewhere else), but anyway this is what you can see at the top of the flyover that leaps over the Great Western Railway and various bits of canals.

Pic: Google Maps/Streetview
There is a relatively attractive bit of this town, the remnant of when it really was a village but as it is entirely surrounded by industrial dross one way, grim housing estates another and the Ealing Road, I suggest we spare it no more thought.

You may think I am being biased. In my defence to this baseless charge let me point out that at the Comedy Bunker, a club until this summer based at the Ruislip Golf Course (sadly the demands of HS2 will require demolition of the clubhouse and surrounding facilities), any visiting stand-up comedian could get an easy laugh by mentioning how glad he was to be out of Hayes. Furthermore my brother-in-law, a native of Hayes, thinks exactly the same about it as I do. He now lives the other side of Chesham, by the way.

For a few years, not so long ago, I was a volunteer with Hillingdon Age UK. My job was to collect donations for the charity's shops from people all over the borough. Inevitably that brought me many times to Hayes. Some of my most difficult experiences, such as getting stuck in traffic and getting bogged down in the awful one-way system in the town centre were there. In the end it got so bad I persuaded them to send me no further south than the line demarcated by the A40 and to find some other mug volunteer to go south. Happily for me this is what ensued.

I know that the good people of Hayes couldn't give a toss whether I live there or not, but it would make no difference if they wanted to welcome me in with a marching band and a ticker-tape parade down Botwell Lane. Let me leave you with an image of the delightful and lovingly looked-after local architecture ...

Pic: Google Maps/Streetview

I think I have made my point.

No comments:

Post a comment