I don’t like doing pick-ups on Fridays, the traffic can be horrible and today I had to go through the M4/M25 junction at Heathrow, which is always a nightmare. My route to the M40 took me cross-country, which probably meant the Oxford Bypass was solid and Google Maps chose me a clearer route. This road passes one of my wife & my own favourite eating places; Le Manoir au Quat’ Saisons, Raymond Blanc’s Michelin starred restaurant at Great Milton. We don’t go very often but it is always marvellous.
Joining the M25 London Orbital I headed anti-clockwise as far as the A3 which is a full-on 6 lane monster of a road running into London. I was heading for David’s place, just outside Kingston where I collected a set of the re-released classic Dinky Toys made by Norev for Atlas Editions. These are all in lovely condition and as soon as I got back to the warehouse Suzi pounced on them to get them into the programme.
The next part of my travels just got better and better. I headed back down the A3 away from London and crossed the M25 heading south-west. I left the A3 on the road to Aldershot and as always I am struck by how green this part of Surrey is. One expects it to be full of London commuter towns but it is not, the Surrey Downs area is really lovely
However as I threaded through the woodlands I spotted another impressive sight, a very shiny black 1964 Chevrolet Impala, very stylish. It was only a split-second glimpse, but those triple tail-lights and big rear deck say ‘Impala’.
My route took me along The Hog’s Back which is a high ridge running east-west and part of the Surrey Downs. This ancient road gives wonderful views to both sides. It has been a main route through this country since prehistoric times, was certainly used by the Romans and is the site of the abduction of young Price Albert of Wessex by Earl Godwin in 1035, the boy being later murdered, which was part of the power struggles leading eventually to the Norman Conquest in 1066.
The woods around Aldershot are gorgeous, just at the moment carpeted with bluebells and with the odd flash of bright yellow broom visible between the trees. Aldershot is of course a military town and is seen as the home of the British Army. After Aldershot comes Fleet where I went to the home of Stephen who has agreed to sell his collection of mainly 1:76 scale models.
There is a nice mixture of Corgi OOC and EFE buses and some little added gems. There are a few boxed Matchbox Superfast toys, which I do not get very often and a number of white metal kits all still sealed in their boxes.
From Fleet I headed north to pick up the M4 at Reading and turned west. As ever I was classic car spotting and saw another trailer borne project, a grey Volvo Amazon. Actually I think someone in Abingdon has recently acquired an Amazon, a black one, which is often out and about at weekends.
As I said at the start of this piece, Fridays are bad days for travelling the main roads round here and the worst culprit is the A34, which has never been big enough for the job since it was opened 40 years ago. Sure enough I hit a 30 minute delay because a van had broken down and was blocking one lane, but it gave me chance to enjoy some more classics.
Coming the other way was a red Triumph TR 4 moving under it’s own steam this time, closely followed by an MGB roadster – but as I’ve said before, MGBs are not a rare sight in Abingdon.
During the week David and his sister from Leicester dropped in to deliver their late father’s collection of mostly Corgi Classics, which saved me a 4 hour round trip, for which I was very grateful. There are lots of Minis, trucks and steam.
Next week I’m taking a short break so the will be no ‘What’s in the Van’. My wife Judith and I are having a holiday Stratford upon Avon, all of about 30 miles from home. We have tickets for the Royal Shakespeare theatre to see Cymbeline and some nice restaurants lined up to visit.
I’ll be back in a fortnight when I’m off to Rickmansworth to get a van load of Atlas Editions.
What’s in the Van? – Home
4th May – Witham
21st April – Staines
12th April – Dereham
6th April – Warminster
30th March – Doncaster, Gainsborough & Peterborough
18/22nd March – Bedford & Epsom
15/16th March 2023 – London, Hemel Hempstead & Stafford
8th March 2023 – Warwick & Solihull
5th March 2023 – Huntingdon & Bedford
23rd February 2023 – Little Wheels Museum
16th February 2023 – Devon & Dorset
9th February 2023 – Nottinghamshire & Lincolnshire
2nd February 2023 – Gloucester & Hereford
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