Anyway, by far the worst thing about Hatton Cross was not the noise, nor the ever-present concern that one of these planes was going to miss the runway and land on me, but the fact that by the end of the unfathomably long time it had taken me to get there, I was naturally dying for the loo.
At that point, however, I spotted a BP garage which had-hallelujah!-a fully functioning toilet.
After my trip to the toilet, I was suddenly able to see things with a bit more clarity and focus, which led to the conclusion that I had gone the wrong way for a second time. I had by this point wasted around an hour to-ing and fro-ing along various bleak dual carriageways.
Finally, with the correct route identified, I set off on a typical London Loop trek, meaning that it took me on a path past a grim local river that now mainly seems to be used for fly-tipping, through the occasional deserted park and intermittently through subways underneath huge roundabouts. Ah, the joys of West London's premier beauty spots. Eventually, I ended up in the borough of Hillingdon, where this scenic vista awaited me.
The final stretch was along a canal towpath, which I had been hoping would be a bit more palatable, but which had a distinct aura of when-Dirty-Den-died-the-first-time in Eastenders. In other words, deserted apart from the occasional shady character lurking in the shadows looking as though they were waiting to do a drug deal or, more alarmingly, attack some lonely walker and throw her in the canal, or shoot her through a bunch of daffodils, or however it happened in Eastenders when Dirty Den died but then turned out twenty years later not to have died, or whatever ludicrousness it was.
Eventually I spotted some narrowboats on the horizon and a return to civilisation, civilisation in this case being represented by Hayes and Harlington Station, and was briefly chatted up (AGAIN! What is it with men and the lure of a pair of muddy wellingtons and a bright green fleece?), this time by an alcoholic OAP on crutches who was inexplicably convinced that I would linger on the towpath to exchange pleasantries with him.
I ran away. Straight into Coffee Republic, where I was tortured by the barista singing along in an alarmingly high-pitched tone to what appeared to be an album of Rihanna covers sung in a depressing Magic FM style by a random bloke.