A well-loved piece of graffiti on a bridge over the M25 has been erased and changed and nobody quite knows what it means now.
The original "Give peas a chance" graffiti was cleared recently, before being replaced with "Helch a chance".
Motorists who have grown fond of the John Lennon pun adorning the only Edwardian bridge over the M25 are left shocked and confused, with nobody quite sure who, or what, "Helch" is.
The bridge, between Junctions 16 and 17 is technically in Buckinghamshire, but is just past the M40 junction at Denham and is well loved and well known among west Londoners who often see it as a sign they are near home.
How the sign came to be
The origins of the sign, particularly how exactly someone managed to paint the words on, is not very well known but the lore surrounding the sign is rich.
It's common consensus that the first stage was the bridge being tagged with the word "peas", a moniker of a supposed London graffiti artist.
At some point, the words "give" and "a chance" were added to the bridge, leaving us with the perplexing and yet catchy slogan "give peas a chance".
There are alternative theories that are popular among west Londoners, including but not limited to:
- A PR firm for Bird's Eye trying to subliminally tell you that you fancy some garden peas for dinner
- A peace campaigner trying to share their message but with unfortunately poor spelling
- A marketing campaign behind a new version of Monopoly where all the playing pieces are vegetables
Obviously the whole phrase is a play on words, referring to John Lennon's song Give Peace A Chance which got to number 2 in the charts in 1969.
The graffitists could not have chosen a better bridge, with the Chalfont Viaduct having been built at the start of the 20th century, sometime between 1902 and 1906 and is the only Edwardian brick bridge over the M25.
How you have responded
It's no exaggeration to describe "give peas a chance" as one of the most iconic pieces of graffiti on the UK road network, and so unsurprisingly the reaction has shown all five stages of grief.
Okay so we may not have reached acceptance quite yet.