Getting on With It.

 

The Distance Project 24

Here are a few shots from late last year, before we went into the Tier 3 and Tier 4 lockdowns. The lighter restrictions of that time are now just a memory.

Social Distancing Project 191This is my cat, and I can tell by his body language that he’s had just about enough of this; it’s just as well this was the end of the examination. You should be able to see the thick plastic sheets hung between me and the vet, but we are both wearing masks too.
Marmaduke is fine; I had just brought him in for a routine examination and his once a year injections. Thanks to Laura at Vets4Pets for letting me take photos of her examining him.

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It’s Quicker Via (this) Canal

Soulbury bottom lock 24

The Monday Photo

In 1805, it became far more practical to bring goods to London from the factories in the North and the Midlands when the Grand Junction Canal was opened; we know it as the Grand Union Canal, and this is Three Locks, not far South of Milton Keynes.

Before that year, the only way to London by water was via the Oxford canal, joining the Thames at Oxford then going downstream to the capital; it was much further and depended on how the Thames was running. These routes both still exist.

But how much quicker was it when the new route opened? On the older route via the Thames it’s 172 miles each way and and modern estimates reckon it will take you 151 hours of travelling to go there and back.

For the same starting and finishing points but via the Grand Junction Canal it’s just 101 miles each way, and the modern estimate is 102 hours for the round trip. So the new route cut a third off the return journey time and was more reliable, since none of it was on the river.

The new canal did well, but competition from the railways from around 1840 meant the canal struggled to survive, though it continued to take commercial traffic right up until the 1950s, one of the last canals to do so. Now it is mostly used by leisure craft and people who live on boats, and has now been open to traffic for 215 years.

The photo shows the bottom lock of the three, which together raise or lower boats just over twenty feet, and the end of the Greensand ridge.

I don’t know what sort of speed the 18th Century horse drawn boats could average, does anyone know? I suspect they’d be slower than a modern boat with an engine. But the time advantage of the new route is obvious.

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My Big Break

Nice cup of tea

I'm taking a week off from blogging, so the North Bucks Wanderer will not be appearing next week. Our next post will be the Monday Photo on the 11th of January, 2021. Meanwhile, I shall be relaxing and drinking tea.

Meanwhile, if there's anything you would like to see covered on this blog, whether it's a particular place or event or perhaps just a general topic, please tell me below by making a comment.

Happy New Year to you all. I'll see you in 2021.

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What Did I Do This Year?

Quite a bit, really. I managed to get around to quite a few places in North Bucks when we were allowed to, and got all the way to Hillesden before the lockdown. But this post is a Covid free zone; I’ll say no more about that today.

Now here are some of the highlights of the year from the North Bucks Wanderer.

Great Linford station

On a grey February day I explored The Railway That Nearly Was, a line that might have gone all the way from Wolverton to Wellingborough, but only made it as far as Newport Pagnell. If you know what to look for, you can still see where the line was meant to run.

This was the old station at Great Linford.

 

Musket ball hole  Hillesden

Hillesden Church is often called The Cathedral in the Fields, for its huge Perpendicular windows. Because of the windows, Inside All is Bright, but here is the outside of the porch door, in the shade. That’s a musket ball hole.

 

Olney pancakes

In Pancakes for Everyone, some of the Olney Pancake Race competitors wait to run. As well as the town race, there’s an international match against another pancake race in Liberal, Texas.

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The Christmas Post

Christmas Postie

The Monday Photo

This is my postie, wearing his reindeer hat. I have no idea what his name is, but it's a fine hat. Keeps the ears warm, too; stylish yet practical.

That’s all folks.

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Dreaming of a Bright Christmas

Lime Street Santa  OlneyThe big man himself, in Lime Street, Olney.

There are some very good Christmas lights displays on private houses across North Bucks, and I wanted to show you examples from as wide an area as possible. I had a plan. But the Tier 4 lockdown came, and I only managed to get a few, all quite close to me.

The first one I found is in Lime Street, Olney. It’s there to raise donations for Willen Hospice, and last year they raised over £1,600. It was a good one to start with.

Olney Xmas lightsLime Street, Olney.

The second one is in Vicarage Road, Winslow. I spotted this house as I drove through the town, and it’s just a few doors down from the house my grandparents lived in when I was a kid. They aren’t collecting for charity, but it’s still a fine display.

I had a look at my grandparent’s old house while I was there.

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