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May 2019

Going Live at Stony

Stony Stratford’s annual music event, Stony Live, starts on Saturday 1st June and runs all week until Sunday 9th.

Stony Stratford seems to be full of musicians, and there’s a huge variety in the sort of music they play. At Stony Live there’s rock, folk, jazz, blues, a choir, and traditional music. Of course, not everybody who plays or appears has to come from Stony Stratford.

I like the old rock music and the heavy blues, so it’s likely I’ll be in the Fox and Hounds quite often over the course of Stony Live. I’ll try some other things too, as it’s not just music.

You’ll find art, drama, a barn dance, and on Sunday is Classic Stony in the Market Square, where you can see classic cars and motorcycles. I saw a Field Marshall tractor there last year, like the one my Grandad had. If you have a classic vehicle, bring it along.

Classic Stony, like most of the Stony Live events, is free. This is a list of events.

Here’s some photos from last year The first four were taken in The Cock Hotel at last year’s Rock for Willen charity event. This year’s event, Rock for Willen 2: Blue Floyd, is on Sunday 9th, again in the Cock Hotel.

Guitarist  Stony StratfordThe green colour is because of the lighting.

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Steaming Through Milton Keynes


This seventy year old steam locomotive came through Milton Keynes on the West Coast Main Line last Friday, on its way to Euston after a tour of the Scottish Highlands.

Engine 61306, ‘Mayflower’, was pulling the sort of carriage that I remember from the late 60s and the early 70s.

At the rear was an old diesel locomotive, but the Mayflower was doing all the work. I think the diesel was just there as a back up; I seem to remember it’s a requirement of taking an old engine onto the railway network.

Mayflower was completed in 1948, and built to a London North Eastern Railway design. By the time it was finished the railways had been privatised, so the locomotive went to work for British Railways until it was withdrawn from service in 1967.

I had fallen into conversation with a rail enthusiast a couple of days earlier who had told me about this train, so I was ready and waiting on the bridge just after six o’clock on Friday evening.

Several trains went up and down the four sets of tracks while I waited. It’s a busy line. At just before 6:28pm the train approached. It was a warm and sunny evening, but now the cutting was in shadow.

The driver sounded the whistle; I think he had seen me. He was kind enough to be wearing a nice red shirt that showed up well against the LNER green of the locomotive, as he drove the train with his elbow on the window sill.

Thanks for the tip, Ken.

Dear Reader,

I'm having to deal with family matters at the moment, so there will be no post this week. I hope to be back on schedule next Thursday.

Meanwhile, please have a look at the NBW archives, where there are posts on all sorts of North Bucks topics. You can search by subject, date, or put in a specific search term; it's all in the sidebar.

See you soon.
Roger Bradbury

The Radio Wanderer

Just up the stairs from Milton Keynes Hospital’s old main entrance is their radio studio. I was there in the studio last week, to appear on the Tuesday Magazine programme with their presenter John Newton.

I was there to talk to John about the North Bucks Wanderer.

The Writers roomJohn Newton's writer's group. John is first right on the back row.

I met John in the Costa’s in the new main entrance. In his 80s, John is tall and slim with a glint in his eye and has led a varied and interesting life. Once in the Kenya police force, he is the author of several books and now runs a writer’s group that I’m a member of.

We grabbed coffee and looked through the CDs I had brought. I had been efficient and noted down the track numbers I had chosen and their duration so that John could plan his programme.

In the rather small studio John coached me on what to do when we went live. He showed me various hand signals so that he could ask me to finish what I was saying, or to keep close to the microphone so that it could pick up my voice properly.

Of course the listener has no idea these signals are being passed, but the idea is to make the show run more smoothly.

I’m a stills photographer, so I don’t know much about sound recording. But I did know enough to remove my brand new and very stiff motorcycle boots, as they squeaked loudly when I moved.

It was Midday. We went live.

John played a piece of music he had chosen earlier, and as the track ended he introduced me. This was it!

We talked for less than a minute before he introduced my first piece of music. The plan was to alternate songs I had chosen with tracks John had already picked. My second track was David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust.

Detail  Earthly Messenger statue 01Ziggy played guitar...

Just a few weeks ago I had covered the first anniversary of the David Bowie statue being unveiled in Aylesbury for a post on this blog, and this choice gave me a chance to talk about it.

As our broadcast went on, I became more relaxed and leaned back in my chair. John signalled me to get back close to the microphone, but by then I had forgotten what the signal meant. After a while I got the message and from then on kept my mouth closer to the mic.

Before I knew it we were at the end of the programme. I had chosen seven records but we only had time to play five. I enjoyed appearing on the hospital radio, and hope to be going back to do it again.

How to Listen
Milton Keynes Hospital Radio plays every day, all day; it’s been broadcasting for thirty years.

MK Hospital has free Wi-Fi across most of the site. There’s a LISTEN LIVE icon on all their Hospital Radio website pages. Click on that and it’ll link to a page where you can listen to the programme.

You can also listen for free via the hospicom hospital service. More details are on the Hospital Radio website.

Ancient Hollington Wood

(This is the second post about bluebell woods in the North Bucks Wanderer’s stomping ground. The first post is here.)

It was Saint George’s Day. I had already visited two woods that day, this was the third and last.

Hollington Wood is privately owned, and although there are no footpaths through the wood, there are two permissive paths that are nearly always open. The wood is a couple of miles South of Olney, not far from the A509. It has a very nice display of bluebells this year, including at least one albino example.

I drove up the back road to Olney, then came out South from the town and back towards Milton Keynes. I turned left on to the Newport Road, about 250 yards past the Newton Blossomville turn. The Newport Road was the old main road, now bypassed.

Bluebell in Hollington WoodBy the permissive path.

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