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September 2019

August 2019

Using My Head This Time

Headline Eng.

Tales From The Edge
This is an occasional series where I go to the edge of North Bucks and show you what I've found.

I often use my early 80’s Yamaha motorcycle to travel around the North Bucks Wanderer area. I can park in places where a car could never fit, I can turn it around in the narrowest of roads if I see something interesting, and it’s fun to ride.

But there’s been a problem; an oil leak. The right side of the bike and one boot were getting covered in engine oil. So not long ago I stripped down the engine, to replace the faulty seal.

The cylinder head had to be removed, and while it was off I took it to Headline Engineering, who are based in an old farmyard on the edge of Bucks, not far from Woburn Sands on the Cranfield Road.

I had snapped an exhaust stud off a few years ago, and when I tried to fix it back then I just made things worse; I snapped the drill bit off in the hole and there it was, stuck.

But it was no problem to Headline. Sean (he’s in the photo) told me that they used an air grinder to remove what was left of the drill bit, installed a Time-Sert, then put a shiny new stud in the threaded hole. You can see it in the photo; it’s on the left hand end of the cylinder head, the only shiny one.

Time-Serts are used for repairing badly damaged bolt threads in metal, and the result is a strong repair that you can rely on. I’m not going to go into the details here, but if you are interested, the makers Wurth have a video to show you how it’s done.

If you want to try these thread repairs for yourself, the Time-Sert kits can be found on Amazon.

I was please with the repair, and replaced the cylinder head on the bike. The last job to do was to replace the exhaust. At last, the exhaust would be properly fixed! I was a happy man, right up to the moment when another stud, on the opposite side of the head, snapped off...

But I’ve learned my lesson now. I’m not going to try repairing this one myself.


Boy on a Tricycle

Boy on a Tricycle  Summer 1962Summer 1962 in Church Street. Left is aunt Peggy's eldest, my cousin Jayne. Right is my brother Alan. I’m in the middle, on that tricycle. I was three.

My previous post about the MK Heritage Open Days for historical places in North Bucks reminded me about my life in Winslow, when I was a boy. At first we lived in Church Street, close to the Brownie and Guide Hall; it’s one of the Winslow buildings that’s having an open day.

Church Street is a cul-de-sac that rises quite sharply up to the churchyard. Cars were not often seen there in the early 1960s, so I was allowed to play in the street. I had a tricycle, and this is what I did with it…

I laboriously pedalled the tricycle up the slope. At the top I turned the little machine around and began to pedal downhill. I was soon moving at great speed, steering slightly left all the way down to follow the curve of the narrow street.

The end of my run, the much bigger Horn Street, came into view. I made ready for my last manouvre; it was coming up quickly now and I didn’t want to shoot across Horn Street at the bottom.

At the last moment I swerved skilfully left on to the footpath and came to a halt. I turned the tricycle around, and started back up the slope.

Our kitchen window didn’t look out on to Church Street, so Mum couldn’t see me as I shot past. But Aunt Peggy’s kitchen window looked out on to the street. She saw me hurtle past, and went straight round to knock on our front door. Mum opened the door.

“Vera, he’s doing it again” said Peggy. Mum came out straight away and confiscated my tricycle. I wept and promised to reform and never to do it again, and pleaded to keep the lovely machine. Still she took it away.

When my toddler brother Alan later asked me where the tricycle was I just tersely said, “It’s gone”. So he was surprised and pleased a few days later to spot it in the corner of our unused top floor bedroom.

He was up there helping Mum to hang up clothes for drying. He pointed at the tricycle again and again and tried to tell her he had found it, but was puzzled because Mum just didn't seem to see it there.

Eventually I got the tricycle back, but it wasn't too long before temptation struck again and I began to make my way to the top of the slope for another run.

You’ll not be surprised to know that I later became a biker.

Church Street  Winslow  Summer 1961Around Summer 1960. Too young then to ride a tricycle with pedals, but you can see how steep Church Street is.

Church Street  Winslow  Summer 2019Here’s Church Street now. The nearest window is much smaller, front doors have been moved, and what used to be old boxed in thatched roofs are now tiled. The building on the right has been extended.


History Free

Lord Cobham's monument at StoweThe 115 foot tall Lord Cobham's monument at Stowe, Buckinghamshire was completed by 1749.

Coming up in the North Bucks Wanderer’s area in mid September are a long list of open days, and they are all listed on the Milton Keynes Heritage website. Not all these events are in Milton Keynes; they are also as far apart as Cosgrove, Olney, Stowe, and Winslow, amongst others.

As I grew up in Winslow, I’m interested in the events in the town. On Saturday the 14th of September are four events to see and do.

Open from 2 ‘till 5pm is 28 High Street, the Winslow Rural District Council offices when I was a boy. It now belongs to Winslow Town Council; it’s a Victorian building, I think.

The interior of Keach's Meeting House  WinslowThe interior of Keach's Meeting House.

Keach’s Meeting House is also open from 2pm to 5pm. It was built as a Nonconformist Baptist’s chapel in 1695. It’s tiny. The entrance is in Bell Walk, next to Limes Court.

Also open from 2 to 5 is the Brownie and Guide Hall. It’s in Church Street. Built in 1865 as the National School for Girls, it was bought by the Winslow Girl Guides in 1958. I was a baby when we moved to Church Street a year later, and you can read all about what I used to get up to as a small boy here. (But not until tomorrow morning, when that post is published here on this blog)

The solid garden gate to one side of the entrance used to lead into the vicarage garden, and I used to play with the vicar’s son in there, when I was a bit older.

See my next post (coming up tomorrow) on what I was like as a small boy in church Street.

Japanese visitors at Keach's Meeting House  WinslowI took this family from the Fukishima region of Japan and a local Japanese nun on a history trail around Winslow. This was in 2013, at Keach's Meeting House.

At 5pm there’s a History Walk, which lasts about an hour. Starting in the ancient centre of the town, you’ll never be further than 100 yards from the Market Square on the walk. It starts from outside Keach’s Meeting House. The History Walk is also on Thursday 19th.

There’s no need to book for any of these Winslow events, but some of the other heritage events require booking; check on the website.

The Bourbon Tower  at StoweThe Bourbon Tower at Stowe, Buckinghamshire. It was built in 1741 as a Keeper's Lodge.

It’s a busy day on the 14th. Also open (for example) from 10am to 4pm is All Saints Church, Bow Brickhill. They say that the tower stairs are very steep and narrow, but the views are outstanding.

On Friday 20th, the Cowper and Newton Museum in Olney are having an open day, while at Stowe on Sunday 22nd, they are doing free taster tours of the house, and free entry to the grounds.

In and around Aylesbury are more events:

You can visit RAF Halton’s Officer’s Mess.
There’s a Drawn to the Chilterns art exhibition in Wendover.
The 13th Century St Mary’s Church in Pitstone  has an Open Day.
A Strict and Particular Baptist Chapel will be open, at Waddesdon Hill.
There’s a round dozen events in Aylesbury, including Open Days at the ancient King's Head pub, a Quaker meeting house, and the huge council tower block in the centre of town that some call Pooley's Folly. I've got a lovely photo of that building somewhere, but I couldn't find it for you.

There’s lot’s to see and do, and you can find out more on the main Heritage Open Days website.

 


Weathering North Bucks

Here’s a few shots from last week. There's a bit of a theme...

Pebble Alcove  StoweThis is the Pebble Alcove in the 18th Century gardens of Stowe. It was built in about 1737 and decorated like an Italian grotto; coloured pebbles are set into the rendering. It’s very charming, and as we found on a family picnic, the alcove is practical too; it can hold quite a few people when it rains.

The Peace Pagoda with bicyclesLater that day I was at Willen in Milton Keynes, for Hiroshima Day the 6th August each year. Usually the lantern ceremony is up at the Peace Pagoda, (in the background) then the lanterns are taken down the steps and floated out on to the Lake. This year, because of the dodgy weather, the ceremony was in the temple.
I stood and waited for the lantern procession and watched the cyclists.

Continue reading "Weathering North Bucks" »