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October 2020

The Distance Project 20

Social Distancing Project 168In the warmer months when we were allowed to meet in each other’s back gardens, my brother and his family would visit me once a week. You can see the project photo here. But now the evenings are darker and colder that’s not so practical or pleasant.

The Autumn weather is probably one reason the rules were changed, so that we could meet up in each other’s homes. Here, the two boys are back at university so there’s just the three of us, but now I go to my brother’s house; my place isn’t quite right for remaining socially distanced. Before Covid-19, we would sit close together on these two settees.

 

Interactions

There’s no sign of the lockdown going away; in fact it’s been tightened in some areas, though here in Milton Keynes and Buckinghamshire we are still at the lowest level of restrictions. Let’s hope it stays that way.

For a long time, for months and months, I did not go into anybody else’s home. I was slow to change, and it was some time after we were officially permitted to visit other people inside their homes that I started doing so.

So far I’ve been into three other people’s houses. I’m due to visit a couple more this week, but that will probably be it, for now.

I’ve been to the pub a couple of times, The Barley Mow at Cosgrove. Though I got some good shots for the project, the pub is in Northamptonshire so I can’t show you them here.

But how do I feel about the lockdown?

 

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The Monday Photo

Behind the Green Man

This pub is on the Market Square, Aylesbury. It’s not particularly old or noteworthy, but for many years if you wanted entertainment, through the arch on the side of the pub to the building that stood behind it was the place to go.

At different times over the years there you could see performers like Genesis, The Who, Roxy Music, David Bowie, or Ronnie Barker, or even watched a film.

The Green Man  Aylesbury

There’s been plenty of live music. Ronnie Barker might not have sung on stage there, but like David Bowie, there’s a statue of him in the town.

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Please Stand By

The North Bucks Wanderer has been having technical difficulties, and if that wasn't enough, I haven't been sleeping well either. This all means that there wasn't a Thursday post this week.

My apologies to my regular readers. I hope to be back on the case next week, so as they used to say when TV stations had problems, please stand by.

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The Monday Photo


Goosey Bridge  OlneyPhoto by Alan Bradbury

On The Island

This 1796 bridge gives walkers access to Goosey Island on the Great Ouse at Olney; it's a popular spot. But why is there an island there at all?

I think it’s because there used to be a water mill downstream, on the far side of the main road. To get the water to drive the mill wheel, some of the flow has to be diverted so that it arrives at the mill high above the natural level of the river. The water falling from one level to another under the influence of gravity is what drives the mill.

The river valley is quite flat here, so the diversion has to start quite a long way upstream from the mill. Over the years the river has broken through and there’s now a weir in place to control the water levels.

Up to around the middle of the twentieth Century there had been a weir and a sluice gate in a different spot, about 180 feet North of the present one.

There had been a mill at Olney since the Domesday Book, but a fire gutted the last one in 1965, and the remains were demolished.

At one time there had been another mill a little way at the foot of Clifton Hill, and you can see another island (just about) near there, too. And upstream there are other places in North Bucks where there used to be working mills; you can often find where they were from the islands just upstream.

Are there any places in North Bucks that you have puzzled over? If you have, let me know, and I’ll see if I can solve the mystery for you.

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Looking Up, At Aylesbury

Aylesbury is like most towns we go to; we walk through the streets and never look higher than the ground floor. And we miss everything.

Here’s just a few of the things we can see around Aylesbury’s Market Square, if we just look up above the shop fronts.

The Dark Lantern  Aylesbury

I first knew this building as The Dark Lantern pub, but it hasn’t been called that for quite a while. It is now a nightclub called Pulse 51, that’s also a live music venue featuring rock acts. This means it can’t open during lockdown.

You might not notice as you walk past it down the cobbled alley into Silver Street (far right), but look up and you’ll see this is a 16th or 17th Century timber framed building.

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The Monday Photo

Wolverton Works pillbox

Railway Defense

What are these strange little windows set in concrete on a corner in Wolverton? They are loopholes in a pillbox that was built to protect the entrance to Wolverton Railway Works, in World War Two.

The pillbox is on Stratford road on the corner with Radcliffe Street, at the bottom of the garden of the Roman Catholic church of St. Francis de Sales.

There’s a second pillbox on the far corner, partly concealed by the bus stop, and together they covered over half a mile of Stratford Road. The first Germans coming into sight in either direction would get a nasty surprise.

Last time I looked (this isn’t a recent photo) this nearest pillbox had a statue of the Virgin Mary and is nice and tidy inside. The further one has had its loopholes blocked up and is now a very substantial garden shed.

The bus stop that used to partly conceal the far pillbox has been removed since I took the photo.

Do you know of any strange things where you live in North Bucks?

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