Previous month:
December 2021
Next month:
February 2022

January 2022

Where’s Yer (Laundry) Bin?

Yes, where have I been?

For those who have been here in the last couple of weeks expecting to see new posts, um, well, there haven’t been any. My apologies! I’ve been doing some industrial electrical work, a skill from my time in the years BB; Before Blogging.

I haven’t been doing that all the time in the last fortnight, because I can’t. An injury from 15 years ago means that working in awkward spaces is very difficult and tiring, and it takes me a long time to recover. It was a whole week this time before I stopped limping.

But now I’m back on the case. The electrical work was at the Washetaria launderette in Stony Stratford, where three of the small 35 year old washing machines are to be taken out, making room for two brand new large machines.

It was great to do this sort of work again, but there’s not much room behind the machines and it’s half full of water pipes and power leads to the machines; the very definition of an awkward space.

Social Distancing Project 958 pm, 1st July 2020

I’ve been maintaining the washers and dryers at the Washetaria in Church Street for quite a while now, and during the lockdown I would come out to the shop after it had shut in the evening, so I could work undisturbed.

The photo was taken on the 1st of July last year. It seems to have been taken during opening hours because it was still light at eight, but today (on the last day of January) sunset was before five. It’s a shot from my photo project on the lockdown, The Distance Project.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


Fire But No Brimstone

Coal stove at Granborough church

The Monday Photo

This is something you don’t often find in a church nave; a coal stove. It sits on the centre aisle, between the North and South doors of St John the Baptist, Granborough.

There’s a second stove in the corner of the nave, to the right of the chancel arch. It’s not an ideal position for evenly heating the nave, but imagine a wedding if it was in the middle, just where the bride and groom should stand!

This stove isn’t so much of a problem, being off centre and a bit nearer the unused South door; there’s just enough room for the new couple to squeeze by on their way out.

When I visited the church on a Saturday afternoon, both stoves had been cleaned out and a full coal scuttle sat ready by each one. This stove sits next to what looks like a playgroup or Sunday school area.

This 14th Century church is a bit unusual because it doesn’t have any side aisles, often added on over the centuries as the village grew. The nave and chancel are original, but the nave’s windows are late 15th Century.

On the North side of the nave, part of an original window reveal is still visible on the inside, next to the later window. It’s also just possible to see where that window was on the outside, too.

On the South side in the corner behind the second stove is a double sided piscina, and the reveal of the later window cuts into it. This means the piscina is older than the window and especially as it’s a double one, probably as old as the church.

But what is a piscina? It’s a stone basin with a drain hole, usually set into the thickness of the wall and nicely decorated, used for washing communion vessels during a service.

It’s quite unusual to see a double piscina. The second basin is for washing the priest’s fingers, also during a service.

The tower is 15th Century and the chancel’s East window is in the Perpendicular style

Even a small church like this one, though unspectacular, has plenty to see. Worth a visit.

The Observer's Book of Old English Churches (left) is just right for slipping into a pocket when you are out exploring the countryside. I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens just like this one (right) for the photo in this post.

      

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


Mind the Gap

Corrugated iron over thatch  North Marston

The Monday Photo

For me, growing up through the 60s in North Bucks this was a common sight; an ancient half timbered house or cottage with a corrugated iron roof.

Under the iron roof would be a thatched roof in poor condition; using corrugated iron sheeting was a cheaper way than rethatching to make a roof weatherproof again.

Of  course, most of these homes have since been rethatched, some more than once.

This house on the High Street in North Marston still has thatch under the sheeting, and it’s an unusual survivor of a different time. I’m quite pleased it’s like this.

Corrugated iron sheets were invented in 1829, then made of wrought iron. Later they were made of mild steel, once the Bessemer Process brought a cheap way to make steel in the mid 19th Century.

This timber framed house is late 16th or 17th Century and is ‘L’ shaped. You can just see the rear wing through the gap, and that it isn’t quite square on to the front part of the house. The first floor is leaning out a bit, too.

The rear wing’s roof is also covered in corrugated iron, as is what seems to be a single story outbuilding at the back. You can see both of these roofs if you walk a bit further along the High Street.

If you look very closely at the cottage on the right, you might be able to see that it’s also built with a timber frame. It has been refronted in brick to make it look more up to date. Though it’s not very obvious in this photo, the roof has a much gentler slope than the house next door, so it is likely to have always been slate.

I had intended to just take a shot of the whole of the house with its green “tin” roof, but I found this gap between it and next door more telling. There are details everywhere; all you have to do is look out for them.

I used a Sony A6000 and zoom lens just like this one for the photo in this post.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


Bridge Out

Old railway bridge with farm trackThe brickwork looks to be in good condition, though the retaining wall on the approach needs attention. Beyond the bridge will be the cutting for the HS2 line.

There are quite a few nice old railway bridges in North Bucks, but it looks like the Highways Agency want to demolish this one, though it was in quite good condition when I visited it this week.

This bridge is nearly 125 years old, a part of our railway heritage and a local landmark on a footpath near Twyford Mill.

When HS2 is completed it will be about 120 feet from the edge of the cutting. The existing farm track will be carried over the cutting on a new bridge.

              

From the Government’s plans and what a local dog walker told me, this original bridge will be demolished; instead there will just be a ramp up to the new one. I believe there's enough room to keep this bridge and make it part of the ramp to the new one.

I see there’s another bridge that will be lost, too, about a quarter of a mile to the South East. But I didn’t realise until I came home again.

Continue reading "Bridge Out" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe


The Full Story

Mid 18th Century bank building

The Monday Photo

Yep, it’s another bank. I seem to be having a run on the banks recently. : )

But today we are just going to look at the building, not the history of the bank inside it. This is the NatWest bank at 80 High Street, Stony Stratford, now the only bank in the town since the Lloyds bank closed in September last year.

Unlike Lloyd’s across the road, 80 High Street was not built as a bank. It became the London and County bank around 100 years later, in the mid 19th Century.

Now Let’s Have a Good Look

There’s three columns in the foreground of today’s photo. The nearest one is at the end of a shop front, today an estate agent’s at 82 High Street. It’s paired with another column at the other end of their frontage.

The second and third columns flank the entrance to the bank. The columns are all the same design; that’s because this is one building.

But if you look up at the first and second floors, although the general design is the same there are differences between Nos. 80 and 82.

What’s the same?

The cornice, supporting the edge of the roof, is exactly the same. It continues without a break along No. 78 though that’s certainly a separate building; both are mid 18th Century. Were they once owned by the same people?

The sash windows are all at the same level throughout, suggesting that the floors in 80 and 82 match in height.

What’s different?

The columns in number 82 are set a little lower than the ones on the bank. I can’t see a structural reason for this.

But although the windows all share a similar design, the first floor windows above the estate agent’s are four panes wide and high instead of the three panes wide and four high you can see above the bank.

The brick face of the building above ground level is all of flemish bond; bricks laid alternately lengthways and end on, but only above the bank are the headers, the bricks laid end on, a different sort of brick. They are dark blue and form a regular pattern.

But the pattern is jumbled on the first floor, as if the wall there had been carelessly rebuilt.

It’s a mystery; the quality of the brickwork is good, but why didn’t they bother to reproduce the pattern?

It seems to me that there was a deliberate attempt to subtly differentiate between Nos 80 and 82, with No. 80 being the fine town house and 82 the commercial premises, a little plainer and with slightly different windows.

It’s easy to miss little details like these, especially if you just look at the shop fronts and not the buildings behind them.

This is the first post of 2022, and I have a few plans for what I’d like to do with the North Bucks Wanderer this year. Watch this space.

I used a Sony A6000 and zoom just like this one for the photo in this post.

I make a small percentage from sales through Amazon links, no matter what you buy while you visit their site from here. This helps me but costs you nothing, so if you make a purchase via the NBW, thank you.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.
If you liked this post and want to find out more about the North Bucks area, please
Subscribe