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September 2022

All Quiet on the North Bucks Front


Lodge Plugs factoryThe Lodge Plugs WW2 shadow factory, Olney.

The Monday Photo
Folks, I'm taking a break from the Wanderer. I'll be back next week but there are quite a few posts in the planning stage, with research and/or pictures to be finished. In the meantime, here's a few photos from the archives of the Monday Photo. Please click on the links if you want to learn more about the photos.

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Show/No Show

The Distance Project 39
Two years ago I visited Home Close, the field that’s the site of the annual Winslow Show. It was the August bank holiday, the day the show should have been on.

Of course it wasn’t held that year or the next, but I took some photos of the empty field, and posted them here on the North Bucks Wanderer.

I went back this year, for the first show since 2019. I duplicated my shots from my 2020 visit, and what a difference! I saw no social distancing going on and very few mask wearers. I took other photos too, and you can see a couple at the end of this post.

The Distance Project 18
Carrying on With the New Normal

Social Distancing Project 158(18th Sept 2020) This was taken on the August bank holiday Monday. On any other year the Winslow Show would have just opened and pedestrians would be walking in through this gate. The field, just across the road from Winslow Hall on Sheep Street, Winslow would be filled by the show.
I remember going to this show as a child, when it was called the Winslow Gymkhana.

Social Distancing Project 272(2022) At 9:30 am I saw a steady flow of people going through the gate; I‘d overheard a couple of stewards saying that show visitors were coming unusually early this year. The atmosphere was very relaxed.

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The Queen

The Queen  Buddhist temple.

The Monday Photo

At the Buddhist temple in Willen, Milton Keynes, these two pictures of the Queen are arranged as a small shrine.

The small photo in the white frame is from the opening of the Civic Offices, in 1979. Monks presented the Queen with a statue of the Buddha.

I burned incense in her memory at this shrine on Wednesday. Today, of course, is her funeral.

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Cracks in the Chancel

Chancel cracks  St Thomas  SimpsonThe vertical crack is on the edge of a blocked up North window. A supporting column for the tower arches is in the left foreground.

St Thomas’s church in Simpson, Milton Keynes, has a subsidence problem. Worrying cracks in the chancel walls have been monitored for some time, but on Thursday last week the problem was found to have got much worse.

The stability of the chancel is of such concern that nobody is allowed to enter, though the rest of the church is sound and a wedding last Saturday was allowed to go ahead.

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Coronation Year

Coronation year motorcycle and church

The Monday Photo

1953 connects this classic motorcycle, the church behind it, and our late Queen.

You probably know that her late Majesty’s coronation was on 2nd June 1953, and just before Christmas that year this 500cc BSA was despatched from the factory to a dealer in Edinburgh.

I expect the bike was put together early in December, built from parts made by the factory in the first few months of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. I now own this machine, and there’s a huge difference between this bike and the motorcycles you can buy now, in performance and technology.

I often get people looking nostalgically at my obviously ancient bike, but in 1953 it was state of the art. It was easy to maintain, cheap to run basic transport; just what was needed in Britain, still coming out of wartime austerity.

Considered slow now, (I never cruise at more than 55mph) when first on the road it was faster than many cars. This model, an M33, was built to take a sidecar, an unusual sight now but very common in the years after World War 2. BSA even made their own sidecars, and in 1953 there was a choice of a family sidecar or a single seat de luxe tourer.

Behind the bike is the church of St Thomas the Apostle, in Simpson, Milton Keynes. Unusually, the central 13th Century tower is the oldest part of the church.

In the nave and above the tower arch is painted the royal arms of George II. This mural was carefully restored in coronation year, and on it GR2 for George Rex II was changed to ER2, of course for Elizabeth Regina II. There’d be uproar if this was done today!

And here we are in another coronation year. The death of Queen Elizabeth II was a shock, but not, I suppose, a surprise.

Long live the King.

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Gin and Precautions

The Distance Project 38
Now it’s been over a year since the lockdown rules were almost completely relaxed, I’ve been returning to some previous subjects. There’s been a few changes, but some things have stayed the same...

Some of us are still taking precautions. But many are more or less back to normal, in our approach to the world. I think it will be a long while before lockdown, Covid, and the drastic changes to our lives stop affecting us completely.

But some things have changed for the better. In June and July 2020 I had been going to Little Horwood to photograph lockdown life there. Let's take a look.

Social Distancing Project 269(2022) Fabric World in Bletchley has kept their perspex screen at the counter, and they use it to display the masks they still sell.

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