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November 2022

A Fresh Look

Sleeping ginger tom

The Monday Photo

I’ve been away on a break, to Warwickshire. There I visited my brother and his family, arriving around teatime on Thursday and driving back yesterday afternoon, getting home not long before it got dark.

The cat, who seems to have spent most of that time on the bed, has been very glad to see me back home. So here he is in today’s photo, on that bed.

During my visit we went to some of the local attractions, which meant I did far more walking than I’m used to; I don't usually walk too far.

Most of you don’t know that I had an accident about 17 years ago. My left foot was badly damaged and now I have to wear orthotic shoes; it restricts how far I can walk. This means that I’m wary about walking too far; if I over do it, I’m not just tired, it hurts; for hours. Sometimes it can still hurt the next day.

But on Saturday we all walked about five miles, some of it on steep slopes, and I was fine. A bit tired because I’m unused to such a distance, but I didn’t hurt. I needed a cup of tea, (don’t I always!) but that’s about all.

I think that a lot of this increased range is because I’ve been on a diet. I’ve lost about 2st 4lbs so far, with about another 2 stone to go.

Losing weight has made all physical activity easier, but until now I hadn’t realised by how much.

But how is this relevant to the North Bucks Wanderer? You see, I’ve been avoiding places of interest that are a long way from roads, thinking they are out of my range. You may have noticed. Now I know my range has increased, I can look at these places again.

That’s the thing about going away; when you get home, you look at everything with a fresh eye. Now I wonder, with that eye, what I’ll find next for the NBW.

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Church Break

St Thomas's church  Simpson in BucksOn the left is the North wall of the chancel. The crack following the edge of the blocked up window is quite clear; it runs right down to the ground in the corner.

My post last week on Simpson church had a look at the severe structural problems in the chancel, included a poster advertising an auction to raise money for repairs.

I’m pleased to tell you that the auction raised £602.50 towards the repair fund.

Continue reading "Church Break" »

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War Memorial

Simpson war memorial

The Monday Photo

This is Simpson’s war memorial. It’s made of Cornish granite and the poppies on the obelisk, which I don’t think have been there very long, are all crocheted.

Tens of thousands of war memorials inscribed with the names of the dead were raised after the first World War. The dead were not repatriated and the memorial was often the only place in their village or town their name was carved; at least it was somewhere to grieve.

The memorial committee had been formed in May 1922, and by that October £92 2s had been raised, the equivalent of just over £5,000. They had just another £5 to go.

The London firm of George Maile and Son were commissioned to create the memorial. They also made the war memorial at Woughton on the Green, the next village along on the Newport Road.

The memorial was unveiled and dedicated on 4th February 1923. There are eleven names carved into it from World War One, and six more names were added after World War 2.

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One of Many

Maurice Newman WW1 memorial plaque  Granborough

Arthur Maurice Tweed Newman was killed in action in the second year of the First World War. He was just 18. This is his memorial plaque, in St. John the Baptist Church, Granborough.

Called Maurice Newman on the plaque, (his father was also named Arthur) at 18 he couldn’t have been in action for very long before he fell.

Maurice’s mother had passed away in 1907, and his father the Revd. A. E. T. Newman was described as being “dismayed” at their deaths. I’m not surprised. It must have been even more distressing to the Revd. Newman when his son Charles became old enough to fight in 1916, though in the end Charles survived the war and would live until 1985.

Maurice had six siblings, all but one younger than him. At his death, Charlotte would have been 20, Charles 17, Alice 14, Hugh 12, John 10, and Maurice’s half brother (His father had remarried in 1908) just 6. How do you explain to children that their big brother is never coming home?

In 1918, another child was born to the Revd. Newman and his second wife Florence. They called him Arthur Maurice Newman.

The plaque has three of the seven stanzas from the 1914 poem For the Fallen, by Laurence Binyon. Most of us know the fourth Stanza of the poem, which is also the last one on the plaque:


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

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The Wonky Church

Cruciform church tower archesThe chancel (not open to the public at the moment) is visible through the tower arches. Above the nearest arch are the royal arms of George II. The outer G,R, and 2 were changed to read E,R, and 2 for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Stairs up to the bellringing platform are on the left.

Look closely at St Thomas’ church in Simpson, Milton Keynes, and you might wonder why the tower seems a little slender compared to the rest of the church. It’s because it’s all that’s left of an earlier, smaller church.

St Thomas is a cruciform church. It’s built with a central tower between the West nave and East chancel, (their usual orientation) and with transepts to North and South.  A birds eye view would show the church to be shaped like a Christian cross; the nave forming the long arm and the tower where the arms all join.

But it’s a slightly wonky cross; the transepts do not match and the South one has a West wall which isn’t quite at right angles to everything else. The porch, built around 200 years after most of the church, has an East wall that is also way off being square.

Continue reading "The Wonky Church" »

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Back on the Bike

Typepad is having technical problems after moving to a new server which means I cannot upload photos, so I am republishing posts from the NBW archives. This Photo is from August 2019, but it's a story of my early life from about 1962.

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.

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