The Monday Photo
It’s not uncommon to find a sharp bend on a country road with a farm gate on it, like this one. It’s almost as if the road once carried straight on.
That’s because very often, it did. It’s not too obvious here, because concrete block has been placed in front of the gate, but you can just see the top of the gate above the block.
Why does this happen? When roads were first metalled or hard surfaced, not every lane was treated. There might have been a t-junction of lanes, and one branch would not be metalled, leaving a right angle bend.
You’ll often see a farm on these bends, because lanes from three directions converged there. Sometimes to go straight on now means going into the farmyard. But although there’s a farm on the bend on the photo now, there wasn’t one when the lane received its hard surface.
A traveller from Calverton coming from our left could either go through the gate, or turn right towards the camera and down towards Whaddon.
On 125 year old maps a footpath is shown, leading across the fields to Whitehouse Farm. I think it’s now partly or wholly built over.
In this case, the footpath goes through the gate, then turns sharp right to run along the far side of a hedge that’s in line with the hedge in front of the farmhouse. But on more recent maps there’s an additional footpath which goes directly away from the camera, making this spot a sort of crossroads.
Some bends like this are on parish boundaries. The lane follows the edge of the parish, then turns sharply away from the boundary. The actual boundary may lie along the centre of the lane or along one hedge.
I’ve heard stories of motorcyclists heading down country lanes at night (back when bike headlights were truly dreadful) and almost ending up in a field or farmyard because the road seemed to go straight on when it didn’t. Perhaps the gate had been left open.
Back on the Road
That leads me sort of smoothly on to the subject of my bike. There it is in the picture, all back together and running well.
This was on Sunday afternoon, on my way home from the annual Stony Classic vehicle show. I had already missed one event the previous Sunday, and meant not to miss this show.
I was so determined not to miss it that I pulled an “all-nighter”; I worked on the bike all night long, seeing the sun come up on Saturday morning before going to bed for a few hours.
I started the bike for the first time at about 8 pm on Saturday evening and rode off, heading to Stony Stratford the long way round and seeing the sun go down as I approached the town.
I had a pint in the Old George and watched their Saturday night band before riding home. I returned next morning for the show.
I still haven’t caught up with my sleep, and I’m way behind with everything, including this blog. But having a bike on the road is good for my peace of mind, to put it mildly.
Next I’ll finish that lost footpaths post which should have been two weeks ago. Please be patient; I’m doing all I can.