Live Levis Lives

Pre-war Levis and BSA
The Monday Photo

In May last year I showed you a picture of the nearest bike in this photo, a 1932 Levis.

It was an old shot from 2010, with the bike sat on a grassy lane at Clifton Reynes; just the place for an off road machine.

But this photo was taken yesterday, at the Stony Classic vehicle show in Stony Stratford. The show takes place on the first Sunday of StonyLive, Stony Stratford’s annual live music festival. The festival and show all usually happen in June, but you all know why it’s late this year.

I hadn’t seen the Levis since 2010, so when I spotted it at the show I went straight over for a good look. Five minutes later the owner Graham appeared, ready to head off along with his mate, whose BSA isn’t much younger than the Levis. You can see the BSA in the photo.

Before he rode away Graham told me the Levis has recently had some new bits fitted; front brake, exhaust and carburettor. I think it’s been off the road while the work was done.

There’s more about the Levis at the first link on this post, above. By the way, it’s pronounced Le-viss, not Lee-vize.

For travelling round the back roads of North Bucks, you can’t beat a motorcycle. Photography and motorcycling go hand in hand, so a bike is ideal when I’m out looking for subjects for the North Bucks Wanderer.

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Late on Church Parade

Nave and South aisle  HillesdenA typically light and airy Perpendicular period church.

Yep, I'm running late this week! (Again). It's the price of being a solo blogger; when life gets in the way the schedule suffers; there's nobody else to take up the slack. Sorry folks.

Next week will be the first of a two part post on the different periods of church window, and the many different designs. With the completed post you'll be able to date the window, if not the whole church. (there are pitfalls for the unwary, but don't worry, I'll tell you what they are)

I'd intended it to be a single post to be published yesterday, but "it was a tale that grew in the telling", another reason why I'm late, though that's no excuse. It having got so out of hand, I must now go to several churches across North Bucks to photograph their windows, so I can show you what I'm talking about.

Above is a photo that isn't going to be in that post, but does have something to do with it. See if you can work out what that is, in next week's post.

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StonyLive is on!

Stony Live Classic show5The Stony Classic Show, 2018. A Suzuki 50cc step-thru just like these but in blue, was my first bike.

Stony Stratford's annual festival of music and performance art, Stony Live, starts tomorrow, Saturday 28th August! It was sadly missed last year in its usual June slot, and delayed this year by the lockdown restrictions.

There's not so much going on this year, but it's still well worth attending. For a taster, this is what's on over the next two days, all in the town.

Playing tomorrow lunchtime from 13:00 - 15:00 are the Concrete Cowboys Lite, who will be putting the Moo into Music at the Fox and Hounds at 87 High Street. The traditional start to StonyLive, although reduced in numbers this year.

Later on that day is the Family Barn Dance, in the Market Square from 17:00 - 19:00. StonyLive says: "Here is the annual Town community event, this year your Hosts are Innocent Hare. Please read the "About" for details of how we can make you safe. Please note we are having it a bit earlier this year."

That's the "About" page at the website. (link above)

Classic Stony, Stony's classic vehicle show, is on Sunday 29 August, from 09:30 - 16:00. They say: "A gathering of all types of Vintage, Classic vehicles and motorcycles, plus for good measure the odd supercar and tractor. Throughout the town centre."
 
There will also be Busking at Cars by local musicians during the show, and at the church, you can get tea, coffee, and water bottle top ups from 11:00. They call it Pitstop at the Classic Festival.
 
(Edited) I nearly forgot! Don't forget to visit the Willen Hospice bookshop if you go to Classic Stony; it's at 30 High Street. They always have a good display of motoring and/or petrolhead books for the show, and if you can't get there on Sunday, opening times are at the link above. I go to this shop as often as I can; they have a good range.

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Country Wellingtons

Runway  RAF Little Horwood

The Monday Photo

During WW2 tons of hardcore were delivered by train and lorry to Greenway Farm in Buckinghamshire, from bomb damaged London. It was all for the foundations of the runways, roads, and dispersal areas of a new airfield, RAF Little Horwood.

On 2nd September 1942 the airfield went operational, and this is one end of the main runway, made 150 feet wide and 2,000 yards long.

There was just enough room for it between two back roads. At this end the runway stops just 125 feet from the road between Winslow and Little Horwood. The far end nearly reaches the Great Horwood to Winslow road. There were two other, shorter runways, the three crossing each other at a 60 degree angle; the standard arrangement for these airfields.

Maps from after the war show no sign of the buildings of Greenway Farm, built in the middle of what was to become the airfield.

RAF Little Horwood was used by an Operational Training Unit, OTU 26, to train crews for night missions in the twin engined Wellington bomber. Aircraft also flew from there on “Nickelling” missions, dropping propaganda leaflets over occupied France.

There are two well known local crashes connected with the airfield. On 11th April 1943 a Wellington Bomber on night training approached this end of the main runway in heavy fog to make a third attempt at landing.

The plane came in too low and crashed into the water tower at Mursley; the crew of four were killed. There’s a memorial plaque by the tower and the crew are remembered each year on Armistice Day.

At Winslow in the early hours of 7th August that year another Wellington from RAF Little Horwood crashed into Winslow High Street, on their second attempt to land at the airfield. Of the crew of five only the navigator survived, but 13 civilians died in the crash.

I don’t know how many other casualties there were from RAF Little Horwood, but I do know that the RAF lost a total of over 8,000 men, in training accidents or during non-operational flying over the course of the war.

There’s not much left of the runways now but quite a lot of the perimeter track is still there. It’s hard to tell how useable it is; it’s on private land and I’m not able to explore it.

This is just one of several Second World War training airfields in North Bucks.

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Lanterns at the Lake

Buddhist monks at the Peace Pagoda

On the 6th of August 1945 the first atomic bomb to be used against an enemy was dropped on the city of Hiroshima, in Japan.

Now every year on that day at Willen Lake in Milton Keynes, a ceremony is held in memory of the victims and to promote peace. As many as 200 peace lanterns are floated out across the water during the ceremony, as darkness falls. Each lantern is decorated with words and pictures of peace.

Last week I showed you some photos from the ceremony as part of my Distance Project, but this week I’m showing you more of what went on at the lakeside.

 

Giving peace lanterns to a nun

Continue reading "Lanterns at the Lake" »

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D-Day Radio Station

Windy Ridge wireless station  Whaddon

The Monday Photo

Why am I showing you some old concrete slabs in a field? Aren’t they just the remains of old farm buildings?

They weren’t farm buildings at all, but the site of an important WW2 military radio station.

The hill top station was called Windy Ridge by the soldiers that manned it, but the field is known as Church Hill and it’s in Whaddon. The station played an important part in Operation Overlord, the invasion of German-held Western Europe that began with D-Day.

There were two huts at the station and the radio hut’s foundation is in the foreground. From there, morse code messages were sent to radio lorries on the battlefield, that kept close to commanders like General Montgomery and the US Army’s General Patton.

The radio lorries were known as SLUs, or Special Liason Units, and were manned by members of the Royal Corps of Signals.

In England, RCS radio operators at Windy Ridge had to cover each day from morning to late evening, working a two shift system. The first shift was 08:00 to 16:00, the second 16:00 to 22:00. Windy ridge also sent messages to agents in occupied Europe.

The second hut held teleprinters that received intelligence from Bletchley Park, which they’d gained from decrypting German military communications. The teleprinter hut’s foundation slab is just in front of those nettles in the middle distance, on the right of the photo.

Just to the left of that slab is another slab, set at a different level. I found iron studs in two of the corners, so I think this might have been an aerial base.

The huts were simply built, with low brick walls and corrugated iron roofs. Some time after the war they were given to the farmer, but some genius set fire to them and now only the bases remain.

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