Personal history

The House That Dad Built

Bell Walk  and The Walk  Winslow

The Monday Photo

Until about 1965, two old timber framed houses sat on this corner plot in Winslow. Over many years quite a few of the internal walls had been removed, to create bigger rooms. The two might have been knocked into one; I don't remember.

With the previous alterations in mind, the owner inspected a short piece of brick wall that was in the way, decided it couldn’t possibly be structural and took it down.

He went away for the weekend, and while he was away the house began to collapse. So many other walls had been taken out that the little bit of wall had been holding the middle of the house up.

The house had to be demolished, and this building erected on the site. My late father Victor Bradbury told me this story, which he knew about because he was the builder.

Cracked and Bulging

The previous house was of the same general shape as this one, though the nearest part had been several feet taller. It had a chimney against the end of the cottage on the left.

Photos from about 1965 show what would have been the wall facing us cracked and bulging, the chimney gone and piles of rubble on the ground. The road by the house had to be coned off in case more masonry fell.

I discussed the building of the new houses with my brother, Alan. Dad did most of it on his own and it took a while; we think in 1966 and 1967. I was seven or eight, Alan a year younger.

It didn’t all go smoothly. Alan remembers a hollow space being found, which meant Dad having to go deep for the foundations; more than six feet.

This might have been because there had been a cellar there, either for the previous house or an even earlier one. Dad swore when he realised he had to go so deep.

Blocked In

Further on in the build Dad ordered two lorry loads of blocks, one to be delivered right away, the second a month later.

But they both turned up on the same day and he had to take them. There’s no garden so all the blocks had to be stacked up on the floor slab, and they had to be piled very high to get them all in and still leave room to work. This made Dad swear too.

I don’t remember going to the house very much, but Alan did and once there he got little jobs to do. He painted a fence, pink being chosen, Dad told him, by the lady whose house it would be.

When Alan came back a few days later he was surprised to see the fence now in gloss white. Dad told him the lady had changed her mind. But really Alan had only been painting on the undercoat, and Dad had been telling him a tall tale.

Alan “helped” with one of the deliveries, and the driver gave him sixpence; the same as a week’s pocket money. At least once he was sent up to the site to light the red lanterns for the night. We believe this was while the footings were being dug.

I think of this as a new pair of houses because I remember them being built, but they are about 54 years old now. 1960s history!

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

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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.

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Getting on With It.

 

The Distance Project 24

Here are a few shots from late last year, before we went into the Tier 3 and Tier 4 lockdowns. The lighter restrictions of that time are now just a memory.

Social Distancing Project 191This is my cat, and I can tell by his body language that he’s had just about enough of this; it’s just as well this was the end of the examination. You should be able to see the thick plastic sheets hung between me and the vet, but we are both wearing masks too.
Marmaduke is fine; I had just brought him in for a routine examination and his once a year injections. Thanks to Laura at Vets4Pets for letting me take photos of her examining him.

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No Armistice in Sight For Covid

Social Distancing Project 180On the last day before the second lockdown, I found some of Bucks County Council’s signs in Buckingham. It’s difficult to keep your distance in some parts of this town, where the pavements are extremely narrow and the roads are often too busy to step into. This is West Street.

 

Distance Project 22

After a hopeful Summer, we headed back towards a stricter regime. Bucks County Council were concerned enough to take action in October, sending out letters to householders and erecting signs warning about the increasing number of infections.

They were right to be concerned, as the number of cases in the UK had taken off in mid September, followed not long after by the number of deaths. The Government had to do something, and the second lockdown began on the 5th of November, to run for four weeks.

This meant that the Armistice Day ceremonies, planned to be held in a limited fashion, could not go ahead as usual on the 11th November. But I took a walk via the local war memorial on the day.

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Testing Times.

The Distance Project 14

I had a letter recently, asking me to take part in a study into Covid-19; I had been selected randomly. I accepted at once, and a test kit arrived on Saturday.

The letter with the test kit said:

“Thank you for registering to take part in the in-home coronavirus antibody testing research study, which is being conducted by Imperial College London and Ipsos MORI, an independant research organisation, on behalf of the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).

“This study will help the government understand how many people in England may have already been infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and to help develop its approach to COVID-19 antibody testing.”

On Tuesday I followed the instructions and did the test. To find out what happened, read on…

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More from Stony Stratford, and What I’ve been up to Under Lockdown

Social Distancing Project 95With my electro-mechanical hat on instead of my photographer’s one, I maintain and fix the machines at the Washeteria launderette in Church Street, Stony Stratford. Here, I’m checking to see that a dryer is working okay. Since the lockdown, If I work there it’ll be in the evenings, when the launderette is closed. There are no issues with distancing then; I’m on my own.

The Distance Project 11

Many of these photos of Stony Stratford were taken back in mid June, and some lockdown rules have been changed since then. There’s also some shots from my own life, to show you how I deal with social distancing.

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