Field Day

Ollie and his Diesel TE20Ollie Turner with his Diesel powered 1954 “Little Grey Field Mouse”. It’s only his second match with this particular tractor and mounted plough but he’s been competing for over twenty years.

When I found that some of my friends were in the North Bucks Vintage Tractor Club, I just had to go to the club's latest event; a ploughing match.

I turned up at the match in a field near Castlethorpe on a sunny Sunday morning in February to find plenty of classic and veteran tractors lining up to plough.

Progress was slow to begin with. The first spit or opening (the first furrow) is the most important one and there was plenty of stopping, adjusting, and starting again.

Every other furrow has to line up with the first spit. The ploughing has to be to a consistent depth and width, and be as straight as possible. That’s less easy than it sounds; soil varies, even in different parts of the same field. Moisture content makes a difference too.

The weather had been dry for a few days but a little rain beforehand would have made ploughing easier, one of the ploughmen told me.

International Harvester tractor and steepleClosest to the camera is an International Harvester B414. These tractors were built in Bradford between 1961 and 1966. Further away with Hanslope’s steeple beyond it, is a Massey Ferguson 65; big brother to the 35 (see the photo below) they were made in Detroit between 1958 and 1964.

Continue reading "Field Day" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

A Man From the Motor Trade

Hillman estate service 1971C. J. Beckett was Dave’s dad, Cyril, whose bakery was a few doors along in Horn Street. Super V was a BP engine oil. I remember being taken to the bakery regularly with my siblings when my mum wanted a sliced loaf.

Dave Beckett worked in the motor trade in Winslow. By 1971 he was working for himself next to Alf Chapman’s workshop in Horn Street. Dave was then about 25 years old.

Continue reading "A Man From the Motor Trade" »

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

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.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

What’s On, and When?

The Fox and Hounds  Stony Stratford

The Monday Photo

Stony Stratford's eight day Stony Live music festival and the Stony Classic vehicle show were all set to be held in the first full week of July, but the extended lockdown has meant both will now be held near the end of August.

Classic Stony will now be on Sunday 29th August from 9:30 am to 4 pm, with the various live music and cultural events of Stony Live now on between Saturday 28th August and Sunday 5th September.

As usual, Willen Hospice’s excellent used bookshop in the High Street will be open for the Classic Stony show. They say they “have a large collection of Classic car/cycle books & models”.

There may still be a few events still able to continue in the original 3rd-11th July slots; please support them. You can check which ones are still on by visiting the Stony Live website.

Regular readers will know that Stony Live and Classic Stony are favourite events for the North Bucks Wanderer.

Some events in North Bucks are completely cancelled. Folk on the Green isn’t going ahead, and neither is the Ludgershall Bike Night.

This photo above isn’t actually from Stony Live, though it is from one of the usual venues. It just seemed to be the right shot for today’s post. It was taken in 2017, when nobody knew what social distancing even meant.

It’s certainly not the most crowded I’ve seen that pub with a band performing…



If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

Devon is in Bucks

Austin A40 Devon

The Monday Photo

This early 50s car is an Austin A40 Devon and I found it parked up in Granborough a couple of weeks ago.

They were a popular car; 274,000 of the Devon were sold in the six years they were in production, which started in 1947.

This car was one of the last to be made. In the 1950s you might have seen an A40 Devon on the North Bucks roads, cruising at 45 or 50mph; this car did 70mph flat out. That wasn’t a bad top speed for the times.

It isn’t a big car, but the four door body was thought to be ideal for small families. Like many cars then, it had trafficators fitted.

Instead of the modern set up of a pair of amber indicators at the front and two more at the back, they had an arm (the trafficator) that hinged out of the side of the car and lit up amber. There’s one on each side of the Austin Devon, hidden between the doors.

I have no idea why this was preferred to the modern set up. Can anyone tell me?

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.

Summer is on the Way

Yesterday was the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice. Today we start the long slow climb back into summer.

When we reach the Summer Solstice in June, the day will be nine hours longer. we can go out for the day, come home, and it’s still light. Here’s some of the things you can find when you go out and about as the days get longer, in the North Bucks area.

Bourbon Tower  StoweThe Bourbon Tower in the grounds of Stowe House (or if you like, Stowe School) was built as a keeper’s lodge in 1741, but was renamed the Bourbon Tower after the exiled King Louis XVIII of France visited Stowe in 1808.

Don’t be disappointed, but the tower has nothing to do with biscuits. The chocolate biscuit that's so good for dunking was named after the European royal House of Bourbon. Louis XVII was a member of that house.

Stowe is open to the public via The National Trust.

Olney sign and museumYou will not see many photographs of this side of the Olney town sign, perhaps because the sun lights it for just a few days every year and it's much easier to take one of the other side.

The sun has to be both far enough North and high enough in the early evening sky to clear the rooftops on the High Street, and light the sign. This photo was taken on the 16th of June. The 2019 Summer Solstice will be on Friday 21st of June.

In the background is the Cowper and Newton Museum. I've written more the museum here.

Aylesbury from Oving HillAylesbury Vale, from Oving, on the road between Pitchcott and Whitchurch. I think that’s Waddesdon Manor on the wooded hills in the distance.

Oving HillWhile I was at Oving to photograph the view over the Aylesbury Vale. (See the previous picture) when I heard a great clattering and rumbling noise approaching. After a couple of minutes, this steam roller towing a living wagon appeared around the corner. It was built in 1916, and is called Jupiter. I managed to take several pictures as it chuffed and rumbled past me.

It’s the unexpected things like this that sometimes makes going out so rewarding.

If you have any comments or questions about this post, please leave a comment below.