Pumping Iron

Village pump  Nash

The Monday Photo

This village pump is on a bend on the High Street at Nash. It’s one of two in the village; the other example is on Winslow Road, not far from the village pond.

Neither pump has a maker’s name, so they can’t easily be dated. But the pumps were certainly in use in the early 1900s, when villagers would fetch water with buckets, suspended from a yoke carried on their shoulders.

This pump is probably older. There were many makers of village pumps; many of them starting to manufacture them in the mid 19th Century.

Part of the industrial revolution, they used the new mass production techniques to improve lives, and in this case they filled the universal need for clean accessable water.

The pump still works, though it has a plaque warning that the water is unfit for drinking. Whether this is because the water has changed, or it’s just a precaution, I cannot tell.

Mains water came to North Bucks in the 1930s and I expect this is when these pumps fell out of use.

There are pumps at Quainton, North Marston (complete with a devil in a boot) and at Oving, amongst other places in North Bucks.



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The Explorer and the President

The Abbey  Aston AbbottsThe front door of the mainly 18th Century house, The Abbey. It faces North.

In Aston Abbotts is a house that’s had two men of note living there, though many years apart.

The first was polar explorer Rear Admiral Sir James Clark Ross. The second was president of Czechoslovakia Edvard Beneš, in exile with his government during World War 2.

The house is The Abbey, so called because the lands it was built on belonged to the abbots of St Albans Abbey until the estate was confiscated by Henry VIII. The Abbey is mostly 18th Century, though it might well have an earlier core, perhaps 15th or 16th Century.

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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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Gin and Precautions

The Distance Project 38
Now it’s been over a year since the lockdown rules were almost completely relaxed, I’ve been returning to some previous subjects. There’s been a few changes, but some things have stayed the same...

Some of us are still taking precautions. But many are more or less back to normal, in our approach to the world. I think it will be a long while before lockdown, Covid, and the drastic changes to our lives stop affecting us completely.

But some things have changed for the better. In June and July 2020 I had been going to Little Horwood to photograph lockdown life there. Let's take a look.

Social Distancing Project 269(2022) Fabric World in Bletchley has kept their perspex screen at the counter, and they use it to display the masks they still sell.

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Village Life

Little Horwood fete

The Monday Photo

It’s Saturday. A village field, some stalls, a brass band in a marquee. It’s Little Horwood’s annual fete.

Village fetes are one of the great English traditions, and Little Horwood’s fete takes place in the field behind St Nicholas’s church.

I turned up early because I wanted to visit the church. (it’ll be the subject of a post soon) Parking for the fete was in the next field along, accessed by driving through the pub car park and out the back.

I spent 90 minutes in the church and got the fete about half an hour after it had started. On the field I tried the golf game; not one of my strengths, but I did well at the used book stall next to it, and took home half a dozen volumes.

I bought this book, not from book stall at the fete, but brand new. It is the reference guide to buildings and I'll be using it to write this blog.

In the jumble sale I found an old exposure meter from the mid 1950s, similar to the one I used at school in the early 70s. It works well, and doesn’t use a battery.

I also bought an old digital camera from 2006; it’s a lost cause with a dead battery, but at least the village got a bit more money from me. I think the takings are going towards the church.

I avoided the welly wanging as the last time I saw one a badly aimed boot bounced off my head. Even 40 years later I’m still wary!

The classic car show had a couple of cars from the 1930s, a few motorcycles, and some tractors. I correctly identified the one on the end as a diesel engined little grey Ferguson; I’ve driven one similar.

Tea, squash, and a huge variety of cakes and sandwiches were set out in the pavilion. I had ham and cheese and a tea.

I haven’t been to a fete in years; it was great.

This post's photo was taken with a Pentax camera and lens.

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