Visiting Wavendon over 60 years ago
Dad didn’t have a car back then, but Uncle Dan who lived in a house near Wavendon’s church did, and it was a treat to be fetched to visit in his old Ford. On the way down the A5 I would always look out for the Fountain at Loughton with its stage coach parked outside and it’s advert ‘The Hotel that is DIFFERANT’ spelt wrongly on the gable wall of a nearby house. We turned left immediately before the Denbigh Hall railway bridge and pass under a now blocked off one lane bridge where I always hoped to see a Stanier Pacific hauled express pass overhead while we waited for vehicles coming the other way. It was then straight on over Simpson’s canal bridge to Wavendon.
Dan had three allotments and kept chickens and pigs in his backyard and Aunt Lily would always have a fine dinner ready when we arrived. They were really self sufficient; their only real expense for food being meat from Benford’s of Fenny. In the afternoon we would inspect Dan’s allotments and livestock before going for a ride through Woburn Park to look out for the deer or to Newport to visit Uncle George and Aunt Joyce. A red letter day came in 1959 when we went on the new motorway as far as J13 and back to J14! Aunt Lily insisted on driving in her high heels and was straight over into the fast lane with her foot on the boards all the way!
Dan had been in the Home Guard at the start of the war and kept watch from Wavendon Church Tower, he was called up by the Royal Signals and was at Potsgrove’s secret radio transmission sheds. He was still reluctant to talk about exactly what went on there. Much later he drove a lorry for Holt’s the builders of Bletchley when they were building on the first estates of the New MK.
We would invariably return home after dark. There was very inadequate street lighting and people tended to retire to bed much earlier back then so everywhere would seemed excitingly dark for a small boy out late, the only oases of light seemed to be the illuminated Northampton Brewery and Phipps signs of Stony’s and Towcester’s many pubs and old coaching inns.
Dan was proud of ‘The New City’ that he had played a small part in building and in old age used to often take a bus to the shopping centre and watch the world go buy in Middleton Square.