Friday, 29 May 2015

Back in time at Medmenham and Hambledon.

So, as I said yesterday, on Wednesday we went back in time.

To a place where they have strange road signs like this;

And yes, it was telling the truth, the road did disappear into the water;

It's Medmenham, a tiny village down by the River Thames, just past Marlow. I'd never been there before and it was only when we left that we realised a main road had been driven through the ancient village and we had probably missed the best bit.

We might go back.

Anyway, we walked past the little old cottages which are now homes to the super rich and were confronted by another sign;

Which seems to say that you can't carry a fish, you can't cook a fish and neither can you go spear fishing.

The way I see it, that means you can't even eat your fish and chips there.

Odd, very odd.

But we walked along the riverbank and all around us flew the 'fluffy stuff'.....the fluffy seeds which come floating from some willow trees in the Thames Valley and always say to me that summer has finally arrived.

And we saw a river boat - a real live paddlesteamer. It really was.

There was even a new Orleans Jazz band in bowler hats(can't stand that kind of traditional Jazz myself) and a party going on;

We were assaulted by a hungry group of ducks, angry that we hadn't brought any bread for them.

The male ducks were particularly nasty to the few lone females; Robyn is now planning to set up a Duck Rape Crisis Centre which is probably going to take up all our spare time from now on.

Then we drove up into the foothills of The Chiltern Hills and went to Hambledon. It's another ancient village that looks rather like a film set - actually it's been a film set many times. You can Wikipedia it if you're interested.

And while it is really ancient - the house is all timber frames and wattle, it's seems to me to be trapped in Edwardian England of about 1912. As you can see the church clock seems frozen forever at ten past four on a summer's afternoon.

There was an ancient church, a bakery with a very old 'Hovis' sign that I remember from when I was young. There was a pump in the middle of the village where everyone would have got their communal water.

There was a butchers shop and a little Post Office cum shop.

A Village Hall and a former Village School.

There was a little garage where a mechanic was working on cars - but it was like a garage from the 1950's. There was a 1960's MG parked outside rusting quietly and a Riley Mini by the centre of the village.

Very strange to see but nice too in a way.

Here's the Village Pub;

Cobbled pavements but the road you could imagine wasn't tarred over until the 1950's.
If you saw 'Band of Brother's', this was where they filmed the American troops training for D-Day. And in real life? This really was one of the villages where US soldiers did their training in 1944. What a culture clash that would have been.
All very different today - these villages are now very desirable and very exclusive.
This one has been saved because it's owned by an estate - there are serious controls on redevelopment too.
It's a time capsule.
Mind you, there were some nice cream teas on offer - we may make it back one day.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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