Saturday, December 13, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Back in the prewar days of the Thames Conservancy the management of the Thames Streams and Tributaries were an ongoing part of water management and flood control.
There were several teams of men who every couple of years would come along with very long handled rakes and clear Widbrook Stream of weed and rush growth. Then every five years or so, an excavator or a dragline would be used to remove the build up of silt in the streambed. A dragline would always be used on Strand Water and The Fleet, due to the long reach and great depth that was required.
The Thames Conservancy knew that it was impossible to stop severe floods, but to aid the flow of water was one way by keeping all streams clear.
The picture above is an old “Priestman Excavator” which was one of the tools the Thames Conservancy used.
Monday, December 8, 2008
In the photo map below you will see the fields and hedgerows as they were in the days back when this story happened. The second photo is of the fields as they are now.
Fortunately, for the pilot he was able to walk away unscathed from the plane which had landed in a field of ripening wheat. He was glad of a cup of tea that my Aunt Amy Field gave him while he waited for my cousin John to cycle to the Police Station to inform them, and for the RAF to come and pick him up.
The army moved in and set up a Bell Tent on the edge of the field to guard the aircraft for about ten days. As the wheat was close to harvest, the RAF waited until the binder had been in and cut the crop. Then the fun began!
Airframe mechanics to disassemble the plane by first removing the wings and then the engine, which was hoisted on to a small dolly, due to the fact that the farm gates and turning points were very narrow. After several days the several parts made it to the farmyard where the RAF managed to bring in an arctic trailer to load all the parts on and cover with a large tarpaulin.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Sam Gammon was a well-known man in the village, although he did not reside or make his living here. Everyone in this part of the Thames Valley knew of and had tasted the watercress from the famous beds on the Hedsor Road.
Today there is a Garden Centre where the watercress beds use to be, but through the magic of the computer one can turn back the clock and give the young an idea of what the beds looked like 70 years ago.
Sam was a rotund figure of a man and yet he was a very hard working gentleman, who was use to working in his beds on cold and frosty mornings cutting his watercress crop by hand, bunching and packing in osier wicker crates with lids ready for shipment. First he would load his pony and four-wheeled cart with about 100 crates and drive over the toll bridge to Maidenhead Railway Station to catch a fast train to Paddington. There the crates would transported to Covent Garden for sale. Of course he would pick the empty return crates at the station to take back home.
His season would start sometime in December and would carry through until Spring when he would start to refurbish his beds. Only a flood would spoil his operation for the length of time that it lasted. Locals from both sides of the river take weekend walks to see Sam and to buy a three-penny or six-penny bunch of watercress for a Sunday afternoon tea. Today watercress that you find in your Supermarket most likely comes from the famous watercress beds of Hampshire near Alton.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Monday, December 1, 2008
Farm Manure from Bob Caught, and a fine large handcart was built by Harding’s Builders. Money to pay for all this was paid for in part by money the school made from the on-going Waste Paper Drives.
It was not the best location for starting an allotment garden due to the stony condition of the soil. Stone picking was a constant chore for us boys to start with. You were picking more stones than pulling weeds sometimes. Our work in the allotments replaced our Natural Studies, PT and one or two other classes as well.
The produce that we grew all went to help to provide School Dinners that the girls learned to make under the watchful eye of Mrs. Isherwood and Mrs. Deacon.
Now trees were planted sometime later, but I often wonder if there is still a good stonecrop to be had there still.