Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Road Trip

A really sunny and bright day today. We've been on a road-trip, visiting some really interesting and quirky places. We have so many strange and interesting places around this country, those little gems that are often hidden away and get missed, but often get highlighted on television programmes such as 'Bargain Hunt' and 'Antiques Road Trip' or a number of history or other types of programmes. The other day on 'Antiques Road Show' they had an item which purported to have been written by someone who had experienced performances of some of Shakespeare's plays and had made copious notes in a tiny note book. At first I had seen this on Facebook and, because it was April 1st, thought it was an April Fool's hoax, but when it came up on this television show the expert who discussed it with the man who bought it along to the show, it seemed as if it was a genuine item.

Anyway, we packed up some rolls and drinks and drove away on the A5 towards High Wycombe, visiting West Wycombe  and visiting the hill on which can be found the mausoleum of the Dashwood family as well as the interesting church with the golden ball on the top of the tower. The view from the top of this hill is quite impressive. You can see down into West Wycombe and Wycombe Park which is a National Trust property (which we have visited in the past but wasn't open today, unfortunately.)  In the other direction you get a good view along the road towards High Wycombe and the hills in the distance towards London.To get to the car park near the church you have to drive up a road which is quite steep but it saves having to walk there, which we have done in the past when we had our dogs with us. The drive towards Wycombe goes through the Chiltern Hills and is really beautiful and made even more so at this time of the year with the trees beginning to put on their leaves and daffodils and other flowers in full bloom.

View of West Wycombe Park from the hill.

From West Wycombe we went to a village called Nettlebed. The very name sounds intriguing. What does the name conjure up to you? To me, a vast area of stinging nettles, the very bane of my life as a child, because wherever we used to go when we were playing, in and around the farm where I grew up, there were always great areas of these plants, and if you so much as went near them, you got stung, on your hands mostly, or your arms, or legs. Not necessarily painful, but you got nasty raised rashes which irritated considerably. Anyway, the reason for visiting this place was to see a bottle kiln, a strange-shaped structure, looking very out of place in a cup-de-sac which had modern houses in it. How on earth this strange structure survived, I have no idea.

Bottle Kiln at Nettlebed

We had bought our SatNav with us, which was just as well, because without it we would never have found this place. From there we went to Turville, a charming village which has been used as a location for three very well known films and television shows. We parked some way out of the village as we couldn't find anywhere else to park. It was near a wood which I think would be covered in bluebells in a few weeks time. We must come back to have a look and take some photographs. There is a windmill on a hill over looking the village, used years ago as the home of Caractacus Potts in the film "Chitty, Chitty Bang Bang" and then the home of Jonathan Creek in the BBC 1 television show which starred Alan Davies. One of my favourite all-time television shows, incidentally. The village was used as a location for the situation comedy which starred Dawn French, "The Vicar of Dibley." I'm not sure they used any of the houses as the vicarage in the show, but what we saw looked very familiar and no doubt the interiors were modelled on one of the cottages we saw, which would have been filmed in a television studio, I think at Pinewood or Elstree, not too far distant from Turville.  It was really funny as we walked into the village, as we saw a lady who said 'hello' to us as we walked along. She was a lady vicar. Somewhat of a coincidence, as "The Vicar of Dibley" is about a lady vicar, as played by Dawn French, that is, if you didn't already know that. We went into the church, a really charming little building. Again, not too sure it was used in the television show. From Turville we travelled a few miles to a village called Stoke Row, to visit a really unique construction, called The Maharajah's Well, apparently funded by an Indian Maharaja, of Benares, Ishee Pershad Naryan Singh. I had never heard of this, but Carol had discovered it whilst doing a Google search, and it seemed a rather strange and intriguing thing to visit and photograph. We had a coffee in the local shop/café and then sat and had our rolls, sitting on a bench near the well.


The Marahraja's Well at Stoke Row

We drove home, the day being quite exquisite, the weather behaving itself and giving  us a fine and sunny day to enjoy or road trip. We drove back towards Milton Keynes and stopped at a branch of Tesco near Bicester and bought drinks, used the toilets and bought a rather nice Easter egg and continued on our way home.
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