Day 12 – Wed 23 Sept

24 09 2009

Left Keef’s in plenty of time in the morning and got myself and the car round to the local Peugeot dealers – Perry’s in Aylesbury – who Keef said would be able to look at my broken plastic.  Indeed they did and I got a free coffee and they didn’t even charge me a penny.  They removed the piece as I’d hoped they would, but also mentioned that my rear brakes could do with dismantling and putting back together again (I think that’s what he said) and that my exhaust was ‘blowing a bit’.  Hmmm.  I expect the brakes have taken a bit of a bashing during this trip – I’ve done nearly one and a half thousand miles so far – but I don’t know about the exhaust – not quite sure how that all works with usage etc.  Will take it to the garage when I get home.  After the grant and loan money from uni is in anyway.  It was MOTd four months ago and that cost me plenty.

I decided to go straight to Ivinghoe Aston.  I’d chatted with Keef about this the night before and initially I was going to go to Ivinghoe library (though that is closed Wednesdays) to find out where I would need to go for records etc on a future and longer visit.  Keef suggested I go to the County Library in Aylesbury but as it was already lunchtime and I was hungry, I thought I could do all of that from home via the internet.

It didn’t take long to get to Ivinghoe Aston.  This is the little village where my great-grandfather and his parents were born – and possibly their parents too.  I have done a lot of research on my great-grandfather (Christopher Horn, 1844 – 1931), but most of that has been in Bushey, Hertfordshire, where he lived from around 1884 until his death.  He was a grocer there and also in Tring (which I will visit next time).  His father was the grocer in Ivinghoe Aston.

The Village Swan, Ivinghoe Aston

The Village Swan, Ivinghoe Aston

I went straight to the pub – The Village Swan – which was bought by some of the residents of Ivinghoe Aston in 1997 to stop it being closed.  I mentioned that my great-great-great grandfather (and his wife) had been born in the village and that he had been the grocer, and the landlord told me that the grocery had been next door to the pub – the old Post Office.  He wasn’t forthcoming with any more information and wasn’t in the least bit curious about my quest so I went and sat down and left him to his potato mashing.

The beer was tasty, shame about the lasagne

The beer was tasty, shame about the lasagne

I had a half of local beer (can’t remember what it was called now, unfortunately, but it was lovely.  Shame I couldn’t say the same for the veggie lasange.  It came with chips that tasted of old oil, some very ordinary garlic bread, and the lasagne itself was really not very nice at all.  Being very British about it of course, and still hoping for a little more information, I made the excuse that I’d had a big breakfast when the landlady asked if it had been ok, on seeing much of it uneaten.

In 1851 William Horn and his wife Charlotte lived here - he was a grocer and carrier. By 1881 Charlotte had died and William had remarried.  He was still there in 1901, aged 85.

In 1851 William Horn and his wife Charlotte lived here - he was a "grocer and carrier". By 1881 Charlotte had died and William had remarried. He was still there in 1901, aged 85.

When I went out I discovered to my great disappointment that The Old Post Office was now someone’s home.  The pub is now the only ‘outlet’ of any kind in the village.  I should have asked more questions but wanted to sit there savouring the idea that I was soon to enter the shop where my great-great-great grandparents had traded.  There are very few older buildings there – lots of modern houses (which I had seen from Google Earth some time ago).  The Wesleyan Chapel is also someone’s home.  As I was driving out I realised I’d missed the old school house – nowhere to stop by then and the rain had started.

I went on to Ivinghoe to look at the church and see if I could find any gravestones.  I did find a few bearing the name Horn, but no sign of any of ‘mine’.  There aren’t many old gravestones there – though quite a lot of very recent ones – so I guess they’ve been moved or have been damaged.  I will need to check the burial records I think.

St Mary the Virgin, Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire

St Mary the Virgin, Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire

There was a huge hook on a wall near the church which had been used for getting thatch off roofs to prevent the spread of fires, and a man trap.  Rather gruesome both of them.

From Ivinghoe I drove to Wallingford.  By accident of my father’s job at the time, I was born there.  We left when I was two years old and I’ve never had cause to go there since.  So I thought I’d take a look.  I found the house we lived in when I was born (well I assume it was the same one – though it might have been fairly new back then) but it was in a cul-de-sac and it would have felt a bit odd to get out of the car to take a photo of it.  Seemed a bit intrusive because of the way the street was.  I drove back towards the town and parked the car.  Popped into the local museum and asked about the hospital.  Apparently the old maternity hospital where I would have been born had long gone and the site had been built on.  The rest of the conversation involved me listening to the two ladies who were on the desk arguing with one another about what exactly it had been that they’d seen when they went to Winchester together (I’d told them I was headed there) and the price of the postcards I was trying to buy.  Sweet.

I did think I might stay the night in Wallingford because it was getting on for teatime and I wasn’t having much luck finding a B&B in Winchester.  Unfortunately the only two places I found online that were within my price range were no longer operating, and a couple I found on the Tourist Information computer were booked up.  So I tried some more Winchester places and didn’t worry about being close to the centre, thinking I could drive in and park up in the morning anyway.

AdventureFinally found a guest house in Alresford and headed off, calling for petrol on the way and missing a turning, so taking a little longer than I should have done.  No matter – that’s what this road trip is all about.  Adventures rightly considered.

Spent a bit of time sorting out my bags so I wouldn’t have much to do in the morning and got the laptop out to write up my blogs (no wifi unfortunately), watch TV and tuck in to the food I’d bought at M&S Food at the service station.  Nice to have a quiet evening and a chance to chill a little before the final day.  The idea was that it would induce an earlier start in the morning.  I’m full of ideas me.

Miles travelled – 106, (total mileage – 1,480)




3 responses

25 09 2009
Sara Hopkins

Love the Chesterton quote! How very true. Tis a shame that so many of the older buildings have vanished. The way of the world…

28 01 2010

Wow! What an interesting day! Such a shame about the buildings changing so much and even vanishing! In particular, the gravestones. The pub man could have been a little more helpful too, that must have been frustrating. It’s a shame people aren’t that interested and it actually surprises me, especially in a village where the pub is the only standing trading place left! It doesn’t sound like they have much else to talk about! (Stuff that’s interesting anyway…). It’s crazy how hospitals change so much. I now know of four hospitals that have been knocked down. The one I was born in, the one my mum was born in, the one my uncle recovered from his motorbike accident in and now the one you were born in! Four separate hospitals that have all been demolished. Weird.

28 01 2010

Oh, and great quote by the way! Very true. I must remember that when I get inconvenienced. Although, I always tend to laugh at difficult times later anyway. It’s not often funny at the time, lol!

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