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20 August. Nuthampsted remembered. 17 miles.

Maurice was busy at the Aldeburgh Carnival and so it was just four Windmillers who set forth from The Tally Ho! In Barkway to explore local lanes on yet another fine summer’s evening – Andrew, John T, Sandra and Martin.

Our route took us firstly to Buckland, a road we rarely take because of the need to negotiate a short stretch of the busy A10 but well worth doing with a small group as the views left and right are stunning. As it happens, the A10 wasn’t too busy and so we were soon turning right towards Sandon and then left past Lyn and John B’s house (got it right this time!).

Buntingford was reached in no time, where we stretched our necks to try to see the damage done recently by an aggrieved contractor who put his digger through a recently completed house, and a brief stop was made to check if the creaking coming from Martin’s bike was coming from the bike or himself. The mystery was not solved but the creaking continued and it was Sandra who came up with the answer – the front disc brake was slightly out of alignment. And guess who caused that through a bit of tweaking of the cable before setting out? Yours truly, of course, or Bodgermart as he is also known.

The haste in riding was because we were going past the exact same spot as a few weeks back when John T was the first to spot two bikini clad girls wandering down a track near Wyddial playing loud music, having left their Mini Convertible near the road with their two burly minders in the back seat……… Alas, there was no repeat but we had to stop anyway to see what they may have been up to and discovered some burnt out material, lots of drinks cans and a teaspoon that looked as if it may have had a substance in it whilst being heated over the fire…… Or is that just our wicked imagination? There may well have been other items in the bushes but we decided not to venture there.

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Not a bikini in sight this time

Returning via Nuthampstead, we had time and distance to spare and so Martin suggested a tour of the old airfield, which was led by Vice Marshal  Rusack. John T, being a local resident, had seen it all before and indeed takes part regularly in a flag ceremony in commemoration of those who died, left us to it and retired to go back to his and Bridget’s house.

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Sandra, Andrew and John T outside The Woodman
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The handsome memorial to the 398th Bombardment Group (heavy) of the American Army Air Force outside The Woodman in  Nuthampstead. Over 50 Flying Fortresses were lost in just over a year during 1944 / 1945.
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A poem about the 55th Fighter Group – the first to fly from Nuthampstead on escort missions but vacated in April 1944

After admiring the memorials and reading the wonderful poem of the 55th Fighter Group we took a path down to the airfield where many of the concrete taxiways are still in existence. The main runway is still used in part as a private airstrip and there were in addition two other runways. The whole site is huge – no wonder it was considered as a site for London’s third major airport in the 1970s.

Then it was back to The Tally Ho! after first admiring an ancient war-time (probably)   Leyland bulldozer in need of a little tlc but with an engine which looked as if it might still work.

Sitting outside on the deck of The Tally Ho! on a warm sultry evening was a perfect way to end a good ride.

Thanks to Vice Marshal Rusack for organising the ride and for the tour of Nuthampstead airfield.

Martin

 

 

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