Back from whence I came, Houghton Conquest 25 years on.

This morning my plan for the day consisted of lots of house work. However, having seen the weather I thought “Blow it! Who knows when there’s going to be anouth nice, warm day this year. I’m off for a drive.”

Having wondered where to go I had the idea of driving over to Ampthill Great Park and having my lunch sat looking over the Great Ouse valley towards Bedford and then having a wander around the village I grew up in. So off I toddled.

It’s amazing to me that I left there a quarter of a century ago. A time ten years longer than the period I actually lived there, but seemingly nowhere near as long. I still remember talking to Andrew Walpole on his drive in preparation for a bike ride as if it were yesterday. The brain’s a curious thing.

Anyway, back to today…

The weather did cloud over on the way, but I didn’t let that spoil things. It was still warm enough, though it did make the light levels a pain for photography. Anyway, as I said, I had a picnic on Ampthill Great Park (so called because it is a royal park, just as Winsor Great Park, though there are no royal buildings left).

The park is the location of Ampthill Castle, one of the places Catherine of Aragon, King Henry VIII’s first wife, was placed after the divorce. In honor of this, a local member of the gentry had a memorial erected in the 18th Century.

After lunch I drove over to Houghton Conquest and parked outside the Post Office which, to my surprise, was actually open on a Sunday. That’s very much a change from the “old days.” The main changes within the village over the time since I left have mostly been the addition of new housing estates. One largish one filled in the area between the High Street and the Bedford Road, which runs perpendicularly to it. The other two estates replace the two dairy farms, which used to be owned and run by the London Brick Company. The farm down Rectory Lane had been derelict for years and the last time I remember cattle being milked there was in the early 1970s.

I took about half an hour’s wander around the village before getting back to my car and driving home. A far more interesting day than doing housework! 🙂