Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Round Britain Rally 2011, What Goes Around, Comes Around

Windmills were another collection on the landmark list for this year and Ian and myself visited three different types.

The first one is Stevens Mill in the village of Burwell, Cambridgeshire. At one time, Burwell had four operational windmills, the Stevens’ Windmill being the last on standing. It was operational until the 1950’s but is now in need of repair. As the windmill is a listed building it was saved from demolition and the long task of refurbishing it is in hand. The windmill can be operated with only two sails, these were built in the 1980’s at a cost in the region of £15,000. To put another pair of sails in position today, the price would be doubled!

Situated on the Lincolnshire Fenland, eight miles, as the proverbial crow flies, from the coast, Sibsey is ideally situated for the location of a windmill. Originally built in 1877, Sibsey Trader Windmill is one of a few six sailed windmills remaining in England. Due to a shortage of time, we were unable to have a look around or sample the fayre in their tearoom. This has been added to our ever-expanding ‘To Do’ list.

Many s are only too pleased to have RBRers visiting their location. One landmark was on private property this year, clearly visible from the road. They requested for photographs to be taken from the roadside. This request was observed by all that visited to my knowledge. This leads me on to our third windmill.

In the north of my home county, Nottinghamshire is the village of Tuxford. The windmill, situated near the village was the landmark for this year. The proprietor did not take too kindly to his windmill being used as a landmark and tried to charge entrants for taking a photograph! Needless to say very little money exchanged hands! Many photographs were submitted from the roadside with the windmill in the background. I’m sure his tearoom could have served a few thirsty and/or hungry RBRers, thus helping with the upkeep of the windmill. I can only assume that in this time of wealth and prosperity extra finance was not required. Upon this reasoning, dear reader, you will notice the lack of a link to this enterprise.

There has to be a first for everything. The first man on the moon, first flight, first locomotive, first car and even the first motorcycle. This brings us to a tranquil suburb in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, to locate the first ROUNDABOUT in the UK!

Built circa 1909, we can only imagine the confusion this may have caused. In Portree on the Isle of Skye a few years ago, a mini traffic island was built in the centre of the town. The islanders had not seen anything like it before, thus resulting in a few accidents before it was replaced with a one-way system. I’m not suggesting that this would have been the case in Letchworth, but to come across something so alien…and what sort of traffic flow would there have been in this area in the early part of the last century. Could it have been an experiment to try out before being unleashed in the capital? Whatever the reason it works well as a traffic flow solution, unless you want to get through part of Swindon.

To end, by turning full circle, another roundabout was a featured landmark. This particular example at Thornaby on Tees, Teeside has a Spitfire in the centre. This replica was built in 2007. It seems a little ironic, as the roundabout is located at the junctions of Thornaby Road, Bader Avenue and Trenchard Avenue. Ironic in the sense that Douglas Bader flew in a Hurricane.

The reason for mentioning this unvisited landmark? In all honesty it’s just so that I can finish with this film clip. No matter how many times I watch it I still have a smile on my face.