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Out in the sticks


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After a couple of days off work feeling ill , I had to go back in today .

With the wife away for the day , I had the opportunity to take a ride if I got home in time .

Having left work at 2.00 pm , I got home 45 mins later , and decided that I would brave the weather and nip out on the Panzer .

A local ride , taking in some nice twisty country roads , and a detour from the main roads into the countryside down a " Failed road " , which ultimately led to an " Unsuitable for motor vehicles " road ............ which did not deter me .

The weather gods were trying their best to beat me , throwing blustery gales and threatening clouds in my path , but I stayed the course just long enough ..........


Here are the photos from my ride - after not riding the bike for a while , I was glad to ride today , even if it was brief .





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Hi Steve, glad to hear you are better.

Great to get out on the bike, best medicine you can get!!!


Kathy and I had a ride out today, ended up in the Peak District, the bloody wind was amazing, it was so strong, we headed south past Darley Moor Racetrack and headed home as the wind was getting stronger.


The bike was ditched, at least that engine skid plate I have made up, helped to keep a bit of the motor clean.

I sprayed that Motorex 645 on the plastics, and as you can see the alt belt cover is still clean.


Looking forward to some good ride outs this year thumbsup.gifthumbsup.gif795276-IMG_1476.JPG


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George ,


" The bike was ditched " ??


I hope that doesn't mean a get off ?


Nearly got clouted by a bird today [ feathered variety ] , that got blown off course as it tried to fly across a fiedl ......... it blew across the road just in front of me at head height !!



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Brave man thumbsup.gif I was out on the roof today, repairing some storm damage.... still don't feel like getting all dressed up only to be blown off the road grin.gifgrin.gif


Say, out in the sticks..... does that mean the 'boonies' ?



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You call me brave ..I was a lot nearer the ground than you [ I know you like to fly but that is a bit mad grin.gifgrin.gif ] - hope the repairs were successful .

Out in the sticks means " in the countryside " [ a saying used by people who live in towns and cities ] .


Now , a really brave man would have taken his camera up on the roof with him .......... grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif



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Nearly got clouted by a bird today [ feathered variety ] , that got blown off course as it tried to fly across a fiedl ......... it blew across the road just in front of me at head height !!



Was it a pheasant?? lmao.gif
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Pheasant ............ not this time clap.gifclap.gifclap.gif ......... a blackbird !! .......it just missed being thwacked into a tree .

I am going to try and keep the Panzer " feather free " this year grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif



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Now , a really brave man would have taken his camera up on the roof with him .......... grin.gifgrin.gifgrin.gif




I would have.... but I was holding on to the roof with both hands....... grin.gifgrin.gif


Oh, and when mumbling egly things, trying to remove one of the ventilator chimney thingies, Nina calls from down below....


"Honey....... I have brought you a bucket with warm water, so you can also wash that window above you there...... ".


Yeah right.... with what hand !!!??? crazy.gifcrazy.gif


I somehow survived.. I don't like heights ! eek.gif

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Some meat on the bones ..........


Ok ,

..........so here's a few words to accompany the photos ..........starting off with ........ the road from Charlbury..






which as you can see , is a treat to ride , undulating through the countryside with a mix of twisty turns and short straights carving through the agricultural landscape , it can catch you out if you are unawares though .......... you don't really want to leave the road ........




A couple of miles along the road , I turned off , my curiosity fired by this sign ...........







.....200 yards later , after passing open countryside , it led to this ...........





Some nice houses around here too ............





This area , I found after doing some research , is close to the perimeter of Ditchley Park .............

built by the second Earl of Litchfield, a member of the Lee family, in 1722 to a design by James Gibbs. It stands on the site of an earlier, timber-framed family house in classic north Oxfordshire wooded farmland, once the royal hunting ground of Wychwood Forest.


The Ditchley estate was bought by Sir Henry Lee in 1580 when he was made the Ranger of the Wychwood Forest, the royal hunting forest based round the hunting-lodge at Woodstock. Elizabeth I visited him at Ditchley in 1592, after he had married one of her Ladies-in-Waiting without her permission. Annoyed at this, so the story goes, the Queen stayed rather longer than she might otherwise have done, putting her host to considerable extra expense. The visit is commemorated in a painting by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger, “The Ditchley Elizabeth”, which shows Elizabeth with her foot on Oxfordshire and her toe on Ditchley. This hung in the Mansion until 1932 and is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. A copy can be seen at Ditchley Park.


Four generations later Sir Henry’s heir, Edward Henry Lee, was created the 1st Earl of Litchfield in 1676 when he married Charlotte Fitzroy, the illegitimate daughter of Charles II and Barbara Villiers, the Duchess of Cleveland, both of whose portraits hang in the White Drawing Room. Their son, the 2nd Earl, built the present Ditchley Park in 1722, to a design by James Gibbs, architect of St Martins in the Fields and the Radcliffe Camera. The interior was richly decorated by William Kent and Henry Flitcroft.


In the grounds the fish pond was extended to form the lake in 1746. After 1760 the Park was “naturalised”, with smooth lawns sweeping down to the lake, and the Great Temple or Rotunda was built in about 1780 by Stiff Leadbetter.


The 4th Earl died in 1776 without heir, so the estate passed to his niece, Lady Charlotte Lee, who had married the 11th Viscount Dillon, an Irish Peer.


In 1807 the 12th Viscount employed Louden to build the Ha Ha, further extend the lake and plant tree avenues, many of which survive today. At that stage the family funds began to run short, so no alterations were made to the Mansion in the subsequent century, a period which saw much modernisation (and ruination of the character) of many great country houses.


The 17th Viscount Dillon died in 1932 and the estate was sold to Ronald Tree, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Market Harborough, a very wealthy Anglo-American (his description). Of American parentage, Ronald was born and educated in England and had returned to the US when his father died in 1914. He met and married Nancy and, after they returned to England, he was elected to Parliament and they bought Ditchley in 1933. They restored the Mansion sympathetically and with great taste. Nancy subsequently married Colonel Lancaster, and as Nancy Lancaster became one of England’s premier interior designers as proprietor of Colefax and Fowler in the 1950’s and 60’s. Ronald and Nancy employed Geoffrey Jellicoe, then a relatively unknown young garden designer, to remodel the grounds. He laid out the Italian style sunken garden immediately West of the main house and resurrected the terrace to the North, part of the original Gibbs design. Under the Trees Ditchley regained some of its earlier social prominence, most notably through several visits there by Winston and Clementine Churchill.



In 1937 Churchill and Eden visited Ditchley for a house party and clearly enjoyed the Tree hospitality. When the Battle of Britain started in 1940 Churchill was advised not to go to Chequers, the Prime Minister’s official country residence in Buckinghamshire, “when the moon was high” (the title of Ronald Tree’s autobiography), as German bombers were expected to attack it. He invited himself (and members of his war cabinet) to Ditchley for the weekend of 9-11 November 1940, and subsequently came for a further twelve weekends up to September 1942. Ronald Tree was at that time a Junior Minister in the Ministry of Information charged with fostering Anglo-American relations and invited many influential friends of Roosevelt, including Harry Hopkins, to meet Churchill during his Ditchley weekends. The early stages of “Lend Lease” were negotiated at Ditchley.


In the general election in 1945 Ronald Tree lost his seat at Market Harborough and decided against a return to politics. He and Nancy divorced in 1948 and his second wife Marietta was disinclined to live in the English countryside. He sold Ditchley in 1950 and returned to the US, living in New York and the Bahamas for the rest of his life. He returned to Ditchley posthumously and is buried in the parish churchyard at Spelsbury.


The estate was owned briefly by Lord Wilton, but he found it too large, and in 1953 it was bought by Sir David Wills, a member of the Wills tobacco family and a great philanthropist. He donated the Mansion and 280 acres of parkland to the Ditchley Foundation, which was formed in 1958. Sir David’s vision in creating the Foundation was to ensure that the UK and the United States had a venue for strengthening the trans-atlantic dialogue through discrete and relaxed discussions on matters of mutual concern. The first conference was held in 1962 and they have continued to be held regularly ever since.




The road passes by the edge of the estate , and although I didn't catch a glimpse of the big house , I'll be back to take a closer look .




Retracing my steps , I head home , stopping at Charlbury to take a snap of this tree , cut down to prevent it falling on passing traffic ..........








Last one now ............ with the light fading , and the weather closing in .......

time to head home .....




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Nice report Steve.


One (1) day of better weather is forecasted for tomorrow, so I might take (half) a day off and Artee out myself.... if it will still start blush.gif

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