Villages cut off by heavy snow

Fenny Stratford historian John Taylor looks back to Christmas past...

Christmas shopping. Ughh! That seasonal rigmarole of retail mayhem.

Shops full of bumbling old dears on day release from the twilight home; ‘gimme, gimme, gimme’ brats wanting everything except a well-deserved clip round the ear; and despairing menfolk, whose fragrant partners flit as though some delicate species of butterfly from counter to counter, in search of that nectar of Yuletide promotional bargains.

Definitely a scenario for any right-minded male to avoid.

And in these days of plenty, it seems a lifetime away from the austerity of rationing, which even continued for several years after the end of the Second World War.

In 1947, compounding the hardship, was the severity of a winter which caused the isolation of many villages in north Bucks.

With heavy snowfalls blocking the roads, Swanbourne was one such community cut off until, to fetch the shopping for herself and the villagers, a farmer’s wife drove a tractor all the way to Bletchley.

Equally enterprising was a Wavendon man who, wearing an Alpine outfit, reached Bletchley on skis.

Meanwhile, at Winslow Market Square, a huge cheer went up when the Co-op bread van managed to battle through.

Due to the conditions, the only communication with London was by rail, but even so the newspaper train was five hours late. As for the special post office train, which normally arrived at 3am, there would be a delay of an hour.

Nevertheless, the local postmen performed an excellent task, and all the mail was delivered on time.