R.R. 4, Buhl, Idaho
I boarded a TWA Boeing Jet Airliner at Chicago on June 10 at 5:00 o'clock and arrived at London Airport in the morning at 7:30. We had a very smooth trip at 35,000 feet at the speed of 600 miles per hour. We were above a cloudy overcast so did not see the ocean of England at all. I was met at the London Airport by Arthur Clarke, whom I had written to and was invited to come and stay in his home for my vacation. I met Arthur's fine family, wife and five wonderful children who, during my stay, showed me the most consideration and wonderful time I have ever received.
Arthur Clarke has a very large and fine Showman's engine called the 'Fowler'. This engine was used to run a very large generator that furnished electricity for the various Merry-Go-Rounds and side shows at the fairs and also pulled the wagons and caravans that the folks lived in from one town to another. Due to my interest in steam engines and Arthur's, I met many fine fellows over the English country side who were very nice folks and did their utmost at all times to show me things of interest. Clarke took a lot of his time from business to show me things of interest such as very old buildings, churches, castles and farming areas.
We drove around 160 miles from Braintree, hauling iron to a very large Smelter in a Commer diesel truck. Here I saw hot molten iron poured in making long iron bars. Here also are two small locomotives still in use to move the ore and iron on the tracks in the yards.
On the trip back we were able to see the types of farming ground. Half of the distance the ground was quite level (in this area were located several American airbases used in the last war). The remaining distance of the trip the land was a little more rolling. The country roads are quite crooked but all are oiled and most roads are lined with hedges and trees.
On one trip we stopped at Colin Britt's farm. We ate a very fine dinner with him and his mother. He had a traction engine and a fine organ. He told me that in order to harvest, one must have a quite large combine and really get going when the weather was dry enough to harvest so as to get the grain threshed. Then in order to keep the grain from heating, one must have a dryer to bring the moisture content down so the grain can be .stored. His dryer cost little over $5,000. When the stationary machines were used, the grain was stacked and went through the sweat and then threshed in the winter or spring, thus a dryer was not needed. The price of grain was about equal to our price per 100 weight. I saw farms from 350 acres to 600 acres. No doubt there are smaller farms, but I did not happen to visit them.
One farmer I met, W. H. Harvey, the farm he owned for 30 years has a very fine 300 year old house and barn on it. This 350 acre farm has had one owner since 1500 up to 1905 and only one other owner besides Mr. Harvey since then. Sugar beets and grain are raised on the farm.
Charley J. Brown owns a 1913 McLaren engine used for road work in hauling and pulling a four-wheel trailer with a 10 ton load on the roads. He allowed me to run the engine and we drove three miles to see a friend of his. As most of the engines there have two road gears, the trip was made in a very short time. We later visited and took pictures of some very old churches and very fine old thatched houses. We took pictures of two fine old churches, one built in 1200 and the other in 1350. These are about 200 feet apart and are still in use.
Angus Cornelius, a London banker, and his wife showed me London, Buckingham Palace, Parliament building (where the Big Ben clock is located). We saw the towers of London where Kings years ago ruled the city and kept troops and today are used for troops, a marvelous building with ramports a-round it. I had a wonderful guide as Angus really knows London. Due to tourists the famous changing of the Guard has been moved behind the iron fence and now it is very hard to take pictures of this fine event.
I saw some very fine museums on science and transportation. I saw an OX 5 airplane motor like was in my first airplane. Through the generosity of Dr. C. G. Teverson, his fine son Robin Teverson showed me other interesting things in London.
On another day we rode the famous electric trains in the Tunnels that are quite wonderful and a Godsend to the people during the bombing in World War II. We saw the 'Cutty Sack', a fine old-four-mast sailing vessel. Also rode on the two-decked buses. At Liverpool Station, enjoyed seeing three steam locomotives still running, but in July will be retired. London is located on a clay bed and tunnels are easy to dig and pilings must be used to make buildings substantial.
On the way to G. T. Cushing's farm, Arthur and I stopped and visited a Dutch style windmill on a farm that was and still is used for making flour. The gears in the mill are made of wood and are in excellent condition. At Cushing's farm, he has a large steel building housing several Showmans engines, traction engines and steam trucks that were used to haul freight. Also some very fine organs, up to 92-key organs. Mr. Clarke has a very fine 87-key organ that was used at the fairs and that he takes to the rallys. This is a very fine instrument.
England has had two periods where the country was invaded many years ago. The castles were built with walls from 10 to 15 feet thick. Here the people would defend themselves. Some of these had fallen down and some that we saw were in fair condition and some have been preserved. Some were very interesting buildings and quite old. The next period was when invasion was not quite so likely. Then followed the period of the very large estates. Some of these had a brick wall built around the many acres in the estate and like Audley End Estate, built in 1603, the house cost 200,000 pounds or about 600,000 dollars. It took thirteen years to build. It has fabulous rooms and halls, three stories high, some very wonderful carvings on the ceilings and walls, also wonderful wood carvings. These lands were often rewards for service to the Kingdom. All landscaping was done by the owners and all trees and shrubbery were planted by the owner. Due to high taxes a good many of the estates are owned by the government and some now are parks.
I asked why the most of the country roads are so crooked and narrow. I was told that many hundreds of years ago the roads were made by ox carts and were eventually oiled and never straightened. However, Britain is getting some new roads and some wider roads. I also saw a super highway being built that is not quite completed.
The country side is very green and very pretty. Some of the finest old buildings that one can find are here. The people are some of the finest I have ever met and all did their best to show me the country and their hospitality cannot be surpassed. The English women are the most wonderful cooks and everywhere I was made to feel as one of the family.