Wednesday, 21 May 2014

I had what might, at a push, be called a working lunch today with friend and fellow freelance Will. There was a bit of business talk, honestly. Will told me about some forthcoming projects he has in hand, and I asked his advice on a packaging job; but mostly it was about the lunch. We went to a tiny village called Grafton Underwood to a fairly new cafe-cum-bistro called Good Friends. This isn't much use to those of you on distant shores, I know, but if you ever find yourself in Northamptonshire I'd definitely recommend it.
There's not a lot going on in Grafton Underwood (Bridget Jones' Diary notwithstanding). There's no shop or pub, and the phone signal is a big dodgy; but it is home to a poignant yet understated Second World War memorial. There is a stone monument at what would have been the end of the runway when the space was home to the US Air Force Eighth Air Force 15th Bombardment Squadron.

Taking in the rural idyll today, it's hard to imagine how it must have looked back then - and sounded. Can you image the noise of planes coming and going, trucks, deliveries and the general hubbub of an entire community? There is a map next to the monument showing the layout of the base. I was intrigued to see that next to the Officers' Mess there had been a cinema. I wonder if it was just for military personnel or if the villagers were invited along? What assignations might have taken place? I feel a story coming on!


  1. Yes its a special little place, the village church has a stained glass window containing a picture of a USAF plane - its lovely. And every couple of months there is a talk / film at the village hall about something to do with WWII. Did you notice the photographs in the bistro?

  2. Elaine, yes I did see the lovely photos. I must pop into the church next time I'm there.

  3. It sounds extremely interesting, Julia - and definitely a good setting and inspiration or one of your stories (or novel/novella)!

  4. It looks like a very charming place. I loved Bridget Jones' Diary--a good book is all a place needs to put it on the map!