Fingers crossed for Penn Fest…and other village events

GLASTONBURY may have called off this week, but Penn Fest is hopeful that the 23/24 July event is still very much on. Many artistes have already been signed up with Rag’n’BoneMan heading the Saturday night lineup and Razorlight among the Friday stars.

Other village events are obviously keeping a close eye on the developing Covid situation as many are due to sit down in the next few weeks to start early planning.

You might want to pencil in a couple of  dates (pencil being the operative word):  Penn Seven and Fun Run, Sunday 20 June;  Penn and Tylers Green Village Show, Saturday 18 September. Open Gardens  will either be on the first or second weekend of June.  Fingers crossed for them all.

Will William Penn be ‘cancelled’?

THE Times reported this week that the Quakers are thinking of renaming the William Penn Room at their London headquarters because the 17th century founder of Pennsylvania was a slave owner in America.

So it might be a good time to yet again debunk the urban myth that Mr Penn came from Penn. William, of course, is buried just down the road at Jordans, but although he shared the name of our village there’s no evidence he was linked with the Penn family after whom the village is named.  

Local historian Miles Green painstakingly spent endless hours of research for his book William Penn and Quaker links with Penn Parish.  “The local evidence is complicated but there is no doubt William Penn had much to do with Penn, but was not related to the Penn family as he and they thought,” Miles said.

Not that that stops hundreds of American tourists visiting here every year (well, perhaps not last year) so maybe it’s best not to disillusion them.

Incidentally, Miles thinks many Quakers will be mortified by this latest development.  “He is by far the best known Quaker in the world and they honour his memory,” he said.

A puzzle it is

A galaxy far, far away in Little Marlow. Picture: The Sun

THE VAST Star Wars film set that’s emerged by the Bourne End to Marlow Road in Little Marlow is raising a few eyebrows as well as questions. The Sun said last week that the set could be in place for up to three years while Disney make a Star Wars TV spin off series on the life of Obi Wan Kenobi, starring Ewan McGregor.

If that’s right it rather contradicts what council spokesman Charles Brocklehurst told the Bucks Free Press in October when explaining that the set hadn’t needed planning permission. Its permission was nodded through under something called “permitted development rights” – a scheme introduced by the Government last year to save the film industry the bother of going through the planning system. 

Filming won’t start until early in the new year and they are “aiming to be gone” by the spring, Mr Brocklehurst told the paper. Ewan McGregor meanwhile,  told Graham Norton on TV the other week that filming won’t begin until March. 

The set is right next door to Thames Water’s sewage treatment works which, as the luvvies will soon discover, tends to whiff a bit when the weather gets warm. More like Obi Pong Kenobi perhaps.

Hanging around in Hammersley Lane

THE housing market is supposed to be bubbling along nicely, but that doesn’t seem to be the case in Hammersley Lane where Savills have had half a dozen new builds for sale for some months now. The price doesn’t seem overly excessive for four/five bedroom homes in such a location – guide price of £725,000 in the desirable place they call Penn, even though they are actually in Tylers Green.

Could it be that buyers are holding back until they see what happens in the Gomm Valley?  At the moment the houses have a lovely view out of the back windows of green fields and trees. But if approval is given to build around 1,000 houses plus a school and other bits and pieces  that just might have an impact on the future value…

Changing times

THE pandemic is certainly changing the face of the high street. I see that Boswell’s, Oxford’s oldest department store in Broad Street,which closed during the first lockdown, is to be converted into a luxury hotel.

Meanwhile,  in Uxbridge the old Randalls department store has this week completed its transformation into a set of one and two bedroom flats.  In High Wycombe we’ve managed to keep our House of Fraser department store but its going to be halved in size with a gymnasium taking over the top two floors.

We are also lucky here in that so far we are hanging onto our pubs. There’s a desperate battle taking place at Ley Hill near Chesham where locals are trying to raise enough money to save one of Buckinghamshire’s oldest pubs, the 16th century Swan, to stop it being turned into a single residence. They want it to become a community owned pub. You can find out more at

News from the front line…by pigeon post

MY friend Andrea was rushed to hospital this week with a non-Covid related, but nonetheless nasty infection. She’s on the mend now and feeling guilty for bothering them. She’s been keeping her spirits up by posting regular updates on her Facebook page…and here was yesterday’s contribution

This is the view from my 4th floor hospital window. Corrugated steel wall about a metre away from mine. 

The exciting bit about the view is the regular visitor who sits outside. I call him Percy.  

We chat about issues of the day and he provides me weather updates by flying up the gap. If he comes back wet, it’s raining.

After four days here I’m going home today. Percy and I have promised to write to each other. What a dreamboat.

This blog will be next updated on Monday