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Directorate of Telecommunications
PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS
Percy the Pike (1971)
".........and then there
was the time in early
1971


It was decided that a second Hill top Site Survey Team was needed to cope with the backlog of hilltop site surveys needed for the planned County Boundary Changes for 1974. The new team was to be based at Weedon and I was transferred as a SWT, from Welwyn Garden City Detachment, to Weedon to lead the new team (perhaps an article about the Survey Team at a later date).

Weedon was an ideal detached posting. Excellent photographs, by David Partridge, elsewhere on this Web Site, show the historic and tranquil location where, during the Napoleonic War, munitions  were transported on the Grand Union Canal, diverted into Weedon and stored.

The Team was allocated two rooms in the "Office Building" shown in the photographs, which was directly opposite the "cutting" of the river Nene which flowed through the Weedon site and overflowed into the Grand Union Canal. "Jock" Keith a storeman, under Sammy Hood who was in charge of stores at CCE Harrow, was nominally responsible for the DTELS part of  Weedon. There was a daily stores run from Weedon to CCE.

I can't remember for sure now, but I believe it was Brian Fielding who ran a workshop of local ladies ( some shown on recent photos on this web site ) who prepared/repaired equipment issued and returned to and from Depots to CCE.

S&T Branch occupied part of the site to store Prison Dept stores, Prison Uniforms, Crockery Cutlery, etc. There were also Civil Defence stores on the site in case the Cold War at that time, turned into a Hot War. As Alan Partridge shows, there was a store for old Home Office papers.

Among the Weedon staff and Site Survey Team, there were some keen fishermen who would sit on the "cutting" that you can see, and eat their lunch while fishing. Many fish were caught and returned to the water but then came the time when a very large Pike appeared which caused much distress to fishermen and fish alike. He was named "Percy". It was decided Percy should be removed. He was caught in a net and put in the "surface fire storage tank". He was fed every day with lunch left overs, cheese sandwiches, sausages rolls, cream cakes, etc, and he got bigger and bigger.

Weedon
Photo: Weedon

Then came the day when an Officer from Northants Fire Brigade came to Weedon to check Fire Precautions. He went round all the Buildings counting the Fire Blankets, checking the Extinguishers, Pressing the Fire Alarms, etc. Then he checked the water in the surface water tank, and Percy, thinking it was lunchtime, swam towards him.

The Officer then seemed to have a small tantrum....

WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?, THIS IS AGAINST REGULATIONS, IF A SUCTION HOSE IS PUT IN THE TANK THE FISH WILL BLOCK THE PIPE. THERE WILL HAVE TO BE A REPORT.

It was obvious there would be smacks all round and tears before bedtime.
 
So we fished Percy (excuse the pun) out of the tank. We felt we could not put him back in the "cutting" so, sadly, he was knocked on the head. We took him, during the lunch hour, down to the pub at Weedon cross roads, where the A5 crosses the A45. We knew the Landlady because we celebrated "engagements, christenings, etc there. She offered to cook Percy for us and next day there was Percy, perfectly baked, with an apple in his mouth, on the bar counter, surrounded by Brussels sprouts and carrots. All the customers could help themselves, free of charge.
 
I do not know if you have ever tasted "baked pike" but from that day I am a Cod and Chips man myself.
 
Anyone who was at Weedon at that time will not forget Percy."


Acknowledgements:
1.  John Maloney; article
2.  David Partridge, photo source & copyright

page updated: 19/11/13

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