After photographing a pair of rusty cast iron gravestones in a Northamptonshire churchyard, I poked my nose over the wall and was confronted by this. Scrapyards are usually very oily places with precariously stacked-up vehicles- Morris Marinas at the bottom, Lancia Deltas at the top- and boiler-suited men trying to restrain slavering Alsatians. But here is the scrapyard that even time forgot, the bucolic answer to North Circular razor wire and covert car crushing. Commentator Diplomat confirms that this is a Bedford A3, c1955. Even without its nearside wing the shape is so seductive, so reminiscent of its American GM counterparts. You won't see many around now, but diecast afficianados will perhaps remember its cab and chassis put to use as a Pallet-Jekta Van (No.930), with the Dinky Toys logo on the side and a winding handle that chucked pallets out the back. And something else I've just learnt. How many of us thought that these trucks were given the name Bedford because they were made in Bedfordshire? Not so apparently. It comes from Bedford Motors in London, who first imported Buicks in 1910. Now I wait for someone to tell me that Luton vans were made in Tamworth.
I am a writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012) and Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012)