Saturday 2 April 2011

Am I in Texas?

You may have gathered from my previous post that Gail and I are spending a few days down in Nottingham with human Granny and Grandad. Well at least I was told it was Nottingham. 

But we went for a walk in a nearby wood, and look what I found...
Yes it really is an old oil well (although Gail confused me for a moment by referring to it as a 'nodding donkey').

Most perplexing. I mean surely this is not Texas? Or Arabia? And it certainly isn't the North Sea!

And then we found this.

Well I asked wise old Grandad what was going on. He said, let's sit down for a minute Bertie, and I'll tell you a bit about the history of this place.

And you know what? Here in Duke's Wood, near Eakring, Nottinghamshire, there really was once an oil field. In World War Two, when the country was desperately short of fuel supplies, a team of drilling engineers from Oklahoma came over to this very spot to help extract more oil, and faster. The big statue was erected as a thank you to those very same drillers. Grandad also told me that, while the drillers were here in Sherwood Forest, he was sweating in his thick woollen RAF uniform in the summer heat of Ponca City, Oklahoma, training to be a pilot.

Isn't the world a fascinating place?

Duke's Wood is nowadays a nature reserve, a lovely oasis of calm and beauty, fragrant with the scents of Spring.  Hard to imagine all that bustle and activity so many years ago.


  1. Would never have picked an oil derek in Sherwood Forest. If Robin Hood had known what he was walking over!!!

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  2. Sherwood Forest? That might be one of the very few forests that most of us know by name. Over on your side of the ocean, I mean. That was a fascinating bit of history. We had no idea.

  3. Love hearing about your outing to Sherwood Forest Bertie! I am originally from Nottingham myself (now living in Bristol) and I remember many weekend visits to the forest, playing hide and seek and nature spotting when we were growing up. Definitely a good part of the country for dogs to have fun too!
    Safe travels, hugs, Ruth S

  4. I did not know that! Thanks for the story, Grandad!


  5. Bewtie
    What a suwpwise
    I cewtainly nevew knew all that. Thank you fow once again teaching me something. It's so mawvelous that you have youw smawt and wondewful Gwammdad awound to advise you.
    It cewtainly is a funny old wowld
    smoochie kisses

  6. Our mom's Grand Dad, who came from Edinburgh, used to tell her stories about coming to the States and finally Los Angeles around 1910. What an adventure! We are so lucky to have living historians right in our families. Mom says we don't appreciate them until we get a little older.

    Happy Weekend!!

  7. Thanks for the hot link on Duke's Wood. Lots of good information there. My Mom tells me that my late Grandpa (I never knew him, you are such a lucky boy!) worked at a huge Defense Plant called Hanford in the state of Washington.

    Cheers and hugs,


  8. Oh Bertie this is such a very much interesting post. Your grandpa is a fangtastic fella.

    Thanks fur sharing this. Heck I just thought Sherwood Forest was the home of Robin Hood.

    I am MUCH better fur having read your post this day!!!

  9. I quite agree, very fascinating. Tell your Granspaw we want more stories!

  10. Bertie looks very content. How did you manage to get him to sit still for that photo ?

  11. What a wonderful coincidence to that story! We love your stories & your grandad's too.

    Nubbin wiggles,

  12. Ponca City, huh? We drive nearby there on our annual trek to see Gramma and Auntie Judith. Maybe we'll have to sniff out some of your grandad's "old digs". He did dig, didn't he? Or do you need to teach him?

    (We'll take pics and share them ... 'specially 'cause you are so good about sharing yours with us ... and teaching us so much at the same time.)

    (One more thing. You and your grandad have a lot to teach each other. We're really glad you're getting to spend time with him. We hear VerySpecialThings about grandads.)

    Jake and Fergi

  13. Ohhh Bertie, it sounds like your GrandPaw is a pawsome guy. Very knowledgeable too!

    Mom and I never knew about the oil well. Mom says that they never taught any interesting things like that in school.

    Thanks for the pawsome history lesson.

    woo woos, Tessa

  14. Right in the middle of the forest!! you must be in Texas
    Benny & Lily

  15. Bertie, our person never heard about drilling for oil in WWII England. She visited Scotland and England years ago and saw where the U.S. troops had been stationed. Your Granddad probably has some amazing stories to share if he was an RAF pilot and about being stationed in Oklahoma.

  16. I personally have never seen a nodding donkey before but my hoomies have. They lived in a country called Brunei many years ago & apparently Brunei is famous for their oil because have a LOT of it so they had tons of nodding donkeys everywhere!

  17. hey Bertie,

    What a fascinating story, with a neat twist of Oklahoma/Sherwood Forest! I bet you are learning so much from your grandpa!


  18. Oil well? With Robin Hood? Oh Bertie can I play dressup as Maid Marian???? I'd be lovely....does she wear purple????

    It's good for you to listen to our Grandpas...they teach well!!


    Maid Lacie

  19. What a nice piece of history. Thank you for sharing your story.

  20. Hey! Ponca City is now definitely on our itinerary next month, with camera in hand. Send us a list of potential pictures! We've got a few in mind, will would gladly take requests or suggestions! We're hoping that they might be special, in some sort of way, to your wise old Grandad.

    Jake and Fergs and the Woman with the Camera

  21. Your grandpa looks vaguely familiar. I live in Ponca City, wrote a book about the RAF in Oklahoma and the school he attended, and I have visited four or five 6BFTS reunions in England. Do I know him? By the way, one of the men who drilled for oil in Sherwood Forest was from Ponca City and was a big oil executive for E.W. Marland before moving to Norman Oklahoma and working with a man named Sam Noble.