Psycho Swan attacking ducks and geese

A psycho swan has been seen bullying other birds and killing goslings on the Thames at Abingdon. On Sunday morning I was shown evidence from a phone video of the swan holding goslings under the water, and scaring off the older geese who came near to try to help.
Psycho Swan attacking ducks and geese
Then today I saw a swan, presumably the same one, attach some birds. The pictures show the chase,
Psycho Swan attacking ducks and geese
and then the swan having pushed one of the other birds under the water. It reappeared somewhere else.

The swan did not appear to have young nearby.

3 Comments June 21, 2017

Summer Solstice – June 21st

Sun Hot
This picture was taken from near the old Culham Bridge, looking back towards Abingdon across a field of baled straw.
Sun Hot
I remember once seeing straw bales made into an image like Stonehenge that got dubbed Strawhenge. These straw bales are just left in the hot sun where they were dropped. The air is still full of the dust of harvest and pollen. Two of the stones of the real Stonehenge are supposedly aligned with the sunrise on Summer Solstice, showing the great respect and veneration our distant ancestors had for the sun.

6 Comments June 21, 2017

20th June – St Edmund’s Fair – A Fair of Custard

Great Get Together
Recently I mentioned a walk that visited some places associated with St Edmund of Abingdon. We learned that St. Edmund’s Chapel and St. Edmund’s Fair perpetuated his memory for some time in Abingdon. St Edmund’s Chapel was near St Edmund’s Lane, and St Edmund’s Fair was on the day when St. Edmund was ‘translated’ to become a saint (9th June). As the calendar was changed to come into line with the rest of Europe in 1750 and 11 days added, then we assumed that St Edmund’s Fair would now be on the 20th June one day before the summer solstice.
Great Get Together
Tuesday 9 June 1668 was the day that Samuel Pepys visited Abingdon, on the way from Oxford, and wrote in his diary “At night come to Abingdon, where had been a fair of custard; and met many people and scholars going home; and there did get some pretty good musick, and sang and danced till supper: 5s.”

We also learned that the school fair at St Edmund School takes place on the Saturday nearest 20th June.

10 Comments June 20, 2017

Great Get Together in Abingdon

Great Get Together
The Great Get Together took place today in memory of the late MP, Jo Cox, who represented the constituency of Batley and Spen in Yorkshire. Many thousands of events have taken place across the country including the one in Abingdon at St Ethelwolds House. People brought food to share.
Great Get Together
On what was a very hot day it was good that there were lots of salads and cool drinks.
Great Get Together
And people sat out on the lawns and terraces sharing the food and meeting new people.
Great Get Together
Entertainment was provided by, among others, the Mayor on penny whistle, her escourt on the piano accordian, and members of the John Mason folk players.
Great Get Together
The event was organised by Emma, inspired by Jo Cox to found Better off Together in Abingon; and by Sue of Host Abingdon, and other groups such as the Abingdon Peace Group.
Great Get Together
Both Emma and Sue gave a short speech, as did the Mayor, Cllr Jan Morter. The final speech was given by Layla Moran, the new MP for this area who remembered Jo Cox and her maiden speech in the House of Commons.

Jo Cox said “Batley and Spen is a gathering of typically independent, no-nonsense and proud Yorkshire towns and villages. Our communities have been deeply enhanced by immigration, be it of Irish Catholics across the constituency or of Muslims from Gujarat in India or from Pakistan, principally from Kashmir. While we celebrate our diversity, what surprises me time and time again as I travel around the constituency is that we are far more united and have far more in common with each other than things that divide us.”

26 Comments June 18, 2017

Mayor of Ock Street 2017

The date is June 19th 1700. A line has been drawn in the dust of the Vineyard alongside the brewery. Another line has been drawn at the top of Ock Street near the Square. The people of Abingdon have just enjoyed ox roasted on the Market Place. A famous battle then ensued between the men of the Vineyard and the men of Ock Street for the ox. The combat was fierce as each side fought to bring the ox over their own line. Legend has it that the Vineyard men had nearly succeeded when a man named Hemmings crashed an apple wood cudgel on the head of a Vineyard opponent, cut the ox head from the carcass with a sword, and made it back to the Ock Street Line.
Mayor of Ock Street
Those same horns were on display again 317 years later on a glorious Saturday in 2017 – the nearest Saturday to the original June 19th, when there is a day of morris dancing.
Mayor of Ock Street
The president of the Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers is still a Hemmings, namely Mr Ewart Hemmings. His Uncle was the famous Mayor of Ock Street, Tom Hemmings, and his Grandfather was Henry Hemmings – also Mayor of Ock Street.
Mayor of Ock Street
The Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancers, with a visiting team from Oxford, danced at many venues along Ock Street and in the town centre, including a new stop outside the Broad Face.
Mayor of Ock Street
After dancing round a tree planted in honour of former bagman, Tony Russell, at the almshouses,
Mayor of Ock Street
they went to another new stop where free beer was provided by Pam, and danced there too.
Mayor of Ock Street
Meanwhile the poll to elect the 2017 Mayor of Ock Street was taking part all day. All people living or working down Ock Street have a vote.
Mayor of Ock Street
The count took place at the Brewery Tap, officiated over by the Town Clerk, the Mayor of Abingdon, and Mr Ewart Hemmings.
Mayor of Ock Street
Roger Cox graciously conceded to Harry Knight who had got double the amount of votes – 61 to 122 . Roger will continue in the role of the fool for the next year, having been Mayor every year from 2007 and 2013.
Mayor of Ock Street
The Mayor of Abingdon, Cllr Jan Morter, presented the Mayor of Ock Street with the sash of office, sword, top hat, and the applewood bowl, whose wood dealt the legendary blow in 1700.
Mayor of Ock Street
Mr Harry Knight was then carried in honour down Ock Street by his men. He has been elected in 2014, 2016, and 2017.

3 Comments June 17, 2017

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