The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Answers - from yesterdays quiz

The inscribed stones and cobbles, shown yesterday, mainly refer to aspects of Abingdon's past...

The Alleyway with the stones lead into Neave Mews - named after Airey Neave, the M.P for Abingdon until 1979. 'Public Servant Secret Agent' is a biography that tells 'The Elusive Life and Violent Death of Airey Neave'

March 30, 1979 was a sad day in British politics - the Irish National Liberation Army murdered Airey Neave in a car bomb attack inside the House of Commons parking lot and concluded one of the most remarkable political stories of the 20th century. During World War II, Neave escaped from Colditz and became an intelligence agent eventually serving at the Nuremberg Trials. He was also Margaret Thatcher's campaign manager when she became the first female leader of the Conservative Party.

Beer and Books. Could be taken 2 ways. The monks brewed beer and copied books or it may simply be a reference to the modern industries of brewing and printing. Morlands was probably still functioning when the development was conceived.

'A vicarage house with orchard+ garden mounted round with a stone wall... Refers to a house known as the Vicarage House which once stood on the corner of St Edmund's Lane and West St Helen Street NB St Helen's Church did not have a vicarage until 1874.

Why 'Today + Tomorrow'? Can't really explain the significance of this. Perhaps because other stones refer to the past and this one refers to the new road looking to the future.

'Twenty hides - a gift from Cissa - by gravel terrace three rivers meet - two swans rise'? This was the land Cissa granted to his nephew for the founding of the monastery. Abingdon sits on the a gravel terrace, and the three rivers that meet here are the Stert, Ock and Thames. There are 2 swans on the town's coat of arms granted in 1958. The Abbott may have been entitled to keep a pair of swans on the river - usually a royal prerogative.

'Faith + Industry' is the motto on the Abingdon Town Council coat of arms

Sister and brother, 7th century Saxons. Cilla said to have founded nunnery "Helenstowe" on/near site later occupied by St Helen's Church.

Friday, 12 February 2010

John's 2nd Miscellany

Less of a miscellany, this time round, and more a set of engraved pavement stones... nethertheless, see what you know, and I'll give you John and Jackie's answers tomorrow.

The stones with the questions are all to be found down this public secret alleyway. Who is the 'Public Servant Secret Agent'?

Why 'Beer and Books' to start with?

What means this riddle... 'A vicarage house with orchard+ garden mounted round with a stone wall'.

Why 'Today + Tomorrow'?

What means this riddle... 'Twenty hides - a gift from Cissa - by gravel terrace three rivers meet - two swans rise'?

Why 'Faith + Industry'?

Why 'Cilla + Hean' - also featured in the 1st Miscellany so what are they?

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Plant of The Week

Anybody who has read the Abingdon Herald will have seen that the Snowdop is 'Plant of the Week'. This group are in the Abbey Gardens. The Herald says snowdrops are a little late this year because of all the snow.

There was even a flurry of snow overnight, but having wrapped themselves up tight the snowdrops have survived to brighten up another day.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Graphic Novel Out

There is artwork by Peter Bellingham (aka Scooter Mckenzie) at the museum as part of the Art and Artists of Abingdon exhibition. He also now has a graphic novel out ...

It's called 'The puzzling cases of D. Cypher, Private Eye'. In each of the six short stories you solve the puzzles, collect the clues and help Cypher crack the case. Visit for more details.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Jazz and Shakespeare

At the Broad Face there is jazz every Sunday Afternoon from 4PM, and R&B The First Thursday of the Month from 9PM.

From Wednesday, 'Alls Well That Ends Well' is on at the Unicorn Theatre's famous "Elizabethan Style" stage.

One way to publicise such gigs or events in Abingdon is to send an e-mail to The Abingdon Diary. It has been going for about a year now, and the e-mail is on the site.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Two Shop Windows

This art work caught my eye. It is made from pussy willow, and is to be seen in the window of Fabulous Flowers in Bridge Street. It is St Valentine' Day next Sunday - the first major commercial celebration of the year with restaurants and shops around town advertising their Valentine's Day / weekend's offerings.

This dressing table, in the window of Abode Interiors (in Coxeter House) also caught my eye - because of the reflection of the red door opposite (from Clock House) in the mirror.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Five Lombardy Poplars

This picture was taken three nights ago looking at the row of five Lombardy Poplars on the far side of the River. The moon had been full the night before and it was low in the water. I cycled home from something I was doing, and came back out with the camera, placed it on the ground, pressed the shutter and let it do its own thing. It found some colour where I saw just moonlight and darkness.