The Abingdon Blog

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

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Memorial Service for Audrey

Six months ago, on a cold October morning, Councillor Audrey Tamplin was out on the Market Place manning a stall for the Citizens Advice Bureau - a cause close to her heart.

Audrey's memorial service was held yesterday. Gathered together at St Helens Church to celebrate her life were: family, a civic party, and friends - lots of them.

Audrey became a Town Councillor in the 1990s. She had her finger on the pulse of what was happening in Abingdon and was described by a friend and fellow councillor, Jeanette Halliday, as a true champion for the town. Audrey was one of those who pushed the hospital bed from the Market Place to Abingdon Community Hospital in the campaign to stop the proposed closure of the hospital. The campaign was successful, but she continued to be concerned for the hospital's future.

She was Mayor in 2002 / 2003, and after an attempted retirement to the Lake District, she returned to Abingdon and was re-elected as a local councillor again in 2007 and continued to work for the community until only a couple of weeks before her sudden passing.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Anything Goes

While in Argentan, Abingdon's twin town in Normandy, our hosts Pierre and Ionie praised productions by the Abingdon Operatic Society they had seen during visits to Abingdon.

'Anything Goes' is on at the Amey Theatre until Saturday. I don't know the songs yet, but then I didn't know many of the songs from Oklahoma before seeing their production of that musical last year. I just hope this will be as good.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Goodbye Old Gaol Pool

Through the rubble, as the Old Gaol out-buildings are demolished, I can just about make out a sign...

It says "POOL DEPTH HERE 2.0 m. "

That must be the deep end...

I still find it difficult to work out the geography of this swimming pool from outside, but must have swam many thousands of lengths inside its walls.

To the left is the balcony where there was a bar and people could relax with a drink and look down, at odd moments, at the pool below. In the late evening music played and it was like syncopated swimming.

Further along to the left, next to the KOMATSU, is a balcony from where I watched down as our two children flapped as they tried to swim their first widths near the shallow end ...

Those days are just a memory and the building will soon be gone.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


I met a tearful lady, and her young daughter, posting fliers in West St Helen Street...

"Please help. The kitten pictured above has been missing since Tues 23rd March from East St Helen's area. She is easily spooked and has been missing before and was not far away.... I am worried that the recent night road works have frightened her.

Please call or text on 07871 923696... Thank you so so much in advance.'

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Last Weekend

Just beginning to piece together what happened last weekend while I was away. Kaz sent me pictures of What's Up Folk on the Market Place.

They are a folk group from John Mason School who entertained people in the Market Place on Saturday.

Kay, from Ashnah Belly Dancers, said it was a wonderful day and they had performed at the same event - but unfortunately no pictures of them yet. What I do have is a flier she sent me a couple of weeks back for 'A Night of World Music and Dance' at the Amey Theatre, Abingdon School on 24th April.

Monday, 12 April 2010

International Friendship

Argentan in Normandy has been a twin town to Abingdon since 1956 and is therefore Abingdon's longest lasting twin. It is the most easily reached of the twin towns -just a Brittany Ferry ride from Portsmouth to Caen and then a 30-40 minute car drive away.

The first weekend after Easter is known as Quasimodo Sunday, the weekend when Argentan has its 'Quasimodo' agricultural fair. Here the Mayor of Argentan (centre) can be seen next to the Mayor of Rotenburg (another twin town), about to cut the tape. With EU funding, a mock German street had been re-created in one hall of the fair, and market stalls brought over, so this year it was very much a Franco German event.

The fair includes a large funfair, an exhibition of commercial stalls, displays of agricultural equipment and cars, and best of breed competitions for cows and horses.

Here two shire horses strut their stuff.

You can see from this stall in the Fair that we Brits easily make up the most visitors to this area of Normandy.

Already this year from Abingdon as part of twinning: cyclists have gone across, a rugby team, 46 MG club members, some members of the Church in Abingdon, John Mason School, and next month a combined choir of the Church in Abingdon is visiting. So at the grass-roots relations are thriving, but at the civic level the Mayors of Argentan and Rotenburg have remained unchanged for several years and have built a relationship and this joint fair may well be the result. Such things don't happen easily.