Archives – November, 2011

St Helen’s Festive Coffee morning with Bells

St Helens Festive Bell Ring
At St Helen’s Church yesterday morning there was a Festive Coffee morning with stalls selling crafts, cakes, and books, as well as place for people to sit for a cup of tea or coffee, a mince pie, and a chat.
St Helens Festive Bell Ring
In the centre aisle hand bell ringers were playing.
St Helens Festive Bell Ring
Upstairs in the Bell Tower, Whites of Appleton, the bell hanging firm, were fitting out the bell ringers’ room with new chests for storage and seating.

For this alteration notices have been displayed outside the church for some weeks – saying an application for a faculty from the diocese had been requested. That is church-speak for planning permission.
St Helens Festive Bell Ring
The great bells were silent – Whites of Appleton installed them about five years ago and they look and – when played – sound splendid.
St Helens Festive Bell Ring
And right above all that the view from the top of the bell tower shows the new development at the Old Gaol.
St Helens Festive Bell Ring
… and the County Hall with scaffolding removed and with flag flying. One wonders what will be the big change in five years time.

12 Comments November 27, 2011

Free Food and Drink Showcase and a very well known celebrity

Today’s event on the Market Place – organised by Abingdon-On-Thames Chamber of Commerce – was a repeat of a very popular one from last last year – which I missed then but made sure to get to this time round because there was lots of  free food on offer.

That included …
Food and Drink Showcase
… Tapas from the Lounge Cafe on Bath Street. They are still doing Tapas on Friday and Saturday evenings throughout the colder months.
Food and Drink Showcase
… Dough balls and wine from Pizza Express.
Food and Drink Showcase
… Curry from Tiffins on Bath Street …
Food and Drink Showcase
… and Burgers and Chilli Con Carne from Skillets at the Crown and Thistle.
Food and Drink Showcase
There will also be a special act appearing at the Crown and Thistle on New Year’s Eve – doing some very well known songs.

5 Comments November 26, 2011

The fallen leaves

Fallen Leaves
Yesterday, in the Abbey Gardens, I saw the men with leaf blowers, and the machine with the leaf blowing attachment, blowing all the leaves into a trail that could be gathered up.
Fallen Leaves
It seems almost like a harvest but there is really no end result -  leaves are composted and cannot really be called a harvest. They need clearing away.
Fallen Leaves
When I was young we raked up leaves to burn on the November 5th Bonfire and that marked for me an important turning point of the year.

Morris Men and Maypole dancers welcome in the spring but are absent at this time of year.

Instead we remember Guy Fawkes with fireworks and have Remembrance Day parades. Such ceremonies fit in better with the fallen leaves. The fallen leaves do bring with them a sense of loss.

7 Comments November 25, 2011

Abingdon Town Council Meeting – 23 Nov 2011

This was supposed to be a normal council meeting but The Mayor had proposed that Abingdon be renamed as Abingdon-On-Thames and that issue took up most of the meeting.

But other matters first….
Fair Trade Day
During the prayer at the start there was a few moments of silent prayer for Mr Peter Tyrer who died last Friday in a car accident in Kenya – where he led The African Children’s Fund.  He was also treasurer of the Abingdon-On-Thames Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of Governors at Longworth Primary.  He was one of those people who helps many others and will be impossible to replace. It was front page of the Abingdon Herald this morning and quite a shock to all who knew him.
Town Council Meeting
After prayers the town council moved onto other business …

We were told that the County Council will paint Yellow lines at the top of East St Helen Street to stop any cars or taxis using the old Taxi Ranks.

An old MG could well be hoisted through one of the County Hall Museum windows as part of the permanent display.

Not much scaffolding left now as you can see in the picture of the County Hall above. The Christmas tree has arrived – donated by the Abingdon Market Traders. They have made sure it is very far from the spindly specimen that arrived a year ago which had to be replaced

Going through the planning applications I noted that the Town Council were very much in favour of the proposed changes to the precinct (aka Abbey Shopping Centre) but were against most of the changes to the Ox Pub to Tesco conversion which  subsequently got approved at the district council.

But then I saw elsewhere that the Town Council jubilee committee will be asking Tesco for buns for next years bun throwing.

Also the committee set up to oversea the jubilee celebrations now feel they have gained  a good skill-set at planning events and organising road closures and would also like to co-ordinate the town’s response to the Olympic torch being carried through town.
Town Council Meeting
But the real important issue was whether Abingdon should be renamed as Abingdon-on-Thames. The Mayor said that this name change did not need to cost anything as businesses can just change the name next time they need to order stationary. All the Conservatives councillors voted in favour of this motion. They think Abingdon-On-Thames is a stronger brand name than just Abingdon on its own and will help local business to compete.
Town Council Meeting
The Lib-Dems were split. Half were in favour of the rename but abstained because they thought it needed more thought and consultation before taking such a big step. Another town is going through a similar rename and have done far more investigation and consultation before taking this initial step: namely the soon to be Staines-on-Thames.

The other half of the Lib-Dems voted against. One said it was pretentious. Another said it devalued the unique status of Abingdon by adding unnecessary words.
Town Council Meeting
It has been Abingdon-On-Thames before as can be seen in this sign hidden behind greenery on Broad Street …
Town Council Meeting
and this sign on Ock Street. One councillor harked back to those pre 1974 days when Abingdon was a Borough saying “I look on this area of Oxfordshire as occupied Berkshire.”

I guess this rename will be a fairly popular attempt to boost Abingdon’s status and trade, but I am not sure yet how deep the rename must go and how it will play out. The district council must approve it first.  I have registered a new domain name for this blog just in case, and I see that somebody has already snapped up the domain abingdononthames.com a day ago. It is now parked on one of those domain resale sites – probably in the hope of making money from it.

23 Comments November 24, 2011

Wild Goose Chase

The Background is Orange
In yesterday’s blog I reported that taxis were no longer to be found along East St Helen Street on the basis of a notice on the Market Place. But today at lunchtime when I went to check out my facts I found there were no taxis along Queen Street where they are supposed to be. But you can buy or order local geese and turkeys from the butcher, down that way.

The taxis were still to be found at the top of East St Helen Street, where a similar notice had been put up and subsequently removed. Apologies to anybody who was led on a wild goose chase looking for taxis. The local authority may have agreed this but the taxi drivers have not.

3 Comments November 23, 2011

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