Archives – January, 2020

St Nicolas Church: Spying over Europe and the CiA

Mike and Barbara Randles
Flight Lieutenant Mike Randles was in the RAF during WWII and took part in reconnaissance flights over Germany, France, Italy and Norway. Over Norway he took pictures, while balancing in precarious positions in the hold of a plane, to try to identify where Germany was manufacturing heavy water – used in nuclear fission and of use in building an atomic bomb.
Mike and Barbara Randles
In a service last Sunday at St Nicolas Church, Abingdon, a window was dedicated to Mike and Barbara Randles. The Organ then played the 633 squadron theme.
CiA
Outside St Nics, a notice was being put up to advertise the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

This week starts with a Church in Abingdon (CiA) joint service on Sunday 19th January 2020, 3 pm, at Christ Church, Northcourt Road, led by Revd Paul Smith with refreshments and an exhibition of CiA task groups after the service.
CiA
Then midday prayers Monday 20th – Friday 24th January, at 12 noon led by various people at St Nicolas Church.

Finally there is the CiA Inter-church quiz on Friday 24 January 2020, 7.30 pm, at St Michael’s Church, Park Road.

4 Comments January 17, 2020

Bonjour! (Finally) opening soon!

Bonjour
Andy sent me this picture of a notice that is outside the former Rosie’s Tea Room.
Bonjour
As so often happens the work needed to get a place ready for opening has taken longer than expected.

8 Comments January 16, 2020

Pedal Power at 40 years and 2 months

Pedal Power at 40
Pedal Power have a window painting that celebrates 40 years as a cycle and cycle repair shop. The painting has been up since November and so the business is probably 40 years and 2 months by now.

Pedal Power is a family business and the grand children of the founder work there. They are always helpful.
Pedal Power at 40
This picture shows the sun setting over the Vineyard in Abingdon where you can find Pedal Power and Mr Lee (hairdressing) next door. Mr Lee has been there nearly as long as the cycle shop.
Pedal Power at 40
Those pictures were taken last week. On the same day Tony sent me a picture of the full moon somewhere in Abingdon. Thankyou to him.

23 Comments January 15, 2020

Mr Hemmings’ Hat & Other Curiosities

Mr Hemmings’ Hat
At Abingdon County Hall Museum there is a new temporary exhibition, made of artifacts from the museum collection,  called Mr Hemmings’ Hat & Other Curiosities. (running from 11th January to the 29th March 2020). 2020 is the centenary of the creation of the museum.
Mr Hemmings’ Hat
A display board at the exhibition tells of the history of the museum. Abingdon Town Council established a museum committee in February 1920 and the committee first met in March 1920. The earliest collection were Natural History for education. In the 1930s fossils, shells and corals still dominated with a few antiquities. Then about 1935 more antiquities arrived including stone weapons and tools, Roman coins, a model of St. Nicolas Church and some of the Saxon artifacts dug up in 1934 from the Saxton Road development. In the 1970s Mieneke Cox took over and deplored the lack of visitor numbers. People from the town might visit once and not come again. There were more tourists than town visitors in those days. She set about making the museum more interesting with displays and exhibitions to interest local people. There was another revamp in the 1990s and more recently a major refurbishment in 2012.
Mr Hemmings’ Hat
Among the curiosities on display are Mr Tom Hemmings’ Hat and his Morris Dancing jacket and leg bells. After his death his wife donated them to the museum in 1960. They are in a cabinet with a pair of shoes that had been thrown out into a skip with building rubble in East St Helen Street. Shoes discovered inside strange places in old buildings could have been put there by builders for good luck, or the family as a fertility aid.
Mr Hemmings’ Hat
There is a Erik de Graaff chair – added to the museum as part of the 1994 refurbishment when it was decided that as well as exhibitions there would be concerts. These fold-up triangular-chairs were the resulting design.
Mr Hemmings’ Hat
The Sergeant at Mace’s uniform is displayed; and a portrait of Sir Thomas Fleming, the judge who tried Guy Fawkes. He is not known to have any Abingdon connection so the curiosity is what is he doing there. There are also buns and china commemorating royal occasions, and some artifacts from the Abbey Lodge Free Masons. In another case are some dog collars from the 1700s – one belonging to Mr Morland’s dog.

Fossils still feature in the attic where you can see The Abingdon Fossil Collection. They date from around 153 million years ago when a warm sea covered the Abingdon area. They were preserved in the Kimmeridge clay. There you will find the Abingdon Ichthyosaurus. The oldest objects in the museum are the fossils. The newest exhibit could be the Geiger Counter from the Jet Project at Harwell.

The museum gets busier during half term and weekends. Tuesday in January can be quiet if there is not a school or coach party passing through. The staff were very friendly. There is one member of staff in the sessions hall on the first floor, and another in the attic to tell you about the exhibitions.
Mr Hemmings’ Hat
In the basement from 10 am to 2 pm, Tuesday to Saturday, you can visit The Mousehole Cafe. The name was originally used for the basement cafe when it was a popular teenage hangout from 1958. Back then teenagers drank coffee, and soft drinks – including hot orange squash in the winter. The coffee in those days was just coffee. Nowadays you can get Americano, Cafe latte, Cappuccino, Café Mocha etc. The new Mouse Hole cafe is warm on a Winter’s day and only £1 for a hot drink.

Leave a Comment January 14, 2020

Animals on the Move and Barton Fields in January

Animals on the Move
A family friendly multimedia exhibition called Animals on the Move will be at St Swithun’s Church Hall in Kennington next weekend:
Saturday 18th January 10:30 – 16:30
Sunday 19th January 11:30 – 16:30
Animals on the Move
The exhibition brings together local artists, conservation organisations and scientific researchers to show the journeys made by our migratory animals.
Animals on the Move
I saw the posters and the bird box at the Barton Fields Nature Reserve in Abingdon.
Animals on the Move
The reserve contains meadow and woodland. Lots of catkins on this tree / bush in Barton Fields.
Animals on the Move
There is also scrub and marsh with a number of ponds.

On one side runs the Sustrans cycle path and Abingdon Science Park. On the other side is the Thames Path alongside a stream, separated from the River Thames by a narrow strip of land.

I will return every month in 2020 and see what I can see and capture with the camera.

25 Comments January 13, 2020

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