Author Archives: Backstreeter

Barton Fields in July

Barton Fields
I walked round Barton Fields, cared for by the Abingdon Naturalists, on a warm sunny day in the middle of July. I saw butterflies and bees, and beetles, ladybirds and damselflies. There were many other creatures that were too well hidden.
Barton Fields
Berries and hips and haws are growing to maturity. The first blackberries will soon be ripe and ready to pick.
Barton Fields
Many wild flowers have already bloomed in March or April, May or June and are turning to seed, but other flowers are coming into bloom. These ragworts can be seen with many smaller yellow flowers behind.
Barton Fields
Long grasses mature and their seedheads are ready to drop their seed and increase their yeild next year. Other plants rise and unfurl.
Barton Fields
The taller growing plants began on a race to the sky, and only in July produce flowers on tall stalks, among a jungle of other tall growing plants.
Barton Fields
Insects come together on a bed of flowers and spread pollen to nearby flowers.

Nature in July is yearning towards the next generation.

Queuing at the Abingdon Community Fridge

Community Fridge
On Saturday morning there was a long ‘socially distanced’ queue for the Abingdon Community Fridge at the Health and Wellbeing Centre off Audlett Drive. Some interesting chalk pictures have been added since to amuse people as they queue at the fridge on Monday.
Community Fridge
Abingdon Community Fridge fights food waste by redistributing surplus food from local supermarkets and SOFEA.. The Abingdon Community Fridge is open to all. On Monday it will have tomatoes, lettuces, greens, bananas and other fruit, yogurt, bread etc.

Announcing Against Breast Cancer virtual splash of pink

Against Breast Cancer
Abingdon Market Place was looking busier this morning with more tables out and people drinking coffee. There was also a busker singing ‘Eight Days a Week’. But no signs of a return to Market Place events yet.
Against Breast Cancer
Against Breast Cancer (an Abingdon based charity) say they are unable to host their annual Splash of Pink Event in Abingdon Town centre this year. However, they have announced that next weekend (18th & 19th July), Splash of Pink will be virtual! The weekend is designed for every member of the family, with the Sunday filled with entertainment for children. From live music, fitness sessions, cooking, arts & crafts, Disney sing-along’s and much more. You can tune in via the @againstbc Facebook Page and help fund vital research into secondary spread breast cancer.

Jobcentre Plus Re-opens

Between March and May 2020, an additional 495 people were claiming unemployment benefits in Abingdon, according to Oxfordshire Bitesize Unemployment.

Job Centre Plus
The doors of the Jobcentre Plus in Stert Street, Abingdon, recently reopened but the majority of claimants will talk to their job centre coach over the telephone. Only those who are asked to, or who can’t get help on the phone, are likely to go through the doors.

The government is making efforts to get people back to work. They announced that they are increasing the number of Jobcentre Plus coaches. They also launched a new website at On it I see there are jobs in social care (nationwide need for more care staff), and agriculture (national shortage of seasonal fruit and vegetable pickers). Beyond that there are suggested training programs like getting into teaching. There is also a financial package to encourage employers to give work to 18-24 year olds.

Abingdon Library to Re-open (but not as a social centre)

Abingdon Library to Reopen
Libraries in Oxfordshire will re-open either on 13th July or 20th July. Abingdon Library will be among the first to re-open on the 13th.

There will be some changes to how the library will operate to make them Covid-safe:
* you may have to queue to enter
* social distancing measures will be in place
* they will collect your name and contact details on entry
* short visits will be encouraged – up to 30 minutes
* they will take card and online payments only (no cash)
* most soft seating and tables will be removed – so I suspect fewer computers
* newspapers and magazines will be removed
* face-to-face events won’t run until government advice allows.

Looking at the Oxfordshire Library Catalogue, I see my loans have been extended to the 3rd – 10th August. I could still do the Michael Thomas Italian course, but I probably won’t as the Italian holiday was cancelled.

The upper floor of the library also used to be a bit of a social centre – even a day centre at times. Here is an idle ten minutes from before the shutdown …

We all hear a phone ring and then after some low chatter I hear a voice from a soft chair promise, ‘I will call you back in a moment, Sue.’… A group round a local history computer murmur and the one word I can hear is ‘Oxfordshire.’… Bob F reads a 1970’s Abingdon Herald on microfilm… The librarian at the enquiry desk piles books, beeping each through… A young lady with a laptop twirls a plait of hair. With her pink coffee cup and sprawl of papers, she seems to be waiting for inspiration… I flick through the reference only copy of News from a Country Town … From July 1780 I read of a floral festival at the Crown and Thistle. It says, ‘Each person to prove on oath that his Blossoms are his own blowing.’… There’s a ‘rurr jurr’ and then a flapping as the microfilm winds back into its spool … The librarian wheels the books through ‘Staff Only’… Bob slings a bag over his shoulder, and says ‘Good Bye.’… The man in the low back chair is stretched out with a stick next to him. I am more worried about him calling Sue than he seems.