Thank you to B for this report.
While walking along Stert Street on Monday Evening after picking up my prescription, I saw a queue outside Mostly Books.
The reason for the queue became obvious as I passed the window. Renowned comedian and actor Matt Lucas was inside, signing copies of his first children’s novel, “The Boy Who Slept Through Christmas.”
Matt has written children’s books before now, but not a novel. He wrote ‘My Very Very Very Very Very Very Very Silly Book of Jokes’ and ‘My Very … Silly Book of Pranks’ and ‘My Very … Silly Book of Games’ and ‘My Very … Silly Book of True and False’. It begins with ‘A group a Zebras is called a crossing. TRUE OR FALSE?’ The answer is in the book.
Inside the corridor leading to the Town Council offices are portraits of all Mayors of Abingdon since Ewart Hemmings in 1978.
254 members of Abingdon Town Council have been Mayor since the office began when Abingdon received a charter in 1556. 98 members have served more than one year. The first Mayor was Richard Mayotte in 1556, and he served on three occasions.
Between 2012 and 2017, there were seven female Mayors in a row. Six of them have been displayed together on the wall.
The first female Mayor was Mrs Agnes Challenor from 1950-51. When first co-opted onto the council, she said, “I felt it such a golden opportunity for a woman to get on to the council that I accepted it”.
Albert Earnest Tombs held the office of Mayor for the longest time, five consecutive terms between 1932 and 1937.
He later received an O.B.E. for his work rehousing people in Abingdon from slums. Despite all his house building, I don’t think a road has been named after him.
Thomas Knight was Mayor ten times between 1800 and 1832. That is unlikely to be beaten as since 1953, it has become usual for members to only serve one year.
In 1645-1646 there were three Mayors due to the death of the first two in office.
(Thank you to Jackie for the picture and newspaper clipping of A.E. Tombs. Most of the information came from https://www.abingdon.gov.uk/town-council/your-mayor/mayors-abingdon-thames-1556 )
On Tuesday evening I went for a walk by Abingdon Lock.
Richard, the lock keeper, said hello. The Kingfisher Canoe club were out doing a training session. I took a few pictures of the meadow that leads to Swift Ditch. It was full of tall buttercups, ox-eye daisies and purple clover.
Walking back, one of the boat travellers said he was about to watch the programme about the River Thames with Richard, the Abingdon lock keeper. By the time I got home the programme had gone beyond Abingdon and we saw them exploring a 21st Century sewage works that ferments and creates energy from Reading poo.
So we watched it on Channel 5 catch up which involves watching a few adverts first.
Richard did really well explaining to Tony Robinson, the presenter, how the lock worked and the weir. Frank was there as well, greeting people and operating the other lock gate. They gave a very good impression of Abingdon. It can be seen at the start of https://www.my5.tv/the-thames-britains-great-river-with-tony-robinson/season-1/episode-2
Last week we happened to be at Ruskin’s grave for his 200th birthday and there was a special service of celebration.
Today when walking in South Abingdon I remembered that there is a Ruskin Avenue in Abingdon. It is a small road between Gainsborough Green and Cotman Close, part of a painter’s theme.
The other link to John Ruskin in Abingdon is a Historic Building and can be seen on the town portal created by Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society”John Ruskin, the Victorian art critic and social commentator, made the Crown & Thistle his home for a period in the early 1870s, walking the 7½ miles to Oxford when giving lectures and visiting the university.”