Albert Park is a 19th-century formal park with green spaces and trees, and a statue of Prince Albert near the top. Today there was sun and shade and forsythia was flowering.
There was also bird song and blossom. The park is surrounded by large houses, Abingdon School, St Michael’s Church,
and Trinity Church, all from Victorian times. Through these trees, as well as Trinity can be seen the more recent bowling clubhouse.
There were a lot of people walking round by the River Thames and down to Swift Ditch today. It did feel like a Bank Holiday Monday with people out getting some exercise and fresh air.
River levels have not gone up too far yet.
Some people will be returning to work after the extended Christmas holiday. The return to school could take a little longer for some with the need for tests to be done before children return.
‘Oyey Oyez Oyez! … God Bless the Queen and God Bless Abingdon.’ The start and the end of the Town Crier’s cry is always the same. It is just what goes in-between that changes. Today he said ‘Happy New Year and welcome to the walk of the ancient Abingdon bounds.’
The Abingdon Boundary Walk began on the Market Place at 11 am, just as the rain began. Minutes before, there had been sunshine from over the river and a grey sky everywhere else. The Town Crier accompanying the walk rang his bell and cried at a half dozen stops on the walk. At the Ock Valley, however, he said ‘I won’t ring the bell here. I’m just spending a moment listening to the birds as we can hear them over the sound of the traffic.’ He has a west country accent. More Bristol than the pure Berkshire once spoken by Abingdonians.
Information on the walk was provided by Councillor Helen Pighills who described the original boundaries and told us how a town official once swam over the River Thames from near St Helen’s Wharf because the boundary runs along the far bank. In another place we took the scenic route rather than sticking strictly to the route – in order to avoid a narrow pavement and the busy Drayton Road.
There was no group Christian Aid walk today. Instead walkers can make their own way round.
I went for a walk as the lights were being turned on.
In front of Twitty’s Almshouses the bluebells are out. Bluebells usually flower from mid-April to late May, depending on the weather. If spring is mild they can bloom early. It was warm and sunny a week ago but very cold today.
Swans have the river more to themselves at this time of day. The noisy geese are back on land.
Later the scene looked peaceful but somebody was talking loudly on their mobile phone on the opposite bank, having an argument and not caring who heard.
In St Helen’s churchyard there are a smattering of gravestones. There could have been rows and rows of gravestones once – like other churchyards. These look ornamental.