Changes by the Thames in Abingdon

Old Abbey House
A heated beer tent has appeared on Nags Head Island. The Nags Head pub say ‘Oktoberfest in Munich might have been cancelled but Oktoberfest on The Thames hasn’t!’ It is from Friday 16th October to Sunday 18th October.
Old Abbey House
Scaffolding has appeared round the stone grotto in the garden of Coseners House. The work will make the grotto safe to use. The grotto has two chambers, and an external staircase and lookout. I do not know who or why it was built but my guess is that it was a 19th century folly.
Old Abbey House
Work is progressing on the new Kingfisher Canoe Club storage and changing hut.
Old Abbey House
A new information board has appeared at the Wildflower Maze in the Abbey Grounds. The maze has been cut back for the winter. The little stacks give a place for some wildlife to spend the winter.
Old Abbey House
Work continues on the Route 5 cycle path through the Abbey Grounds.
Old Abbey House
The narrow, bumpy, muddy track is being widened and evened out and made less muddy.

Leaves Falling at Old Abbey House

Old Abbey House
A lot of people were being shown round Old Abbey House last month. Now the autumn leaves are settling and the visits have slowed.
Old Abbey House
At present this building is a community asset that is not being used, and has been empty for several years. As a result the windows had to be protected.

Potential buyers will be working through the figures, deciding how much they can afford to pay, and what they will do with Old Abbey House.

The Friends of Abingdon Civic Society have put together a proposal that the building become an Arts and Community Centre for the Eastern Vale.  A summary of their ideas can be seen on the Abingdon Civic Society web site.
Old Abbey House
The Vale of White Horse District Council Cabinet will consider a report on the commercial bids and the community proposals at a meeting on 4th December.
Old Abbey House
If the Vale Cabinet get a decent commercial bid: one that  gives them the asking price (somebody mentioned £1m), and a use that is acceptable, then that will be considered.

If they get a community proposal that looks workable, then they could allow it to be progressed to see if it will work out.
Old Abbey House
If they get both, then it will be like comparing apples and pears.

The River Ock looks browner than usual

I went out quite early to collect some post from the Abingdon sorting office with the red slip the postman had left. Pre lockdown they would be open most of the day for collection. That was changed to 7-9am on weekdays and a bit longer on Saturday, and now it has changed again to 8-10 am on weekdays.
Brown Ock
At 8:10 am traffic going into town stretched most of the way back along Ock Street.
Brown Ock
I walked back by the Ock Valley Walk. The water level has gone down from a week ago, but the water looks browner than usual.
Brown Ock
There must be a lot more sediment being carried down from the Vale of White Horse.

In Town Today – Market Place, Hedgehogs, and Country Market

Hedgehogs
Leaves are turning red on the Market Place. Lots of people were out in the open, drinking coffee.
Hedgehogs
Hedgehogs were this weeks cause for the XR Abingdon group. The group will be promoting a number of causes in coming weeks and months. Several small changes in people’s behaviour add up to a big change.

They were giving away bags of hedgehog food and information about how to help hedgehogs. To avoid the danger of roads, hedgehogs need to move between back gardens. They suggested opening holes under fences – big enough for hedgehogs to squeeze through.
Hedgehogs
Abingdon Country Market have moved their market to the yard outside the Salvation Army – rather than inside. They had a one way system, and track and trace. 

I was not the only photographer taking pictures. Somebody thought the other chap was doing the Abingdon Blog. He has actually been taking pictures of Abingdon much longer than me. They are very good. One day we may see more.

Closing Down M&Co and Peacocks

Closing Down
Going into town today people will have noticed that two major clothing shops in Abingdon have closing down sales. M&Co announced in August that they were shutting 47 stores. M&Co will be closing their Abingdon, Market Place, store in about four weeks time.
Closing Down
The Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, which includes Peacocks, called in the administrator yesterday. The Abingdon shop now has Closing Down Sale signs.

Both retailers have found the past seven months very difficult. They had to shut their stores in March due to the pandemic. M&Co reopened in June, and Peacocks in August – later than most shops.