Yesterday the Abingdon Share a Poem group met via zoom and read poems on the theme of Autumn.
Before lockdown, these meetings took place in the Hearth Room at St Ethelwold’s House, and we each paid £5 towards the hire of the room. Now the meeting are free and St Ethelwold’s House is not getting the income.
Most poems were by established poets, but some people read their own poems, and they were very enjoyable.
Pauline, who leads the group, read a poem she had written about Venus – the planet, seen early one morning. Justin read a poem about swallows preparing to leave. David read one on roasting chestnuts.
The garden at St Ethelwold’s is looking autumnal, but a lot of flowers still remain,
and there are vegetables ready to be dug.
After two poems on blackberry picking (Blackberry-Picking by Seamus Heaney and Blackberrying by Sylvia Plath), we got talking about the farm, on Milton Heights, where Pauline’s daughter had picked a lot of cherries this year. That reminded me I took two pictures through the hedge at that farm: one of blossoms in the spring, and one a few days ago, at the same location. It doesn’t look like the plums will be picked this year.
Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council will be looking at a smaller Remembrance Day ceremony this year because of Covid-19, or possibly no ceremony at the war memorial. It may or may not involve a road closure.
For those people who are back at church, or are watching church on live-stream, the ceremony can take place as usual. Remembrance happens at 11am on Sunday when some people are at church, every year.
For others, not at main event, it can be commemorated at home. They can watch the national event at the cenotaph, or even local events streamed from their local war memorial.
Poppy selling is going to be different with fewer places selling poppies. Fewer volunteers will be selling them. Due to Covid-19 many elderly volunteers will be unable to help. The Royal British Legion provide a download and print Remembrance Poppy to display at home and show your support for the Armed Forces community. They will ask people to get batches of poppies and distribute them.
Whatever happens Remembrance Day, on Sunday 8th November 2020, will be different.
Today is the Monday when the Abingdon Michaelmas Fair would normally begin. The window in the Charter Day Centre still has a poster from a previous year.
There were no fair rides set up on Sunday, and no fair service. The Monday Market was on the Market Place and no fair rides.
As Monday evening came I would normally expect to hear young excited voices going to the fair. But not this year.
Normally on this Monday, above the Market Place, against the sky, Meteorite would battle with Body Count to be the loudest and brightest ride – whirling with their bright lights between St Nicolas Church and the County Hall.
Normally on this Monday, the traffic down Ock Street would stop for the fair. The only cars at this point would be dodgems.
Normally on this Monday, the staff from Dorindos would be outside giving away samples and selling takeaways to the crowds.
From this viewing point, I would normally see shooting galleries, stalls selling candy floss and chips. Further along would be some children’s rides. Crowds of people would be moving: some one way, some the other.
The fair was cancelled this year because of Covid-19, and the danger of such crowds.
The spirit of the fair was still there in a small way. Some people walked from the Market Place, along High Street and Ock Street and helped to carry a tradition. These two people were enjoying Reeves Fish and Chips, sitting on the wall that would be normally crowded on this Monday.
This ride may look like it came from the Nursery Shop. I can still imagine the sound of the Wurlitzer and the Galloping Horses at Abingdon Michaelmas Fair – on this Monday.
Last Saturday Abingdon Cuts Plastic were having a small clean-up. Numbers were restricted, because of Covid-19, to 6 in canoes and 6 on land.
They were doing it as part of the Surfers Against Sewage 6 week Plastic Protest, which started on 5th September and ends on 18th October. SAS are lobbying MPs to include in the Environment Bill, that all businesses set plastic reduction targets. They need as many people as possible to show they support this idea.
Also they want people to photograph “evidence” of branded rubbish that’s ended up as litter, and send it to SAS. Instagram has lots of #returntooffender pictures.
Anne, who sent me the pictures, told me that they found:
* lots of Budweiser bottles in the Abbey Grounds
* 6 sackfuls of non-recyclable waste
* 4 large sackfuls of recyclable waste
The most unusual find was an ancient car horn.
It rained a lot of yesterday and it has rained a lot of today and the forecast has a high probability of rain for most of next week. Cars had their lights on at midday today.
Despite the rain, Guide Dogs went ahead with a stall on Abingdon Market Place. New Guide Dog training did stop for a couple of months at the start of the pandemic and restarted in June. This did mean a longer wait for some people needing a replacement Guide Dog.