Last night stars were bright and there was frost on car windscreens.
This morning a mist had formed, and we went for an walk in South Abingdon – starting at St Helen’s Wharf.
The waterside promenade at the wharf was created in 1884 after Christ’s Hospital demolished the Anchor Inn and the Almshouse Over the Water. Replacements were built on the other side of the road. I learnt that, and more, when making a video about the almshouses and St Helen’s Wharf last summer, with Jackie Smith.
If you haven’t seen the video then here is a new version – without music. The music was a bit distracting, but I thought at the time it would add atmosphere.
Looking back to St Helen’s Wharf the wharf wall is awaiting repairs – almost a year after the damage first became obvious.
Another new house has been built along the stretch on Wilsham Road, with river views . In the last five years, four new houses have been built, all bigger than what was there before. The old Ferry Boat House is still there though. I expect an architect will already have plans for that small frontage with the long piece of land behind.
Geese in Abingdon enjoy the grassy areas by the river where they can graze. They are very sociable animals, a bit messy, and loud, and so in some ways similar to humans. The river is a place where they can escape if humans or their dogs are at all threatening. We weren’t, and this group walked towards us and then parted to let us by.
This walk was not long but, to use a horse racing term, the going was heavy. One could even say boggy. Gracie-Lou can be seen out of the water, like a large piece of driftwood the high flood has left behind. Behind are the lights of Abingdon School boathouse.
After crossing Culham old bridge, we crossed the A415 and returned to Abingdon along the causeway, moving aside at one point to let a cyclist by. They said thank you.
It was beginning to get dark as we neared Abingdon. Cars came in bunches.
The lights on the Christmas Tree outside Annie’s Tea Rooms were shining. The Old Gaol walls were floodlit. The new flats alongside had large windows glowing but there were no lights to be seen in the small Old Gaol cell windows.
People were talking about going into Tier 5 after the dramatic rise in Covid-19 cases following the spread of the new strain. Instead of going through any more tiers the Prime Minister has announced that we are re-entering lockdown. Schools will be off from today. Many were off yesterday. At least schools will be a little better prepared for online lessons this time, but not everybody will be able to follow.
Most of the town center Christmas lights did not come on last night.
Today is Epiphany – celebrating the three wise men, or kings, visiting the infant Jesus. We still use the word epiphany for a sudden revelation. The Abingdon Share a Poem group will meet via Zoom and has the theme of Epiphanies. One poem they might read is God’s Grandeur by Gerald Manley Hopkins.
Our window has shown an epiphany scene since that start of advent. The materials to make the scene came from Prices the Stationer: black card for the figures, crepe paper for the desert and haloes, cellophane for the starry sky, and PVA glue to stick it to the window.
The crepe paper is loosing its colour due to condensation, and two of the wise men have slid down. Later today or tomorrow we will take it down.
Nearly every Monday there is a market on Abingdon Market Place. This Monday the market was small with just three stalls: bread, fruit and veg, and olives. It was no surprise not to see cards, coats, bags, carpets, vacuum bags, and watch batteries – as they are all non essential. But there was also no meat, eggs, or fish.
Last Monday was a bank holiday and there were no stalls.
There were queues at the bread and fruit and veg at the market, and also at the banks. The Newbury Building Society has a notice to say ‘During this worrying time we wanted to say we’re here for you’.
Meanwhile Waitrose are encouraging us all to Give a Little Love..
Advertising must be difficult at this time. Many companies acknowledge the pandemic in their promotions.