Pomp and patriotism

The blatant patriotism and pomp of songs like Jerusalem and music like Land of Hope and Glory is not to every Abingdon resident’s taste. But Saturday night’s Music in the Park event was once again a soaring success. It has been since its inception in 2012, to mark the Queen’s diamond jubilee.

This could be evidenced by the Saturday night sight of an empty taxi rank at 11pm, with more than 13 people waiting on it, frantically waving down passing taxis. Such a situation is so rare that it occurs perhaps only three or four times a year.

It shows what can be achieved with the right amount of forethought and organisation. There is no good reason why there should not be further such events of that same calibre, interspersed throughout the year, which would bring people into Abingdon town centre, to spend money there.

The upcoming Bun Throwing ceremony is one such event and is due to be held on the afternoon of Saturday, November 10 in the Market Place, to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.

Retrieving the last bun of the 2016 Abingdon bun throwing

Retrieving the last bun of the 2016 Abingdon bun throwing

These events – and the road closures they entail - should be properly signposted in advance and not be kept as part of local folklore, passed on by word of mouth and known only to those of us who have lived and worked in the town for many years.

Rather, they should be held as a sort of culmination of an afternoon of activity designed to welcome people into Abingdon and show the world what we have to offer. We could even eventually become the quirky and eccentric traditions capital of the United Kingdom.

Instead of being a key part of a thriving Abingdon night time economy, those in the taxi business soldier on, weekend after weekend, helping people get home and continuing to eke out a living, well into the small hours.

Recently, a long-time customer gave me a gift of a well-known brand of cat treats for my cats, some cake and a book - three of the material things I value most in the world.

They were a token of appreciation, for several times going to collect their daughter and her friends from a night out in Oxford, in the early hours of the morning.

That same customer issued me with a mobile number and instructions to call if I needed to, despite them having to get up in the very early hours of Sunday morning, to go to work.

Of course, I have never needed to, due to the quality and behaviour of the passengers, but the consideration and thoughtfulness is nonetheless much valued.

Such small acts of kindness and consideration can make all the difference when struggling to cope and engage in the ceaseless quest to earn a living, from an oversubscribed Abingdon taxi rank.

As published in the Herald Series on Wednesday 06 June 2018

  1. Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council, Bun Throwing Ceremony to commemorate the end of the First World War, 11 February 2018, retrieved 05 June 2018
  2. Abingdon-on-Thames Town Council, Music in the Park 2018, 29 March 2018 retrieved 05 June 2018