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3:07pm Wednesday 4th July 2012
4:25pm Wednesday 27th June 2012
That dangerous debunker and radical, William Cobbett (1763-1835), conducting his Rural Rides into Oxfordshire in the 1820s, spent much of his time denouncing exactly the same social changes that many grumpy old men enjoy complaining about now.
1:58pm Wednesday 20th June 2012
There is trouble in Paradise. I don’t mean Paradise in the hereafter that some of us hope to reach some day, but the one up river from Oxford near Kelmscott — the place that 19th-century Pre-Raphaelite design guru William Morris famously described as “Heaven on Earth”. The trouble centres on Brandy Island, now sitting undisturbed and tranquil in the River Thames near the lovely church of St Michael and All Angels at Eaton Hastings, a deserted medieval village, and St Mary the Virgin at Buscot.
12:08pm Wednesday 13th June 2012
3:10pm Wednesday 6th June 2012
Odd, when you come to think of it, that Burford should one day have commemorated the actions of someone who beheaded a monarch; and then, just weeks later, celebrated the fact that another monarch has been on the throne for 60 years.
2:55pm Wednesday 30th May 2012
Throwing buns from County Hall in Abingdon as a way of celebrating Royal and national events —including, of course, next week’s Diamond Jubilee — is a tradition at least 250 years old. The first recorded chucking of ‘cakes’ as they were then called (I hope penny tea-cakes, not squidgier items) by bigwigs, such as councillors and so forth, on to the populace in the square below happened on the occasion of the coronation of King George III in 1761.
10:32am Thursday 24th May 2012
Strange, I have always thought, as I walk to work of a morning, that a sign on the path alongside the Thames at Osney, reads “No Horses”. Supposing I wanted to tow a barge? After all, is that not what a towpath is for? But thereby hangs a tale . . .
2:34pm Thursday 17th May 2012
1:42pm Wednesday 2nd May 2012
I suppose the original grumpy old man was a Roman. His name was Horace and he said that, as a general rule, things get worse from generation to generation. I often find myself in agreement with him. Not so at Kelmscott, though, that remote village by the Thames, where things have definitely got better.
12:50am Thursday 26th April 2012
Oxford dons decided not to be hustled and bustled about by it in the 19th century — and instead went on using their old Oxford Time when the rest of the nation accepted the introduction of Greenwich Mean Time.