Once again,  this year I had the honour of presenting the prizes at the Bampton Annual Horticulture Show and I was amazed at the number of youngsters who not only took part, but were among the prize winners. It was reassuring to know that there are young people about who realise that if you want to eat, you need to know how to grow food and that  you can’t thrive on playing with mobile phones and electronic gadgets all your life. There is a lovely motto in life that can be learnt from gardening. ‘What you sow – so shall you reap!’ Now here’s a lovely thought for us ‘oldies’. Do you think that the school authorities should bring Gardening and Domestic Science back into the school curriculum? Nowadays it would have to be unisex as opposed to Cooking for the girls and Gardening for the boys as in our day. I am sure that there would be less food waste and even less plastic used. Now, where did I put those Kilner Jars?

Bampton Archives are intending to do a survey on all the clubs both sporting and culture that have ever been in Bampton and are hoping that our readers will help them in their quest to produce an article on their findings. I’ve always thought that the Weightlifting Club, formed in 1956 and been going continuous ever since,  was high up the list for being one of the longest running clubs until the Horticulture Society told me that they have been running since the mid-nineteenth century. I am looking forward with interest to see what Bamptonians have been enjoying through the ages. Please contact Jenny Chaundy at the Archives if you have any information  you think might be useful. They have over 60 clubs on their list at the moment. Is the Horticulture Club the oldest? Tell them what you know!
This year, on Michaelmas Day the 29th September, one of the traditional days for farms to be exchanged. We celebrated the Sixtieth anniversary of the day that we walked a herd of 30 Guernsey cows, from Backhouse Farm, Weald, Bampton to University Farm Lew. Going along Weald Street, and Bridge Street, through the Market Square, along New Road and up Mount Owen , much to the delight and fascination of the general public. Our family of drovers on cycles and with the aid of our Collie dog Dingo bringing up the rear successfully arrived at our new home with no mishaps.
Just imagine trying to do that today with all the traffic and impatient drivers we have to contend with now!! The problems we would have had with notifying the Police, Risk Assessments and Health and Safety, to say nothing about the ‘Fouling of the Highway’. Surely if we had to provide somebody with a wheelbarrow and a shovel to follow the herd, it would have created even more problems and made the operation  totally impossible!
Judging by modern standards when a road is closed for minor repairs we would probably have had to apply for a Rolling Road Closure Act as well!
Yes, they were definitely the ‘good old days!’
It’s certainly been sixty very happy years for our family here.
I’ve just mentioned ‘closing roads for minor repairs’. What did you make of Station Road being closed for 8 days in September while the connection of the Sewage Pipes made to the new estate being built there?                                                           In 1958/9 Tilbury’s, the company that had the contract to do the work, dug up all the streets of Bampton to lay a new Sewage System, if I remember rightly not once was there any road, major or minor, closed for that length of time, there were tolerable delays of course, so what was the problem? The Mains pipe was already there, they only had to connect a few houses to the end of the pipe. Did the men of that era work harder? Were they able just to use common sense as opposed to adhering to a great deal of bureaucratic paper work? I am so glad that I have lived in an era where things were done quickly, efficiently and with as little disruption to the working public as possible.
Giving credit where credit is due, at least the Highways department managed to do some ‘joined up thinking’ and used the opportunity to carry out road surface repairs in Station Road thereby avoiding more disruption to people’s daily activities, even if it did turn the Mount Owen road into a form of Steeplechase.
In many of my previous articles I’ve mentioned the dangerous conditions that our shoppers have to face in crossing the road from the Town Hall to the Co-op. Our local Parish Council issued, what I thought was useful plans to make it safer. What has happened? Why the long wait? Are they waiting for a serious accident to happen before they get things moving? I’m getting worried as I regularly have to make that crossing and it could be me!!
The ‘Bampton Memories’ that can be accessed via Facebook recently featured a copy of the Beam from the 1990’s in it there was pictures of a thriving Bampton Youth Club with the accompanying story of how  both the Junior and Seniors were enjoying a very full programme of events. This was of course in the days when the Oxfordshire County Council were operating a very good Youth Service, where the Leaders were being paid for their services. The withdrawal of this service has led to the Club being totally reliant on volunteers to provide the leadership necessary to comply with all the legislation imposed upon them and I must say they have an extremely good team at the Bampton Youth Club. However sometimes these volunteers have to deal with problems in their own lives and their voluntary work has to go on the ‘back burner’ putting an even heavier load on to a weakened team. What is really needed is the County Council re-investing in our youth, until that happens our club could do with more volunteers. Could you do that? Please give it some thought. There are funds available to assist volunteers to acquire the necessary training and qualifications.
I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Christmas and a New Year that will see the warm friendship that Bampton has to offer continues.

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