Bedford's waterside has always been the jewel of Bedford. Everybody enjoys the walking along the River Great Ouse. The broadness of the river and the swans are properly memorable. But not everybody likes the Riverside North footbridge which is just going in. It is ugly and an eyesore say campaigners, and not the design originally promised. The Town Bridge is historic and the Suspension Bridge is lovely but this is horrible. It must be ripped out and the planners must start again, according to 500 people and a petition. Mayor Dave Hodgson said: "I have had a lot more positive feedback than negative. It will make Bedford even more attractive to visitors." Well we shall see.
In the shopping centre there are changes to the shops. The big BHS in Church Square is empty now and boarded up, which is not a good thing. There are pigeons outside and lots of people walking by. But the old Woolworths on Midland Road is now a Next so there is hope for the future. The market has not been affected. For advice and help keep your eyes open for the BlueCaps, who are ladies in blue caps. They provide high quality customer care and service for shoppers and are always on hand, sponsored by the Bedford Business Improvement District no less.
This is not the greatest week to go to The Higgins. The Art Gallery and Museum is between exhibitions, so part of the ground floor is sealed off while the new Picasso prints go in. Meanwhile you can see all the usual galleries about Bedford, including history and crafts. The collection of Fine and Decorative Arts is very gorgeous, especially the ceramics and furniture, especially the ceramics. Also there is a gallery devoted to artist Edward Bawden with many of his seaside linocuts currently on display. If you come back on Saturday it will all be open.
The new bus station is not new any more but it is popular. If you remember the old place which was gloomy this is brighter and has a lot more seats. Buses depart from here to all sorts of locations, some close and some a lot further away. The multi-storey car park looks a lot prettier than before now it has coloured fins stuck on the outside. Also it is convenient for Iceland, McCalls and a variety of independent stores. It is a long time since Safeway was here, because Bedford was the company's very first supermarket in 1963. The area is not the eyesore it was.
But in this town everything always leads back to the river. Here is a solo rower practising on the water by the Embankment. Bedford Rowing Club is based here, just upstream, so you will often see sculling and oars. Last Sunday was the annual Autumn Fours and Small Boats Head competition. Any school can take part, but mostly it is the private schools of which there are many. Lamb from Bedford School was first and Colliver from Bedford Modern second. We congratulate them on their river victory. And please come back soon for more exciting news from Bedford.