Tuesday, 31 July 2007

A place of being

Normal summer service has been resumed. The sun is out, the sky is blue and it's already too hot for me. I have just taken these pictures (it's mid-afternoon on a Tuesday) and walked the few yards to my home. The students have long gone, so all the people you see in the photographs are local residents simply enjoying their park.

On days like this people probably don't even think "I'll go down to the park for an hour or so". It just kind of happens. The sky and the sun are enough to make most of us want to experience wide open spaces. In Lenton the park is the closest you are going to get to this experience. Being able to see an expanse of sky and a large patch of green, be it grass or the sea, has something to do with being. I'm not sure what, but as I get older the urge to see more open space increases.

Lenton Recreation Ground feeds the soul and, every day, offers a glimpse of the wide open spaces I increasingly want to experience just once in my life. One day I will go to North America by ship and cross the Atlantic Ocean and see nothing but horizons, then I will cross the continent and see vast expanses of forests and flatlands before I encounter the Rockies, then down to the sea and Vancouver. Until then the park outside my front door reminds of what it is to be in so many ways. The park is just there. For me and many others. If you need to understand what I mean, then early one morning lay down on the grass in the middle of the park and look at the sky, then listen. What you have is a place of being.

India beats England at Trent Bridge in the second test to take a one-nil lead in the series.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Rainy days

The top picture says all you need to know about the past few weeks in Lenton Recreation Ground. Wet, wet, wet. There was some good news though. The park, I understand, has retained its Green Flag status and Dave, our groundsman, is going to collect the award (Eddie if you are reading this, the Forum has sent out an email sharing the good news). I hope to post a photograph of the presentation ceremony to a future blog. In the meantime, congratulations to all concerned.

Earlier this month we went with some friends to Attenborough Nature Reserve for lunch, where it rained all of the time, then onto Wollaton Hall, which has just re-opened after a multi-million pound refurbishment project funded by the Lottery. For a few minutes the rain stopped and I took the above photograph. Wollaton Hall Park is less than a mile from Lenton Recreation Ground, straight along the Derby Road towards the ring road, then up the tree-lined drive to the Hall. The Hall is a Tudor masterpiece, certainly as good as Hardwick Hall to look at.

My third 'Tea in the Park' event on 15 July was a washout with just one customer, but since I have been under the weather for the last fortnight or so with a barking cough I was not too upset. Susan and Judith came to my rescue and took charge. With luck my final 'Tea in the Park' afternoon on August Bank Holiday Saturday will make up for July. I will try and publicise it more.

The worst floods in over a century hit parts parts of the West Midlands, with the promse of more to come.