Sunday, 30 September 2007

Festival success

A friendly Dunkirk and Lenton Festival welcome.

Lesley, the Chair of Dunkirk and Lenton Partnership Forum, enjoys a nibble.

Inside one of the Festival marquees.

Two students enjoy some tasty samosas.

The cheerleaders prepare to do their stuff.

The Crocus Cafe staff and volunteers arrive to run the Park Pavilion Tearoom.

The Gurdwara stall where the students bought their somosas. They soon sold out!

Louise looked after the Nottingham University Students' Union stall.

Early visitors.

The marquees are up and participants begin to take their places.

Dunkirk stalwarts Ruth and Dave Poole look after the TRAD stall.

Two Betties enjoy themselves at the Festival.

The annual Dunkirk and Lenton Community Festival took place yesterday afternoon. The rain stayed away and there was a good attendance and it all had a lovely feel to it. In between looking after my slideshow, Diary of a Park (thanks to Alex in the Forum office for coming up with the name) with the help of Susan, I was able to take a few photographs of people enjoying themselves and the never to be forgotten volunteers, who look after the stalls and make sure that the whole event runs smoothly.

I came across the Friends of Nottingham University Park for the first time and came home with some wild flowers to plant in our back garden, which we deliberately keep on the wild side to attract the wild life. I put a link to the Friends in my Links section, so you can go and see for yourself. It was a bit of a coincidence after my last blog posting comparing the University's Millennium Garden with Priory Park in Old Lenton. In fairness to the University, its grounds are open every day of the year to local people. The problem is that many of them exclude themselves. I walk through the campus fairly often on my way to or from Beeston. What I don't do is allow myself enough time to explore some of the University's other gardens.

I have finally slipped a picture of Lesley Fyffe into my blog. From time to time I have mentioned her name, as she is a genuine Dunkirk and Lenton 'hero' in terms of what she does to ensure that the area and its needs are rarely forgotten by Nottingham City Council, the university and others. She also finds the time to be involved with the Guides and the Dunkirk & Old Lenton Community Association. She has also been one of the driving forces behind the annual community festival.

My slideshow could have gone better. The Park Pavilion was not really dark enough inside, so the pictures could not be seen at their best, but I said I was going to do it and I have. However, my biggest disappointment of the day was missing the belly-dancer. I was told afterwards that there was 'only one'. Well, that would have been enough for me! There is something special about a voluptuous woman dancing to music.

Perhaps next year we will attract more of the local students to come along and enjoy themselves, but yesterday was the end of Freshers' Week, so that probably didn't help. But it was a lovely day and lots of local people did come along and enjoy themselves. Thanks to the Forum for making it happen.

Fiji beat Wales 38–34 in epic World Cup Rugby match.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

The two worlds of Lenton parks

Nottingham University's Millennium Garden

Priory Park, Old Lenton

I took both these pictures yesterday. The Millennium Garden and Priory Park are less than a mile apart. Both are in Lenton. The latter is padlocked, but still easy to get into and has been in quite a state for some time now – a fact which has not gone unnoticed by local people and reported to the correct authorities. However, this is not the point of this blog. That's a story to tell when we have a happy ending.

For now I want to focus on the juxtaposition of what you will can find on the university campus and what you find in the community which surrounds it. One has well maintained grounds and lovely gardens. The other has parks, with one exception, in varying states of decay. And it isn't just parks. It feels like a general malaise, except that it isn't — we know precisely why Lenton has the problems that it does. Just like the parks across Nottingham, what Lenton suffers from is a chronic lack of public investment and most of the private money which comes into the area is from private investors wanting to make a quick buck out of providing student accommodation and servicing them. Even the supermarkets with their 'express' chains are getting their snouts in the trough.

The campus is a kind of 'imperial city of the hill' which admits the locals to work and, occasionally, to awe. Nothing is too good for them. No doubt some of those admitted feel intimidated and, even, out of place. But the masters have a good time at the expense of the their students and the public purse. Outside (in Lenton) we make do as best we can and have to say 'thank you' for any crumbs which are thrown our way. University largesse is today's equivalent of the medieval dole cupboard.

Perhaps if all of Lenton became part of the campus and was administered by the university instead of the city council, we would be better cared for as a community and our own efforts given the value they deserve. I have long been an advocate of parish council status for Lenton. Perhaps we can persuade some enterprising students to take up the cry of 'Home Rule for Lenton' and the creation of a community governed by the young people who live in it. A kind of Lord of the Flies, but with humanity and caring.

Sussex win the county cricket championship.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Overheard on a 36 today

To be replaced by a no.36 as soon as one comes along!


I got on the 36 this morning coming back from Beeston and as I sat down behind two women in their forties I caught the following conversation:


1st woman: 'I told him if wants to put it in he's got to do it himself, but he said he couldn't do without me, so I told him "I'm not your handmaiden, so forget it". He used to do these things on his own, but he says he can't manage now'.

2nd woman: Mine's just the same. You help 'em once and they want your help every time'.

1st woman: 'It's not as if I get any pleasure from it... have you seen one... it's the size tha' gets me now'.

2nd woman: 'He was just the same. It wasn't as if he didn't have a big one already, but you know what tha' like. It has to be bigger and better than anyone elses'.

1st woman: Anyroads he going to have it delivered and fitted because I'm not lugging it.

Then one rang the bell and my few minutes behind two ladies on a 36 between Beeston and Hathern Green were over.

After thinking their conversation might get even juicier, I came down with a bump. I guess it was probably about a TV set. Or do you have any other suggestions?

Acupuncture can provide significantly more relief from lower back pain than conventional therapies in 70% of cases, say scientists.

Monday, 24 September 2007

It's slideshow time again

The bowling green western path looking south

Clouds gathering over Lenton

Going home

Much of the past weekend has been spent putting together an updated slideshow about Lenton Recreation Ground 2007. The one and only other show was for the Green Flag Award judges who came to see the park earlier in the year. Now, of course, I have a lot more pictures to choose from. In the end I have decided to create two slide shows: one called 'Park People', the other 'Park Views'. Each will have about 80 pictures. At the moment it's still a work in progress, but all will be ready for the slideshow(s) to be shown in the park pavilion between 12 and 5pm this coming Saturday at the Dunkirk and Lenton Community Festival, which is organised by the Dunkirk and Lenton Partnership Forum.

I'm leaving space for a few of the pictures I take this week. Looking at all the pictures I have taken over the past eight months (I only started at the beginning of February), I have taken a few I like a lot. Most show the park as it is. Among the many good things I have gained from embarking on the project to take pictures of the park for a year is an appreciation of what the park staff do day in, day out, to give us all this fantastic little park to love and cherish. Every day I see something new. Take today, a couple of hours ago (about 3pm) I went to the post office and bought some bananas from Angela, then walked through the park. I saw the leaves on the bowling green paths and caught sight of so many greens and autumn hues that I couldn't take them all in. My picture doesn't do what I saw justice. An everyday scene, but one of many we should all find the time to look at more closely. Then, as I rounded the path beside the dunking area I saw the storm clouds gathering over Lenton. Again, my picture only hints at the beauty of what I saw, but it made me feel all warm and comfortable inside, knowing that within a few minutes I would be home, putting the kettle on, making tea and slicing homemade chocolate cake I made at the weekend, climbing the stairs with the tray and sitting on the sofa in our top floor den having tea and a chat with Susan about 'A2 planning regulations' (don't ask, you don't want to know why and how the subject got there on a walk to the post office).

Then, just as I reached our front door, I saw a family turn onto the path which runs through the park outside our house. I had said 'hello' in the park. I think you would describe the man and me as 'nodding acquaintances'. I saw the picture before I took it and I knew it had the potential to be a good one. Already, it is one of my favourite pictures. I have called it 'Going home'. I will make a copy and give it to them the next time I see them. I love it. I hope you like it too. The picture stirs my emotions. I suspect it's because they are on the move and could be going anywhere. In my mind I have then going home for tea, just like me. It's that kind of day today.

As for Lenton Boulevard and the promenade, they are full of students, some new. others returning. Lenton is about to become a different place again and I think I like it, whatever way it is. I like the quiet of the term-breaks and I like the bustle of term-time. The park is always there and that is just how I like it best.

'Jaffa cake' and 'heaviosity' are among the words to make it into the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

How our park unlocks memories

Laura, aged 5, 1994, in the park.

Natalie, aged 2, 1994, in the park.

Pictures from the family archive of my two eldest grand-daughters in Lenton Recreation Ground. On Tuesday, Laura, my eldest grand-daughter, went off to the Royal Veterinary College in London to study to be a vet. Her mum (my daugher Alicia) was a little tearful and it is easy to understand why. As for Laura, well when I spoke to her on Tuesday evening she was her bubbly self. Next week is 'Freshers' Week', so she will be making new friends and no doubt getting involved in things. I hope she keeps her connections going with the Brownies, as she is a qualified leader. I am sure that some Brownie group near the College will welcome her with open arms. She wants to start a Frisby group, which seems whacky and fun. In the midst of all the studying, which is going to take over her life for next six years, there needs to be time for frivolousness and time in the real world.

She estimates that by the time she qualifies and gets her degree she will about £50,000 in debt. It's frightening. I am writing this on a day when a report shows that kids who go to the better 'public schools' are much more likely to go to Oxford or Cambridge than children from comprehensives and other state schools.
What other country likes to call its private schools 'public schools'? It's reveals just how sensitive the rich and the priviledged are to all the advantages they give themselves. The RVC is probably on a par with Oxford and Cambridge, so Laura has done extremely well. She has wanted to be a vet since she was about six or seven years old. If she continues to show such determination then she will almost end up being the kind of vet she wants to be, working with 'exotic' animals. We're all very proud of her.

As the prospect of parting has drawn closer, Laura and her younger sister Natalie have become closer and that is as it should be. They spent their childhoods fighting like cats and dogs. Laura was the tease and Natalie the bruiser. Trying to keep the peace has occupied many an hour in the past, but one place always ended the squabbling and that was Lenton Recreation Ground. We have been taking them to the park, just like their mum and Uncle Owen before them, since they were babes. It was the first place they ever went on their own. Watched by me from our front room window to make sure that they were alright. When they disappeared from view, I would nip out and look over the park railings to see where they were. The desire for such freedom was usually short-lived, for they would soon be back crashing in through the front door demanding that I go back with them, so that I could push them on the swings or wizz them round on the roundabout.

Later, as teenagers, their first taste of going into town on their own was in Nottingham. I didn't tell Alicia until days afterwards and, amazingly, the girls stayed mum as well, perhaps all too well aware on just how big a deal it was at the time. Natalie grew up thinking she was three years older than she really was expecting to be treated just like her older sister in every respect. In this she was no different to any other younger sibling. With age, and now parting, Natalie has become her own person, with her own friends and ambitions. I suspect that she still wants to be older than she is, which brings its own challenges, but I am in no doubt that we are in the process of watching her bloom into a caring, thoughtful, person whose life will reflect these qualities. She has followed Laura into being a volunteer with the Brownies and is gaining work experience in a nursery for young children.

The last time I saw my mother was in August 2004. I was with Laura and Natalie. We stayed for a week in my sister Ros's house in Hastings whilst she was on holiday. In a moment of exasperation, I told them 'The next time we go on holiday together, you will be taking me!'. I am sure it will happen, maybe ten years from now, but I look forward to it. The high point of the week was an idyllic day out when we spent the afternoon at Christopher Lloyd's garden in Great Dixter, East Sussex. My mother was in her element and the girls were continually bombarding her with questions about the flowers and plants we touched and smelled. Then there was the red-headed angel who served us ice-cream in the teashop and I felt my old legs begin to buckle, as I realised a very young woman could still turn my head. It hasn't happened since, but I am blessed to have Susan and some beautiful friends who remind that as well as beauty I can find much more in their company. So, when I think of my mother, I think of Laura and Natalie as well and that is how it will always be for the rest of my life. That week, the days out and Great Dixter especially.

We also had another day out together, back in 2001, when my mother was 80 and we went out together in search of her birthplace at Lydney, near Chepstow. We walked across the Clifton Suspension Bridge and tried to walk across the first Severn Bridge, but were driven back by the strong winds on the bridge walkway. We walked around the ramparts of Chepstow Castle and peered across the River Wye into England. Later, we saw the row of cottages where my mother was born and lived for the first years of her life. Susan and my sister Ros went to Bath for the day and had an equally memorable time, whilst James, my stepfather, stayed at the log cabins we were calling home for a week and took things easy. Another memorable week when, somehow, we packed two adults, two children and all our holiday luggage and bedding into a little Ford Ka.

I love them both, as I love my other three grandchildren. I also know that my relationship with them has been different. To have grandchildren in your forties and fifties is to be blessed. You have the energy to take all that they throw at you and you can give them more. Perhaps when we give up other things we will find the energy and time for Curtis, Lewis and Libby in similar ways and remember, as they step out into adulthood on their own, the good times, just like we can with Laura and Natalie.

In the meantime, I wanted to make this blog a tribute to them all. When they remember us they will think of the park and in this we will all be no different to countless others who have gone before and will come after us when it comes to our lovely little park. Lenton Recreation Ground is a key to the past in so many ways. I could go on, but I have to do tea and I must leave some other memories for another day.

Survey shows that public school pupils stand a far better chance of going to Oxford and Cambridge universities than pupils from state schools.


Sunday, 16 September 2007

The Robin Hood Marathon passes by twice in one day

A closed and deserted Derby Road at 10am. The park is to the left.

The first runners pass the south entrance to the park at 10.20am. This is the 3 mile point in the Robin Hood Marathon.

By 10.55am it has been like this for 15 minutes.

At 11am, whilst runners are still streaming pass the south entrance to the park, the runner behind the leader is passing the north entrance and will be seeing the 10 mile marker on the Nottingham Marathon within seconds.

11.40am by the north entrance, the main body of runners has been passing for about ten minutes, a good half-hour behind the lead runner.

The Robin Hood Marathon has been running past Lenton Recreation Ground since it started in 1981. According to the organisers, it is the second most popular marathon in England with some 15,000 runners taking part this year (the most popular is the London Marathon). Alongside the full marathon there are a number of other runs, including a half-marathon, and an event for wheelchair users.

We have been going to watch the runners pass by at the south entrance to the park forever, or so it seems. The congregations at the Gurdwara and the parish church, which face one another across Church Street on the south side of the park, gather and applaud. Some, like me, are regulars who gather around the park entrance, whilst others are park users caught up in the mass of bodies who feel the air with the slap slap of the their feet. A lot of feet moving along quite fast together make a sort of lapping sound like water on a pebble beach at night. Strange as it may seem, if you close your eyes and just listen, the main body of 15,000 runners passing by is actually a calming experience.

This is the first year I have ever photographed the runners passing by. As the pictures show the distance between the leaders and many of the runners after an hour is about seven miles. As the pictures above show, I took a picture at the south entrance at 10.55am and walked across to the north entrance on Derby Road, by which time the lead runner had already passed, but I was just in time to catch the runner in second position.

Every single one of the runners has my admiration. Many years ago there was a film called 'The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner' and I suspect that every runner today felt that way, whether out on their own at the front or seemingly lost in the mass of runners who passed by for minutes on end.

The Northen Rock financial crisis continues to dominate the news as reassurances about savings only seem to prompt ever more savers to try and withdraw their money from Northern Rock.


Saturday, 15 September 2007

Grubby goings on in the park

Crows and Magpies dig the holes (© www.hawkowl.blogspot.com). I hope to take a close up picture of a Lenton crow as soon as I can.

Damage to Lenton Recreation Ground Bowling Green, 12 September 2007

The Chafer Grub, which eat the grass roots causing bald patches to appear.

My wife Susan has a fridge magnet which reads 'Do you want to speak to the man in charge or the woman who knows what's going on'. By the time I explain the relevance of the fridge magnet to my story, there is a good chance that you will be ahead of me!

In my blog dated 19 August 2007 about the last Park Consultative Group meeting, which caused a bit of a stir, I wrote:
In the last few weeks or so bear patches have appeared on the greens and when you consider how much rain we have had in recent months, the problem is clearly nothing to do with too much dry weather. To a layman like me, this seems like a matter which needs attention sooner rather than later.

In my naivety, I assumed the growing number of bald patches on one bowling green in particular was due to overuse and that the green it was happening to was being over used because the other bowling green had been 'claimed' by at least one of the newer bowling clubs, so ordinary and more casual users were being given 'Hobson's Choice' — thus causing more wear and tear on one bowling green. At the meeting, this, innocent observation led us into a discussion about car parking.

Last Wednesday morning I did not know that Chafer Grubs existed. By late-evening I was an expert, thanks to Dave, our Groundsman, and the web. Now for the bit about Susan's fridge magnet. Change the word 'man' to 'officer' and 'woman' to 'worker' and, as you will instantly appreciate, all could have been revealed at the park meeting a few weeks before and we would never have got onto the subject of car parking.

Instead of two officers who didn't pick up on my concern about 'the bear patches' and what might be causing them, a worker would have immediately twigged what I was upon about and explained how the Chafer Grub larvae are a common turfgrass pest in this country and that they have the habit of infesting the same area year after year. They eat the roots of Turfgrass causing the turf to die in 'large irregular patches' (just as my photograph shows). They tunnel under the grass making it feel spongy underfoot (and it does). The holes which then appear in the bear patches are actually caused by birds like crows and magpies who can hear the chafer grubs munching away and moving about, so they dig holes in the earth and take out a tasty meal. The downside for Dave and Simon is a bowling green with lots of holes.

I learnt all the above from Dave. He even took me into his room in the pavilion and showed me a picture of a Chafer Grub (exactly the same as the one I downloaded from the web and have included above) and explained how, because of the park's Green Flag, it would have to be treated without using chemicals. Type 'chafer grub' in the a web search engine like Google and there are thousands of references to this pesky grub. I found out that even Badgers and Moles eat them and that they are 'particularly common on non irrigated turf such as golf course roughs, fairways and ornamental turf'. The latters seems like a good description for a bowling green to me. To the untrained eye, the damage caused appears to be drought stress. The grubs don't like it wet. They have a complete annual life cycle with eggs, larvae, pupae and adults and are best 'monitored using light traps (something else to find out about when I have the time) in August when the grubs are large enough to be seen. Average populations of six grubs per square meter can be masked with water and fertiliser. 10–15 grubs per square meter can cause significant damage in the autumn months' — which suggests the state of the bowling green is going to get worse before it starts to get better.

So, what can you do about them if you don't use chemicals. According to the web there are some natural solutions. I rather like the idea of using a heavy roller prior to the grubs hatching because this 'compacts the soil, thus making movement difficult for the grubs'. Just how to do you find out they are about hatch? The life cycle says 'mid-June', but it seems a bit hit and miss to me, even though I love the idea. By chance, we received a Harrod Horticultural Catalogue in the post yesterday and Susan found an advert for the 'Nematode Heterorhabditis Megidis' which, I assume, eats the grub and should be applied during August and early-September. To treat 'up to 100 sq m' costs £14.95.

There you have it, the next time you look at those bear patches on the bowling green you will be as much of an expert as me and know that the damage hasn't been caused by overuse or even drought, but by a Chafer Grub. If you're ahead of me, as I suspect you are, you will understand why we need a worker at all future Park Consultative Group meetings more than we need two officers if we want to know what's really going on in Lenton Recreation Ground!

Northern Rock Bank branches are besieged by borrowers after they are forced to go to the Bank of England for a loan.


Thursday, 13 September 2007

The wisdom of 'a silly old woman'

3pm, Wednesday 13 September, 13 cars in the park.

3.01pm, Wednesday 13 September, no cars in the pocket park.

3.02pm, Wednesday 13 September, 1 white van in Church Street.

This blog was going to be about 'Grubby goings on in the park', but you will now have to wait until Sunday before you can learn more. So what changed my mind? The answer is 'a silly old lady' in her eighties. That is what she says a visitor to our park called her, adding 'Go home'. She was in the park yesterday afternoon and saw thirteen cars park on the grass. She also noticed that there were no cars parked on Church Street beside the park or the car park in the pocket park opposite the entrance to the park. When she asked at the park pavilion beside the bowling greens why cars were parked on the grass and added that they could be dangerous to the small children in the park she was called 'a silly old woman' and told to 'go home'. When she spoke to Dave, the groundsman, he explained that parking was 'necessary to raise the profile of the park', but it was only allowed when it wasn't wet because he didn't want the grass being churned up.

I know all this because the 'silly old woman' came and knocked on my door, somewhat upset at being made to feel bad about herself. She came to Susan and me because she wanted to tell someone about what had just happened. The person is question has lived in Lenton most of her life and over the years we have got to know one another. She has a name I remember because it's the same name as my mother, who died last October. We used to meet swimming lengths in the old Lenton Baths and we continue to see one another at meetings, on the bus, in the street and sometimes we have tea together. She is one of the many reasons we love Lenton and I could name another hundred reasons like her. She is an interesting, caring person, who deserves to be respected and listened to on the few occasions when she has something to say.

Until she knocked on our door, I had not had the wit to photograph more than cars in the park. Yesterday I took my camera a few yards outside the park gates on Church Street and captured a scene I have seen on other occasions when cars have been parked in the park — no cars, or hardly any, in Church Street and none in the pocket park because it has not been open. The next time I see cars on the grass I will repeat the exercise and there is a good chance it will be much the same, as it has been on previous occasions.

Those of you read my blog on 22 August after the last Park Consultative Group meeting will know that parking came up there as well. One had hoped that a compromise had been reached that was more than favourable to the bowlers who wanted a permanent car park. I was against it at the time, but in the end I went with the compromise. Now I'm not so sure. Why? Because, sadly, unreasonable people always want more and are often bullies to boot and I think some of the bowling fraternity who use our local neighbourhood park may be both if the experience of the silly old woman and the evidence are anything to go by.

Lenton Recreation Ground is a local park serving a neighbourhood and is the kind of park which every person living in Nottingham should be within walking distance of. In other words, you don't need a car to reach it. Visitors to the park, if they are reasonable people, will understand this and when they choose to visit such a park as ours they accept that if they come by car they will have to find somewhere to park it. Of course there are going to be occasions when car parking in the park has to be arranged. Visiting bowlers, if they are reasonable people, will understand and accept this approach.

There are other kinds of parks in Nottingham. Highfields Park a mile to the south-west of our park is a city park and should have the facilities which go with that status. Wollaton Park, with its industrial museum and the wonderful Tudor Wollaton Hall, a mile to the west of here is Nottingham's 'showcase' park which, because of the hall, is of importance to the East Midlands region, if not nationally. With such neighbours, it is important that Lenton Recreation Ground has its own unique identity and I am in no doubt that we should aspire to be a model local park which wins Gren Flag after Green Flag not just because Nottingham City Council spends money on it, but because the local community it serves care about it and the staff who work here remain committed and are empowered to do what they do so well. Our park is truly a partnership of councillors, council, users and employees.

The 'silly old woman' spoke words of wisdom and I have asked her to come along to the next Park Consultative Group meeting this coming November and I will make sure I sit beside her and encourage her to have her say.

As for car parking, look at the evidence presented above and ask yourself if we really do need parking in the park?

Paddington Bear has changed from marmalade to Marmite sandwiches so that he can earn a crust.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Gurdwara history weekend


Lenton's Sikh temple, Guru Teg Bahadur Gurdwara, took part in this weekend's national 'Heritage Open Days' programme and last month I was asked if I would lead a local history walk as part of their weekend of events. Flattered, I agreed, but pulling everything together so that I could be ready in time for the walk took most of last week and some time before that to work out a walking route!

The good news is that the walk went OK, given that it was the first ever walk I have led. In my blog on 12 August I explained how I had gone a 'Walk Leaders' training day with a view to doing a monthly walk in 2008. In the event I did one much sooner than expected. Jeannie at the Gurdwara encouraged me and Colin, an experienced walk leader and one of my trainers came along as my 'back-up leader' as every proper walk should have one. Colin has become my 'walks mentor' and I found his support and feedback after yesterday's walk invaluable.

What made the day for me was that Kathy, who lives close by and was very supportive of my 'Tea in the Park' venture, came along, as did our two city councillors, Dave Trimble and Zahoor Mir. I am blessed to know such people.

My next step is to have the walk accredited so that it can be included in the 'Get Nottingham Moving' healthy walks programme next year. I produced a map and some notes in the form of a 2 x A4 pages leaflet which is listed in my weblinks box as 'Exploring Lenton'.

My Susan also helped me put the final touches to the leaflet and checked for 'split infinitives' — don't ask, I haven't quite worked out what they are. I didn't get the hang of them at school over fifty years ago and my only consolation is that they are everywhere, but, but (this second 'but' is deliberate) not in my leaflet thanks to Susan, although I suspect my blog is peppered with the things!

You may be thinking 'What's all this got to do with park?'. Well, it wouldn't be a 'Healthy Heritage Walk Exploring Lenton' if it didn't include Lenton Recreation Ground would it! A friend has just arrived for tea and I have made some scones to have with jam made by our friends Paul and Rosie in Stoke, so I will let you go and look at the 'Exploring Lenton' walk and map (it's been designed to print in black and white as well as full colour).

It's four hours since we had lunch at the Gurdwara with the congregation and other visitors. I am only sorry it took me so long to get to know some of the lovely people at the Gurdwara. They are so friendly and once you know what to expect when you go inside its calming influence is with you before you arrive and after you leave. I like the Sikh take on life.

Mortar 'Made in Iran' kills (British) soldiers in Iraq.