Friday, 16 November 2007

Never ending days

I haven't counted, but Dave our groundsman almost certainly crops up in more pictures than anyone else. He's always there or so it seems, doing something to keep the park looking tidy and clean. He's also the park's best ambassador. People respect him because they see him working and because he always has time to spend a few minutes chatting.

Yesterday Dave was leaf clearing. As I write this I can hear his blowing machine somewhere in the park. He blows the leaves into large piles, then he gathers them all into his barrow and takes them off to the area where he used to mulch them to make compost. Now, for health and safety reasons, they are collected and go off to a central depot which turns them into compost far quicker.

Life in the park for a groundsman must be like a series of never ending days, albeit enjoyable. It's November, so it's leaf clearing. I'm sure December is pretty predictable as well. One thing is certain. There is always something to do.

On Tuesday, Dave Trimble, our local Labour councillor and the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Culture and Tourism, which includes parks, told me that nearby Wollaton Park, which covers some 500 acres, has 2½ grounds staff to look after it. Lenton Recreation Ground is 7
½ acres. Even allowing for the fact that much of Wollaton Park is a deer park, it clearly needs more staff. It also tells you what happens when a community gets behind its local park and starts campaigning. Until now I have not fully appreciated what local residents and the Dunkirk and Lenton Partnership Forum have achieved with the help of our local councillors and our old Parks Development Officer, Stefan. Thanks to you all.

I'll be coming back to the future of Nottingham's parks after reading the latest strategy report. The Forum is also planning a meeting about the future of Dunkirk Park in next few weeks. I'll get the date for my next blog.

Finally, my top picture was taken at 7.30am yesterday morning when I went into the park to photograph the heavy frost, then saw the whispy vapour trails over our Gurdwara against the bright blue sky. The plane(s) had long gone. As I looked I imagined the passengers had arrived at their destination, perhaps somewhere in North America, and disembarked. Then, maybe, greeted by loved ones or were simply having coffee before continuing their journey, unaware that hundreds of miles away someone in Lenton had looked into the sky and wondered what stories were captured in their vapour trail?

Winds of up to 150mph have battered the south-west coast of Bangladesh, forcing 650,000 villagers to be evacuated and leaving at least 240 people dead.

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