So, today, I found one, two, three flowers in the park or nearby. If the weather stays mild then by this time next week all the green shoots around the trees may well be in flower as well, giving us 50. 70, 90 flowers to enjoy. No doubt there are other parks and gardens with finer displays already, but these flowers and shoots are within a few steps of my home and to see them gives me an instant buzz. I wonder if other park visitors or those who regularly use its footpaths as a short cut between Old Lenton and the Derby Road look out for the first flowers of the year?
Someone told me yesterday that some parents don't like taking their children to the park because there are too many bushes which make it very easy for children to disappear from view. They see the park as a security risk, making it an unsafe place for children. We live in sad times when parents and others want to chase shadows rather than accept that the risk to children in the park is minimal and that if we really wanted to keep children safe we would take them from their parents because children are twelve times more likely to be abused or killed by a parent or a relative than they are by a stranger. It is a topic I will return again I am sure, but I couldn't let the conversation go unmentioned.
Peter Hain resigned as work and pensions secretary today following the announcement that the Metropolitan Police will investigate his failure to declare donations to his deputy leadership campaign worth more than £100,000.