Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A quick word

It's just over three weeks since I last posted a blog and a few of my regulars have been checking up on me. So, first of all a 'thank you' to you all. On the same day as my last post I took to my bed for thirty-six hours, suffering from what I thought to be a mild reaction to my 'flu jab a couple of days before. In fact, it was the beginnings of a bout of sciatica, which stayed with me until a couple of days ago and made concentration very difficult, as I found it uncomfortable to sit down for any length of time.

As a result I have got behind on local history and my blog. My routine activities of food shopping and cooking have been easier to keep up, as you do these things moving about. Towards the end of last week I started work on my planned replacement for this a blog – a website of the same name, which I hope to announce to the world shortly. The blog will still be there, plus a bit more about some of my other passions, so watch this space!

In the meantime, love to you all.

More than half a century after it was first produced, Russia is stopping production of the legendary Volga saloon. Once a symbol of stylish living and the preferred car of mid-level apparatchiki, the Volga has struggled to compete with the foreign cars which have flooded the automobile market since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Production will end within two months.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Park Regulars say goodbye to Kevin

On Sunday, the park regulars had a special 'Tea in the Park' for Kevin. It was his last day after nine summers as our weekend park-keeper. I took this picture of him sitting on the bench outside the park pavilion with Eric, who visits the park most days. The morning was wet, windy and cold, but in the afternoon, the wind dropped and the sun came out, so by the time we gathered to have some farewell cake and tea with Kevin, there was eight of us park regulars. For the next ninety minutes or so we put the world to rights and re-ordered Nottingham City Council into a workers and pensioners' republic. There was talk of Boots and schools and how we had seen it all before.

Thinking about it, should I ever get around to my campaign for a Lenton parish council, I will call those who rally to the cause the 'Lenton Regulars' — people who stand up and fight for our community in a myriad of ways. It will be a kind of popular front, pulling otherwise disparate elements together in a common cause.

From next weekend and the rest of the winter period there will be visits to the park during the day by the new Park Ranger Service then, during the 2009 summer season (April–September), a park ranger will be based at Lenton Recreation Ground all day every Saturday and Sunday. No one locally seems to know what the park rangers will actually do, but I have asked the Parks Dept to tell us more at the next meeting of the Nottingham Open Spaces Forum (which should be the end of this month), so watch this space.

One thing is for sure. To match Kevin the park ranger who comes to join us will have to go some. What Kevin has provided, like Dave (our groundsperson) is continuity. In its absence, the only 'continuity' we can be sure of is re-invention, as new faces arrive, ignorant of the past they inherit, and set about dismantling what works well. I came to the conclusion long ago that it is what humans do to mark their territory. Once upon the time we would have behaved liked other animals and left doo-doos everywhere, but now we re-organise instead. OK I'm being a little harsh. One of the many topics touched upon during our tea-time chat with Kevin on Sunday, was how school caretakers became site managers and the nature of the job changes, for the better in many ways. And so it is with the coming of park rangers. It is change and we all hope it is for for the better. For my part I look forward to catching my first park ranger in Lenton Recreation Ground and will bring you his or her head to prove my success.

An early attempt at a rally on the London stockmarket swiftly evaporated this morning as investors were again gripped with fear following yesterday's slump - the worst day's trading in over 20 years.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

'Radio Lenton'

John Holmes from Radio Nottingham kindly gave my last walk of the year, which starts from the Crocus Café at 2pm tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon, a plug this afternoon and has posted a link to the Radio Nottingham website about my walk. Yesterday (Tuesday) morning, he came and did some of the walk me and made a short radio feature, as well as taking some pictures as well.

Thanks John for keeping so much in. I managed to mention next year's community festival, the new developments in Old Lenton, Priory Park and churchyard, Lenton Recreation Ground, the Crocus Café, The Lenton Centre and our city councillors. They also included bits from Dave in the park and Sue in the Crocus. Bring on 'Radio Lenton'!

The European Union Commission has taken special powers to approve bank rescues in view of the scale of the financial crisis, saying the state aid involved is "proportionate". The competition rules do not have to apply to banks in the same way as to other parts of a member state's economy. Rescuing banks is OK, but protecting industries and jobs remains against EU rules.

Clifton delight

Clifton Park is not one of the city's better known parks, but it deserves to be. Susan and I went and had a wander last Saturday afternoon. The sky was full of what I call 'autumn light', as if the changing colours of the leaves are reflected back to Earth. I first noticed the trees when I went on a No.2 bus to South Notts College to sign up for a course I will be doing in the new year and made up my mind to return — hence the visit on Saturday. What I immediately loved about the park was the trees and how it flowed out and along a neighbouring road, creating a green way across the middle of Clifton.

The trees provide the park with a wonderful canopy of green. The trees also result in gentle breezes which rustle the leaves in a soothing, singsong, fashion. I think the size and distribution of the trees play a part in the sense of harmony which exists. The trees do not tower over you in a menacing kind of a way. Instead they embrace you.
During our walk we met these two ladies soaking up the sun with Molly the dog. They visit the park most weekends and said how lovely it is. They seemed genuinely pleased that we had come the couple of miles from Lenton to visit the park. It turned out they were originally from Rise Park and come to the park because one of them now lives in Clifton.

The park's paths cross every now and again and to the right of this picture there is a stream in a grass banked ditch, all overgrown, and, in truth, not much to look at. Remembering what has been done at Daybrook Recreation Ground, the thought did cross my mind if more could be made of the stream?

This is a picture of the eastern end of the 'greenway', which runs parallel to the Swanscombe Drive (the road to the north of Clifton Park), and links Farnborough Road to the Park's north-east entrance. The park and this greenway was conceived and planned during World War Two and construction began not long afterwards. In fact, Clifton only became part of Nottingham in 1948. In my view, the planning and layout of new estates and towns peaked around this time and it has been downhill ever since. I know all the arguments about cars and the cost of housing, but I still think that all new developments should have to include open space and greenways.

Susan spotted this Silver Birch tree and said it was the largest one she can remember ever seeing. It looks magnificent. I think it is one of my favourite trees.

Finally, I could not resist this park gate! Whatever was inside the metal frame has gone, perhaps stolen and sold to a dealer as scrap for the price of a fix or a drink. Wherever you go in Nottingham, it appears to be a feature of its parks that they have gates which do not close, are missing or are pointless. If there was a review of gates and fencing in the city's parks, the Parks Dept might be able to sell what isn't needed and the money raised spent on our parks instead of going to drug dealers and those who sell alcohol.

View Larger Map

This link with Google Earth shows Clifton Park in Nottingham.

Sarah Palin and her officials in the Alaskan state government drew on the work of at least six scientists known to be sceptical about the dangers and causes of global warming, to back efforts to stop polar bears being protected as an endangered species. Some of the scientists were funded by the oil industry.