Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Changing habits

Dennis, Barry, Maurice and Bill begin the outdoor bowling season for the West End Bowls and Social Club with the first of what will be many 'roll ups' this summer.

Part of a wonderful, albeit small, meadow of wild flowers and long grass in Victoria Recreation Ground, The Meadows, which I visited when I went on the Nottingham 'Great Inclosure Walk' on Sunday just gone. The walk is an annual event and very long, taking you from Wilford Bridge on the River Trent across the city centre via historic open spaces and green ways to The Forest. It began at 2pm and ended at 6pm.

It is well over a month since I last blogged, but have updated my Parkviews website more frequently, as there has been plenty to write about. The trouble is that new habits and other things I need to do all take time away from other things which I still enjoy doing.

In the mornings I do local history work for our website and Local History Magazine. Sometimes I go for a massage instead and, about once a month, I have to go to a meeting in my role as a trustee of a historic Nottingham alms houses charity, which dates back to 1709. In the afternoon, there are routine things to do like shopping, cooking and my share of cleaning. Since April, I have been playing bowls 2–3 afternoons a week, for a couple of hours, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I like the company and the fact that the 'West Enders' are not that competitive. They don't play in a league — just 'roll ups', some friendlies and a few in-club competitions. As for the latter, I have played in two 'trophy' games and lost happily, given that as the 'new boy' and baby of the bunch I am learning all the time. Dennis, who is in the top picture, is the 'Club Captain' and very encouraging. I lost to him in my first ever game with four woods on Monday, having lost to Bill a couple of weeks ago in the two wood trophy competition. I have also played in one club friendly against the Vernon Park Ladies (we lost that one as well).

Lenton Recreation Ground is a wonderful place to play bowls. The setting is idyllic. You look across the green to the parish church and you could be in deepest England, yet, here we are, in inner-city Nottingham. Out there in the afternoon playing bowls, life could not be better. I love it and I can't wait for Susan to join me and the others, as I hope she will next year.

As you perhaps realised, having new pleasures (and habits) means less time for other things I still want to do. I have already decided that when the bowling season ends at the beginning of October, I will use the afternoons for my local history research projects into bus passes and the history of Lenton Community Centre and the old wash-house and laundry building. I have also taken on a footpaths project and have my ambition of a Lenton Parish Council to realise during the coming year, plus what crops up along the way.

As I have said before, I can feel myself slowing down, but my mind has yet to catch up with my body. At the moment, the only time it seems to is in the evening when I now regularly nod off in front of the television or with a book in my hands. One moment I'm there, then I feel myself drifting, then I've gone, the next thing I know Susan prodding me with her big toe and for a minute or two I'm back, then I go again… I think it's the way I would like to go when the time comes.

The government is to nationalise Britain's largest rail franchise after National Express confirmed that it can no longer afford the £1.4bn east coast contract. Once again this sham 'Labour' government rides to the rescue of big business at the taxpayers' expense, whilst letting them keep all the profits.

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