Friday, 18 September 2009

Lenton change and continuation

Last saturday afternoon I saw these four students making their way home to Lenton Sands after being at a University Open Day. The tops look lime green in the pic, but I am sure they were canary yellow. However, as Susan has told me forever, I am no judge of colour. This year the students seem slow in coming back. Last weekend it was still quiet, with very few cars on the Prom, but over the last few days they have started to trickle back and, no doubt, this weekend will see a last minute rush.
Then on Wednesday when I walked through Lenton Recreation Ground on my way to a community meeting in Dunkirk, I passed these students sticking paper plates on wooden sticks in a long line. They told me it was for some course work they were doing and that they were organising a 'Fruit and Veg Olympics'. How far can you throw a carrot kind of thing. It all looked great fun, which I would liked to have seen more of, but I had a meeting to get to. I would have liked to have had a 'navvy's bum' and the young man did offer to lower his pants, but I was already late, so there was no time to pose a pic. Next time maybe.

At the meeting I met Sam Wilkinson, the Nottingham University's new Accommodation and Community Officer. It's not the easiest job in the world and over the years it's been interesting to watch them at work and seeing how they cope with older, permanent, residents who have little time for students, so they can never do anything good. The truth is students are a fact of life and always will be. There is a problem which needs addressing, but that is very different from any criticism we may all have from time to time of their behaviour. Most of time we get on OK. When there are problems we try to talk about them, together if we can. Sometimes we have call in help, but that is a last resort. Sam, I have your number and I am waiting now for your reply to my email…

On Tuesday, Susan and I went to the Park pavilion and had tea and cake with Step and her colleagues from the (Dunkirk and Lenton Partnership) Forum Office. Steph is leaving us to go and work on a Sustran project for Nottingham University and the QMC, so she isn't going far. She has built up a good team around her and will be missed, but she leaves the Forum Office in capable hands. In the absence of a co-ordinator, I am sure they will work well as a team. In the pic below, from left to right, are: Alex, Steph, Philippa, Fiona and Ruth — lenton's very own 'A Team'!

In the midst of change, there is continuity in the likes of Betty, who lives on Dunlop Avenue. Tenaciously staying put, managing to live, like a few of us do, in the company of students. Susan and I first met Betty doing 'lanes' in Lenton Swimming Pool back in the 1980s and our paths have continued to cross ever since. Occasionally we take tea and cake together and spend a couple of hours talking about nothing in particular, although we always seem to end up encouraging Betty to talk about how she came to Lenton as a teenager after the Second World War, when her father opened a butcher's shop on Park Road. Like us, she actually welcomes the return of the students. It means the builders leave. Unipol and standards for shared housings are good, but it does mean summers full of builders' noise and dust, blocked pavements and old transistor radio blurting out a distorted Radio 2. Students also mean safer streets for us oldies and the No.34 bus, which does the 'City Loop' every ten minutes during the day Monday to Friday.

Betty is a 79 year old with a zest for living and a half glass full person, who goes down to the Radford and Lenton Library on Lenton Boulevard to use a computer a couple of times a month, where she looks at things and visits local web sites, which is how I found out she reads this blog, so 'hello' Betty. See you soon.

Five pictures, all taken in the last week. Together, they capture the Lenton I know and love, the youth, the dedication and the inspiration. All these folk inspire me. I wish all of them well.

The 30,000 victims of a toxic waste disaster in Ivory Coast are being offered £1,000 each in compensation, a representative of the survivors said today. The payout offer would amount to about £30m in total, which represents slightly more than 10% of Trafigura's declared annual profits. It represents less than the £100m cheque Trafigura wrote in 2007 to the country's government to pay for a clean-up and to make some payments to the families of 16 people who had died. Capitalism kills and we spend billions rescuing banks. Where is the justice?

Sunday, 6 September 2009

A Lenton walk along the Trent

I'm well behind with posting my blogs. It's the same old problem. I'm still trying to do too much. I did this walk on 22 August 2009. Two weeks ago. It was a lovely, bright, sunny Saturday afternoon, so I decided to walk to Beeston Lock along the canal from Lenton to where the canal joins the River Trent, then to walk beside the Trent back to Clifton Bridge and a bus home. These are some of the pictures I took along the way.

I've posted pics of the canal walk from Lenton to Beeston Lock before. Along the way beside some of the bridges there are information panels. This one explains that here, as you approach Beeston Lock and the Trent from Lenton and Dunkirk, the towpath changes sides and this bridge was needed so that in the days before steam or, more recently, diesel engines, the barges were pulled by horses and needed bridges like this so that they can cross the canal. In fact, today, the towpath is actually along the other side.
To find an ice cream lady close to Beeston Lock in a dinky van was a real treat and very welcome at was the mid-point of my walk.

At the lock, I crossed over again and as I did so, a narrow boat passed beneath the footbridge and into the lock, so that it could enter the River Trent.
This is the reason for the Nottingham and Beeston Canal. It enables boats to bypass a section of the Trent with what these days is a weir. As you can see, the river is flowing very fast at this point. I wonder if they have ever thought of using the water here to generate electricity? Past this point and I am heading east, back towards Clifton Bridge and along Lenton's southern border.

Along the way, at regular intervals, are way markers saying you are following the 'Trent Valley Way', which I have yet to find out more about.

As I left Beeston Rylands and the canal behind, one of my last glimpses was of footballers playing an organised match with a referee and linesmen. Even organised park football seems to be starting earlier and earlier. I assume this is to avoid too many lost matches at the end of the football season because of bad weather at the beginning of each new year.

Looking away from the football, I caught a glimpse of Clifton Hall across the Trent. The last time I saw this view was a good few yearts ago and there were far fewer trees in front of the red sandstone cliff.

A few steps further on and the only sounds I could hear were the wind and the birds. Who would believe that in inner-city Lenton, on its southern boundary with the River Trent, you could find fields of barley like this? It is something to be experienced.
A little further on and I saw this dog having a swim. At this point the Trent is only accessible down the sides of a steep bank.

A little further on I met Martin and we stopped and had a chat about what was going off in Lenton and a particular concern of his to do with alleged high asbestos levels in parts of Dunkirk, but this is a story for another day. I've met Martin before in Lenton Recreation Ground.

By this point the Trent was seemingly as still as a millpond, as this picture show.
A little further on and a flotilla of swans passed by. They seemed to have somewhere they wanted to be. The dog was long gone and I never saw a single boat anywhere on my walk along the Trent, so they had the river to themselves.

Amazingly, on the wind at five o'clock I just caught the sound of The Council House clock and across the fields, towards Lenton Industrial Estate and Lenton, I could see the top of The Council House. It would be a shame if future development took away this view. I hope it is never lost.

As I looked the other way, towards the river again, I could see Clifton Bridge in the distance and see the traffic streaming across, but I could not hear it.

From the pictures I have posted you might think that I always had the Trent in view. In fact, for much of the time this is what I saw — a wooded footpath. The river is to my right, down a six foot bank and hidden behind small trees and lots of large bushes. In truth, it was not what I was expecting.

This must be the most isolated house in Lenton. I knew it was somewhere about because I have seen it on the Dunkirk and Lenton ward electoral roll.

After the house I came upon a cricket match and I knew that I was returning to those edges of the Trent in Lenton which have been invaded by single track roads and other buildings.

As I walked under Clifton Bridge, I was struck by this view of its concrete spans and, most surprising of all, how quiet it was.

I then came upon some anglers, enjoying some tins of beer and fishing, but not trying too hard. In fact, we had all met before, when I went on my walk to Wilford and along the other side of the Trent. On that occasion they were fishing in the Iremonger Pond beside Wilford Bridge.

I then saw the opening I was looking for and walked into the large park and ride car park beside Clifton Bridge, where two buses were waiting. It was 5.45pm and I had been walkingsince 2.15pm by this point, so I was glad to be stopping.

And, as you can see, I had the bus to myself all the way into the City Centre, where I transferred without a wait to a No.35 and home. It took no more than twenty minutes. I opened the front door and found Susan fast asleep on the sofa, having watched three episodes of 'StarTrek Voyager'. Exhausting stuff is television! As for me, I saw a side of Lenton few see or even know about. Telling my new friend Richard a few days later about my walk, he told me it was one of his favourite walks. So, Richard, I hope you enjoy these pics and. don't forget, we have our River Leen walk to do before the nights draw in.

Workers employed to build parts of London's new transport links which will be vital during the Olympics have been conned out of thousands of pounds by a gangmaster. The contract culture penalises the poor and disadvantaged, who receive little protection from the government.