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?

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