Thursday, 7 October 2010

The end of this blog and in between days

Well, it had to happen one day, and that day has come. I have been having problems uploading images to the blog and then adding text. I have decided it's time for a rest, then a change. To what I do not know.

I have also decided to reduce my other interests to a minimum. The Crocus Gallery on a Thursday if they need me and West End Bowls.  I have some local history work I am doing, but at my own pace. Finally, there is The Notts Historian and a possible spin off from that. Plenty enough for anyone who wants to do read more and enjoy the company of friends and loved ones.

As for politics. I will deliver for the Labour Party, help on election days, attend meetings when I feel like it. To change things you have to be involved and, for now, it's not where I want to be. Maybe sometime in the future.

Life is changing and whilst I am actually very optimistic about what the future holds, right now I am wrestling with the in between bit!

Thanks for reading this blog — which I will leave this blog in situ for the time being.


Robert

Friday, 1 October 2010

Perfect for the day: overcast and grey

On Tuesday I went to to Alrewas in Staffordshire to visit the National Memorial Arboretum and then on to Lichfield on a day out organsied by Lenton Local History Society. I have wanted to visit Alrewas for some time, so not owning car made this the perfect opportunity. The day was overcast and there was a constant threat of rain — which never came.

We arrived at 10am and had two hours to walk a round the Arboretum. It was not enough time, so I will go back again when I can. Preferably on another overcast day and with a pair of wellies. Away from the main path, the grass was quite long and it was wet underfoot. I took lots of pics, but have selected these few to share with you.
Whilst the information centre was bustling with visitors, outside and in the Arboretum, there was no one to be seen. I walked up to the monument on my own and found it empty. Nothing prepares you for the number of names you see. So many. So many people who died unnecessarily. I saw the names and was angry with the British politicians responsible.





 I will finish the captions on Monday








Phil, a stonemason I met working under canvas outside Lichfield Cathedral, carving a grotesque.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

A double park clebration

Yesterday was a special day of sorts in Lenton Recreation Ground, when we combined the raising the park's sixth successive Green Flag Award with an official roll-up to mark the 100th anniversary of the park's two bowling greens, which opened on 23 August 1910. In fact, West End Bowls & Social Club had their own event on the day, which you can read about on their blog (click here for link).
Dave Trimble (left), our local Nottingham city councillor, came along and did the official raising of the new Green Flag. He also happens to be the City's Leisure, Cultural and Parks Portfolio Holder, which means he is responsible for all the city's parks. He has been a great champion of Lenton Recreation Ground and other local parks over the years he has been our councillor. Those around him listening on are members of West End Bowls & Social Club, except for Harry and Dave (the guys in green, 5th and 6th from left) who look after the park and the bowling greens. The two Daves are both ex-Cotgrave miners, who I wrote about in the last issue of The Nottinghamshire Historian. Click here to read how these two remarkable men both ended up in Lenton and helped to save Lenton Recreation Ground from being trashed.
Dave then came and had a roll up with members of West End Bowlers. Susan caught Dave bowling the first wood, whilst from right, Frank, Alan and myself looked on. The Nottingham Evening Post sent along a reporter cum photographer, who took pictures for a possible spread in this coming Saturday's issue.You may see this pic again if you live in Dunkirk and Lenton ward, as we may use in the local Labour Party newsletter, thanks to Frank and Alan's support.

All in all, a very enjoyable afternoon a little different to normal. It's a pity that bowlers from none of the other clubs which play in the park came along, but, hey, it means West End gets all the glory — especially if our pics appear in the Post on Saturday!


The total number of British jobs axed by RBS and Lloyds TSB, both of which were bailed out by the taxpayer and are still part owned by the government, reached almost 45,000 today. RBS announced the loss of a further 3,500 'back-office' jobs after the sale of 318 of its branches to the Spanish bank Santander.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Catch up III

A month or so ago, we met our friends Paul and Rosie in Derby and spent the best part of the day together. They in live in Stoke and we don't have a car, so it seemed the logical place to meet up. I made just one request: that we walk out of the city centre for about a mile to visit Derby Arboretum, England's oldest public park. I have been there a couple of times, the last time being on 2006, when it looked tired and neglected. Since then it has had some money spent on it and I wanted to see how it had changed.
We approached the Arboretum via the Osmaston Road and what was its original main entrance. It was officially opened on 16 September 1840, when Joseph Strutt, a Derby millowner and the first Mayor of the Reformed Borough of Derby, presented the Council with the deeds to  the Arboretum. Just over two weeks from now will be its 170th anniversary. For more information, you should visit the Arboretum website, which is run by a local supporter.


Four years ago, all these houses were in a poor state of repair and most were boarded up. The good news that the square has been given a makeover and only one house remains boarded up (the large house nearest the Arboretum on the left-hand side of the picture). The building in the centre of the pic looks like this from the other side…
…it is, in fact, an orangery, albeit empty, but still impressive.
Follow the path round to the right of the Orangery and you will  come across this magnificant specimen. It is a replica of the Florentine Boar by Alex Paxton, was placed here in November 2005. The original can be seen in Florence. Both Susan and Rosie knew the Florence legend that if you rub its nose you will return to the city. I wonder if I had rubbed its nose, would I be sure of seeing it again?
I also took this 'in yer face' pic of the Florentine Boar. He looks kind of cheerful and manic at the same time.
Another pic of the Derby Arboretum.This time of one of its long straight paths. Others curl and there are a good few hummocks as well, which were added to give the Arboretum a sense of depth and a false perspective of sorts. It seems that the hummocks play tricks on the eyes, so you end up believing the park is bigger than it actually is. Well, it worked on me.


The Arboretum's is actually located in a Derby inner-city area known as Rosehill and I first visited the area some twenty years ago after reading Rosehill: Portraits from a Midland City by Carol Lake. I'm sure it won a Guardian literary prize — which how I came to read the book, which is a collection of linked stories about life in Rosehill in 1985/86. It remains one of my favourite books, which I dip into whenever I am feeling a little low. Rosehill is much the same as it was then and Carol Lake's description from 1989 does just as well in 2010:


'Rosehill (is) a twilight corner of a Midlands city — decaying, poor; known to outsiders by reputation, not acquaintance… the villas on Rosehill Street are still standing and the school building remains, though it's a community centre. Birds sing in the arboretum: even here, the seasons change'. That last sentence caught my breath at the time. It still does. Rosehill celebrates the inner-city in an understated way. It is full if warmth, reflection and passion. I sometimes wonder of what has happened to Carol Lake? I found her writing exceptional and memorable.

One final thought about Rosehill and Derby Arboretum. Look at the Google online map and you will find that neither are marked on the map. Is it because they are inner-city locations? It made me look at whether Lenton Recreation Ground is marked on the map. It isn't. Lenton Rec may be too small, but you can't say that about the Arboretum. I will see if it is possible to contact Google maps and ask them to give both parks (and Rosehill) the recognition they deserve!


The 33 Chilean miners trapped underground have spoken for the first time to family members waiting for them on the surface. The brief phone conversations late yesterday brought a measure of reassurance to families who have grown increasingly worried about the ability of the men to survive the estimated three months it will take to rescue them.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Catch up II

A couple of weeks ago, we went on travels of sorts and these are some of places we visited.
A few weeks back we saw a news item on regional TV which included an art gallery in a place called Draycott, which is on the road from Nottingham to Derby, if you go via Long Eaton and catch a Trent-Barton 'indigo' bus. The gallery was called the 'Beetroot Tree Gallery', where we arrived about noon and spent a good hour looking around and talking to a couple of ladies attending a silver jewellery workshop, then we had Homity Pie for lunch in the gallery's café.  I didn't take any pics, but as we made our way back to catch the bus home, we decided to walk along the main street and saw these two lovely shops, which look as if they belong to another age.
Across from the shops was this old bank, which has been converted into a home. It looks as if the archway on the left has been filled in, which suggests that the bank must have had an impressive front — ideal for sheltering from the rain.
As we arrived in Draycott, we passed this old factory building on the bus — which is why we decided to walk back down the main road. All the pic shows is the front one-third of the building. It seemed to stretch back for ever.
This was as near as I could get the front of factory in order to take this pic. Any closer and I would have chopped parts off. I found some more pics on flickr, together with a history of the building. Below the front facing clockface, the name 'Jardine' can be seen. The building was/is known as 'Victoria Mill' and was built between 1888 and 1907 and was, originally, a tenement lace factory. By any measure, an impressive sight. We are planning a return visit nearer Christmas, when I will take pics of some other Draycott buildings.
Another recent trip was to Donington-le-Heath Manor in Leicestershire. We had not visited this preserved medieval manor house for over twenty years and it has, how can I say this without sounding as if I was a little disappointed, changed — not on the outside, but…
…on the inside. When Susan and I first visited the building in the 1970s and then again in the 1980s, its interior was devoid of fitments and furnishings. It was if one occupant had left and the house was awaiting the arrival of someone new. I loved this emptiness. Now, though, someone has moved in and every room is furnished and 'interpreted'. There is also a free hand-held audio guide available, with an informative room-by-room commentary. Nothing is left to the imagination and this approach was obviously popular with other visitors and children as we walked around the house. Catching snatches of "Ooh, I wouldn't have like that. Would you?" and "Do you think the clothes were really this heavy?" and children delving into dressing-up boxes.
Twenty years ago the view from the window was also different. The frontage was less ordered, more open and, in a way, hinted at the fact that this was almost certainly a working manor — not much different to most farms today — and the view from the window would have reflected that. Now, it is tidy and ordered with a kitchen garden, lovingly attended by volunteers, including the Chair of the Manor Friends' Group, who was working in the garden throughout our visit. Again, it would be churlish to complain about this approach. It obviously works.
One thing though had not changed — the café in the barn next to the house (which you can just see through the window in the pic above this one). The food was excellent and it was just relaxing to sit there for an hour eating wholesome food and, in my case, drinking a pint of real ale. Susan and Judith had tea. This is a side view of Donington-le-Heath Manor House, which now has a small maze and, as we wandered around the building, I picked cherries from trees laden with fruit and thought that I would be here, picking cherries for pies and jam today — not in the kitchen garden.

We will go back again, of that I am sure. The day of our visit was during the summer school holidays and it was a 'Pirates' Day' for kids, so the manor house and its grounds were full of hyped-up youngsters careering all over the place, laughing and bellowing as loud as their lungs would let them. In truth, if I had to choose between the manor as I remembered it from a long tome ago and how I experienced it this August, the private me chooses the former, but the community me chooses it full of kids. A wonderful day out in good company.
Later the same week, we went across to the Black Country to spend the afternoon and evening with Susan's elderly aunt and uncle, who we had not seen for nine months. On this visit, Susan had a plan — to get them talking about their childhoods and other members of the family. She succeeded, but that's a story for Susan to tell.  We decided in advance to have lunch on the way and to find a Black Country fish n'chip shop, so I did a little searching on the web and found the 'Sub-station', which had been given some good reviews. Being between Walsall and Wednesbury, it was just a few miles from our final destination. We were not disappointed. The service and food were excellent and staff friendly.To cap it all they had actually had Worcester Sauce, which is what I like with fish n'chips (otherwise, a strong brown sauce). We will go back again nearer Christmas and arrange to meet there with other family members.
You may be wondering about the name "Sub-station'. The chippy is actually located in an old Midland Electricity Company building which was once a sub-station and in the side wall, there is this memorial to MEC sub-station workers who went off to fight in the First World War, never to return. The fact that it is still there makes the building special and is another reason for a return visit.


A volcano has erupted on the Indonesian island of Sumatra for the first time in four centuries, sending smoke 1,500 metres into the air and prompting the evacation of thousands of residents.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Playing catch up

It's an age since I lasted posted a Parkviews 'blog'. I have posted some entries to my Crocus Gallery and West End Bowlers blogs, but the past six weeks or so have just flown by. So I have decided to play  'catch up' and post a few pics from my travels, beginning with a view of where my Auntie Nannie and some cousins live in Harlow, Essex.
It may not look a lot, but my Uncle Dave, who died a few years ago, and Nannie went to Harlow in the early-1950s where he was involved, as a plumber and sanitary engineer, in helping to build what was then 'Harlow New Town'. One of the first areas to be built was Brays Grove and this is where they were given a house. I used to go and stay with them during school holidays from about the age of nine until I was fifteen and started work. Looking back, I realise it was to give my Nanna a break from me. She looked after me for nearly all my childhood, but she had badly ulcerated legs. Nanna died when I was fifteen, a few months after I had started work, but that's another story.

I first saw this small green with houses around three sides and a three-story block of flats on the fourth side nearly sixty years ago. The trees in this pic were merely sticks then. Nannie and Dave were a great influence on me, by example. They were both active in the Labour Party and both served as Labour councillors in Harlow. In addition, Dave was an active trade unionist all his life. And, as a matter of principle, they chose not to buy their council house. Not having easy access to car, we do not see Nannie and Co as often as would like, so it was a real pleasure to spend a day with them at the beginning of the month. We put the world to rights and reminiscenced about long gone relatives and others we had not seen for ages.

Altogether, a memorable day, but one topic came up which seems to be universal — wheelie bins! The houses in the pic were built with a large storage cupboard in the front elevation which could take a dustbin. Now, of course, there are three wheelie bins to each house (general household waste, garden waste and recycling material), so at least two bins have to be left outside the houses. Once our street scenes would have had children. Now they have wheelie bins.

Britain's leading independent tax experts today flatly rejected the coalition government's claims to have shielded poor families from five years of austerity when they described Georg Osborne's emergency budget as "clearly regressive".

Sunday, 18 July 2010

A tree and Labour looks ahead in Nottingham

Before I start, something which is always a sad moment. A pic of one of the London Planes on Lenton Boulevard being removed. This was taken a week ago. Workmen at the scene told me that the tree's roots had broken a electricity power supply cable and needed to be removed. Given that they were still trying to dig the roots out on Thursday (the last time I walked this way), it may well have been cheaper (and quicker) to have installed a new cable around the tree. It makes me wonder if other trees on the same side of the Boulevard could suffer the same fate eventually. I may ask the question. For now, I want to record the moment. I love trees and could not imagine living in a landscape without them — which is why, one day, I would like to visit The Shetlands, which appears to have very few trees, but still appeals to me. I would like to understand why.

A couple of days ago I received a pre-May 2011 Nottingham City Council election 'Survey' questionnaire from Nottingham Labour asking for my views on a range of topics and posing the question what should Labour be focusing on in (its) 2011 manifesto. I thought I would share my answers with you.

The questionnaire began by asking me to prioritise a list of policy areas by numbering them 1–8. The following list is in the same order as printed on the questionnaire I received with my ranking shown in (brackets):
Education (5); Rubbish (4); Crime (8); Jobs and employment (6); Anti-social Behaviour (7); Housing (2); Greener Nottingham (3) and Other (1). Against 'Other' I wrote 'Protect the OAP bus pass scheme' and 'Use the Local Government & Public Involvement in Health Act, 2007 (passed by the Labour Government) to devolve more ward powers and budget controls to ward couyncillors'.

My priorities reflect my age and the fact that us oldies have to fight our corner. I fully accept that others will, quite reasonably, have different priorities. The next question on the form was 'What is the biggest issue for you in Nottingham?'. My reply was 'The provision of suitable housing for families and older residents in student and landlord dominated areas like Dunkirk and Lenton'.

The next question asked 'What is the biggest issues in the are you live? (sic).
I listed four items:
  • Student housing and private landlords
  • Need for more family homes
  • Future of Lenton high-rise flats
  • Dangerous road junctions with traffic lights, but no pedestrian controls (eg. Derby Road/Lenton Boulevard, Derby Road/Gregory Street and Gregory Street/Abbey Street/Abbeybridge).

The final question was 'What ideas or issues do you think we should be campaigning on or championing as Nottingham Labour Party?. My reply:
  1. Turning Nottingham into 'A city of neighbourhoods' where local residents and businesses are encouraged (and empowered) to become more involved in deciding local priorities and needs, then are given more control in partnership with their ward councillors when it comes to managing local assets, resourcers, services and budgets.
  2. Establish 'open' ward committees to replace area committees, whilst allowing ward committees to work together if they decide to (perhaps this might happen in Bulwell and Clifton, both distinct areas with more than one ward).
I hope the Labour Group on Nottingham City Council share the replies they receive with not just Labour Party members, but the wider community as well, perhaps inviting them to comment on the views of the membership. The Labour Group is to be commended for its efforts to consult with members.

I may disagree with them on some things and believe the city council has not treated Lenton well over the years, but I have never seen any other political party attempting to take them on in Dunkirk and Lenton ward. As I have said in the past, the opposition in our part of Nottingham is the Labour Party.

For my part, I remain committed to the idea that 'doorstep' facilities and services can be better managed by local communities and, in the present financial and economic climate, this has to be a priority. I hope Jon Collins and the Labour Group on Nottingham City Council can find the vision to adopt such a policy for the 2011 city council election.

I wish them well in their deliberations. I know that I and others are only excluded because we choose not to get that involved. This is democracy as we know it in Nottingham. It could be worse, but it could be a lot better. However, in the absence of being willing to give my time and energy to help change things, I have, in truth, little to complain about. We get the governments and councils we deserve!

Details of techniques used to inflict pain deliberately on children in privately run jails have been revealed for the first time in a government document obtained by the Observer. Some of the restraint and self-defence measures approved by the Ministry of Justice include ramming knuckles into ribs and raking shoes down the shins.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Bricks in walls

A couple of weeks ago we went to a friend's funeral, which was held in a small 19th century Baptist chapel in a small Northamptonshire village, where I took this picture.
Then, last weekend, I saw the brick below in a house wall on Beeston Road in Dunkirk, the small area which makes up the south-west corner of Lenton.
I have walked passed this house hundreds of times, yet I have never noticed this brick before. It is by a bus-stop I use regularly when I go to Dunkirk Post Office. It was Susan who saw it. Local historians and others are always reminding us to look up and to pay more attention to the everyday buildings around us. You could devote a blog to looking up. It could be called 'The past is looking up'. Now that I have written it, I realise that it is a wonderful play on words, with so many meanings that it could attract a wide range of visitors. Perhaps I will go out one day soon with my camera and do just that.  For now, here are are two I took ages ago.
This face appears above a window of the large house on the south-west corner of the Derby Road and Lenton Boulevard junction in New Lenton.


 Then there is the front of the old (New) Lenton National School cum Church School cum Gurdwara, which is about to be renovated, thanks to a English Heritage grant. I know there are countless other images out there waiting to be photographed.
And finally, this house plaque from Montpelier Street in Dunkirk, back where we started. The future for me might be looking up in ways I had not imagined a few days ago.


Six months after the earthquake, an estimated 1.5 million Haitians are still homeless and many countries have yet to provide the financial aid they promised Haiti.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Life, light and shadows

The past three weeks have been taken up by a combination of things, all on top of the daily routine. I am in the second week of a 'Lenton Living History' fortnight at The Crocus Gallery in Church Square, which is going well, but a little time consuming insomuch as I have to be there 11am–4pm. On the plus side, I am enjoying it, but it did take some preparation, which I could not have done without the help of others, especially Susan.

Then, last week I went to Central Hall in Westminster and did a presentation to a workshop on how councillors and local communities can work together better. My topic was 'Re-inventing doorstep services in Lenton'. There were about fifty people at the workshop. The fact that only three were councillors was a little disappointing, but since only six attended the conference, to have 50% of them present was an achievement of sorts. All this took time and I won't do it again. It was outside what I would now call my 'comfort zone' (which I will come back to in a future blog). I need to focus my time and energy, but then this is not a new thought, as some of you will know.

Today, I want to play catch up and draw your attention to three local happenings.
On Sunday, Susan and I went to Highfields Park and the Lakeside Arts Centre to see an exhibiition about the Wollaton Antiphonal and other medieval books in the Wollaton collection now in the care of Nottingham University's Manuscript Department. It was beautiful to see such works close up and a real privilege. Then we went and had tea at Dunkirk and Old Lenton Community Centre to celebrate 'Dunkirk in Bloom' week, which was organised by our friend Maurita and her colleagues in TRAD (Tenants & Residents Association Dunkirk). Our councillors and MP were there, as well as others we had not seen in a while, so it made a very enjoyable end to the afternoon. The pic above shows a row of three hanging baskets on Beeston Road, Dunkirk, looking towards the flyover.
This little corner of New Lenton is at the Derby Road end of Park Street. Behind the wall and trees is a long disused petrol station site, where a developer is planning to build yet another mini-supermarket (it will be our third), plus eight 2 bedroom flats. Whatever happens, I hope this softened corner of New Lenton will not be protected. It is not a site without its problems and the present view on the Derby Road is as such as that a decent, sympathetic, development is preferable to how it looks at present:
As you can see, the pavement at this point along the Derby Road (looking north-east towards the city centre) is very wide and the developers want to build the new shops and flats right up to the edge of the site. The only trouble with this proposal is that the tree will have to be cut back quite severely and even then will block the light from the windows of at least three flats. There is also a bus-stop here (see the bus shelter to the left of the tree) and there will be a single entrance/exit from the site just beyond the tree. I will be submitting comments to the planners, but I fear that indifference will reign and the developers will get their way. We shall see.
Whilst looking at the old garage site, I took this pic of Lenton flats from Park Street and wondered just how long the flats will be here? There is a shadow over their future and to talk about it seems to be a kind of heresy. What gives the topic an added sense of urgency is the fact that Nottingham City Council has decided to 'decommission' the Radford high-rise tower block. In other words, pull them down. They are considered a fire risk and this alone is probably enough to justify the decision, but to have made the decision without any consultation with the tenants is inexcusable and, I am sad to say, typical of the way Nottingham City Council treats the people who elect it and finance it as taxpayers and Council Tax payers.
So, what is the future of the Lenton's five high-rise tower blocks? Their future hangs in the balance, literally. The flats are clad in concrete panels, which were tested last year to see how long they have left (concrete panels can corrode from the inside, because of the metal mesh used to hold the concrete together). I have yet to see a published report of the findings. I will try and find out what has happened over the next few weeks and report back. Dave Trimble, our city councillor, says nothing is likely to happen in the 'foreseeable future'. In itself, good news, but whilst I trust Dave, I have little confidence that the City Council will that mindful of local feelings and opinions when it comes to making a decision. We shall see. In the meantime, I hope local residents and tenants will be mindful of the possibilities and will make it clear to the City Council that the future of Lenton's high-rise flats is something they must discuss with them before finalising their options when it comes to deciding the future of the flats. Otherwise…
…it will be like a scene from Dr Who. They will disappear before our eyes, panel by panel, floor by floor until they are no more. Even worse,the flats will be sold to a private developer for £1, who will do everything Nottingham City Council says is impossible and instead of working class people being the beneficiaries, it will be aspirational, young middle-class things wanting to live the high life in a great location. You have been warned.

Civil servants who are forced to take redundancy will have their payouts reduced from a maximum of six years to just one year's pay under a tough and "non-negotiable" new compensation scheme published by the Government today. The law is being changed to make this possible.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Another perfect Lenton day

Yesterday was Dunkirk and Lenton Community Festival Day. What with a stall to set up, a walk to do and people to talk to, I didn't think I would take many pics of the day. Susan went off with the intention of taking some, but soon found herself busy talking to folk. When I wandered off to get some ice creams mid-afternnon, I took the camera with me and managed to get some pics. The downside, as far as Susan and Sally were concerned, was that it took me a good half-hour to get the ice-creams. So, here is my personal record of the Festival.
I wandered into the park just after 10am to see where the Consultation stall was going to be and saw this group of students sitting at one of the many picnic benches in the park. They were recovering from an all-night session, having taken their finals and with nothing to do but wait. Who knows what the future holds for them. Some will no doubt go on to do post-graduate studies. Some will enter the world of work in the midst of uncertainty. Whatever their futures I wish them well and hope that they will remember their Lenton days with fondness.

But the real business of the morning is captured in this pic of Alex and Fiona, totally oblivious to me in sticking a camera in their faces, as they get to grips with planning the day. Unfortunately, I took no pics of the volunteers who were unfolding tables and separating stacks of plastic chairs, but they were there, grafting away. The unsung heroes of the day.

After setting up the consultation corner with help from Maurita, the next time I saw her was when I returned from my 'Festival Walk'. Not a good year. Only two people came along, but we went all the same and they were a delight to be with. It was like being in the company of old friends. From a selfish point of view, it was great. At the park entrance I saw Maurita again, about to go home and see if the dog was OK. With her are two other volunteers who were acting as gatekeepers for the day.
Inside the gates and at 1.15pm, the Festival was already coming to life. Still a bit quiet, but it was still early in the day as far as the Festival was concerned.
The following pics are arranged in a clockwise order from the Church Street gate and were taken at various times during the afternoon. So, we begin, with the 'consultation' corner, which I was meant to be looking after. In fact, Susan did more of it than me, but there were plenty of moments like this and, taken together, they made the exercise well worth while. In truth, most people at the Festival were too busy enjoying themselves to want to bother with more serious matters.
Pedals are Festival regulars and I managed to catch them during a quiet moment.
Next to them was the Nottingham City Council Area 8 display. It's an odd name for an area committee, but since it covers, Dunkirk and Lenton and Bridge wards (the latter covering The Meadows and most of the city centre), it's actually hard to think of a name which would tell you the actual geographical area covered by 'Area 8'!
The stalls were arranged around the park to form a large square of sorts. This pic shows the Derby Road side and captures the 'Lenton Churchs Together' stall, with a palm reader to their right doing a brisk business with a queue of folk waiting to see what the future has in store for them.
In the midst of all this I took one of my favourite pics from the day, when I caught Alex off guard (again), having a chat with Laura, one of the many small stallholders at the Festival. Alex and Fiona spent the day running around, making sure everything went smoothly and dealing with the kind of problems which take a disproportionate amount of time in relation to their size.
Another quiet moment, but do not be deceived!  I was making my way to the ice cream van and thought' Goodie, no queue', then I got diverted by two lovely ladies and by the time I got to the ice cream van, there were ten people in front of me.
I also caught these two lovely local residents on the north side of the park at the Park Rangers tent. Betty and Kathy were clearly enjoying themselves. Kathy claimed she was 'knackered' having just finished a full day (volunteering) at the Crocus Café. You can't tell can you? She looks as fresh as one of the flowers in the previous pic!
Next stop was The Lenton Centre tent where a number of things were going on…
…including the chance to have your blood pressure taken by the 'parish nurse', who is based at the Centre.
It's where I also saw two former Dunkirk and Lenton Partnership Forum workers, Philippa and Steph. Over the years, the Forum has been blessed with staff who have given their all and even though they have moved on, they continue to come along to local events, such as the Festival.
Lenton Local History Society's tent is always a firm favourite with Festival goers, who love looking at the hundreds of photographs and local memorabilia that the Society bring with them.
Steve Zaleski (left), who edits and produces the Lenton Times for Lenton Local History Society, always comes along with plenty of back issues and every time I saw him during the day, he was busy talking to someone about some aspect of our local history.
Next door was the veggie burger van that seemed to be doing a roaring business throughout the Festival. Sad to say, I didn't have one. Susan chose samosas and bhajis from the Gudwara stall, which had all gone by the time I took my pics towards the end of the day.
Even at 5pm, it was still busy in the south-east corner of the park. The blue thing is the right-hand corner of the pic had water in and the child in green has her hands on a gizmo which randomly squirted water all over the place, much to the delight of the kids.
I took this pic, which shows the still to be finished Nottingham Peace Garden, with this odd looking, tree like, structure made from cardboard and silver foil in front of it. I get distracted before finding out what it is meant to be. I'm sure someone will be able to tell me.
Just along from the Peace Garden was the tent promoting the work and activities of Nottingham City Council's Parks and Open Spaces Department and…
…next to them was the Nottingham Sprout stall, who got involved in the planting of the Peace Garden, which was the subject of my last blog before this one.
My tour of the Festival completed, I headed back for the ice creams and my corner of the park, where I got talking to Susie and Harry. Susie was very interested in the 'State of Lenton' maps on display and completed a consultation slip, onto which she wrote this rap:
Listen to the beat.
Get down to the Lenton Streets.
Let it tickle your flavour.
Make a movement for love and community union.
Say goodbye to negative isms.
Yeah yeah.
Drop a beat not a bomb.
Yeah make a positive movement.
And what better way to end this very personal tour of yesterday's Festival, than with a pic of Maurita's venerable dog (I do his name, but I have forgotten it for the moment), who she went home to see and came back with Maurita, in tow on his very own trailer, which hooks onto the back of her bike. This is my 'aah' pic of the day. If you were there, I hope these Festival pics have caught something which you remember. If were not with us, then enjoy what was another perfect Lenton day.


England's World Cup campaign got off to a spluttering start yesterday (Saturday) when their opening match against the USA ended in a 1-1 draw, as the stuff of footballing nightmares came true for goalkeeper Robert Green (who lost his grip on the ball and allowed it to roll across the goal line).