Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Hoofing it to Beeston

Yesterday I had a dental appointment at the Cripps Health Centre on the main campus of Nottingham University. As the new term doesn't start until next week and there is no direct bus link, I 'hoofed' it and arrived in plenty of time — as did two ladies in front of me at the reception desk, except they were both complaining about the fact that because their dentists were running late, they might not be out until after their free hour of parking was up and they would run the risk of getting a parking ticket. The alternative was to move their cars to the pay and display parking area. The reception staff sympathised as best they could, but it was all beyond their control.

Since I had walked I had no such problems and I ended up in the waiting room fifteen minutes early looking forward to reading The Guardian on my Kindle whilst I waited (we changed from a paper subscription to a Kindle at the beginning of December and have now added the Nottingham Post to our list of Kindle newspaper subscriptions. It is the future and we both like it better). In fact I got called in by my dentist immediately and I am back there tomorrow for some follow-up dental work.

Cripps is about halfway to Beeston and I had some shopping to do, so I decided to walk the rest of way via Highfields Park, which stretches all along the southern boundary of the campus. I also had some photographs to take of the new University Museum of Archaeology.  I say 'new', but it has actually existed for many years in a few rooms tucked out of the way at the back of one of the older buildings on the campus. When Susan was at the University studying archaeology in the late-60s the Museum was located buildings known then as 'The cowsheds' (which were still being used in the early-80s when we did the then Local History Certificate course). And here is an exterior view of the new look 'University of Nottingham Museum of Archaeology':

Inside it is well laid out and pleasing to look at. The text on the labels could be printed in a larger font size, but this is a 'age' niggle.

The Museum occupies just one space and is linked to the adjoining Djanology Art Gallery by the door you can just see at the rear of this photograph.

There is currently an excellent  Lowry exhibition in the Djanology until 5 February. We've been twice. You wouldn't see better anywhere else, so to have it fifteen minutes walk from home is great. Not to be missed if you live close enough.

As I was walking around the lake in Highfields I saw these two folk with binoculars welded to their eyes. Their names were Mike and Jenny Ellis and told me that they were looking at birds, including a nearby Kingfisher. At which point Mike raised his and and whispered 'Hear that? It sounded like a high pitched whistle with a tremble. 'It's about to fly' and then, in an instant, a flash of blue and it left a bush within feet of us and flew off up the lake, close to the surface of the water. A wonderful moment.

And this is what Mike and Jenny look like. A lovely, passing, moment of the kind you can have in a park. I hope Mike is up and about before too long.

Towards the Beeston end of Highfields are the stepping stones. Thirty years ago this part of the park would be filled with kids, paddling and chasing tadpoles and Sticklebacks, including my own. Then it became neglected at the Thatcher years forced cuts on City Council staffing and maintenance. Eventually it was fenced off and became a tip. I took the picture below in May 2008. As you can see the stepping stones are overgrown and the water if full of reeds and you could only get in by climbing in to one side where there was a hole in the fence.

Yesterday's photograph gives no hint of the fact that it has been taken on a mid-winter's morning. The City Council continues to do its best with minimal resources, although I am sure that have our local ward councillor, Dave Trimble, as the Portfolio holder for parks also make a difference. He is committed to all the city's parks and open spaces. In times of cutback, we need our parks more than ever.

I left Highfields with last look back at the lake, then headed for the gate and Beeston. A walk I have done countless times and I hope to do regularly so long as I live in Lenton. Mid-winter. Who would think so from this pic?

From The Guardian today: The government has given the green light to a new £32.7bn high-speed rail network and announced new stretches of tunnelling to placate opponents of the scheme.

From the Nottingham Post today: City named among worst areas of UK for child poverty