Monday, 2 January 2012

The park five years on

1 January 2012. Lenton Recreation Ground from our front door. The day was overcast, very wet and cold — and far too miserable for a walk — the only place to be was in front of the fire reading, drinking tea and eating leftover Christmas cake.

I started this blog in February 2007 with the aim of recording life in and around Lenton recreation Ground on a day-by-day basis for 2007 at least. Much to my surprise I managed it then and continued to post regular entries to this blog until 2010, when they became more infrequent.  In 2008 I created a website with same name, which was more ambitious in terms of size and content. For the last few months I have done very little with either. Life in other departments simply overtook me, but with a new year comes recommitment and an awareness that Lenton Recreation Ground started to become a reality 125 years ago, when the then Nottingham Borough Council decided in August 1887 to create a recreation ground on the land we know today as 'Lenton Recreation Ground'.

There are no records of an official opening in 1887 or 1888 (when the park is mentioned again in Council records, with a report on the park). In the circumstances, I see this blog as a torch bearer of sorts for some kind of celebration in August 2013. We shall see, Remember you read it here first.

So, I took just one photograph yesterday. Today I have done a little better. I managed a couple of perambulations around the park and met just three people. Most of the day when I looked into the park from our living room window, it was empty.

2 January 2012.  An empty playground, wondering where all the children have gone.

A view from the north side of the park towards Church Street, Holy Trinity Parish Church on the right and the Sikh Gurdwara to the left. You can see why Lenton Recreation Ground has long been described as 'nearest thing there is in Nottingham to a village green'.

What I love about Lenton and Nottingham is the fact that it is multi-culturual and international. I stopped for a few minutes and had a chat with Maksum Konovalor who came to work in the city five years ago and is originally from the Kamchatka Penninsula in Russia. He came here to work for a Russian company based in Nottingham and intends to stay. He has found England to be friendly and he loves our 'traditions' and old buildings.

Round by the bowling green I saw this recently delivered planter which Dave, our park groundsman, will no doubt be planting up when he returned from an extended (and well deserved) holiday in New Zealand.  In a few months I will be able to show you a 'before and after pic', so watch this space.

Passing through on his bike was our neighbourhood Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Brian Grant on one of his daily patrols. When Dave is back, there'll be a cup of tea and a bit of warmth in the Park Pavilion's staff room on days like this. It is so easy to take the work of folk like Brian for granted. When there are no problems they go about their business unnoticed, yet by simply stopping for a chat they make themselves known and enable us to pass by on other days with no more than a nod and a smile and the wave of a hand. Life is Lenton is made wonderful by seemingly inconsequential moments such as this.

Since the end of the bowls season in early-October, I have been an infrequent visitor to the park for all too many reasons, even then it has been no more than walking through on my way to or from Old Lenton, Dunkirk or Beeston.  During this time a number of mosaics have been placed around the edge of the Peace Garden, which has been created and funded by volunteers with support and encouragement from our city council. This is one them. I will take pics on the others when it's a little warmer.

And just to show how mild this winter has been to date, there are already green shoots around the park. It is amazing how they seem to survive days like today, when the wind has been bitter and my hands, despite wearing mittens, have been shaking with cold as I took my pics and tried to write notes.

As I left the park, I passed Maksum and his son heading home as well after throwing ball in the dunking area, with both of us looking forward to our next meeting. During our brief chat, we had got around to talking about Christmas. It is something they are looking forward to, as Russians will be celebrating Christmas on the 6th and 7th January (when we are taking down our won decorations). They like the fact that Christmas begins in November and all the things which go with our early start. Maybe they will visit the Russian Orthodox Church on Carlton Hill in the next few days, as Maksum did not know it was there until I told him about it.

Because I have the website, this blog will concentrate on Lenton Recreation Ground and other open spaces I may visit from time to time, but I will keep up my habit of posting a headline from The Guardian website from the same day as my posting:

From the Nottingham Post today: Over-60s will have to pay library fines for overdue books for the first time under new plans revealed by Nottingham City Council.

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