Sunday, 17 June 2012

A soggy week in the park

Yesterday (Saturday) was Lenton's annual festival in Lenton Recreation Ground  and came at the end of a week of almost continuous rain!  Susan, Judith and I did tea and cake for £1 in the park pavilion and made enough at the end of the day to enable us to give £30 to the Dunkirk and Lenton Partnership Forum and West End Bowls and Social Club.  Fiona and Kirsty at the Forum worked hard to make it all happen and deserve our thanks.

I took this pic about 3pm when it did brighten up a little, but by this time a good many stallholders were already packing up. In the circumstances, they did well to stay as long as they did. The festival has now been running since the late-1990s and used to be in September, but got to moved to June so that local students could attend 'by default' insomuch as on good days they fill our little park. It's also become a way in which local residents have been able to 'reclaim' Lenton Recreation Ground for one day at least. Next Friday is the end of the current academic year and most of the students will be off home.

When Susan, Judith and I arrived at the park pavilion and started getting it ready to sell our tea and cake for £1 a serving, it was raining and it stayed that way nearly all the time we were open between 1 and 4pm.  We thought it would be bad for business, but I put the heating on and the pavilion became the one place where folk could be warm and dry.

On the right you can see two 'painted' faces. This is always popular at Lenton Festivals and has long queues throughout the day and, despite the weather, this year was no exception. By the time I had locked up the pavilion and was walking home it was 4.30pm and they were still painting faces in the rain.

Lenton resident Chantelle got my 'Award of the Day' for tenacity and stoicism because she was there at the end. I'm absolutely sure had it been a lovely day and the students were in the park they would have been buying her cupcakes by the dozen. She has set up a Facebook page to help her promote her new business, which she has called 'Cakes by Design'. 

Chantelle came into the pavilion to buy a hot drink and I felt so bad that we were selling cakes as well that I promised that if we did it again we would work with her as she deserves local support and encouragement.  Making lots of cakes usually includes the odd 'disaster' or two and so it was for Susan and me, so much so that Susan made me promise 'and hope to die' if I suggested such a thing again!  Chantelle may well be my 'get out' clause. I wish her every success.

Me, Lenton's Labour Party city councillor Sarah Piper and Tony Holland from The Bowls Shop, Radford, had our pic taken by Susan, which I have sent to the Nottingham Post along with a short press release in the hope they will use it. You can read more on the West End Bowlers blog.

Last Monday I played with West End Bowlers in a match against Vernon Park Ladies (who play in Old Basford) and, yes, it was raining when we started and got heavier as  the match went on, so much so that the game was eventually called off, but not before I took this pic of Anna from Vernon Park Ladies in her waterproofs. I think she looks a picture and thought I would like some bowls rain gear the same, but Tony Holland from The Bowls Shop in Radford told me it was discontinued some time ago, as it was designed for when ladies played in skirts, but since most now play in slacks there was no longer a market for them.

On Wednesday, I went round to open up the park pavilion for some bowlers (in the rain of course) and by the time I walked back this small marquee had gone up. The idea was that they would entertain and feed other park users but the rain was keeping the main users, students, indoors, except for these stalwarts from the University of Nottingham Christian Union — who were the organisers of the event.

On one level I love seeing Lenton Recreation Ground used in this way, just as I like to see the occasional wedding party from the Sikh gurdwara or the parish church in the park, but I would not like to see the park used for faith group (or political) rallies. I am not suggesting that this crossed such a line, but one has to be alert to these possibilities.

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