Friday, 25 October 2013

Autumn leaves in unexpected streets

After thirty-four years in Lenton I tend to think that I know my way around. I can give directions to strangers when asked, know where the pubs are and a good few shops too, but some things change without me noticing. Others have always gone unnoticed — much to my shame — which is how I came to be see trees in streets where I thought there were none.

Lenton Sands is a wedge of inner-city streets running, almost exclusively north—south, bordered by Lenton Boulevard in the west; Ilkeston Road in the north and Derby Road in the south, with both meeting at Canning Circus. The roads climb from east to west, Derby Road more steeply than Ilkeston and the further away you are from Lenton Boulevard, the more steeply they fall from Derby Road to Ilkeston Road.

If you had asked me on Tuesday morning I would have confidently told you the streets between Derby and Ilkeston were devoid of trees, except for the odd one or two at the bottom end. Walking to the vets for one last time I caught sight of what I thought was flickering gold and turning my head I saw this:

Douglas Road from the Derby Road end running down towards Ilkeston Road bathed in sunlight sparking golden brown autumnal colours. It was late-morning and every tree was lit up by the sun. Unfortunately when I went back with my camera yesterday morning it was only 9.30am and the sun was lower in the sky, but the trees were still there, in a street where I had never noticed them before, not once in thirty-four years!

There were also trees along Albert and Derby Groves (which is where I took this photograph).

Balfour Road in the same block of streets is how I have always thought of Lenton Sands — treeless. The contrast could not be more stark.

And as I walked up Derby Road I did so on a carpet of leaves, which rustled about my feet. Little moments like this occur every autumn and, as the years past, they become ever more enjoyable and precious to me. I feel a trip to Oxmoor Woods coming on.

My walk up Derby Road yesterday was a bit like the day after I met Susan for the first time. Would she there, was she real or had she just been a figment of my imagination? So it was with the Lenton Sands trees. Like Susan, I'm glad to say, they were very real.

There are those, mostly car owners, who hate trees in streets. Me, on the other hand, would plant trees in every street of the land and make a forest of every village, town and city. I love them. It is as simple as that.

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