Saturday, 7 June 2014

Where to spend a 70th birthday

It is just over five weeks since my last post, during which time a lot has happened, some of which you can find mention of at my History by Bus website. Other highlights have been finding a house, then losing it, then finding another one better suited to our needs, not least being that it is in Beeston, within a short walk of the town centre. Top of the list has to be my 70th birthday, which began a few days before the 16th and ended a few days after, with a string of enjoyable lunches with old friends, family and former work colleagues, even though I retired eight years ago.

So what do you do on your 70th birthday? I chose to spend it in Stoke-on-Trent having an early lunch (what else?) with close friends, then going on a visit to the gardens at Biddulph Grange, just north of Stoke. I will let a selection of the pictures I took tell their own story.

Biddulph Grange is actually a collection of themed gardens which remind me of different things. The long gone dells of Barham Park in Wembley, where I went to the local library and along winding, hidden, paths, or the lawn and view to the 'big house', where we had tea. There is also a hint of Gunnersbury Park in Ealing, my favourite park as  a child in the fifties. Above all, it was feeling alone with close friends. For a few hours nowhere else existed. That's what I call a birthday. As ironic as it seems, timeless.

The picture below offers a different take on the day and is a compilation by Rosie, a close friend and champion blogger, who persuaded me to start blogging in 2007, which is when I started parkviews.blogspot. Rosie's blog is called Corners of my Mind.

There is a lot of me, with one exception, snapped unknowingly, so here is one of Rosie (which she knew I was taking whilst we waited for our other halves to fetch the tea and cake at Biddulph Grange).

Rosie also took one of my favourite photographs ever when we were all coming back a few years ago after a visit to Stratford-on-Avon. Rosie took it at my request, after I asked the permission  of the couple in the photograph. When we have moved, I plan to have a copy enlarged and framed to hang in our new house.

I reached 70 achieving one ambition at least (we had intended to move last year, but a small stroke and a poorly cat, the blessed Markiza, put that plan on hold). I reached 70 on no committees and no memberships of anything, save Nottinghamshire Local History Association, who kindly humour me, by allowing me to do my own things in their name. From now on I help where and when I want and donate instead of join.

There are postings of walks waiting to be done, when I find the time. The process of moving after thirty-five years in the same house is time consuming, so please bear with me. I am planning a tour of Beeston parks come late-summer, so that the title of my personal blog continues to have some meaning. 

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