The Savoy cinema re-opened on the 23rd October. Yay! I wish the new owners all the very best for a successful and prosperous future.

Savoy IMG_20151022_200600

I went to one of the members’ preview film shows on Thursday evening and was most impressed by the refurbishment. There are still a few tiny things to complete but it’s almost there – finishing line just a fingertip away.

I read an excellent write-up about the cinema on another blog. And I would just like to add one thing: the loos are a sight to behold! Whether you need to go or not, make sure you take a look in there – they are simply beautiful!

Autumn has arrived, season of mists and mellow fruitfulness…….

Last year, I suddenly noticed one bush in particular, and was amazed by its beautiful autumn leaves. This year it isn’t as spectacular (not as many colourful leaves), but maybe it’s still a bit early.

winter currant IMG_20151017_094035

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is Ribes sanguineum, a flowering currant. In the park it’s a tall willowy shrub but it can also be grown as a hedge. There are a few of these in the park, probably different varieties as they’re not all identical. This one, with the gorgeous leaves, is by the bowling green.

Now, because I’m no gardener, I worry sometimes that I could be using the wrong vocabulary. You may have noticed that I’ve described the flowering currant as both a bush and a shrub. In my ignorance I used both terms but then thought I’d better check to see which is correct. It transpires that there’s practically no difference between the two; my Oxford Dictionary defines ‘bush’ as ‘a shrub or clump of shrubs’ and a ‘shrub’ as ‘ any woody plant smaller than a tree and with branches near the ground’.  It seems that it’s a matter of choice as to which people use but I suspect that shrub is the term used by professionals and bush by the rest of us.

A cryptic crossword clue could be: Confused shrub loses right, becomes President.

Last Saturday, some of the usual suspects gathered to dig, pull, cut, chop, heave, turn over, and otherwise do wonderful things in the park.

Wkday Oct 3 IMG_20151010_142126

Some weeding (actually, a lot!) was needed in the central flower bed. It looks quite neat now but there is still more to be done.

The star bed, relieved of the summer flowering that had become straggly and unkempt, is now a vision of pristine loveliness and ready to receive some winter colour.

Wkday Oct 2 IMG_20151011_092836

I say this, but I don’t know if there are any plans for winter pansies and such like. I do hope so. Last year, the Friends planted a lovely colourful display that cheered everyone up through the long winter.

Another area planted up during the workday, (my, they were a busy lot!) was near the bowling green.

wkday Oct 1 IMG_20151013_092728

This now has some, er…um…. plants, – attractive leaves, no flowers yet, don’t know what they are, but I’m sure they’ll grow beautifully given half a chance. This particular spot is a favourite for young people who have, over the last couple of years, destroyed all vegetation in front of the bench they like to sit on. You have to admire their skill – whether it was withering looks, heavy feet or with the aid of bicycles, this patch had been well and truly decimated in a short time. Such talent should be nurtured and I would point them towards a career in gardening. However, some diversification would be beneficial. They could start by looking after this area and making sure that the new plants flourish. (A pig, you say? Where?)

On a serious note, it would be great if our young people took more of an interest in the park and came to the occasional work day. It’s very hard to get new volunteers, young or old. The Friends try to drum up interest but no-one new seems to want to join. Is it because they’re shy? Don’t think they have any talents to offer? Aren’t gardeners? None of this matters – there are friendly faces around and there’s always something that the most un-green-fingered of us can do.

If anyone has any ideas on how to drum up enthusiastic volunteers, let the Friends know via their website.



Even on the greyest of days and in rain, the gorgeous rudbeckias make a cheerful splash of colour along the bowling green.

Rudbeckia Sept 2015 IMG_20150915_091737

The rudbeckia, also known as the coneflower or black-eyed-susan, belongs to the sunflower family. It has a long flowering period and the seed-heads provide an abundant feast for goldfinches in late autumn.

When flowering, the petals are a tasty treat for tiny snails:

Rudbeckia close-up IMG_20150915_085817

I’m not sure if they are visible in the photo but they are in there :)

I wonder how many people remember what the flower beds looked like before the rudbeckias were planted? As far as I can recall, there were several years when the beds were full of beautiful rich red tulips but I can’t remember anything else. Do let us know if you remember what else was there.

Working our way, slowly, through the alphabet brings us to the fun-loving F’s:-


Fergus IMG_20150324_083304

This is Fergus, a lovely Cyprus poodle – a cross between a poodle and terrier.


And Flash, a boisterous female with a keen eye for the lads.

We also have Freddie, Flossie, Frankie and another Fergus, this one a brown labrador.

Sparrowhawk attack

Sparrowhawk IMG_20150903_083418

I apologise for the lack of clarity of the photo but it was taken on a camera phone and ideally I should have been much closer.

So, this morning I was walking in the park with my dog, mulling over world affairs and the vicissitudes of life, when a commotion in the trees attracted my attention. The magpies were all in a flap, squawking and screeching like never before. They do sometimes have arguments and fights but this was something else.

I looked around and spotted a sparrowhawk in the tennis court, pecking at a pigeon. As I approached (to take a photo!) the raptor tried to fly off with its catch but didn’t get far, dropping the pigeon in the attempt. The poor pigeon tried to fly off but was unable to get off the ground due to its injuries.

I wasn’t too sure what, or indeed whether anything at all, I should do. This was after all a natural event, albeit not one I’ve witnessed before, and I know that wildlife should be left to its own devices and not interfered with. But, I felt really sorry for the pigeon and wanted to give it a chance. The alternative would be to put it out of its misery but I’m not keen on neck-wringing (sometimes tempted when witnessing moronic behaviour in the park though!).

I approached closer and the sparrowhawk tried to fly off with the pigeon one more time and then took off alone. The pigeon, by this time, looked as though it might have breathed its last as it didn’t move.I left the scene and continued with my walk and when I was on my way back could see hardly a trace of what had taken place. There were a few feathers in the corner of the tennis court and a small amount of blood – small by human standards but probably quite a lot for a pigeon. So, I think it must have died pretty quickly (at least I hope it did).

Who needs wildlife programmes or web cams when we have this on our doorstep?

Happy Birthday to you

Happy Birthday dear Knitting Friends

Happy Birthday to you!

The Knitting friends were 4 years old on Friday 28th August and celebrated in style with a fantastic cake made by Linda.

Linda's cake IMG_20150828_101112

Yes, all of it is edible apart from the knitting needles and ribbon trim! And I can vouch for its deliciousness personally :)

It’s now traditional for the birthday to be marked by a ‘bring and share’ lunch in the pavilion. The table was laden with a variety of appetising treats from tasty trout to a beautifully arranged fruit platter. I meant to photograph the spread but got sidetracked – focussed a little too much on eating and forgot!

As for entertainment:- this was the usual mix of scintillating conversation interspersed with rather dodgy jokes, and an unexpected cabaret turn from an pesky wasp which persisted in dive-bombing onto our heads and weaving in and out of the light fittings, until a few deft flicks of pampas grass sent it out of the door. Needless to say, the conversation then turned to the feasibility and design of knitted door screens! Not a bad idea :)    And I can recommend using pampas grass as a wasp swishing tool.

The knitters are slowly adding decorative touches to the pavilion and making it look quite homely.

vases IMG_20150828_102928

The latest accoutrement is a set of vases – an ingenious design that wouldn’t look out of place in a trendy store somewhere. And, it hasn’t cost more than a few beans. The cans have been recycled, the yarn is from our donated stash (beautifully knitted up by Sheila) and the dried teasels are from the park and would have been thrown away  if we hadn’t nabbed them. Nothing is wasted!

The Knitting Friends’ main aim is to raise funds for park improvements (apart from knitting and chatting on a regular basis, of course) and to date have raised nearly £2000. Some of this has been spent in previous years on a bench and obelisks and a third project is still at the planning stage but will hopefully happen soon.

But, the group does not restrict itself solely to park related activities. In an earlier post I wrote about the WI yarn bombing in the park to which the Knitted Friends contributed. They have also knitted squares for the Freedom from Fistula big knit challenge, hats and cardis for victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, teddies and toys for local charities, blankets for baby charities, twiddlemuffs for dementia sufferers, plus several sheeps-worth of garments for family and friends, some of which have even ended up in New Zealand. A regular monthly collection of food, clothing and knitted stuff is made for the Wellspring Centre in Stockport, which supports homeless and disadvantaged people.

It’s a pretty busy group!

Newcomers and visitors are always welcome – whether to knit or chat, or just to poke a head around the door to see what all the laughter is about.

On a personal note, I would like to thank all the Knitting Friends for coming along each week, or as often as other commitments/health/interests allow, for supporting the activities of the group and most of all for making it all such great fun. And thank you for the lovely and most unexpected birthday celebration gift :)


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