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The Green Flag awards for 2015/16 have been announced today and the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport stands out for its absence (again!) from the list of award winners in the North West. Of the ten Greater Manchester authorities, only two do not have any parks with a Green Flag award – Stockport and Bolton. Maybe this should be the start of a twinning arrangement? Residents could visit each other’s parks to compare notes of dilapidation and neglect.

I posted some thoughts about Stockport’s withdrawal from the Green Flag scheme two years ago ‘Green Flag turns to dust’ and although I haven’t read any more about it in the local press I assume that the reasons given in 2013 still apply. My opinion remains unchanged too!

It is quite galling to read in today’s Manchester Evening News that Manchester City Council is to spend £1.5 million on improvements to more than 40 of its parks. The funding will come from the city’s airport windfall – greater than expected profits made by Manchester Airport. So, just a hop skip and jump away from us, projects in Fletcher Moss Gardens, Chorlton Park, Wythenshawe Park, Debdale Park and Alexandra Park have either already been started or will be commenced soon. Work will include putting in new benches, path repairs, new flowers, trees and shrubs, plus improvements to sports facilities. If only Stockport councillors were as keen to improve our parks!  All we need in Heaton Moor Park is a regular qualified gardener who can maintain what is already there. But we can’t have this and we’ve even been told that we won’t be able to install any more benches, despite the cost to the council being negligible as they can be funded by public donations.

I am curious about where Stockport’s share of the airport windfall is to be spent. Although Manchester will get the largest share, the other Greater Manchester authorities will all receive something too. If any of our councillors, or anyone who knows the answer, reads this post, maybe they can let me know.

So, while we wait for investment in our parks in Stockport to be resumed, we can comfort ourselves with an occasional hop across the ‘border’ to see what Manchester has to offer. On second thoughts, maybe that’s not such a good idea as it may harbour resentment, jealousy, anger, despair, frustration……..

I don’t want to end on a negative, so to cheer you up, here’s a photo of the roses on one of the knitters’ obelisks just a few days ago:

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Blooming marvellous! N’est-ce pa?

PS  According to an article in the MEN, it appears that Stockport’s share of the windfall amounts to £3 million. I have asked my local councillors if any decision has been made about spending it. When I receive an answer, I’ll let you know.

Introducing the ‘E’s: a rather exotic little group:

Eric, seen quite a few months ago; Ernie seen recently. Not a double act!

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Ernie lives in Bollington but was visiting in the area for a few days.

Another visitor, this time from Bramhall, is Ellie – a golden retriever of mature years and lovely temperament.

And permanent resident Ella,

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who started life in Romania (I think!), was horribly mistreated, rescued by very kind people, and now lives happily in Heaton Moor.

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Did you take part in the butterfly count last year? If so, you were one of over 44,000 people who submitted their results and helped assess the health of our environment.

This year, the count is taking place between 17th July and 9th August. All you have to do is go out somewhere, into your park, garden, a field or wood, preferably on a bright sunny day, and make a note of the number and type of butterfly and moth that you manage to see during a 15 minute period. There’s more information on the Big Butterfly Count web site as well as an identification chart and free app. You’ll need to submit your findings online but you have until the end of August to do it.

This is a great activity for the kids during the school holidays, so. what are you waiting for? And it’s not just for the kids!

This week-end saw an influx of wonderful yarny creations in Heaton Moor Park. And today the members of the Heatons WI and their guests descended on the park to have a jolly picnic and the official unveiling ceremony of their yarnbombing display.

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The centrepiece is a huge knitted and crocheted wrap around the tree in the centre of the park. It’s made from loads (if you count them, let me know the exact number!) of squares stitched together. It is quite spectacular! And an amazing effort by the crafty WI ladies. The Knitting Friends group contributed to the project by knitting a few squares and hosting some of the WI ladies at several Friday knitting sessions. It was a great opportunity for an exchange of news, views and knitting ideas.

Why the yarnbombing? Well, it’s to mark the centenary of the Women’s Institute. The very first meeting took place on the 16th of September 1915, in Llanfairpwll, on Anglesey. Members all over the UK are marking the centenary in various ways but few will have been as creative as the Heatons WI. There are little creatures hanging from branches, pompoms dangling in the breeze, benches decorated with flowers, owls sitting on the railings and gateposts, and tree trunks festooned with a variety of yarny adornments – all of it making the park bright and cheerful, even when the skies are grey and threatening rain.

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The WI, their families and friends had a picnic and then welcomed local comedian Justin Moorhouse to officially open the installation, which will remain in the park for two to three weeks, weather permitting.

The Friends of the park put on some refreshments and a tombola, raising much needed funds for work in the park.

And a lovely day was had by all!

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There is a small but select group of delightful dogs whose names begin with D:

Daisy – no photo I’m afraid :(

But I can show you Dingo:

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A friendly  8yr old cross-breed hailing from the Dog’s Home in Harpurhey,

and Duggie:

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A very friendly border terrier pup, less than a year old, who was black at birth but now has highlights that even the best hairdresser might find hard to replicate.

Now for a pair, related to each other I believe, whose names are not commonly heard:

Diablo, still a puppy but already a cheeky little devil:

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And Deefer:

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Get it?  it’s D for dog!

Look out for more doggy data soon :)

The park was full, teeming with visitors, all enjoying the many attractions that were on offer. The 2015 weather gods weren’t smiling on Heaton Moor on the 14th of June – the day was cloudy and a bit cold but it didn’t matter. We all had a great time!

There seemed to be something for everyone, all tastes catered for!

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Traditional entertainment proving that kids don’t just respond to computer games!

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The Friends’ tombola was also popular and well supported helping to raise funds for park improvements.

So, when does something become a tradition? This was the sixth year that the 4HTA held a summer fair in our park – is this a tradition now? I’d like to think so :)

Come to the fair!

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It’s nearly upon us, only a few days to go!

The 4 Heatons Traders Association summer fair will be taking place in our park this Sunday, from 11am until 4pm. There will be loads of attractions- see more details here.

Before you click onto the link above, read the bit below:

The Friends of Heaton Moor Park will have a sweet and chocolate tombola stall as well as our exclusive designer bags and postcards.  There will also be a chance to chat about what the group does, what plans are afoot for the future and what you can do to get involved. So, make sure you come along to see us :)

And if you just happened to come across this blog while searching for information about the summer fair, why don’t you make a note of it and come back from time to time, or follow it, or even send me an email with a contribution.

For the music lovers among us, there’s a lovely rendition of Come to the Fair, written by Easthope Martin and Helen Taylor in 1917, here on YouTube.

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