The Heatons & Reddish Area Committee planned for Monday, 26th September, 2016 has just had an item added to the agenda, together with a supporting document about public parks, which is very interesting:  supplement-additional-agenda-item-26092016-1800-heatons-reddish-area-committee

I can’t argue with what Councillors Alex Ganotis and Sheila Bailey say and wonder how much support their document will receive from the other members of the Area Committee. And, will it be presented to the rest of the Council? Or to the Government?

The recommendation, which I have reproduced here in case you don’t have time to read the whole report, is:

That Government has a wholesale reappraisal of the approach to the provision of parks and open spaces and to consider there being a statutory requirement for Local Authorities to provide easily accessible, good quality parks and open spaces that meet the needs of the local population.

This topic seems to be flavour of the month because a group of MPs is looking into this right now and wants to hear what the public thinks. In my opinion, they’re on the right track, proposing that it should be a legal requirement to protect parks.  You can sign a petition at 38degrees.or.uk  to show your support, but you’ll need to act quickly as there are only a few days left.

And if you haven’t been out to a park recently, go soon and indulge your senses.


Some notes and news from Catherine, a friend of Heaton Moor Park, and also a great friend and champion of local shops

The Government Communities and Local Government Committee’s Public Parks Inquiry is still open for written submissions; its deadline is 30th September 2016.  The Committee is looking  at how parks should be supported now and in the future. This includes studying alternative management and funding models, such as a mutual or a trust.  More details at http://ow.ly/CUIb304eI9l


The Heritage Lottery Fund has published a report, State of UK public parks 2016.  A great deal has been invested from lottery funding, but the report fears that  there is a growing deficit between the rising use of parks and the declining resources available to manage them.  More details at http://bit.ly/2cDyhVR


Start getting ready for barbecues next summer with the most chic and sustainable of garden chairs.  The design company Studio Nucleo, of Torino, has devised a framework for a completely organic chair.   They provide an ingenious cardboard framework, and supply seeds.  Earth can be found virtually anywhere.   The chair can be created where you please, and becomes a part of the landscape.  It should take about two months to grow.  It might be slightly tricky to mow, and presumably the frame would biodegrade over time.  The company can be contacted at email nucleo@nucleo.to


Ban the Bottle is an organization promoting the environment by advocating bans on one-time-use plastic water bottles.   Its website collates information on many initiatives underway, in places like Montreal and Portland to phase out the use of plastic bottles by 2018.  San Francisco has passed an ordinance to ban the sale of these bottles on city owned property and some US national parks do not allow them.  More details at https://www.banthebottle.net/.  There does not seem to be too much UK information there yet, but one can hope.


Some interesting conservation news from Germany.  The German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation has announced that sixty two  former military bases will be converted into wildlife preserves, which, it is hoped, will be beneficial to eagles, bats, beetles, and many other forms of wildlife.  These military areas became default nature reserves during the Cold War.  76,600 acres of forests, marshes, meadows and moors will be set aside.  The remoteness of the former bases close to the Iron Curtain fall quite naturally into the European Green Belt, an ecological network which  stretches from the Barents Sea to the Black Sea. What a lovely memorial to the ending of the Cold War, and what a poignant reminder of the many tragedies of the century.     http://www.europeangreenbelt.org/


And finally, commuters at Clapham Common tube station have had a rare treat recently.  All the advertisements in the station were replaced by pictures of cats.  A creative collective, Glimpse, have done this through a project called Citizens Advertising Takeover Service.  http://weglimpse.co/catsnotads/

The group say: “We want agencies and brands to be mindful of the power they wield and to use it to encourage positive values in society……….Things like empathy and tolerance, community and togetherness deserve to be at the heart of our culture.”    Can we have this at Heaton Chapel station please?

Percy who?

I don’t know if, like me, you find it hard to memorise new/strange names, particularly when it comes to plants. I usually try to associate the new name with something I already know. So when I was told the name of a lovely plant I saw in the park recently, I went through word associations in my attempt to memorise the new word. I started with Percy Thrower – remember him?, then I progressed to Percy Caries, not anyone I know or have heard of but it brought to mind an image of a shabby old man with very poor dental hygiene, which unfortunately imprinted itself for an uncomfortably long time. However, that did the trick, and I succeeded in storing the new name and being able to retrieve it without any furrowing of brows or sighs of exasperation at failing memory.

And this is it: Persicaria


Sitting on the edge of the bowling green, this mass of deep crimson flowers has flowered prolifically throughout summer and is only now coming to an end. I don’t know what variety this is, maybe it’s Taurus or Fat Domino – do tell me, if you know.

Persicaria can be annuals, herbaceous or evergreen perennials. They are also known as knotweeds – panic not! it’s not the dreaded Japanese knotweed! Another name they’re known by is smartweeds – very apt as any weed that has changed itself into a desirable flowering plant is very very smart indeed🙂  They grow in thick clumps and are easy to grow liking most types of soil and aspects. This one has been in full sun, which has suited it perfectly, although they tend not to do well if the soil is very hot and dry. I’m looking forward to seeing the leaves turn brown after the first frosts. The leaves and stems tend to collapse into heaps and if left in place, provide much needed shelter for ladybirds and other insects. The clumps can grow to quite a size, so splitting them every few years is a good idea. This can be done any time after the foliage has died down.

My idea of doing an A to Z of dogs’ names hit a stumbling block recently because I hadn’t come across any dogs with names beginning with K. According to the rules I had set myself, the names had to be of dogs that frequented the park, even if it was just once, as a visitor. I was managing quite well, finding at least a couple of dogs for each letter of the alphabet, until I hit K. Of the hundred plus names that I had collected, there wasn’t a single one beginning with a K. Or, at least no names that obviously began with this letter. To be honest I wasn’t in the habit of asking dog owners how their pets’ names were spelt/spelled (as I’m on the subject of spelling, I have checked which is correct and both are, although’ spelt’ is more commonly used by the British). So, what to do?

Well, as this is my game and I set the rules, I can change them when the need arises, or just whenever I feel like it. I realise that this is cheating but sometimes rules have to be bent just a little – ask anyone in a position of power and influence, I’m sure they’ll agree.

I decided I would adopt a ‘sounds like’ strategy. And all the dogs I had previously mentioned under Canine considerations – C, could also appear under K. After all, the Kardashians have done it – with Kourtney, Khloe and….. I kan’t kwite rekall the others….  And anyway, if it’s good enough for the Kardashians, it’s good enough for Heaton Moor Park!

So, in addition to the dogs already mentioned under C, we could also have:

Kookie, a 3 year old border collie (or should that be border kollie?), Kassie, a toy Westie, Khloe, small and perfectly formed (like her namesake??) and Koko, a pug/beagle cross (kross?) who is a bit of a clown (should this be klown?….    oh really! that’s enough!).

Just when I thought I would have to resort to the above, along came, yes, you’ve guessed – Kasper! I’m not lying – I checked, and it really is Kasper, with a K.


I met Kasper when he was on his way to the park with Lexie, his brother/sister (I really should get more information!) and their owner. These cockerpoo puppies, on their first outdoor walk, were absolutely adorable. Who wouldn’t want one (or two) of these?

I’m really pleased that I didn’t have to cheat after all, but am sure that the need will arise in future as I don’t think I’ll find many names at the end of the alphabet – any Q’s or X’s out there??


Knitting is a bit like a drug. Once tried and liked, it’s really hard to stay off it, and any absence is liable to cause distressing withdrawal symptoms. Someone who is severely addicted will knit almost anything they can get their hands on – new yarn, recycled yarn, string, video tape, cassette tape, torn strips of fabric, ribbon, raffia, plastic bags and even liquorice.  I have to admit that knitting liquorice would be a waste of effort for me as it would take just seconds for the finished item to end up in my mouth! And knitting with plastic bags, or ‘plarn’ as it’s called, is (since the charges for bags were introduced) a luxury few of us can afford these days.

On a par with trying to knit with whatever stringy stuff the obsessive knitter is able to find, is the list of items that knitters will attempt to create. Ranging from soft, luxurious cashmere clothes – scarves, jumpers, baby booties; through to household items such as tea cosies, cushions, blankets; accessories such as bags, hair slides, brooches; through to items such as clocks, vegetables,  animals (not forgetting animal clothing), toys and dolls’ clothes, and many many more……..

One of the Knitting Friends recently knitted several sets of dolls’ clothes which she donated to Charnwood Nursery.

Sheila's doll's clothes IMG_20160420_124734

Sheila's doll's clothes on dolls IMG_20160420_124634

I’m sure you’ll agree that the children will really enjoy playing with these and will wish that Sheila had knitted them in a larger size – for a 3 or 4 yr old🙂 .

More about the Knitting Friends soon…….


One tree per child

Have you heard about the One Tree Per Child programme that Bristol City Council started in 2015?  What a brilliant project!

The idea was for 36,000 trees to be planted, one for (and hopefully by) every primary school child, to mark the city’s status as European Green Capital 2015. In actual fact, they have already planted over 39,000!

The council teamed up with the Australian One Tree Per Child initiative founded by Olivia Newton-John and Australian environmentalist, Jon Dee. In 1993 they came up with the idea of a National Tree day in Australia which, over the years, has resulted in the planting of over 10 million trees. Last year, together with Jon’s daughter Estelle, they decided to take the project further – branched out so to speak – and started an international project. The idea is to have every child under ten plant a tree as part of an official school initiative. Children will have the experience of planting a tree at a young age and as their trees grow, so too will the children’s love and respect for the environment. The first tree for the project was planted in March 2015 in the middle of Hyde Park in London. Bristol had the honour of becoming the first city involved and is now the role model for the project.

Read more about Olivia Newton-John and this project here.

Wouldn’t it be great if Stockport Council was to join this initiative too? It would give everyone a stake in the future of their local environment and, depending on the type of tree planted, an opportunity to grow free food. I’m sure that it would teach children to look after all trees, not just the ones they had personally planted.

Maybe, we could start with something along these lines, on a smaller scale, just in our park?  Perhaps if we did, we wouldn’t find newly planted trees broken!  You might recall me writing, not that long ago, about five trees that Stockport Council had planted in the park. I was miffed (to put it politely) to see that one of them had been broken. Well, now another one has suffered the same fate.  Such a shame😦

Another broken tree IMG_20160510_092129


I want our young people to respect what is growing in our parks, so anything that might encourage them to think this way has to be a good idea. Come on SMBC, what are you waiting for?








At the end of April we had frost, sleet, hail and other, unusual for the time of year and quite wintery, conditions. Barely two weeks later, we  have what we could even call summer weather – sunshine, warmth, blue skies…… There were loads of people in the park today enjoying themselves – Friends of the park on a work day, families with children playing games, tennis players, runners, even some sunbathers. It’s really great seeing the park used so well.

We all know that we should aim to be fit and active to be healthier but this isn’t as easy to do for some people as for others. However, there is help and encouragement for anyone who wants/needs it. The Moor Running Friends have been going now for three years – here’s what I wrote just after they started:

New Year Resolutions continue for this newly formed group of running fitness enthusiasts who meet in the park every Saturday at 11:00 for an hour’s exercise.

The sessions are FREE and are led by a qualified Run England/UK Athletics Run Group Leader. There are still places available – contact Chris Hodkinson on 0161 366 9763 to register.

Whether you have never run before, last ran (for a bus!) decades ago, or are a regular runner and super fit, give the group a try.

If you want more info about them, search under ‘Moor Running Friends’. The group is very active and always keen to welcome new members.

Another local group is the Sustainable Living in the Heatons group which will be organising bike rides throughout the summer – not around our small park though, a bit further afield.

Sus Liv bike rides IMG_20160507_160318

Sounds good? I think so!

While on the subject of bicycles I must mention that I regularly see families in the mornings cycling through the park on their way to school. There are at least a couple of family groups – parents with children – and the children have been cycling to school since they were around 5 years old. Not something you see often these days. And there are also families dropping kids off at school accompanied by pre-schoolers on small bikes and scooters – lovely to see🙂

There are, of course, less strenuous, gentle exercises that are good for the body, and soul too. I sometimes see people doing Tai Chi  in the park – usually just one person on their own. It might be an idea to have a regular group meeting up to do this – like they do in China.

And then, of course, there’s the knitting group – still going strong and shortly due to celebrate their fifth anniversary. A gentle form of exercise, you would agree? But a word of warning: do be careful not to get RSI from knitting, like one of the ladies did very recently!

It goes without saying that all sports and exercise should be undertaken with care so as to avoid injury. You don’t want to do what I did the other day. Enthused by the sunny day, I shed my coat, my scarf, my woolly jumper, wore sandals on bare feet – what bliss! what joy! It was practically a heatwave! I went for a long walk and then hobbled around for the next few days because of the blisters on my feet!

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