Walking back over "threatening" (© Metnor Group) Battlefield I was stopped in my tracks by the lovely pale light of evening and the bare trees against the dying day. In the semi-darkness Blackbirds flew fast between shrubs and an unseen Song Thrush sang its beautiful, perfectly modulated song, all trills and repeated phrases and pregnant silences. The trees stood tall against the silver and grey, motionless. For how much longer?
How soon will the chain saws, with their moto-cross soundtrack, rip the air and trees be felled and bushes levelled as Metnor and its co-partner the University of Northumbria 're-shape' the open space and make car parks, 'all weather surfaces', changing rooms and ... ?
A football, pinkly pale, bounced in front of me. Two lads ran up to the high fence around the five a side court (rarely fewer than 12 each most games, I think). I gallantly made to get to the ball and return it, nearly slipping on mud to do so.
"I'm out of practice at this" I said, putting down my shopping. Bounce the ball first I thought. I got very good height but no direction. The ball went up – and thankfully came down again – a nearby tree. Second attempt. I got excellent direction. Pity was, not much height. It hit the middle of the wire fence (10 feet high?). My audience were resigned and polite, perhaps thinking 'Grandad was doing his best'; or, 'Relax, this could take all night'. I gave up trying to produce a drop kick and threw the ball over. I don't think the people gathered outside the Ouseburn Community Centre noticed me.