Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Summertime – and the something is something ..."

Up early – very! But what a delight it is on days like this. The street was quiet and the shadows long. A cool breeze blew when I looked outside. We have had some humid weather; much rain and warm nights.

Over on the 'Battlefield' the grass is newly mown. The Council's grass cutting teams are based conveniently nearby; little electric driven mowers, very agile and so noisy the drivers wear ear protectors. Wonder how they get on in traffic? Everything looked clean and green and so ..., well, verdant is the word.

Lush. A weed bed left uncut attracts numerous butterflies.

Lots of students have left town. The open space is almost deserted. A runner here, a dog walker there and a stroller like myself. From some angles one might be far from the city. Yet my anxiety over the strong possibility of loss and transformation of this precious space won't go away. But it is here now, all around me.

I said it before but ... We are under a mile from busy roads, a city and a mainline railway is feet away.

The children are outside in playtime, playground unseen behind a wall of vegetation, almost a school in the woods.

New accommodation block for Northumbria University.

I take a photograph of the nearly complete student housing block on Shieldfield. No sign of the larger development yet. Problems, I wonder? Universities are facing a tough time financially. The last two attempts to develop the old paint factory site foundered on questions of financial viability; over-supply of office space, then a collapse in the housing market followed one after the other. Student housing seemed a saviour two years ago. But today? Much student accommodation has been built in other places and a scheme on nearby New Bridge Street is proceeding quickly towards completion later this year. Maybe someone has had cold feet about the paint factory scheme? When will we learn? If Newcastle keeps up its fine old tradition, not until it's too late to do anything about it.

Cobbles. Once part of a back lane behind terraced homes demolished 
to make way for a new primary (junior) school nearby.

Here I met one of the nice people who work for Recyke y'Bike beside Byker rail bridge. He was road testing a handsome racing green tourer put back together with care. Their's is a work shop to behold; two railway arch 'caverns' filled with bikes of all descriptions waiting for another careful owner. We stand in the sunshine talking and enjoy the morning. That's what it is for.

Hidden highway. The mainline from London to Edinburgh, Scotland, 
runs alongside (left) the old back lane (beyond the bollards).

UPDATE 24th July

Link to Newcastle Journal article on Recyke y'Byke.

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