Autumn is a time for nostalgia. I needed to walk home via the 'denes' – Jesmond Dene, under going a renovation costing 6 million GBP (I doubt we will see spending like that on public spaces for a while) and Armstrong Park, Heaton Park and Ouseburn Dene Road. Just any old excuse to see the signs of the year winding down.
Roads and pathways strewn with conkers, bright and shiny, once capable of inducing a near paroxysm of joy in this old man's youth. Do children collect them now? Cars run them over and produce the mash of creamy paste which recall why they are here at all; introduced by the Romans to provide a feed for animals and perhaps humans? I like to think that the Romans also played Conkers.
In the woodlands the 'pinking' calls of Nuthatches high in the tree tops and by the river a song from one of the resident Dippers. A man spoke to me about the Kingfishers and Dippers with a pride which made him visably taller. The sky clouded over and rain fell.