Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Threatened by sunlight?

After the wettest April for a hundred years (and cold!) we were due some warmer weather. What we got in this land of extremes was a heat wave.

I have wanted for a while to show just how popular 'Battlefield' is with sun bathers and strollers; naturally, I am reluctant to intrude on people's privacy, so discretion and some longer range shots will suffice, I hope, to give something of the appeal this rapidly developing and popular open space (deliberately excluded from Newcastle City Council's Ouseburn 'green corridor' National Lottery bid); thirty five years ago this patch of uninteresting grass had a few stick saplings planted around it. A forlorn place I remember thinking.

Got that wrong, I am happy to say.

My title for this post is taken from verbal remarks made to me by a P.R. representative working on behalf of Metnor Group p.l.c., developers of the old paint factory site. He described the adjacent open space as "threatening".

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Beyond the pail ...

Groping along seeking shade from the pitiless sun — (Yes! A week after dreadful cold and dank weather, we now have Hades: The World Tour for our daily sufferings!) — I saw one of the recently planted street trees wilting. Who could blame it?

Wilted. It should look more like this below —

— a little more sprite and less limp.

Action was called for! I made up my mind to do the necessary and cart water to where it was needed. On the way I could marvel in the transformation wrought by a week of sunshine. The old place (Sandyford) looks positively Mediterranean, though somnambulent in the heat of a Sunday afternoon.

Firstly, the pail was filled and then carried to the thirsting sapling to revive it.

The watering tube is thoughtful. How many are ever used?

Streets emptied by sunlight. Later I guarantee the scent of flowers will give way to more pungent ones from barbecues.

A summering Herring Gull wafts past the few streaks that pass for clouds this week.

A clematis overpowers the heat with a gorgeous display, alas! too brief.

Nor bird would sing, nor lamb would bleat,
   Nor any cloud would cross the vault,
But day increased from heat to heat,
   On stony drought and steaming salt;

— from Mariana in the South by Tennyson

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Springing Up

One welcome new initiative locally has been to re-plant 'lost' street trees.

Lost is an euphemism, obviously. They got run over by cars. The newly planted trees now come with some protection - not much, - but better than none. Hopefully this will work at least until the trees are established.

A surprising common complaint among locals, those that can be bothered to respond (some give me the impression they live for little else) is trees: The leaves are litter in the autumn; the shade is too over powering; or they simply get in the way of cars ...

Most of the newly planted trees are a species of Sorbus, 'Whitebeams', and are of a modest size when fully grown. In the autumn their bright red berries attract birds. I once watched a flock of Waxwings, largish and attractive plumaged visitors from far Scandinavia, bouncing around one of the few mature trees in this very street.

Here's to the future, something to off set the forest of 'To Let' signs that are now a permanent feature of the local Sandyford scene.