An engagement in the park

I struck gold!

Meet Paul & Emily

They kindly answered my questions that were attached to their cups of tea “What memories do you have of brungerley Park’

The answer

Paul proposed just after the deer sculptures the happy couple stopped to have a brew and drawing of Stan their lovely greyhound.

When I asked why Paul picked Brungerley Park Paul told me “Were staying at the Waddington Arms and I we were going to go for a moon lit walk but there’s no where round there so this seemed like a good a place as any”

Here’s a little audio from the newly engaged couple.

Congratulations Paul & Emily! Forbes (Soon to be)

Old and New (with a bit of dog poo)

Well it rained.  But were we deterred?

Well a little – it was a bit quiet in Stubbylee today but I still had a great day - meeting up with old park acquaintances, like Gary with his chickens…

…and new people, like Rose and her dog Tiny…

…and also taking quiet moments to write-up some of the stories floating around in my head.  I’m currently writing a monologue about a fictional dog-walking widower, (based on an amalgam of lots of stories I’ve heard), and one of the Greenhouse volunteers has agreed to record it with me on Thursday.  So I better get it written now…

A lot of the people I’ve met are dog-walkers, so if you can’t beat ‘em – borrow a couple of dogs and get dragged around the park for half an hour.  Meet my husky team – Moomin and Cookie:

Cookie initiated me into my first ‘Poo-bagging’.  Which was nice.  And at the end of the day Laura, ’The Grand Fromage’ (Terry’s words, not mine), came to visit, and started to carve out a new career for herself.

And now – back to writing that monologue…






The Circus of Life

A lot more walking round the park with people today.  Heard lots more stories, including when the circus came to Stubbylee Park: a Camel looked over the back fence, and an Elephant had a wee on Tony’s foot.

The day started off a bit grey






Then got sunnier






And by the time evening was drawing in, it was rather glorious…


Its all go go go

I spent monday sorting out Lucy’s work for corporation park and trying to work out better ways of uploading lots of content to the App. Aslo watch and cut p Lucy’s videos interviews with people who use the parks and their was some great information in there. Emma is a star! and her interview is great. It really shows her love for the park and it was quite moving.

Also editing together Lindsay’s Cyanotypes that she has made by herself and with people from the park to make them ready for use in the App. If you Want to see the full size images of this then you will have to download the app and go and find them. The content is becoming really exciting, and going out and finding them definitely be worth the effort.

Day 15 – A spot of painting

So…after spending yet more time thinking about the conservatory and her physical state, I decided to paint over the boards that are covering the broken windows.

Somehow looking at them and seeing the name and number of the glaziers stencilled in huge blue figures makes the conservatory look derelict and abandoned.

So, I started with a coat of primer and then covered them with a nice layer of gold paint. The gold looks strangely similar to the colour of the wooden chipboard but then in certain lights it catches and shines.

My plan is to write large words on top of the gold in a beautiful Oriental Red paint. I’ll do this on Saturday morning so you’ll have to wait and see…

I also took a few more pictures in the park on Saturday using the gilt frame. Not great photos technically but it’s still proving to be a good way to get people talking. Just I was leaving the park on saturday I walked right into a freshly married couple and their entourage. What a scoop!

The Girl on the Right

As I was walking towards the playground, I asked a young mum about her views on the park. ‘Kids are drinking in the playground. It needs to be cleaned up!’ she said.

From a distance I was not sure if it’s a good idea to disturb the young people sitting on the playground swings in the late afternoon, drinking cans and smooching. When I came closer, explained who I am they were very pleasant and polite, and I realised how easy it is for people to mistake them for trouble makers. These were nice kids, drinking fizzy drinks, and enjoying the swings as much as young children do. I asked if I can draw them when we talked. Here is a sketch:

Girl on the Right






The girl on the right is 21 years old. She grew up around here, spending her childhood in Marsden Park. Her parents decided to move because they think the area became too rough. “You don’t want to be here after 6.30, that’s when all the drug addicts come here. And under-aged drinking.”

“I am not under-aged!” her friend interjected.

“Then she can’t have been talking about you.” I suggested.

We talked about art and parks. I explained there is a next phase to this project, and we talked about what it might be. The girl on the right said the work should be something that shows the nature in the park and how it used to be, a monument of what the park used to be and where it is now. This struck a chord with me, and made me recall the War Memorial with the empty step in Nelson.

I asked them if they think young people have a bad reputation.

“as soon as they see us they think we are up to no good,” said the girl in the right.

To end our discussion I asked them – if the park was an animal, what kind of animal would it be?

A cheetah, or leopard, they said. Why? Because there is no way to tame it. If it was a piece of art, where should it be placed? Where there is a lot of light, on a clean piece of grass.

What else is missing from Marsden Park?

Su Brown is a local artist who works with watercolours.

After giving me some painting tips, she took me around Marsden Park, showing me her paintings in-situ.  ’I walk the dog everyday, and I see things constantly altering,’ She says. Here in a painting she did of the  conservatory before it came down:


People here tell me of many elements that have disappeared over the years, but the memory of the  conservatory seems to hold a special place in their heart. People in Nelson reminisced about it too, but it I get the feeling it is especially missed by the Friends of Marsden Park, whop would take turns opening it to the public on a Saturday, and this shared space and its responsibility brought the community together.

A couple stopped by as we were photographing Su’s painting and shared their memories: “The Friends group had a rota. We used to do two hours.  And Stanley would bring you a cup of tea on a tray.”  The conservatory used to have rabbits, badgers, birds, I am told. It was damaged by a storm and there was not enough money to repair it. They kept a visitors book. It’s around somewhere. You can just see the outline where it used to be. On a positive note, Su says: “One thing’s good now. The clock’s now working where it never used to.”



Castercliff Primary school in Marsden Park 22.10.2012

Today children from Castercliff primary school made up stories in the park. They are learning about writing stories in settings, and so the park was a perfect place for them to use for their project.Castercliffe Primary school

Castercliff Primary schoolCastercliff Primary school

After a walk in which their teachers reminded them to use all their senses, they wrote down imaginative and perceptive observations of the park, which they will incorporate into stories back in class.

Posted from London, England, United Kingdom.