Saturday, 10 November 2018

Unleafing Stanley Park

In a properly ordered universe I would have been at St. James' Park (home of Exeter City) this afternoon supporting Blackpool in the FA Cup, but this is not a properly ordered universe, not while the Oyston family is still in control at Bloomfield Road. The supporter boycott continues.

As an alternative, I took a walk in the park with Adele - that's Blackpool's award-winning Stanley Park (created in 1928). It was an overcast day, not untypical of the north-west in November, but at least the rain held off. I thought I'd look for inspiration for a poem, maybe even write it al fresco. Well, that last part didn't happen, but it was a relaxing hour's walk and sufficiently inspiring, I think.

We were pursued for quite some while by a tribe of tufty grey squirrels who are so tame they expect to be hand-fed; alas we'd gone without provisions, so eventually they scampered off in disgust shaking their tails at us. There wasn't much interesting bird life in evidence; a few maggies (one for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl, four for a pie...), some rather sorry-looking cormorants and a couple of sweet green parakeets - plus the usual suspects (gulls and pigeons aplenty). Of course there isn't anything in flower at this time of year, not in the ornamental beds nor the rose garden - so the stars of the park were the trees, rapidly unleafing, having gone a spectacular array of reds, yellows and browns.

The walk to Cocker Tower in Stanley Park
There were various commemorative artefacts to see as well - a newly unveiled remembrance bench and displays of  artificial poppies. As we walked the woodland paths I was thinking about November 1918 on this 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, of fallen men and falling leaves and the sheer magnitude of big numbers, like the ten million soldiers who lost their lives in that conflict.

Have you ever wondered how many leaves there are on a mature tree? I looked it up on the internet when I got home, for inevitably someone has calculated this. Depending on the type and  size of tree, naturally, the number is anywhere between 20,000 and 80,000. Taking an average of 50,000, that would mean in an avenue comprised of a hundred pairs of trees, each falling leaf would represent the loss of one small but infinitely precious life during that war-to-end-all-wars, ten million hopes scattered to the winds -staggering to contemplate.

At the going down of the sun, the park's Cocker Tower (below) was illuminated with a series of images of remembrance, a moving tribute from the town to those who served and died in order that we could live free.

I've not written a new poem for this week's blog, but you're welcome to revisit the Winter Ghost blog I wrote a year ago about the Christmas 1914 football game in No Man's Land, linked here:

Thanks for reading. Until next week, S :-)


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure about your maths - but a beautifully written piece.

Rochelle said...

I followed the link to your Ghost Between the Posts poem and left a comment there. Wonderful writing.

Matt West said...

Wot no poem? Standards is falling buddy. LOL

Anonymous said...

Beautifully expressed (as usual).Thanks for the link.

Anonymous said...

Are parakeets everywhere nowadays? We have them in west London - apparently escaped from Kew Gardens? A lovely blog Steve. Peace to you.

Jools said...

You write so well, it's always a pleasure to read. Keep sending the links.

Anonymous said...

I agree with others comments - a nicely pitched blog.