Tuesday, 8 October 2013

The Dear Green Place

We moved to Glasgow from Hastings in August this year and I started the exhausting job of looking for a flat to buy while we stay in rented accommodation. I arranged to view one in North Kelvinside and as I looked at the street view on line I could see that there was some abandonded looking ground behind a fence taking up a large part of the street. Right away I imagined problems with drugs, feeling unsafe at night walking past the area and not wanting my son to play there. We were early when we went to view the flat so sneaked through a gap in the fence and were delighted to discover we had stumbled upon the North Kelvin Meadow and Children’s Wood. I had become friends with them on Facebook a few months previously when I was researching community green spaces in Glasgow and had signed the petition to save this area as there are proposals to build new flats here. My son had fun running around while we admired all the hard work that has been done to improve the place including tree houses, raised beds for vegetable growing, colourful decorations and signage.

I couldn’t wait to go to the next event they were holding The Bake Outdoors with a huge list of activities and entertainment the whole family would enjoy. I met Emily Cutts who has been a driving force of the transformation of the children’s wood and was nominated and shortlisted along with Douglas Peacock of the North Kelvin Meadow Campaign in the Observer newspaper’s Ethical Awards “unsung local hero” category. Emily was running around sorting out tables for the baking competition and a million other things needing to be done, all with a smile. 

Glasgow, known as The Dear Green Place, is not short of parks. It’s possible to cycle through most of the West End without having to go near a road. Play parks have improved a lot since I was a child when you just hoped you wouldn’t land on the broken glass strewn concrete ground. But children have a completely different experience when they are allowed to roam free in a wild space. My son can be entertained for hours with everything the natural world provides that is FREE; and his imagination. Children don’t need experts to tell them this is their natural environment, they just feel at home.

We had such a lovely day at the Bake Outdoors. My husband bumped into an old friend from college, I bought a handmade Christmas decoration, bath bomb and homemade cakes. We had spicy lamb burgers cooked on a barbecue and cooked our own cheese patties on an open fire. My son cooked up a big mud pie. At a time when jobs are insecure and people are disillusioned with our money driven society, having a place like this where everyone can contribute, whatever skills and experience they have, really benefits communities by boosting everyone’s feelings of self worth. 

I'm looking forward to seeing the meadow lit up with fairy lights at Halloween. I hope my pictures have captured some of the magic that happens here. The children know it; some adults still need convincing.

Friday, 4 October 2013

From Hastings to Glasgow

Well, I made it to Glasgow in one piece. We've sold our house in Hastings and bought a flat which we will hopefully be in by the end of October. I'm feeling very excited about being back in Scotland and am already very inspired by the landscape and creativity here. I have my first craft fair on Sunday at the Hilton Glasgow Grosvenor Hotel off Byres Road. One of the women who runs it is an old friend from art school. We met up for lunch for the first time in nineteen years and rabbited on as if we'd only been apart a couple of weeks. I've visited some amazing places already which I will be sharing with you on this blog. The photo above is from the Benmore Botanic Gardens within the Argyll Forest Park. I am standing in the avenue of giant redwood trees which are celebrating their 150th birthday this year. Sierra redwoods or wellingtonias are the largest trees in the world. The trees that line this stunning entrance to the gardens can reach twice this height; up to 300ft tall! Imagine being a plant hunter and discovering those humongous trees for the first time. Ok, I admit it, I gave one of them a hug.