Park Life

A visit to the local library with the sprogs was frustrated this morning when, upon arriving, we were told they were closing for lunch. I find it sad that, in this day and age of internet-connected lending libraries that rent DVDs and have advice centres, a small local library that has three members of staff still finds it necessary to close for an hour in the middle of the day. As we had to cross the corner of the local park on the walk home, we stopped of to play on the climbing frames and slides.

Hand made graffiti

St. John’s Park is your typical inner-city park, where each renovation and regeneration quickly becomes careworn and frayed at the edges. Tribes of local kids play endless games of 5-a-side football or full-on body contact basketball. The older generations gather in clusters at the junctions of the paths or on the benches to swap gossip and moan about the kids. The dog walkers whistle nonchalantly, looking anywhere but in your eye whilst their pooch craps on the path, next to the unused pooper-scopper waste bin. Young mums and their children promenade in the latest casual wear, the mums puffing away on Silk Cut whilst the kids slug Coke and try to break the see-saw. Very occasionally, one will see the pasty-faced methadone addicts during daylight, swapping prescriptions and arguing over their bottles of White Lightening cider. This cast of local characters varies from visit to visit but, whilst it might not be wise to loiter here too long after the pubs turn out, the park never really feels threatening or sinister. However, it seems that not everyone shares my opinion judging by the message/warning that caught my eye as we left the park:

According to it’s scribe, this message implies that “I.O.D.” – long the three letter acronym for Isle Of Dogs – now stands for Isle of Danger. Presumably, this new appelation will mean regular visits from The Famous Five, The Secret Seven and The Hardy Boys, all looking for excitement, adventure and mysteries to solve.

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