Tag Archives: local community


In the southeast at least, fading summer departs with grace cut across by wet and windy bluster.   Autumn beckons.   But the sun shone last week, and in that lingering warmth I found myself in Vauxhall Gardens, site of the original Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens between around 1650 – 1850.

The historical gardens offered pleasures  more extensive than those available today, but the past few years have seen the Gardens reclaim one aspect of their former glory: people are using them again, as a through route, as a place to linger.  Within the Gardens is Vauxhall City Farm, a stalwart which, if memory serves, dates from the early 1980s.  But this is simply background to my actual subject: Deckchairs. Continue reading

Schools grounds: the peculiar status of school grounds (2)

I wrote recently about the peculiar UK notion that school grounds should  be sequestered, fenced or walled enclaves effectively unavailable for easy use by the school’s local community.  The fact that school grounds are sometimes used for planned and organised ‘community’ events does nothing to weaken the points I sought to make.

Particularly in areas where general park or open space is limited, this barricading against wider community use seems particularly ill-judged.  Other countries manage things differently, Sweden for one, and parts – I do not have full information – of the USA, certainly.

Photos by Sharon Danks, Bay Tree Design

Photos by Sharon Danks, Bay Tree Design

I happen to be  in Berkeley, California, at the moment, and here some school at least have a more open policy.   The pictures are of the signs at the boundaries marking the dividing line between school and park;  park and street.  The park section is used by the school during school time, and is open to the wider community at all other times.  It takes but a minute’s thought to appreciate that the ‘rest of  the time’, is quite substantial: after school, weekends, school holidays.


The signs raise questions, for example, why is the park closed when kids are in school time? ‘Stranger danger’, I hear you say. Well, perhaps that’s a valid reason. Or perhaps that reason is freighted with assumptions that it is time to challenge.  But that is not the point of this short piece.  My aim is simply to share with you the signs, and what they bespeak.