Park Life

Dawberry Fields Forever…..

We are blessed in Birmingham with so many green spaces/parks? Wherever we have lived, we have enjoyed playing, walking, exercising, learning about the birds and the trees. Thanks dad.

Many happy hours were spent with school friends at the Muntz Park in Selly Oak, “down the Dell” then through the gap to “The Rec”, and back.. and back again!

Later in Bournville, I would retrace the steps that dad took with us, past Stocks Wood to Bournville Park, then follow the River Bourn to the “Yachting Pool”, now called Arrow Valley? We’d net us some Sticklebacks, before ‘Pooh sticking’ it home.

Stirchley was more challenging – I hunted down all the ‘Microparks’ and the recently reenergised Stirchley Park, with new trees and commissioned graffiti depicting Birmingham’s history, and I followed the River Rea to Hazelwell, and onto Cannon Hill Park. Mom and I would spring dad from his care home and sit for hours with him coddled in blankets listening to birds, which he could still name, and chatting to passers-by.

That’s Park Life! Passers-by speak to each other (mostly!).

Mom and I moved to Kings Heath, and what a lovely surprise it was to find that ‘just over the fence’ lies a hidden gem. Dawberry Fields Park shares it’s bounty with us. We have an Oak Tree full of life, blackberries, and a honeysuckle hedge which peeps over, and shares it’s heady scent in the summer evenings, when we’re out there watching the bats fly over the park (yes the nightlife is good here too!) while sipping our gin! I’m less keen on the sound of the foxes screaming at night though!

I’ve seen all sorts of butterflies and moths – Common Blue, Peacocks and my favourite the Cinnabar moth – striking red and black colour – I thought I’d happened upon a rare species, but thanks to a great Facebook page ‘EcoRecord’ I post my ‘rare’ finds and they let me know what they are. I recently met two like-minded ladies keen to inject more life into the park who had set up a nature trail which I had followed. It got me thinking about learning more and investing some time with nature. Just yesterday I counted over 30 Oak Trees!

Birdlife is thriving – the hedges are full of blackberries are also a cacophony of song – Robins, blue tits, sparrows, and of course the noisy crows! I recently saw Goldfinches near the Brandwood Park road entrance. I miss dad for helping me identify birds and their song – it would be nice to have an expert (other than Google) with me!

We hear (and sometimes watch) the footie players – there is some serious coaching that goes on, as well as families having a kick around, despite one of the goalposts having gone walkabout! This same lonely goalpost has hosted birthday parties, complete with balloons and picnic, and more recently a slightly scary full on firework display!

I also realised I had played footie here long ago. I was a Major with 202 Field Hospital and we’d walk down from the TA Centre and play – well, I say ‘play’, I spent a lot of time running around after a ball!

It’s (mostly) a tranquil oasis, interspersed with children playing, especially when they pour out of the nearby school to use the playground, and dog walkers chatting, joggers and has become a little busier recently, which is nice. Another bonus is that there are plenty of benches to sit and watch the World go by.

So, I’m all for ‘Park Life’, where all the people; so many people, they all go hand-in-hand, and while life passes us by in a Blur (see what I did there?) it gives me a sense of enormous well-being.

Kim – a friend of Dawberry Fields Neighbourhood Park

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