Sunday, 27 October 2013

Victoria surprise

Coming back to the car in Stafford this morning we popped down a short passageway to have a look at the bowling green we'd seen at the other end, and found ourselves in Victoria Park. It was unexpected, since our past visits to Stafford have generally been for shopping, and we've mostly seen either the shops or the sprawling housing estates. The park gives the impression of being quite small, though the council website says it is the largest of those under its care, and it wouldn't have been hard to find, but we never did until now. It lies alongside a stretch of the River Sow, over which a bridge built to commemorate the coronation of King George V takes the pedestrian to a riverside walk. My camera was in my bag, but I thought it would be difficult to take a photo worth publishing, so left it there – something I now regret. So a link to its community support group will have to suffice.

In addition to the bowling green, it has a sizeable glass house for temperate or tropical plants, and an octagonal (I think) aviary with an entertaining but somewhat bizarre mix of budgerigars, pheasants of one sort or another, and other flittery delights. There were faded, laminated sheets inside the cages, drooped beyond all possibility of being read to identify the species. But they didn't seem to mind, and continued to stalk and flitter, chatter and feed, variously ignoring or delighting in the human company.

In front of a tall hedge, supervising proceedings, was a statue of a man bearded suitably for the first decade of the 20th century, with a bowl in his hand. His somewhat faded appearance contrasted strongly with the colourful mass of begonias still displaying in the bedding areas. There were very few in the park on this mild October morning. Perhaps we'll return at a busier time and try to capture some of its essence with the camera.

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