Saturday, 24 March 2012

Bigging up Rushcliffe Country Park

Easily the best country park in the East Midlands, Rushciffe Country Park, easily the best in the East Midlands, has been the playground of choice for the BFTF kids for many years. They affectionately call it the "Choo-Choo Train Park" due to its location next to the Heritage Railway Centre and have spent hundreds of child-hours in the playground, playing football in its green spaces and walking around the beautiful and wildlife-rich lake with Mr and Mrs BFTF.

The Lake, yesterday

Constantly evolving, recent years have seen the introduction of an outstanding BMX track, improved play equipment and, most recently, a labyrinth.

A labyrinth only has one path, think of it as Maze-lite

Regarding this latest addition to the parks long list of features, it is interesting to see how a simple (if rather elegant) circular arrangement of packed sand and bricks has on passers by. They seem drawn towards it like nails to a magnet. And for many (including the BFTF crew), simply walking around it is not enough. It gets competitive. A race begins, parents vs children, Mum vs Dad.

Who will win?

Somewhat surprisingly, Mum!

The labyrinth, Minotaur currently off sick with flu

Another aspect of the park that has particularly impressed BFTF is the cleanliness of the green spaces, which means that a game of football can be played without worry about what one might tread in (a far cry from the state of parks in BFTF's own youth)

The park has an interesting history as a WW2 bomb factory and then as a military surplus auction site, before being converted to the park that it is today. Incidentally, it's worth noting that consideration was given to the lant being used for housing instead of as a park - what a loss to the East midlands it would have been if that course of action had been taken.

You can read more about these aspects of the parks history at its Wikipedia entry, at the Friends of Rushcliffe Country Park and also the Ruddington History website.

BFTF is always keen to say "well done" when the opportunity arises, as it is so easy to fall into the habit of only communicating with organisations when one wants to complain.

So a wee email has been sent to the park management and the Friends of the Park to say thank you for all their efforts.

The Friends website is certainly worth a look as it shows just how much they have managed to get done over the years - and how they have consulted with local people about what the park needed. The organisation looks like a great one to volunteer for and should certainly be on the shortlist of any DoE youngsters!

He might look cute, but he can break you arm

Thursday, 22 March 2012

A short post about Cultural References

An episode of Eastenders this week had one of characters, Shirl, saying "I hate George Michael. Pepsi and Shirley should have drowned him when they had the chance in that pool."

This caused such mirth to science journalist and broadcaster Marcus Chown that he was moved to mention it on Twitter, as you can see below:

A picture of a tweet, earlier today

BFTF absolutely see where Marcus is coming from here, but what was really thought provoking was the fact that the quote was referring to one second clip in a pop video from 1983 - that's nearly 30 years ago. And the track didn't even reach number 1 in the charts, peaking at number 4.

And yet, despite superficially being so obscure, there are probably tens of millions of people in the UK who instantly got the reference.

BFTF wonders how many such common reference points the UK population shares, 100's? 1000's? more?

And what effect has the media fragmentation that has occurred since thre 80's had on the way society absorbs these references?

BFTF also wonders what references are being embedded in our collective memories now? Lord Sugars "You're a lightweight, you're fired" is probably a good candidate, but what else?

What would your nomination be?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Scouts visit to Notts Jewish Progressive Synagogue

BFTF had the opportunity to tag along with Cubs from the 92nd Nottingham Scout Group today as they visited the Nottingham’s Progressive Synagogue.

The group was shown around the Synagogue by guide Tanya, who gave a really clear and interesting explanation of Jewish worship, what happens on the Sabbath and how the Torah is read.

It was also great to see the Cubs taking such an interest and asking so many questions.

One of the highpoints for BFTF were seeing the four Torah Scrolls and learning a little about the sad history of one of these, the Austerlitz scroll.

Another aspect of the event that touched BFTF was when Tanya read the Torah, which she did in a very beautiful, melodic way and sang some of the traditional Jewish religious songs (which the children could join in by clapping at the right points.

The architecture of the synagogue was also very beautiful, as can be seen (just) in the picture here.

BFTF certainly also appreciated that Tanya took the time and interest to ask, when covering a topic, to ask about the corresponding Muslims practice.