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Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Walpole Park and my dog-walking worries ...


Walpole Park, in the centre of Ealing, is our local park. Normally it’s a great little spot, but this winter it’s being renovated, and it’s shrunk to half its normal size (argh!). We’ve been fenced out for our own safety while they carry on with the work.



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The park adjoins Pitzhanger Manor, which was built by the famous architect, Sir John Soane, as his country house. You may have visited his town house in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which is now a museum filled to capacity with all his bits-and-bobs. Old Sir John was a bit of a hoarder, although in his day they called him a ‘collector’.





In any event the idea behind this programme of work is to restore the park’s Regency landscape. I think that sounds amazing, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished result, but I’d like to know when that’s likely to happen, and when we can expect to get our park back. The work is being ‘phased’, and I’ve not been able to find any firm finish dates on the Internet for when any of the phases will be finished – other than the vague suggestion of early 2014, which I would have thought ought to be sometime now.




We try to walk to and from school when the weather is nice, and when we don’t have too much games kit to lug back and forth. A quick detour into Walpole Park on the way back allows Maxi to have a run off the lead over the open grass before my workday begins. Recently, however, I’ve had to keep him tied up because of all the heavy plant and machinery that’s always motoring around in there. Some mornings it feels a little bit like we’re taking our morning constitutional in a working quarry.







The Serpentine has been drained and the ornamental gardens have been dug up with the result that it looks as though they’re trying to re-create a WWI battlefield, complete with muddy trenches in the fenced-off zone. The next photo’s a bit out of focus because even my camera was losing the will to live when presented with this scene of destruction, but you can hopefully get an idea of what I’m banging on about. And I have to say, as an aside, that the vague early 2014 finish date is beginning to look a bit optimistic. Call me a cynic, but it doesn’t look like the ducks are going to be paddling in this pond any time soon.



Don’t get me wrong: I’m not having a go at the Council or whoever’s in charge. I liked the park how it used to be, and I’m sure I’ll love it with all the fancy Regency-era improvements that have been promised. All the people who work there have been unfailingly helpful and polite to me. The vehicles drive slowly with lights flashing, and there’s usually a lookout guy walking in front to make sure that they don’t run over anyone or their dog. I’m just saying that I’m really looking forward to when we get it back again – all of it.

Bonny x



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