Unlike the period between 1965 and 1995 when every summer holiday was filled with blue skies, the scent of freshly cut grass and too many sweets, the school holidays have now become the time for the weather to deteriorate. This is not because of climate change, it is simply because we have become parents. True, it’s not great to moan about the recent weather given much more serious events elsewhere in the world but it just wouldn’t be right, proper and, let’s face it, British to let the a month go by without one tiny little moan about the weather. Loads of sun and no rain for weeks and now it’s holiday time we get this mixed bag! Six weeks of school holidays will pass very, v e r y, s l o w ly unless there’s a good dose of sun. Children get bored and as boredom levels rise, so the parental cash outflow can increase in trying to combat it.
It’s at times like this that Twickenham’s outdoor spaces really come into their own. OK, so a trip to a park in the rain doesn’t seem quite as attractive as a sunbaked picnic but a bit of summer drizzle can add a nice melancholic tinge to any occasion. Just pretend you’re in a European art house film and you’ll be fine. You can even top it off by speaking in a foreign accent, frowning a lot and leaving long pauses… in the the middle of your sentences.
So it’s good to see that three local parks have received Green Flag Awards . With 223 such awards being granted in London alone we’ll take the positive view that this is a sign of the healthy state of our open spaces. The green flag is all about reaching a benchmark rather than recognising the best. The “Twickenham 3” are York House Gardens, Twickenham Green and Kneller Gardens. At the latter, perhaps the new bridge that they built right next to the fully functioning old bridge swung it for them. The refurbished pavillion and some new play equipment have also helped Kneller Gardens look a bit sharper recently. The good folk at Richmond Environment Network provide more detail on their blog. And of course all of this is without touching on Bushy Park, Marble Hill Park and that big one “over the water”.
Even Crane Park is getting in on the act with a £400k makeover. It’s a space which tries hard but does need a bit of a boost. And as it happens on Sunday 15th August those Richmond Environment people are doing their bit with an “art picnic” at the Shot Tower which all looks rather creative.
What with parks getting awards, art picnics across the borough and lidos seeing a resurgence of interest in other parts of London it is now clear what we need in Twickenham to ensure we stay at the cutting edge of public leisure. The priority is not more sunshine, although that would be very welcome. And it’s not even the riverside development. The priority surely has to be… wait for it… a BANDSTAND. Yes, a bandstand! Not that silly covered gazebo thing in Radnor Gardens but a proper, Trumpton-esque structure. Think! Relatively cheap to build. Unusual. Fits the whole “staycation” credit crunch vibe. Free live music on a regular basis. A showcase for local talent. And a bandstand doesn’t just have to mean the Twickenham Colliery band because in the days of Britain’s Got the X-Factor, there’s no shortage of people willing to show off free of charge regardless of ability. Brass bands, new-folk, classical, jazz, acoustic death metal. I could go on. Country, swing, nu-rave. I just did. Just build the bandstand and they will come. It’s been done elsewhere and now we need one here. It’s going to be Trumpton with attitude out there. So let the Twickenham bandstand bandwagon get rumbling.