Dawn of a new day in OUR park.
Byline: The Bard of Birkenhead David Charters
THE days are shorter now. Someone with a long reach has shaved the sun. And the creep of dusk has grown a little quicker. You can almost touch the coming chill when you gaze on the slow glow of street lamps, before locking the front door. And the cocoa tin sits in the kitchen cupboard, its lid inviting the tap of a teaspoon. "Ooh, a nice cup of cocoa with digestive biscuit. That would be lovely." The joys of the night mellow with age. Hopes are more easily met. Eager scientists explain seasonal changes with tales of how we orbit around the sun. Indeed! But your perambulating pensioner knows it's autumn when the dawn dew on the grass in the park is heavy enough to penetrate the leather on his shoes, telling him to stick to the paths. Of course, parks are for people. Indeed, Birkenhead Park is often rather grandly called the People's Park, or even the People's Garden, because it was the first in the world developed by public subscription for everyone. Looking back on that time, 1847, you can see how our crusty old pie of a town was pioneering the notion of civic socialism, half a century before the formation of the Labour Party. Splendid houses with their own
The Bard of Birkenhead David Charters park. But not one inch of that park is reserved for private use. It is all ours. And it is good to see families picnicking on that 226-acre spread, while others admire the pond, the two lakes, their bridges, the serpentine paths, the mounds, the flowers and those rockeries, where generations of children have left the skin of their kneecaps. But an even greater pleasure can be found in the young light, before day has begun, when the sun rises behind the towering trees sheltering the cricket score-box. On the lakes, midges dance between the water and the lifting mist, spiders weave webs in the rhododendrons, shy butterflies sigh as they settle on petals. It's all very beautiful. Listen and you will hear the silence. It's a rare sound. Soon it will be replaced by the panting of padding dogs and the yells of their patient owners. Then the motor-mower man will be out, chugging over the grass. Car engines will spurt into their own kind of life. Wise worms will return to their lairs. Every day at dawn our park E plays host to Creation and it is a privilege to be there.