Ordinary Socks

Adela Parzanese

Ordinary socks.

Ordinary life.

With ups and downs,

Colourful, but grey sometimes.

Ordinary lives, we see pass by.

Hailstorms, rain, wind and blue skies.

Ordinary life; a mother who nurtures a baby while pushing the other in the pram.

Ordinary lives, of those who see the smiles, but never the scars.

Socks, shoes, boots nobody walks my path.

Ordinary lives. We are here, there and always so far we have nothing, yet so much.

Ordinary LIFE, I’ve searched abroad what I’ve always had by my side.

Thank You, Dear Rowntree, For Your Lovely Park

Mieke Jackson

Thank you, dear Rowntree, for your lovely Park,

And a very happy Hundredth Year!

You’ve given us all space to play and ‘lark’,

And created memories so dear.

My childhood walks to that special green place,

Were so serene and beautiful for me,

My own three just loved it, they said it was ‘ace’,

And we had full days out, for free!

We had our picnics, and climbed and played,

Under willows for shade, sitting on coats,

An ice cream from the van, our treat, as we laid,

Watching ducks and geese, and remote controlled boats. 

In 2020, our lives then all changed,

As Covid then made its big mark,

Our Squash Club had shut, all sport rearranged,

So we headed to Rowntree Park!!

We played tennis for fun, on good courts near the trees,

Sounds of laughter, and music in our ears,

In sunshine and blue skies, and with a gentle breeze,

The best time we’d had for years!

So, THANK YOU to the Park Friends,

For looking after this ‘gem’,

Where nature and exercise meet,

In 2021, a special year for you all, we’ll be back, though we’re not sure quite when!!

Memories from a local lad 

Tony Huntington

We know that when Joseph Rowntree gave Rowntree Park to the people of York he did so as a memorial to those who died in the First World War and for the benefit of generations of York people.

At the time he would not have known just how much York people have benefited.  Time and priorities have changed but the Park has always been a source of peace and tranquillity for those:

  • Who would each day have a gentle walk round the lake, possibly feed the ducks and revel in the wonderful flower borders
  • Who would want to visit the Ravens and Rabbits in their cages
  • Who would come to the Park as often as possible to have a quiet game of bowls on the wonderful greens maintained by the Park staff
  • Who would be a member of the Park Tennis Club, playing two or three times a week and helping to run the annual Tennis Tournament which was always such a success
  • Who would take their children to the Cafe for a hand made sandwich or Ebor ice-cream
  • Who would fish in the lake (when the Park Keeper was not about!)
  • Whose children would run free
  • Who would enjoy the wonderful top-class Brass Band Concerts on a Sunday afternoon.

All of this, in the 1940s and early 1950s, was looked after by a Park Keeper, always well turned out in his uniform, together with his team of gardeners and greenkeepers.

Rowntree Park provided that haven of peace and tranquillity which people needed after their experience of austerity and warfare.

Thank you for your vision Joseph Rowntree.

The Park

Mary Baker

Ducks quacking, geese honking, all competing for food

Squirrels scampering in trees and undergrowth 

Birds singing, making their nests

Sun shining, warming the cold spring day

Trees budding, flowers peeking up awakening from their winter’s sleep

Children laughing

Babies crying

Mums chattering

Dogs yapping

Tennis balls popping 

Skateboards scooting 

Balls thudding on the basketball court

Yogis stretching

Joggers running

Friends meeting at the cafe

Grandparents playing with grandchildren 

Dog walkers strolling

Volunteers gardening 

All united in enjoying our park 

How lucky we are

The Amazon’s Song

 Kate Newton – Age 13

I used to belong to the rainforest, long, long ago. We were one and the same; a singular being. I grew alongside the trees. The roots were my bones. My pulse matched the ebb and flow of the crystalline river-sea- it’s waters were the blood in my veins. Everything that scuttled and scampered and slithered through the undergrowth; all creatures from the birds that spread their wings and soared through the treetops to the beetles and bugs that crawled across the coarse and damp earth were my brothers and sisters. Every morning I danced to the steady beat and thrum of the rain; every night I sang along with the howling monkeys and the crying cicadas. The song of the Amazon.

But then, they came, great monsters of metal that tore through the ancient trees like paper. They turned the sky grey with their smoke and the rivers black with their oil. With their silver teeth, they ripped the green plants from the ground and ate into the weeping earth. Leaves, ripped carelessly from their branches, spilled onto the ground like tears, silent and solemn. The beasts took my brothers and sisters with their iron fists and tossed them carelessly into cages. They drove huge rifts into the dirt, pulling up the roots that had lived there for centuries. They took away the song of the Amazon and left behind them a gaping, yawning silence.

I now live amongst the dead branches and broken twigs of a fallen kingdom. Where my long-forgotten home once stood proudly. Where there once flowed water there are only sunken river beds. Where there once were trees now stand dry, rotted stumps. The rain that now falls here is not fresh and nourishing, but cold and dark. The life that still resides on this empty plain is small and weak, nothing like the lively creatures I used to know. Sometimes, the beasts return, to take more from the earth they have already stolen so much from; to chop the silent corpses of the trees I once knew and loved like family, into cold, meaningless dust. I yearn for the life I once had, to hear the Amazon’s song once again, but I know that it may never return to me.  I sing my own songs now, songs of mourning, songs that my weary feet can no longer dance to. These are the only songs that are left in me.

Rowntree Park Is Very Big

Summer Langhorn – Age 13

Rowntree Park is very big and fun to have a family day out. There is also a cafe for people to go and get some food or a cup of tea to keep them warm. Even in the summer there is an ice cream van sometimes near the cafe. There is a skate park there as well which is fun.

I like to go there now and then because it is nice to go with your friends and family for a day out.

It was one of the sunniest days in Yorkshire, when all the birds were chirping and all the geese were flying around the park.

The geese always love to swim in the pond with their babies.

This park is also a great place to go on a walk with your pets or your family. 

It’s just one of the most amazing places in the whole of Yorkshire.

Pedal Down

Natalie Roe

There had been few moments in my life that had truly been a turning point. I didn’t think a jam sandwich would feature so prominently in one of them. Years later, I would look back at moments that had been branches, choices where life could have gone one way or another. But the day I ate a sandwich in the park was one of them.

I had gone to the park because my housemate forced me. Not quite physically, but it was close.

“Hannah! Go outside! Just for a short walk.” Jenni had instructed that morning, full of Scandinavian practicality. “It will make you feel better. You’re stuck in a rut.”

I think my moping was driving her up the wall, so I packed an inexpensive lunch of one jam sandwich and one apple and dragged myself out. I sat on a wooden bench and closed my eyes. Breathing exercises to relax. The spring air did smell sweet. There were gentle blossoms fluttering down, occasionally brushing my cheek. The slight contact made me flinch at first, but then felt soft and somehow soothing. 

I could hear some giggles from children: “Look at me, Daddy, Look at meeeeee!” Honks from the geese, the ringing of a bike bell. I opened my eyes. The park was pretty in this fluttering May afternoon, children larked about, chasing geese. Cheeky squirrels boldly ventured to steal crumbs. People were enjoying the first picnics of the year. Magpies circled, one for sorrow….one for sorrow… I desperately looked about for a second one. Phew! Two! Two for joy!

I got the sandwich out of my lunchbox. Strawberry jam. I enjoyed the connection to childish days. Made necessary through lack of funds. A big splodge of jam fell from the sandwich, onto my jeans. I noticed it fall almost in slow motion like an action movie. Nooooooooooooooo!

I realised I had said it aloud.

The man on the bench next to me looked up. I had barely registered him there. The slight movement out of the corner of my eye made me involuntarily glance in his direction. There was a pack of baby wipes on the bench next to him. I looked at them then, looked up and realised he was fully staring at me and also laughing. He held out the packet and I was relieved. Just then, a little girl called out:

“Daddy, you’re not looking!”

I spotted her, further down the path. Yellow dungarees on a powder blue bike with white plastic daisies on the basket. Nice bike, I couldn’t help think. I was strangely jealous.

“I’m looking, Flora, I’m looking!” He replied, his full attention on her. “Try again, you’re doing great!”

I watched the little girl too. I have no experience of children, I had no idea how old she must be, she just looked short, and had long, dark hair with glasses. Just like me when I was little. She sat astride the bike, ringing the bell. 

“That’s good, sweetheart. Try riding it again!”

She instantly looked grumpy. Then sad. Then with great concentration, she put her foot down hard on the pedal, the wheels turned slowly. But she was going too slowly and there was a wobble. Both feet went down to the path. She whimpered. 

“That was good, darling. Pedal down, push forward! Give it another go!” cried the Dad.

A group of young teens swung down the path on skateboards. The little girl shrank back from their whoops and swagger. Then recovered herself, little lip stuck out. I found myself rooting for her. 

“Flora, you can do this!”

Funny little name, like an old lady.

She was distracted by the May blossom petals; the wind was blowing them across her path like snowflakes. She observed them falling about her… 

“Flora! Give it a go!” called her Dad, bringing her attention back to the task.

Flora frowned in concentration, with a heave that seemed to use the full force of her body she leant down on the pedal and pushed off. Her other foot connected to the pedal and she began to quiver down the path. Quivering, swaying, then soaring! Her face broke into a grin as she darted along, no wobbles, no trips. Nothing to stop her as she rushed straight past her Dad on the bench and flew through the park.

Without a word, the Dad grabbed his bag and the wet wipes, and rushed off after her, cheering “Well done!” She was off, around the corner and out of sight. 

I sat back. With a deep breath, I opened my own backpack again, put my sandwich back in the lunchbox and removed my application form. It was a big scary world, out there. But I couldn’t stay still. Pedal down, push forward!

I picked up a pen…

“Personal Statement:

After my recent redundancy, I am looking for a new position. I am a confident, friendly, team-player…”

If We Stare Long Enough… 

Caroline Cox

If we stare long enough 

this is what we see: 

a fox in a field, a butterfly, 

a glorious, working bee. 

If we stare long enough 

the nature comes to us; 

a ladybird, a blue tit 

a wild rabbit, a thrush. 

If we stare long enough 

and open our eyes to see, 

a beautiful world in front of us; 

a wood, a cloud, a tree. 

If we stare long enough 

and enjoy this world for free  

we won’t regret admiring it 

and take time to really see. 

A Walk Through Rowntree’s

Lucas Cowley, Age 8

Very quickly, I race to the place 

That is a gate as big as a giant reaching up to space

I walk past dogs playing in the field

As some of Rowntree Park is revealed 

I hop through arches, tall and grand

With long roses in dream land

I hear the splashes of the ducks in the pond

And smell the lush, green trees beyond 

Children laugh with yummy ice cream

Sunlight shines down in a bright beam

As I go to the last place

A smile comes on my face

The screams from the zip wire and giggles on swings

“Yes I’m in the park! Oh the joy it brings!”