Progress at the reading cafe

Foxglove: Meredith Stewart 2008

Work to create the new reading cafe is proceeding at top speed, with the aim of getting it ready in time for the summer. The Friends and the council team are very excited about the prospect, the layout and the furnishings look lovely, and a huge list of books, newspapers and journals has been submitted by the Friends! Andy Laslett has forwarded his most recent progress report, which includes a plea for ideas of activities which might boost visitor numbers, particularly over the winter months, when any cafe in a park is likely to be quieter. Please forward any ideas to the Friends.

New this season

Putting in the park

The council have arranged for putting to be available on one of the bowling greens at the park. For £1 (payable at the little orange kiosk), you get a putter, a golf ball and a score card, and the chance to get very frustrated when an ‘easy par 2’ turns into an eight-stroke saga. In the sunshine yesterday, the green was full of people trying their luck.






Also new this year, somewhere slightly more suitable for frogs to hang out. This one was spotted hopping towards our new pond, past a flourishing tansy plant – thanks for this seal of approval! The pond and the new planting seem to have survived their first flooding (last week) with no problem.

Frog at the pond

Park cafe news

Lunch time for a squirrel

The Friends had a great meeting today with the council staff (Fiona Williams, Alistair Gourlay and Andy Laslett), who are involved in developing the park cafe, as a ‘reading cafe’ – an extension of the ‘Explore’ library concept. The new cafe will have books, newspapers, internet and WiFi, as well as good coffee and tasty food, and act as a venue for a variety of activities and events. This squirrel may be still checking the bins for food, but us humans can look forward to something nicer!

Last summer, the Friends sent a document with lots of our ideas and suggestions for how the cafe could look and what could happen in the cafe, and we were really happy to see many of these ideas will be put into place. The cafe may be re-furbished and back in action by the summer holidays, although this depends on the results of the tendering process. The council have prepared a document which outlines their plans, and the Friends will be discussing this subject at the next Friends’ meeting (April 25th, 7.30pm at Southlands Methodist Church). All are welcome to attend and give any feedback.

The reading cafe will have a relatively small number of books (2000 – apparently that’s ‘not much’), and the library staff would love for local people to send in their suggestions – so what’s your favourite book or favourite author? We’re keen to get children’s views too so, parents and carers, do let us know which books/authors are the business at the moment, by replying to this post or posting on our Facebook page.

Canal and fountain repairs

Work starting on the canal
Work starts on the canal and fountains, April 2012

After a couple of years of being top of the ‘repairs list’, work has started on the canal and fountain area, and the council couldn’t have chosen a wetter week to start it! We’re looking forward to having the cracks in the canal lining repaired, so that the canal can be refilled and the fountains can work again. At least the rain is watering the tiny tansy plants that we put in on Monday afternoon, during the ParkActive session at the pond (thanks Ian, Carol, Tom and Shona for their help, as well as Rachel the Ranger, of course).

A parky photo workshop

Graham and Eros at the photo workshop

Graham Smith and Terry Michael led a successful photographic workshop in the park, despite the cold winds, and the hailstorm in the first five minutes. Everyone learnt something, about the settings of their cameras (including the reassuring ‘the automatic setting will often give the best results’) and composing their shots. Rosie kept warm by running around the canal and the statue of Eros, thus giving Monica and Penny a chance to practise taking photos of a moving target.

Many thanks to both Terry and Graham, for their skilled advice, and good luck to all photographers entering our competition.

Park regulars, no 1

This is the first of a series of interviews of people who are Park regulars.

Allan Birkin and Ron Cowl built the tow boat Balboa

The park lake is the home of the York Model Boat Club, and so Bob Smith, along with other members of the club, regularly uses the Park lake to sail boats and to host model boat regattas. On regatta days, dozens of radio-controlled boats are launched, of all different sizes and styles, including large sailing boats, tugs, submarines, and even the famous boat with its skeleton crew. Bob says “I run a fast electric boat. It regularly hits a wave and somersaults across the water only to end up capsized and stuck, out in the middle of the lake.  So I then have the crowd-pleasing job of climbing into full-length waders and setting off into the thigh-deep water.  This is great fun (if a little weird), although there is always the fear in the back of your mind that you will get tangled in some abandoned bike or shopping trolley.  Thankfully so far, touch-wood, this has never happened.”

Bob says the park is special to him because he’s had so many happy family times there. He says the park can be quite peaceful and that local residents see it as important to them. As a model boat user, Bob says he notices that the water can get very weedy in the summer (and smelly), which he puts down to the amount of goose droppings going in, and a lack of fresh water. If given a chance to go back into the history of the Park, he likes to imagine how it would be if the open air swimming pool were still available “On a hot summer day, I think that would be fantastic – maybe it would be community-run by now, too.”

Bob is also the web master for the club, which has a great new website including a weather forecast – so you know whether to take your brolly or your sunhat, when you’re off to a regatta in the park. The first regatta this year is this weekend, on the 25th March, with the others on 27th May, 22nd July and 23rd September, so do go along and see what the club are up to.

Rowntree Park Photo Workshop

Photo by Jane McWeeny, 2009

All are welcome to this family-friendly event, a photographic workshop to be held on Sunday 15th April at 2pm. Terence Michael and Graham Smith, who are organising our 2012 Photographic Competition, offer this chance to learn more about photography and maybe get some shots to enter into the competition.

More details are available in the poster.