Friday, 18 July 2008

Buckmore Park - local sports centre still closed?

Anybody know what is happening with the Buckmore Park Sports centre in Chatham? It was such a great asset to the local area and it seems a shame to think it's just sitting out in the park unused, especially as Lottery money helped to fund it. How many years has it been standing unused? With the London Olympics on the horizon it seems crazy that such a great sports facility (climbing wall, badmington, gym, pool etc)is idle, probably tied up in legal wrangling etc.

Talking of Olympics, as Beijing has temporarily closed down factories and industries etc to try and solve their pollution problems, it would be interesting to find out what the knock-on efffect of lack of raw materials on manufacture in the UK is. It will take about six months for materials to be shipped back round after the Olympics which means there could be some problems with supply and demand....

A day out a Hampton Court Palace Flower Show...

This was the second time I have visited the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, the first some ten plus years ago, and it was interesting to see how the show has grown. Last time the northside of the Long Water was for picnicking on with no stands or marquees or show gardens but provided a place to escape from the frantic bustle of the show and, on a sunny day, just chill for a while. Now the show is twice the size and the northside is as busy as the south and as such, makes for a long day to get round the whole show.
This time, arriving late-morning via park and ride (never underestimate the delight a short ride in an old Routemaster double-decker can give to kids!), we headed straight for an early lunch to avoid the queues and get a chance to orientate ourselves and work out what we wanted to see. Lunch was in the King’s Food Court, resplendent with its chandeliers and music from the nearby bandstand.
We had a small shopping list, a shade sail for the garden and a rose for the new pergola and a desire to see the show gardens, the children’s zone and scarecrow competition, the climate zone, the Thai floating market, the Daily Mail pavilion and the Festival of Roses... anything else, given the time frame, would be a bonus.
The crowds have grown in proportion to the show as well and I was pleased that the children had been issued with safety wrist bands at the entry gate, a good precaution, as the people with trolleys were on a mission to shop and had no scruples at all over barging past and splitting us up into the crowds. One lady even ran her plant-laden trolley over my foot without so much as a sorry in her hurry!

The Daily Mail pavilion was a delight, if a little disconcerting with its birdsong soundtrack. ‘The Beyond the Garden Wall’ garden by Hardy’s Cottage Plants was beautiful with sweetpea Matucana and a purple Ipomoea catching my eye among the fantastic long borders. There were two water rills and water was definitely a recurring theme throughout the show this year, both in the show gardens and falling from the sky! A couple of donkeys were a distraction for the kids and then we moved on through one of the Floral marquees.... read the rest of the review at