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Ten years ago today I created the 178th post for Greenford 365. To mark the blog’s anniversary I will attempt to post a photo every day throughout 2022.
The official name for this field is “Horsenden Recreation Ground”, although that seems to be a recent invention, to allow for its “improvement”. That means turning it into a dull park with the requisite exercise equipment, paths and playground provision. Once they’ve done that Ealing Council will make it a little wild again by putting in a pond.
This is one of the few undeveloped pieces of agricultural land left close to homes but it is its useful proximity to the many new ones at Greenford Quay that makes its “improvement” necessary. This field, bounded by Greenford Road and the Grand Union Canal, is quiet and sheltered, familiar to dog walkers and fishermen but few others. At present it is accessed by vertiginous concrete steps on one side and from playing fields on the other with a path cut through the long grass.
I am not the only one who believes that this should not happen, not least because any place with a bench has become the haunt of street drinkers and a nearby car park has attracted noisy summertime party goers. Instead I have suggested that it becomes a memorial to Lance Sergeant Dale McCallum of the Scots Guards, a resident of Greenford but originally from Jamaica. Dale was killed in Afghanistan in 2010, his grave is at Greenford Park Cemetery. This could become a “Veteran Space”, left as it is but maintained by local veterans seeking a quiet activity to help them cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is time for a more modern memorial to our fallen and one that marks the contribution and sacrifice of a soldier from a Commonwealth country is long overdue.
This quiet place changes with the seasons. Today long grasses swayed in the wind, their gold dotted with purple knapweed, loved by butterflies. All I could hear, despite being metres away from a main road, was the wind in the surrounding trees and the sound of many grasshoppers. Who needs a wildlife pond when you have the canal and its birds? Who needs a deliberate sowing of wild flowers where they already exist?
Images and text ©Albertina McNeill 2022. Please do not reproduce without permission. All rights reserved. Do not add any of these images to Pinterest or similar sites as this will be regarded as a violation of copyright.