Joyce Lucas: Out and about amid flowers and music

Joyce Lucas
Joyce Lucas

I have spent a most interesting few days reading a folder full of information about the Oakham Twinning Association. Entitled Oakham + Barmstedt, 25 Years of Friendship, it gives the full account of how this project started and how the ties remain to this day. There are many familiar faces between its pages, some who, sad to say, are no longer with us. However their work for this cause must not go unrecognised. The newspaper cuttings include trips on a canal barge, an Oompah Evening at Burley Road School and visits by Rutland schoolchildren and musicians to Barmstedt.

The document is worth a read and can be viewed from the archives at Rutland County Museum.

This week for my ‘day off’ I went in search of some Strimmer guards for the newly-planted trees. The big, heavy duty galvanised ones. Some day off, I thought, until I met a very kind timber merchant in Leicester whose help was invaluable. Problem solved, we journeyed to the Gate Hangs Well public house and restaurant along the banks of the river Wreake at Syston. Set in lovely, well-kept gardens we enjoyed a little time for relaxation... watching the landlord working his newly acquired ‘drone’. Talk about boys’ toys!

This area of Leicester is the home of Watermead Country Park, which is a Green Flag Award-winning beautiful walking and fishing park. There are many Green Flag Parks in and around Rutland: Melton Country Park, Market Bosworth Country Park and Beacon Hill, together with Rutland Water, to name just a few. Dare I say, ‘log on to’ Green Flag Awards East Midland and find one near you.

I have noticed the hanging baskets and flower troughs in Oakham are in position and how well they look. It will be a welcomed sight for our visitors and residents. This is a full-on community project involving Oakham in Bloom, Oakham Town Council and the businesses.

Thank you to all concerned, your efforts do not go unnoticed. The East Midlands in Bloom judges arrive on July 7. Fingers crossed that Oakham and Uppingham feature in the winners lists.

And now, about the Proms in the Park ... what can I say? Rutland Concert Band – you’ve done it again! What a splendid night of fun and laughter as well as great music. I arrived at Cutts Close Park, Oakham at 4 pm to do a bit of work, and by 4.30pm people were arriving to stake their claim to a ‘pitch’. Out came all the picnics, seats and flags. By 7 the park was packed and people were still arriving. Everyone was good humoured and the crowd were determined to have a rip-roaring time. The music was great and the soloist, Caroline Trutz, once again gave an outstanding performance.

I met visitors from Preston (Lancashire), Bedford, Peterborough and Northampton…mostly caravanners from surrounding sites. This event, hopefully, will turn into a tradition for our town and I can’t wait for the Rutland Concert Band’s Remembrance Evening Concert in November. The band is now established as an ambassador for our county and long many it flourish. Thank you for a most enjoyable evening.

For someone brought up in the era of blue salt bags in crisp packets, I began to think about changes of use for our words in the English language. Gay was once a lovely name for a girl, Curry was an ice skater, tea was made with tea leaves (still is on our house), a big mac was a raincoat, a mouse was a furry animal and a chippy was a carpenter. I am sure readers can add more.

I am off now to pick yet more strawberries from my garden. This is a busy time of year for jam making and summer puddings for Christmas.