Abington Park is my favorite green space in my home town, my second favorite green space being the country cricket club just across the road. My least favorite green space is the one in Northampton Town FC`s back four. Abington Park is one of the top ten ornamental parks in Great Britain with 352 different varieties of trees and ten times that of shrubs, second only to Kew Gardens for that badge of honor, although the Borough Council keep chopping them down because they over-hang the road and deposit seeds and kindling on posh peoples cars who then threaten to sue the council. It’s a really beautiful and iridescent place though, especially in autumn a really pleasant place to be in and equal to any of London’s Royal Parks if you ask me. We even have a towering Redwood Pine and a Monkey Tree, towering up from the cute little aviary full of budgies and Peacocks. The other day there was a domestic parrot on the outside of the cages trying to get in to join the exotic birds, presumably because they were the same color as him, unlike the gray and brown birds on the outside.
Because Abbey is immaculate the people off all social backgrounds in Northampton treat it with surprising respect. There’s no litter to be seen and even the roughians scoop up their fighting dogs poo poo with a scooper. The kids even take off their shoes to play soccer on the manicured bowling greens they are the reverent to its pristine condition. This is Great Britain in action! The other prominent park in the town, 'The Racecourse’, which houses the now cancelled balloon festival, is a tip in contrast. If you are going to be mugged or far worse then that’s the place it will happen.
Parks are cool things because they are free of charge of course and great places to escape to in the summer, maybe with a good book and some snacks, or a pretty girl and some medium priced wine with an impressive label for company, one of the few places in England where the British class system actually mingles with no pretensions - although social groups A, B and C always keeping their distance from the D`s and E`s in Northampton, as written in the British social class manual.
Across the park you have the park café; expensive, homely and safe, young couples surrounded by kids, plastic footballs, ice cream and steaming tea and coffee (at fair-trade prices!). The café is called the 'Ye Old Oak’ and it’s the only one and so a bit of a monopoly.
Parks have lakes too, but the water never blue. Ours has three small ones. One is a boating lake with no boats, the armada of two-seaters long since sunk by the 'yob culture’. The other lakes are for the birds, the water very grey and murky looking like the fish who are imprisoned in them. The well known Cricket Test umpire Peter Willey chairs the 'Friends of Abington Park Group’, his voluntary role to row out in a little boat and judge the conditions of the lakes all year round. So if you want to talk cricket with someone who knows then there your tip for the day.
We have a 'pitch and putt’ but a rather sad affair. It was recently reopened after a ten year absence, the council house kids terrorizing the booking clerks and so torched out their hut. I learnt to play golf there as a kid and so it was good to see it reopen. It is up and running again but not quite the same, a long walk to the other booking office to get the clubs and, believe it or not, the flags. Abington Park was my childhood but very different to the one kids have today.