Down on the Reserve: Bumper Harvest!

A combination of one of the warmest springs in the last 100 years and a wet and mild June has provided the perfect growing conditions for plants and there is currently a wonderful display of colour at Attenborough Nature Reserve.

The most noticeable as you walk around the Reserve at the moment are the flowers and
blackberries on the bramble. This familiar thorny shrub grows almost anywhere on the Reserve and can commonly be found in woodland, grassland and within the hedgerows. The white and pinkish flowers are literally covering the bushes and on sunny days attract a huge number of bees, hoverflies and other pollinating insects.

Bramble is incredibly valuable for the wildlife at Attenborough. Not only do the flowers provide opportunities for pollinating insects, but the fruit provides food for mammals and birds – particularly during the autumn migration. The dense spiky bushes give valuable protection for nesting birds and also provides a habitat for a range of other small animals.

Whilst the blackberries are the most obvious fruit, a vast array of edible delights can be found around the Reserve including dewberry, elder, cherry, blackthorn, hawthorn and rose to name but a few

Incredibly some 400 micro-species of wild blackberry grow in the UK!
Following an abundance of flowers on the bramble this year it seems that we are going to be in for a bumper crop of blackberries! The fruit ripened some weeks earlier than we
would typically expect.

I have fond memories of foraging with my parents as a child. My mum in particular was a keen jam-maker and would have a large jam pan on the stove from late spring to autumn as different fruits became available. Blackberry season was always one of my favourite times of the year, and I possibly ate as many berries as I put in my ice-cream tub for the jam.

There is some evidence to suggest that trees and shrubs are fruiting up to three weeks earlier than they were 50 years ago, the result of global climate change. Although it would take many more years of data to confirm this, as an indication of just how far the seasons have come forward in the last 30 years, it would have been in the week before I went back to school after the summer holiday that we would head out to pick blackberries. In the last few years, I have taken my son out picking in the first week of the school holiday.

Wild foraging is certainly a great way to engage children in the wonders of the natural world. Whilst the blackberries are the most obvious fruit, a vast array of edible delights can be found around the Reserve including dewberry, elder, cherry, blackthorn, hawthorn and rose to name but a few. Most are wild set, but others such as crab apple, pear and plum serve as a reminder of the Reserve’s history within an agricultural landscape.

Whilst we do not discourage visitors from picking blackberries, we kindly ask that if you are going to go foraging on Nature Reserves such as Attenborough that you stick to the footpaths and do not trample the vegetation in order to get to the juiciest fruit. In 2011 we had a similarly early crop ofblackberries and the actions of blackberry pickers, trampling down the vegetation, led to a bird’s nest being uncovered – the chicks, unprotected by the prickly vegetation, were subsequently predated and died.

Please enjoy the wild harvest, but only pick what you know you will use/eat, leave some for the birds and other wildlife and finally only pick what you are certain is edible and that you have identified correctly.

TIM SEXTON, ATTENBOROUGH NATURE CENTRE.

Beestonian London Marathon update

Regular readers will remember that Beestonian Stuart Baird was preparing to run the London Marathon in aid of JDRF, a charity who are carrying out vital diabetes research. I got back in touch with Stuart to find out how he did and this was his response…

My total raised was £3200. I was in a team of 145 runners for JDRF and just before we set off running, we met for a photograph at Greenwich park and they told us we had raised over £400,000 collectively. This is a great contribution to the clinical trials which are working towards a cure for type 1, and interventions to make kids lives healthier until that cure is found.

As for the run. Wow. If you are contemplating it and think you can do it – go for it. The support is just off the dial in London. Everyone shouting my name from the first hundred yards and for the next 4hrs 42 minutes of running!

I got in ‘synch’ at one point with a few runners and chatted with them. You meet such amazing people along the way. Because of this, I was in synch with a guy surrounded by high rise offices, I had lost track of mileage and as we turned right we both said together, ‘Oh, wow!’ – We had stumbled onto Tower Bridge (the halfway point) by accident. I may have got something in my eye at this point.

This is where the official cheer points are for all the charities – JDRF (including Helen, James and Will), Macmillan, Tommys, Dementia, Cystic Fibrosis etc – thousands of people looking for their team but supporting anyone and everyone. The noise went up several levels.

A couple of miles further down the road, the runners go down an underpass where no supporters can go, all you can hear is silence and runners feet for a quarter mile, but then you turn left and up the ramp out and you’re in the city again. The high rises have tiered walkways so the noise hits you as if you’re a footballer coming out onto a stadium – unbelievable. Again, lump in the throat time.

“Those in the room all stood and clapped.”

I did a good pace until 20 miles and left myself 1hr & 10 mins to do the last 10k (6 miles.) I have been known to do this in 52 mins so I thought all is good. I had forgotten all the advice about fuelling – you are meant to take gels from 6 miles onwards every 20 mins because if you deplete your body and leave it late, you just feel sick all the time.

I ran/walked the last four miles. More than that, I wasn’t aware that as part of the whole JDRF team (which was much bigger than my small part) the charity put on a reception in China Town and as we came into the room, there were official cheerers and those in the room all stood and clapped. There was loads of food and a sports massage. I was made to feel very special but more than that I was very aware I was just one bit of a huge team, organisers, supporters, families and friends to raise that amount of money.”

Congratulations to Stuart from everyone at the Beestonian for his superb efforts.

Beeston (B)Eats

I write this column with minutes to go before I head over to Splendour Festival over at Batman’s crib, Wollaton Hall. I have prepped myself for war with wellies and full on outfit changes for every weather outcome, a bit drastic I know, but as you can tell, this ain’t my first rodeo cowboy. It had only taken a total of 15 minutes to throw together an outfit, leggings check, t-shirt, (in case of miracle, however unlikely), Rain Mac and Hoody for warmth (check). The truth is I may have had more time to prep however I had spent the morning on a vital and massively important mission, namely heading to the Farmers Market to pick up some B.B.C’s, yep that’s Beeston Brownie Company and their little slabs of brownie heaven. The eyes fought it out over the varieties on offer and I walked away clutching a telltale brown bag filled with a Caramac and Salted Caramel treats (I never was any good at picking one choice) stopping myself at the three for £6 offer and managing to leave happy in the fact my addiction hasn’t yet spiraled out of control.

Once home I raided the cupboard for snacks to take as a picnic, if I was a nice person the brownies would have taken place in my rucksack to share amongst friends at the daylong music festival alongside the Rhubarb and Custard creams and Kettle Chips, however I am not, and left them to chill in the fridge safe in the knowledge that I am a greedy adult that doesn’t have to share goodies, more importantly they would sit as a reward for when I eventually made it home.

I arrived at the Splendour gates full of hope, as the sun shone on my face, heading over to the Confetti stage I naively took out my blanket and perched down as Notts Own Do Nothing took to the stage, I should have known I had tempted fate and soon enough the heavens opened leaving the masses to fight for coverage under trees. The merry dance of ‘Quick grab a jacket it is raining!’ to ‘Omg the suns out am sweating ‘happened over the hours like a clothing version of the Hokey Cokey. Luckily the sun finally made an appearance for 90s Britpop act Ash who absolutely killed it performing ‘Burn baby Burn’ and my guilty pleasure ‘Girl from Mars’, The vast majority were present for Mr. Rory Graham otherwise known as Rag N Bone Man, for those in the dark, his deep baritone belted out this smash from 2016-All together now. “I’m only human after all, I’m only human after all, don’t put your blame on meeeeee’.

My love of priest comedy Father Ted introduced me to the band I had come to see, ska supremes The Specials , they quickly pulled out all the stops on an enviable back catalogue (‘A message to you Rudy’, ’Too much Too Young’ and ‘Rat Race’. I was most gutted the set list didn’t include ‘Ghost Town’, if you do not get the reference, stop reading this at once and watch ‘Think Fast Father Ted’. It’s ok I will wait….

The last act on in the disappearing daylight were Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers, while their brand of political hits didn’t appeal to me ‘Back in the day’ (I was a raver dance head) I heard the music with fresh ears, the anger, the warning in the lyrics contained in “If you tolerate this your children will be next”, maybe back then it was all too feely and deep thinking and didn’t have any horn samples or sped up vocals for my tastes. I couldn’t tell you what they finished with or an encore as usual I had darted out before the masses and was in the fridge with a face full of my cherished brownies and a hot chocolate by half ten (so rock and roll) I was even thoughtful enough to save the partner a bite of one, see I can share!!

I Am Beeston: Johnny Pusztai -Butcher

Few people can handle a sausage as well as Johnny Pusztai: the larger than life butcher extraordinaire talks to The Beestonian

I have been trying to get Nottingham’s famous butcher to do ‘I Am Beeston’ for
practically two years now, but with running several businesses, it’s been almost
impossible to pin him down for a chat. But finally we managed to get together, at
L’Olvia’s, which is turning out to be one of the best and most popular restaurants
in Beeston.

“I was born in Worksop, North Notts. My father Dezso came from Hungary and
immigrated to Nottingham in 1956, where he worked as an engineering welder.
My Mum Pamela was a local girl, and sold tickets at the ABC Cinema. From
Worksop, we moved to Mansfield, then to Sherwood, when I was seven”.
“We lived across the road from the JT Beedham butchers, and my dad used to
take me to see what was for sale. I was fascinated with all the different sorts of
meats, the cuts and the terminology. I got on really well with the owners, George
Beedham and Bill Robinson, so they set me on as a delivery boy when I was 12.
Then when I turned 16, I got an apprenticeship with them. I really got stuck into
the thick of it and learned all I could. I took over the business in 1991, but I
worked in a slaughterhouse to earn enough to buy it. I worked on the boning
line. It was the most boring job, but the best paid. I kept the Beedham name out
of respect for George. He was probably the best butcher that ever lived”.

Johnny first became well known to the general public when he appeared on the
Great British Menu TV series with local Michelin starred chef Sat Bains in the
second series, which aired in April 2007. Sat won the Midlands & East of England
heat with his starter, which featured ham from Beedham’s. It received three ‘10s’
from the judges. Since then Johnny has become Sat Bain’s preferred butcher.
Johnny also supplies a few restaurants in the city centre and the very place
where we are sitting chatting. “I’ve known Marco since he opened. We’ve
become very good friends. There used to five or six butchers in Beeston. Now
there’s only two. The problem with supermarket meat is that they are not
bothered about quality. It’s more to do with profit. I like Beeston. It’s a nice town
with friendly people. I just love Nottinghamshire. It’s a wonderful county to live
in” The secret to Johnny’s success is of course the meat itself. “I have a farm up at
Wellow near Rufford, where we rear pigs and lambs. I also get meat from
Brackenhurst College near Southwell. They breed red heifers, which is the best
meat”.

Further appearances followed, including BBC2’s Market Kitchen with Gary
Rhodes in November 2008. Then invitations to present cooking demonstrations
at food festivals around the country stated to come in. A number of awards have
also come Johnny’s way, such as the Guild of Fine Food for his sausages and
bacon, and the Observer Food Awards in 2011. Johnny is very modest about his
achievements. “I still work 16 hours a day. My job is never boring. I don’t drink, but love a good coffee and some nice food. I’ve seen Zulu 38 times. It’s my
favourite film. My daughter Lara and I have just done the catering in the VIP Tent
for Splendour at Wollaton Park. It was a very long day for both of us. But she is
off to university to study Business Management and Marketing. So when she gets
her degree, she’ll be able to promote me properly, as it’s something that I’m not
that good at”.
One part of Johnny’s businesses that hasn’t done as well as expected is ‘The
Snobby Butcher Bistro’, which opened in May this year, after a year and a half of
construction work on the adjoining Sherwood shop. “The restaurant has a
future, I just have to reconfigure the idea. It just wasn’t working for me”.

“I still work 16 hours a day. My job is never boring. I don’t drink, but love a good coffee and some nice food. I’ve seen Zulu 38 times.

But there are two areas that have proved to be very popular; the food and drink
shows and the experience days. “I have appeared at food festivals all over the
country. There’s even one now in Worksop, where I grew up”. Beeston actually
held one a few years ago, which Johnny attended. But it wasn’t a great success.
Possibly poor planning and publicity were to blame. Certainly the very wet
weather on that particular Saturday didn’t help. The festival was split between
the Square and Broadgate Park, and there were problems at the park, due to very
muddy conditions. So it has sadly never been repeated.

“The Experience Days have really taken off. People will spend the day with me at
the shop and get involved in all aspects of butchery. We teach them how to bone
a chicken or a piece of meat, make sausages, create flavours and cooking skills, so
they can make the same dish at home”.

One aspect of Johnny’s life that due to modesty didn’t want to mention was that
he used to be a professional ice hockey player for the Nottingham Panthers. But
some research showed that he played centre during their 1980-81 year. Despite
his busy schedule, Johnny still finds time to coach the University of Nottingham
team. “My father had a saying: we are born to be workers, so lets be the best that
we can.” Well Johnny, I don’t think anyone could argue with that. Christopher Frost, Community Editor.

Beeston Sailing Club

When it comes to sport in Beeston, many people are aware of its football club, the hockey team and even the croquet club, but one of the town’s oldest and lesser-known sporting clubs is a sailing club.

Situated just opposite Attenborough Nature Reserve, Beeston Sailing Club has a long history on the waters of the Trent since being established over 70 years ago.

“It was founded in 1948, by a group of gentlemen who met in the Angel Inn,” explained club secretary Clare Bailey.

“The part of the land here was actually owned by the Second Beeston Sea Scouts from around the 1920s and then in 1945/46 the lease was given to the sailing club and that’s how it was formed.”

The club has a proud history.

Whilst the club remains a relevant part of Beeston’s history, it has seen a sharp decline in members since the ’90s and currently has only 18 memberships.

“We used to have 200 plus when river sailing was quite popular,” said social secretary Terry Parker, who has been a member of the club for 18 years. “I remember on a Thursday night the river used to be full of Merlin Rockets, the name of the popular boat at the time.”

So why has the sailing club lost so many members over the past few decades?

“I think it was just lack of interest in sailing and the members were trying to keep it as a sailing club and not diversify into other things when you need to now,” says Terry.

“We’re sort of advertising ourselves to paddleboarders. It would be great if we had a fleet of them and canoeists.”

Past Trophy winners.

When visiting the club, there’s a real peacefulness about the place. The club sits far away from the busy roads in the area and the clubhouse is a great place for members to congregate.

It’s easy to see why it would be the perfect place for sailing, but Clare and Terry make it clear that the club offers more than just sailing to its members.

“We always get people who say, ‘I would love to live down here’ and I’ve said if you just want to come down for the weekend, join the sailing club. If you want to just chill out, bring your family and have a barbecue. This is a great area for birdwatching as well, with Attenborough Nature reserve just across the river” said Terry.

Like any business though, if Beeston Sailing Club is to survive, it needs to continue to gain more members, with operating costs making the sailing club increasingly expensive.

“We are looking for new members, but it’s about how we attract them and what it is that would be interesting for them,” Clare says. “We’re sort of advertising ourselves to paddleboarders. It would be great if we had a fleet of them and canoeists. It would be really good to get local children involved as well and to be able to offer them something which is so near to them.”

Anyone interested in joining the club can contact them at https://www.facebook.com/beestonsailing/

Nottingham Croquet Club

Nottingham Croquet Club has been a feature of Highfields Park for 80 years and with the club being the home of the reigning croquet world champions, Paddy and Miranda Chapman, Beeston is the home of one of Nottingham’s most successful sports clubs.

The club previously hosted the Women’s World Championships in 2015, which was won by Miranda and will be hosting the Under 21 Croquet World Championships in July this year.

“It’s really nice to have youngsters playing because everyone has an image of croquet as being about old people which it’s not,” said club chairman Beatrice McGlen.

The club are trying to bring croquet to new people and with the clubs slogan being ‘croquet for all’, Beatrice is hoping that more young people will get involved in the sport across Nottingham as they try to mirror the success that the sport has had with younger generations in New Zealand.

“In the Under 21 Championships coming up, there are 24 players who have been selected by the World Croquet Federation and 10 of them are from New Zealand, which is a pretty high number,” says Beatrice.

18-year-old James Galpin will be competing at the Under 21 Croquet World Championships at the club in July.

“The set up with sports and schools in New Zealand is very similar here, so we’ve got 5 local schools within the vicinity of the club who we are going to do a taster session with in June.

“We’re then going to have an afterschool club on a Thursday and the idea is to set up an interschool competition with the final being played during the Under 21 Championships so they can see the world’s best young people playing whilst having their own competition. Hopefully, we will end up with a thriving junior section within the club.”

Croquet is not only stereotyped as being for elderly people, but also for those who are mainly white and middle class, something which Beatrice tells me that the club are making efforts to address.

“We have a Pakistani member, Ferzana Shan, she’s our only Asian member and I was saying to her one day, ‘how can we make croquet more appealing to the Asian population?’ She said one of the difficulties is actually getting people through the gate, so last year we were invited to the Pakistani forum for the Pakistan independence day celebrations and we went along to their dinner and showed them how to play croquet.

“This year we’re talking about having an evening specifically geared for Asian families. It’s a perfect sport for multi-generational families to play because you can really play from 9 to 90 without any trouble at all.”

There are often several different games of croquet being played simultaneously at the club.

There are two types of croquet that are commonly played; association croquet which can be very tactical and requires more mental and technical skill and golf croquet which is seen as being more sociable.

Tim King has played almost 2000 games of croquet, which he tells me is the most in the croquet ranking system. Tim will be competing in the Golf Croquet World Championships this summer and says that although it is a simple sport to play, there is more to it than people might think. “Almost anybody can start playing a competitive game of croquet in about 10 minutes, but the fascination of it comes from the tactics. There’s lots of different choices, some players like to hit the ball harder and other players are really accurate and put the ball exactly where they want it to block the opponent.

“I love my cricket and football, but because I don’t have natural hand-eye coordination I was just never good enough, but in croquet, I very quickly became reasonably competent.

“The mental side is the one that keeps on posing a challenge. You have to learn to stay calm. When the likes of Sir Clive Woodward talk about thinking clearly under pressure, croquet is a sport where anybody of any age, gender or level of physical fitness, can go onto that court and experience what Sir Clive means.

“I would say to anybody who’s not played a competitive sport before because they feel they don’t have what it takes, croquet is a sport that they can really enjoy.”

Anyone interested in having a go at croquet can contact the club at https://www.nottinghamcroquet.org.uk/contact

The Commonwealth of Beeston

This is our Commonwealth

Who really owns Beeston? Some might argue that ultimately it’s the Queen (via the Crown Estates) because technically speaking she owns any Commonwealth land that she reigns over, which might make her the biggest landowner on the planet. But at a local level, when Her Majesty is busy elsewhere, what about those areas where elected representatives of the people have used public funds to provide places for the use of the people, but where the original intentions have become somewhat lost or forgotten? I’m thinking now of the Town Hall, which was recently sold off by councillors saying things like “I as a council tax payer in the north of the borough am sick and tired of putting money into Beeston Town Hall” and telling us that the £85,000 yearly running costs could be put to better use elsewhere, without actually publicising a persuasive cost-benefit and/or risk analysis.

And those of us who were involved in the 2010/13 campaign to ensure that Middle Street Resource Centre was not lost to public use know that sometimes it’s only when we’re about to lose a treasured resource that we do the work to understand its ownership, and find out what we need to do to keep it. Certainly, if all property owners were well-intentioned, we’d always be given the time and the information we need to present viable alternatives to the public losing out, but this sadly ain’t so when all that matters is the need to relieve a maddening itch caused by an ideologically-driven fiscal policy. And what is the use of an impressive ‘bottom line’ in the context of public services anyway……was money made for mankind, or mankind for money?

But I’m not taking up space in this lovely publication to try and turn back the clock. I’m thinking forward to Saturday July 13th, when anyone who cares about the Beeston area and its public facilities can come and show their support and affection, and make a declaration about what is meaningful to them via the procession we know as the Beeston Carnival. The participants usually congregate first of all in front of the Town Hall which this year will, sadly, have lost much of its significance as the heart of our local democracy. The processing part begins in The Square at noon then moves along our pedestrianised High Street, terminating at Broadgate Park where there will be more events and stalls, with additional activities at the Middle Street Resource Centre. All these aforementioned gathering spaces, when properly used for trading and recreation and entertainment, perform a critical function in our local economy, improving our quality of life and enabling social cohesion. This all boosts our position in the country, and so we’d all suffer if they are not cherished. Our annual carnival is a way for us to demonstrate and showcase what we have to offer, so let’s not forget that this year and for the last 14 years, we’ve had this opportunity because a local couple decided to commit themselves and their personal energies to resurrecting this great event. Well done Lynda and Pat Lally. The Commonwealth of Beestonia would be poorer without you.

KM

University of Beestonia

Augar-ing down into the world of Higher Education

On my return from a University of Beestonia sabbatical I find HE in the national headlines, in May sandwiched somewhere between Farage and Trump (don’t dwell on that imagery too much) Dr Auger and his colleagues presented their Review of Post-18 Education and Funding (from the literal rather than creative school of titling I
guess…).

The headline grabbing recommendation (out of all 53 of them) was that to reduce the University Tuition Fee from its current level at £9,250, to £7,500 per year for undergraduate students. Less widely reported, but fairly critical for the Universities was the following recommendation that Government should replace in full the lost fee income by
increasing the teaching grant, leaving the average unit of funding unchanged at sector level in cash terms.

This seems fairly critical, as otherwise most Universities will see substantial reductions in income, given the high percentage of that income that comes from tuition fees.

However, word on the lanes and boulevards is that the next government is likely to embrace the former recommendation and quietly ignore the latter. After all, saving folk money is a good thing, whereas taking it away from something else or increasing taxes generally doesn’t go down so well.

Some point out though that government also want a high quality higher education sector in the UK – it has its uses after all, not least the 1.2 % of GDP in contributes (figures from the Auger review).

So how does one go about balancing that alongside the other things Universities have to do, like undertake research? It is the question that Universities and those that work within them have been batting with for some time. How do you balance the books and maintain or improve quality? How do you measure quality and ensure it? Themes such as this have drifted through this particular column before.

And whilst we juggle with the balancing, there are still huge uncertainties about just what will happen to the review in the hands of a new PM, a new government and in an uncertain Brexit landscape. It’s difficult to plan for, and so institutions have to look to the worst case. A cut in fee will likely have to be compensated for by an increase
in student numbers or cut in provision somewhere. Neither are ideal in terms of providing a leading higher educational experience to our future students. 20 go to 10.

There’s a challenge to doing more with less, to more by fewer. And it’s a shame because we have great students who deserve and should demand a good University education, and we want to be able to provide that. I don’t think the Auger review wanted anything less than that either, I just hope whoever implements the review allows it to happen.

It’s good to be back…

Prof. J

Barton’s Bus of Bricks

It’s been around a year since local lad Ewan Cooper revealed the Lego model of everyone’s favourite local shop – Fred Hallams – which he constructed with his father John.

Now the lad and dad team have produced another brick-based bit of local interest, a classic Bartons double decker. To the untrained eye it may look like a Routemaster bus, but it is in fact a slightly different model, a Bridgemaster.

The model contains some cool features including an engine under the bonnet, an opening driver’s door, and also the ability to turn round the destination blind to alter the destinations.

The model is currently residing in the window of one of the Bartons buildings opposite the college tram stop, alongside the Hallams model.

Ewan will be displaying both creations at various different places over the summer.

EC/JC

Creative Beeston: Word on the Street Art

You can’t help noticing the wealth of gigantic artwork that sprung up around Beeston last summer. Most striking of all perhaps are the trio of famous Beestonians, Edwin Starr, Richard Beckinsale and Sir Paul Smith gazing down on you from the twenty-three feet high precinct walls on Station Rd.

If like us you love what the street art has added to Beeston then you will be pleased to be informed that more is on its way!  Attracting established local and international artists, our town is being rejuvenated by an overcoat of colour on the ugly areas past developments have left behind.

Beeston has been undergoing a huge transformation (particularly over the past seven years, since the tram extension began) and the street art has been the latest creation to redefine our town. It could be said that some of Beeston’s rich history has been highlighted by these artistic additions to its landscape; I am thinking in particular of Rob Jackson aka RJ77 Stencils’ Canary Girls on the side of The Victory Club when I type this, and the word on the street is that there is more of this to follow. I caught up with project manager Jeanie Barton at Greenhood Coffee House for a progress report.

Jeanie Barton

The original plan was conceptualised by Jeanie in 2017 and a call for design submissions went out. The response, and what has been achieved since, has exceeded all her expectations and she has been overwhelmed by the support the project has received from the community. You might remember that Beeston Street Art was launched by a lively festival on 16th and 17th June 2018 where a collective of skilled artists sprayed up their artwork at eleven different locations all over Beeston. The festival art was funded by a crowdfund and corporate sponsors and its success prompted Broxtowe Council to release an art fund they inherited from Henry Boot Plc.

They then commissioned their striking mural by internationally acclaimed artist Zabou on the side of the Birds building at the top of Station Road.  She painted her portrait of Robin Hood on the disused toilet block on the old bus station site during the festival to test the brick and clinch the job.  Whilst the festival added vibrancy to the town, the subsequent art work has served to bolster the idea that it can enhance its overall image.

Jeanie has worked tirelessly to organise the works so far plus forthcoming commissions; she feels the new murals on the way will bring more cohesion to the pieces we already have and build on the intrinsic history that Beeston possesses, bringing it to the fore.  The project seems to be growing more organically and this will be reflected in some of the new art.  With the remaining council fund plus another crowdfund and new sponsors who include Saint Property Services, we will soon welcome Mr Cenz, Peter Barber, N4T4, Jim Vision and Alex Rubes to paint; Jeanie also hopes to bring NeSpoon here this year as well – she has designed a piece based on Parkes’ machine lace which was manufactured at the Anglo Scotian Mill on Wollaton Road in the early 1900s.

These works in the pipeline are due to begin in late July. Owen Jenkins’ family have fundraised for a memorial to their son, which will raise awareness of the Open Water Education Network, the charity they founded following his tragic death at Beeston Weir after rescuing two of his friends.  His portrait will appear atop the Station Rd side of Hairven overlooking the square; Collette Osborne who owns the building was keen to host the commemorative piece. At the mention of this scarily tall building, Jeanie remembers the daunting task of learning to use the scissor lift to prep the opposite wall for Zabou’s artwork.

She will be doing the same again in preparation for Qubek’s nature inspired mural to be constructed on the remaining precinct walls to the left of Zabou’s work and the delivery entrance opposite Tesco also in July. His design will inject some natural beauty into this urban spot; he is particularly fond of painting flora and bees.  The bee has undeniably become our town’s symbol although the name ‘Beeston’ is derived from the old English word Beos (meaning long grass) and Tun (meaning town or settlement). If you look around, you will see that bees have already featured in the art around our town.

Jeanie tells me that there are a few other pieces due to pop up over the summer, one of which is top secret so I cannot reveal any details, however I think there are many locals for whom it will raise a smile. When she is not co-ordinating Beeston Street Art, Jeanie is making music and being a mummy to her 6 year old son. She also writes a weekly column, The Jazz Diary for the Nottingham Post in print on Fridays and is an award winning jazz singer/songwriter.

If you would like to know more about Beeston Street Art and view a map/guide of the current pieces, then join the Beeston Street Art group on Facebook or go to the Beeston and District Civic Society’s website – they have supported Jeanie in driving this initiative forward.

Jeanie’s musical endeavours can also be followed via her Facebook page or website jeaniebarton.com

Her third album Moments of Clarity is due be released on 28th June.

https://www.facebook.com/jeaniebartonofficial/

DU

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