Sunday, 8 September 2013

Bloomin' Update! Loughborough enters the In Bloom competition with flower displays everywhere!

In which I show you more of the Loughborough in Bloom displays and talk about the Fab Friday Initiative.

It seems like it was only yesterday that I posted about Loughborough in Bloom, but it was actually a month ago, so I thought it was probably time for an update and some new photos.

Queen’s Park if anything, looks even more colourful than it did a month ago, with blooms popping up everywhere. The Olympic rings look particularly good, and it was whilst I was admiring these that I noticed an area of planting that I hadn’t noticed before.

In 2009, the children of Sacred Heart School, entered the spirit of the In Bloom competition, and contributed a lovely little garden of plants that would thrive on as little intervention as possible, so, not needing excessive watering, not requiring any special treatment and hardy enough to survive in almost any conditions.

I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed this little planting before; maybe I just wasn’t looking, or maybe this year’s bloom hadn’t quite made an appearance when I was there before, but you’d have thought I’d have at least seen the sundial before, wouldn’t you?!

One lovely display that I hadn’t been able to photograph before was that on Epinal Way: Whenever I seemed to go along the bypass, it always seemed to be at the same time as all the traffic, so getting a picture of the display outside the University entrance on Epinal Way, had previously proved elusive, but I finally got it. Doesn’t it look good? It’s a display that is regularly changed, and usually has some significance if not to the university’s calendar of events and visitors, then at least to the town as a whole. So, for example, during the Olympics last year, the display was a representation of the Japanese flag, because the Japanese Olympic team was originally going to be based, and train at the university.

Another display that’s difficult to catch on film is the display around the Athletes. Being situated on the side of the busy A512 that heads out to Shepshed, Ashby and the M1, it’s a busy stretch of road, so I experienced the same problems as I had done with the Epinal Way shots. The Athletes was different though, because morning was not a good time to capture them, as in the shade they’re difficult to make out, so not only did I have to wait for a quiet day, but also a quiet time in the afternoon, when the sun was shining in the right direction. I finally managed to get the shot I was hoping for.

On my travels around Loughborough, I’ve spotted lots of houses with beautiful hanging basket displays, shops with flowers around their premises, and tubs of flowers dotted in various places, like roundabouts and roadsides.

It all helps to make the place look cheerful, cared for and loved!

Talking of loved … The Love Loughborough gang, and the Loughborough BID got together recently to organise an initiative aimed at extending the use of the Market Place on a Friday and so, bridging the gap between the thriving daytime and the thriving night-time economies! Fab Friday was set up to run through July to September, and a whole host of interesting events were organised.

The Friday market – call it “flea”, “bric-a-brac”, “second-hand” or “vintage” – has been held in the Market Place for about 12 years now, but only moved a couple of years ago from Devonshire Square to the Market Place. I believe it runs every Friday, from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon, and from March to December. Whenever I’ve been lucky enough to be able to go down see it, it’s always been busy and money is often changing hands. The Fab Friday initiative extended this second-hand market, both in terms of “opening hours” and in terms of scope. Once a month the market times were extended into the early evening, and this was complemented by shops also staying open late. Several times during the initiative there were themed markets, like specialist food, and themed entertainment, so, for example, one theme was the Forties, another was the seaside.

Charnwood Museum, the library and other venues also took part by having special themes and activities, and car parking was free after 3pm! Lots of discount vouchers for various shops, cafes and bards were also on offer.

I say "was" and "were" - but there are still a couple of weeks of Fab Fridays left for this year!!! Have a look a the website, download the leaflet, and make a visit to Loughborough town centre this Friday! and above all, have fun!!

Look out for next week's blog: "Spotlight on ..."!


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