Saturday, 29 October 2011

Illuminate by Kate

Before I lived here, the Redfield area of Bristol barely touched my personal radar. Apart from unwittingly driving through it several times on route to the office in Bath and visiting friends in the area once or twice, I scarcely knew it existed. The M32 is hardly an insurmountable barrier (although it sometimes feels that way during rush hour) but I lived on the opposite side of the traffic flow for more than ten years and rarely did I venture into the uncharted (by me) territory beyond.

It's just possible I also had a bit of North Bristol sniffiness about the Eastern hinterland beyond, er, Easton. Nothing much happened there, did it?

Which just goes to show how wrong you can be about a place. Redfield may be unassuming in some ways, but it's a friendly neighbourhood with useful transport links, houses that are almost affordable and a rather splendid park. St George's Park is remarkably well kitted out. Not only does it have a thoughtfully designed play area, tennis courts, a small cafe and a popular skate park, it also has a generous expanse of duckpond complete with an array of bread-begging wildfowl. Rosie and I go there almost every day and only the most inclement weather will keep us away.

Arguably, St George's Park is the jewel in Redfield's modest crown and the community makes good use of the facility. Since we arrived here at the beginning of July there have been three decent-sized events held in the park: Redfest, the Relax Up Jam and tonight's Illuminate Festival.

Pheonix52 is the collective responsible for organising the festival, which combines an appreciation of Hallowe'en, the Mexican Dia de los Muertos (Day Of The Dead) and Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.Thus, we arrived to find an array of lanterns in trees, projections of fantasy skeletons, a flower-bedecked archway and homemade pumpkin soup (which was free and very tasty). Workshops in rangoli (Indian folk art) and lantern-making had taken place during the afternoon and the products of these were on display near the play park when we arrived to watch the lantern parade at 6pm.
We took Rosie along to the spectacle and although she showed a passing interest in the various cultural diversions, I think it's fair to say her main highlight was the novelty of being allowed a go on the swings in the dark. Theo and I enjoyed it all, though.

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