This new bench has been installed just off the bridleway from Piper House to Shorts Lane. The bench is a memorial to Pat Pryor who spent many hours walking on Blacka. It’s a much finer bench than those erected in other parts of Blacka and sets a standard. It will, of course darken as it weathers. People sitting here will see much the same view as seen by J G Graves in 1933 when he concluded the land here had to be saved from developers.
Obviously there have been changes since then. King Ecgberts School is very noticeable and looking over beyond the city to the left the view extends to Meadowhall and the motorway. Closer by more trees occupy the land and you may be lucky enough to see a small group of deer as I did this morning.
When Alderman Graves first came here the scene would have been far more peaceful than today and I guess it would not have been much different in the early days of Pat Pryor's walks. Those sitting here at 7am on this beautiful Sunday morning will not have experienced tranquility. A rave was taking place at Ringinglow in Lady Canning's Plantation and amplified noise was being brought down here on the northerly breeze. How the inhabitants of the village there tolerate this I don't know. But maybe people tolerate all sorts of things if they've never known different. Do we set a benchmark by what we experienced in our earlier days? Another example of the shifting baseline? If I hate other people's amplified music and obsessive use of power tools, do others hate the peace and tranquility I crave? There's an article in today's Observer newspaper which had me scratching my head. It's about the closure of night clubs in Sheffield because of noise pollution near where people live. Reading that and reading the comments below the line I get the idea that the word music has been redefined to mean any kind of noise that's been channelled through multi thousand pound sound amplification systems. Just for the record, I've listened and sometimes played music all my life and never felt the need to have it so loud that people beyond the four walls of my house could hear it. That indeed would have been standard in my young days. The jazz clubs I frequented were never excessively noisy. But perhaps that is not called music any more.