A walk in the park … (and Coney Street)

sign on lamp post, instruction to keep left

Sign to ‘keep left’, Bootham, 2 Dec 2020

I had to go into town today, and thought I’d walk through the Museum Gardens first.

But a walk in the park isn’t what it used to be.

Sign in plantpot, behaviour reminder 1

Instructions (sign 1), Museum Gardens, York, 2 Dec 2020

The phrase ‘a walk in the park’ is used to suggest something that is easy, pleasant. Not so much now that even the parks have signs reminding visitors how to behave. Even in December, when there are so few people here that we’re easily ‘socially distancing’ without all the signs reminding us to do that.

Instructions sign, Museum Gardens, 2 Dec 2020

Instructions sign, Museum Gardens, 2 Dec 2020

Perhaps just me, but it feels irritating/a bit depressing, to be in a green open space and to still have the same old bossy signs. I think, after all these months, that we know by now, don’t we?

There were very few people around when I got to the main gate on Museum Street. No risk to leave by either side of the gate. But a proper officious sign here.

Sign, another one

No Exit, Museum Gardens, 2 Dec 2020

And on the other side:

Exit only - another sign, among many

Sign, Museum Gardens, 2 Dec 2020

‘Thank you and goodbye’. Mmm.

If you’re approaching from Museum Street (the main entrance), rather than the Marygate side, as I did, you have quite a few signs to take in:

Several guidance signs on park gates

Museum Gardens gates, 2 Dec 2020

Earlier in the year there was, as I recall, an even bigger display of signs with even more detailed information on what was allowed and what wasn’t.

We’re encouraged to visit green spaces for the sake of our mental health. It’s hard, perhaps, to get a sense of perspective, and thereby improve our mental health,  if the gates of that green space are full of officious notices and the place within has several other nagging reminders.

As it’s now early December, and we’ve all had a fair while to understand government guidelines, is all this really necessary?

I had one task in town, which involved a brief visit to Coney Street. Here it is today (2 Dec 2020), in the fading light of a December afternoon (3.30ish).

View of street, with shops and shoppers

Coney Street, 3.30pm, 2 Dec 2020

And here’s the same view, taken six months ago, 2 June, late morning.

Street with shops, and (not many) shoppers

Coney Street, 11.10am, 2 June 2020

(Ignore the time on the clock. It’s a stopped clock.)
Today, on my brief excursion into it, town seemed fairly busy.

On the way back home I thought I’d wander through Dean’s Park, and go back via Chapter House Street, onto Goodramgate and Lord Mayor’s Walk. I’ve always appreciated being able to cut through here, by the side of the Minster.

But here too, the signs …

Sign, Dean's Park gate, 2 Dec 2020

Sign, Dean’s Park gate, 2 Dec 2020


Sign, Dean's Park, 2 Dec 2020

Sign, Dean’s Park, 2 Dec 2020

When I got to the other side of Dean’s Park all the gates were closed, and this sign in particular felt very unfriendly …

Don't walk this way

Don’t walk this way

So I walked back round to the gate I’d come in through, and headed off home.

Think I’ll go back to what I’ve been doing through the earlier stages of this weird time — going for walks out of town, rather than into it.

About Lisa @YorkStories

Lisa @YorkStories is the creator, administrator, and writer of content on www.yorkstories.co.uk. She can be contacted on this link or via Twitter, @YorkStories
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