As the weather gets worse, we all hold on to our memories of last summer. One thing most of us will never forget is the turf! Sarah and Steve write about their memories from "On the Streets 96".
The man on the corner of my street had a vision - grass over the tarmac of a street - give ourselves a feel of pedestrian priority. Soon we all began to dream of turf. We had no money but we had the dream and the will-power.
So we set the date and planned, begged, borrowed, baked and wondered how we'd water 800 square metres of turf without hosepipes. The long range weather forecasts became the focus for discussion.
As the weekend approached residents took annual leave to run kids activities on the streets in the afternoons. The sun came as if to order and we counted 723 pasta shapes into a jar for "Guess the Number", bought pineapples and melon for prizes for the "Human Fruit Machine Game", made and bottled strawberry jam, gooseberry jam and elderflower cordial for the home produce stall and baked cakes for the cafe - to be laid out under two suspended parachutes.
As the media circus arrived on Friday morning to photograph the turf we were busy painting 10mph signs for not only was there to be a 'village' fete on the grass, the Methleys was to be a self-styled "Home Zone" for a week, with a voluntary speed limit of 10mph.
The sun baked down upon us - we all felt so 'alive'. "The Methley Olympics - one child's dream - happened. The "Bonnie Baby" competition - another child's dream - happened. We had our own egg and spoon race and three legged race on our very special turf. "The Screen on the Wall" - everyone's dream - happened for the second year running.
On a high, hundreds gathered that Saturday night to dance and watch the film 'Strictly Ballroom' as it grew dark. We ate the popcorn and ice-creams that had been donated and relaxed back on whatever was our seat - mine a garden bench, my daughters a bean bag. We hissed and booed the villains of the film and spontaneously left our seats at the end of the film to dance in front of our gable end screen to the sound of roaring rockets - let off in the next street by another willing neighbour.
The turf was camped out on and forty residents surfaced early Sunday morning for Tai Chi and breakfast together outdoors. Everyone felt so good in themselves despite the exhaustion at the prospect of more events to come. Two invited ponies gave rides up and down the turf after the table top sale and during the Bar-B-Q. Although my body was desperately in need of rest the deep down part of me - my heart and my soul, call it what you will, didn't want it to end. I felt a sense of loss as all the turf was quickly sold off, rolled up and carried away by Sunday evening. The road looked brown and some cried as tarmac was revealed once more.
I am lucky I can still look at "the turf" as my neighbours helped me lay my pieces of Methley memorabilia in my pocket handkerchief of a front garden. For others the turf is now a memory but they like myself have experienced a sense of achievement, of collaboration, of hope, self empowerment and fun. Pride in our area has again been raised as has the determination to achieve some lasting benefit for residents here in their common space - the streets. I feel lucky to live with people who are willing to work to make their community a better place to live.