Monday, 30 April 2012

ABIDE WITH ME: Photos and Extracts - The Barmy

One location pops up throughout ABIDE WITH ME - and that is the local park.  Officially called Bethnal Green Gardens, the park is referred to locally, and by John in ABIDE WITH ME, as The Barmy or Barmy Park.  The park was once the site of what would once have been termed a lunatic asylum.  The asylum was closed down in 1920, but parts of it remain in the guise of what is now Bethnal Green Library - situated still within the grounds of the park.
Bethnal Green Library

History lesson over, here's a few photos from the park and relevant extracts from the book:

 A tree in Barmy Park

'Robbie Jenkins won't take his coat off for a post, not even when I ask him nice and tell him it's me birthday. He says he don't care. Reckons his mum'll kill him if he gets his coat dirty, so we gotta move the pitch up the slope and use this big fuck off tree for one of the posts. Seems a good idea at the time, till Robbie slides his leg right across the side of it tryin to clear one off the line. Cuts his knee right open. Has to go back to my house with his jumper wrapped round his leg to stop the blood pissin out. Serves him fuckin right, I reckon.'
From ABIDE WITH ME, p. 10
[In another example of how reality combines with fiction in ABIDE WITH ME, it was actually me who slid my leg right across the side of a tree trying to clear a ball off the line in exactly the same manner as Robbie Jenkins.  And  I've still got a scar on the inside of my right knee to prove it after having eight stitches in the wound.  I was about nine years old at the time, pretty much the same age as John at the start of the book.]

 It would have changed since John's day, but here's the little playground, as it is now, in Barmy park
'I tell Charlie to drop me outside The Barmy and I go in the playground. Sit on the swings. Place is empty and it’s like I can feel Keith sittin next to me, tellin me everything’s gonna be all right and the winds blowin the roundabout round and round and round like it ain’t never gonna stop. And it's cold. So fuckin cold.'
From ABIDE WITH ME, p. 108

More photos and extracts soon . . .

Look after yourselves.
All the best,

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