Manley Park is my local park in Whalley Range, it is also one of the smallest parks in Manchester. With its all weather pitch and playground, it is often mobbed by young people of all ages. Cricket matches take place during the Summer evenings. Dog walkers do their rounds first thing in the morning. The diagonal path is used as a shortcut between Clarendon Road and the top of York Avenue towards Seymour Grove shops. It is a busy place.
But every now and then, in the middle of the day, it is empty of people. I make a point to walk to its furthest corner, away from the roads that border the park. Seeing the playground empty and the paths clear, I feel like I have reached a quiet corner. And then, I hear the City around me. There is a plane overhead, the sound of car traffic, the tram in the distance, a chainsaw working on somebody’s garden. There is also the sound of the long tail tits swooping from one tree to another and the light breeze in the leaves. Suddenly, screams and screeches drown every other sound. Children have burst onto the school playground, over the hedge, on the other side of the park, by the quiet corner.