, ,

I’ve been meaning to take a photo of this for VP’s OOTS campaign for ages. In fact so long has the poor woman been waiting for it that as I remember I first told her about it at the Malvern Spring Show. How sad is that.

But anyway: this weekend I made one of my rare visits to our local mind-numbingly bland industrial park, home to Argos, Tescos and M&S, and as it happens the Brooklands Motor Racing track.

About the only interesting thing about this bit of town is that you can see the old track, banked to a gradient of about one in five, arcing around the shopping carparks. The concrete is cracked and pockmarked with tufts of weeds poking out here and there but a faint echo still lingers of the speed records broken there in the 1920s and 1930s by the likes of Malcolm Campbell and others. It also did a star turn on James May’s Toy Stories (sadly not available on Listen Again but here’s a clip complete with Tiff Needell) in which He of Plasticine Chelsea Show Garden Fame recreated the Brooklands circuit using Scalextric cars.

But I digress. If you chucked a Scalextric car fairly energetically from the racing track you’d hit the shop I mostly come here for, that wonderfully reassuring British invention Marks & Spencer (what did we do for knickers before M&S came along, do you think?). And while I’m not usually in the habit of noticing trolley parks, this one, newly-installed this spring, was a bit different.

I’m regretting not having remembered to take my camera before now, as following the six or seven weeks of dry weather even tough-as-old-boots sedum matting was looking a little parched. You’ll have to take my word for it that it looked terribly smart when first installed. I also missed what was obviously quite a spectacular flowering.

I don’t suppose the M&S staffing budget quite stretches to someone dead-heading this lot but I found it quite pretty in an autumnal sort of way.

And you can see from this that the succulent leaves underneath are actually quite happy and have come through their drought without too much trouble. Quite an advert for this kind of very low-maintenance green roofing, I thought.

There was a bike shed just the same round the corner, too. They rather showed up the less eco-minded Tesco next door which had the old-fashioned plastic trolley parks (and no bike shed at all): rain was pouring off them onto the tarmac where it was, no doubt, lost to the drains. And they were as ugly as sin, too. Top marks to Marks, don’t you think?