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posted October 24, 2005

Vandalism of the Cob Courtyard

Letter from Georgie Donais:

Well, the cob wall is finished and it looks amazing. Apparently too amazing, as we had some rather substantial vandalism there last night (October 19).. Most of the little "glass bottle windows" were broken, and some plaster was pulled off. (The good news is that the mosaic counters weren't touched, and the cob walls themselves would need three tons of dynamite to bring them down. Not that we want to give people ideas...)

I am asking people who use the park to keep an eye on the wall and the area around it when you're there, especially folks who are walking dogs in the late evening and early morning. If you see anyone doing any damage, you can call the police but they're unlikely to come just for vandalism. You can also alert the basketball players if they're in the park -- they really like this structure and they're pretty interested in speaking to whichever silly kids are doing this damage. Also, if you see vandalism in progress, please try to memorise descriptions so that we know who to watch for.

To get more of a neighbourhood presence in the park during the fall and winter months, park staff are offering cob fireplace permits at no charge with free firewood and your own butler. (Just kidding about the butler.) So get together with your family and friends one evening!

See you in the park....

Response from editor:

When I do my night-time checks on the park with my bike, the bright streetlight near the cob courtyard makes all the mosaic bits twinkle in the dark. It looks magical. Even the holes where the bottle ends were smashed look good -- since there's still a glass sleeve left in every hole, those twinkle too, and even look a bit mysterious.

Silvie Varone, who together with her partner Simon made the cupboards with the sinks and the mosaic counter, came by the cob courtyard a couple of days ago with two newsletter boxes she made. They are also beautiful. Simon put them up. (Have a look!)

I said to Silvie -- "you do random acts of beauty," and she grinned.The fact is, way more people do random acts of beauty in the park than random acts of vandalism -- important to remember and take joy in.

The first few months of a new thing's existence in the park seems often to be the time when ambitious vandalism happens. (The first bake-oven got the roof stripped off a month after it was finished.) After that, it settles down. For now, the more that park friends* incorporate the cob courtyard into their dog-walking route or their route home from a late party, the more chance those spoiler goofs will lose interest (too much action). And if you see people doing damage, just tell them you're leaving the park to call the police (even if you don't do it). Threats work well here!

* Definition: park friend = anyone who is friendly to the park. There are no official, card-carrying park friends, but many people who feel friendship for the park. That's what makes it a good place, and that's also why vandalism doesn't thrive there.

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