So says John Walsh in the Independent. We may recreate that first speech by Russell Crowe in Gladiator……indeed the whole first scene.
‘What we do in life echoes in eternity, tonight we dine in Elysium’ as we stroke the park’s long grasses, proper re-enactment dressed up as Romans or the barbarian hordes………..great family fun…….coming soon……UNLEASH HELL!
‘You need to brave some dispiriting parkland, views of radio masts and graveyards, tangled strands of wind-torn branch, forbidding bogland – but then you discover the lake, and your complaining ceases.
Near the water, colours start to appear. Brambles take on a pinky sheen. Yellow whin-bushes shiver in the cold breeze. A white hawthorn has recklessly begun to flower, heedless of the late spring. Beside the lake, the tall fern grasses stroke your hands as if you’re Maximus Decimus Meridius discovering the Elysian Fields in Gladiator.
You find the lake is crammed with birds. Ducks, gulls, red-beaked moorhens and white-downy geese glide about as an icy breeze ripples the water. Flung-away Coke cans and an abandoned football under the lake’s surface spoil the view, but it doesn’t matter. You stand there looking at the little island in the lake, wondering if you could hire a boat to row around it. A Canada goose, hoping to be fed, makes a curious burbling sound, like a butler discreetly coughing. Then the gulls who have taken over the island abruptly explode into the air and wheel about uttering harsh cries, and you feel like Yeats discovering the wild swans at Coole Park. It’s not picture-postcard beautiful here but you’re astonished