Sunday, 29 May 2011


If Luton is known for anything, it’s known as a centre for immigration. Races, cultures, creeds and colours rub along side by side, generally without uncomfortable levels of discord.

My favourite place in the town is Wardown Park, with its trees and its green spaces and the river flowing through it.

So it was a pleasure the other day to see these two characteristic features of the town come together, when I came across the phenomenon of a foreign community blending into the town, on display in the most attractive setting it offers. Yes, a group of immigrants, in this instance from Canada, had been breeding in Wardown Park.

A Canada goose and her brood in Wardown Park
They add to the charm of an already attractive place, wouldn’t you agree?

Strangely enough, given that Luton has a large population from Pakistan, it was in North London that we visited Pakistani friends yesterday. It all went well with entertaining conversation, a plaful toddler and a memorable curry with all the trimmings. In addition she, a barrister on a career break to launch her family, told us about an exchange she had had with a judge.

He had established that she lived in a neighbourhood with a large proportion of residents from South Asia.

‘Ah, yes,’ he said, ‘you have all those wonderful little shops, don’t you? On the street corners. What do you call them again?’

‘We call them newsagents, your honour,’ she replied.

It’s wonderful to know that certain traditions are alive and well. In this instance it's a particularly long-lived and hallowed English tradition, where judicial ignorance only gets pricked by the wit of advocates.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see; Luton is what Berlusconi's prediction that Milan is going to turn into a Muslim town if Pisapia beats Moratti is based upon...