The good weather couldn’t last. Today did not look promising for parklovers. However, I have recently been rereading parts of “Toxic Childhood (How the modern world is damaging our children and what we can do about it)” by Sue Palmer, in particular, the chapter on playing outside. If you haven’t read it, I would really recommend it. It’s full of good advice based on extensive research. Anyway, the bit that caught my eye a couple of days ago was, “if you model wimpishness, they’ll learn it.” I suspect I model wimpishness quite often. For some reason, when it comes to running, I don’t care – rain, snow, I’ll run in anything. However, I will pull a face at going out in drizzle at other times. I thought I should put a stop to this, so took CJ to Mothercare World and kitted her out with an all-in-one rainsuit (she got confused and referred to it as her “reindeer”) and wellies.
We did not have to wait long to try her new gear out. I thought we’d go to Philips Park, as it’s mainly woodland and I thought CJ could have a ride on “big bike” under cover of some trees. As it’s near home, we could easily fit it in before heading for a swim later in the afternoon. We set off in light drizzle. By the time we’d driven over the bridge at the bottom of Park Lane, crossed the M60 and parked, the rain was bouncing off the windscreen. Alas, I was “modelling wimpishness” again and suggested we wait in the car for a few minutes. CJ had other ideas and demanded to get out of the car. I can’t tell you much about the facilities, as I was mostly trying not to get too wet, but there’s a visitor’s barn down the road from the playground, which obvious puts on activities in the holidays – I saw a poster advertising a sock puppet making workshop.
We had a little ride around on some trails, providing some welcome shelter, then headed back up towards the playground. Unsurprisingly, we had this to ourselves – CJ has obviously not learned any wimpishness from me, she insisted on going on it and had to be prised away. I hadn’t bargained on the effect of the rainsuit which meant she went down the slide like greased lightning – holding onto my hands and swinging her off at the end stopped this being dangerous. We found a crawl-through tunnel under the slide which was ideal in the conditions. There are beautiful views over the woods from the playground and you wouldn’t know the M60 was running through the park, if it wasn’t for the constant hum of traffic. I was talking to someone the other day about what the park was like before the M60 was built across the edge of it. It’s still lovely now, but must have been a real haven back then.
The best thing about being there on a day like today was the smell of all the trees – even more refreshing than the rain! That and going to the swimming baths and getting in the lovely warm children’s pool afterwards – it felt like getting in the bath.