It’s now Autumn, my favourite time of year. I am now wearing extra layers, and crave a good power walk around the park every day. I say ‘hello’ to the regulars who sit on the benches solving he world’s problems. I hear the voices of mothers calling out to their children or a stern command to a wayward puppy out for the first time. It’s a montage of events coming at me like the opening scene of a film. This is park life.
There’s nothing like being outdoors either in my garden or in one of the many parks around where we live. We are partial to the odd game of tennis and join in the hype of Wimbledon in the Summer. Whatever the season, we cycle, run, power walk, feed the ducks and swans, take photos, and mooch over the weekend papers with a picnic.
From trainers, to flip flops, Uggs and Hunter Boots – the park is a hive of activity.
Park life is encouraged throughout London – from the City centre with lunch time runners through to the happy family life in the suburbs and after work sport such as touch rugby. This is how you make friends by joining a sporting team in your local park. admittedly you will be making friends with a lot of South Africans, New Zealanders and the Aussies – they seem to dominate the sporting prowess going on in the parks. Talk about competitive attitude – yes, I am an Aussie, so I can vouch for this competitive attitude but without the loud voice.
Elderly people sit on the benches having in-depth discussions – I’ve heard them solving the problems of the day. Mums and dads are out pushing the pram with a screaming baby hoping they will settle in the fresh air. A young couple practice martial arts in front of us – their bodies moving more like a rhythmic dance.
Each park has its own thriving eco system. It’s all down to the types of plants and trees that attract different bugs, newts, rodents, bird life and more. In one of our parks there is a sign asking us to kindly NOT feed the pigeons as it encourages rats. A man opens a large loaf of bread in front of the sign and starts throwing out wads of crumbs, ignoring the instruction completely.
When our relatives or friends visit us, we always take them to our local park for a stroll. Our visitors cannot believe what big, open spaces there are in London.
There’s a misconception about London being a concrete, fast paced city. So it’s a lovely surprise to show off our parks to our friends and family and have them agree that London isn’t a bad place after all.
We packed a picnic the other weekend and headed to our local park and watched for the first time ever a Lacrosse match. It was mesmerizing – partly because we had no idea what the rules were. That’s the beauty of an iPhone, we have instant access to Google, so we found the rules online. And yes, you are allowed to ‘whack’ your opponent with your Lacrosse net.
Fresh air cures most things, especially if you’re under the weather. How can you possibly remain in a bad mood when you see two glorious swans gliding along effortlessly. They are always in pairs, and I liken them to a newly married couple, in love.
There are a few parks in London that have open-air lidos . One of the most popular is Hampstead Heath or Parliament Hill. But if you’re not feeling like a chilly dip, then I hear that Hampton outdoor pool is heated – yes, this is where you’ll find me.
Whatever the reason, whatever the season – park life will make me smile. Try your slice of park life today, open your eyes, and notice what’s around you in this glorious city.