Our Local. Three years ago that would have referred to the pub on the corner. These days it means the park, and we could have done worse than have such a lovely one almost on our doorstep. Forgotten nappies/ wipes/ drinks, sudden changes in weather or heart, these things just don’t matter as much because we can always just go home.
This time, however, I’m going with my bloggers hat on, so I pack for all contingencies. My plan is this: a walk along the lower lake to see the ducks , up through the dinosaur court, along to the farm, over the ruins, down past the concert platform and the maze, over to the playground and then home with a little boy that will be very easy to get to bed.
I drag Addi through almost half of this routine, before I realise I’m taking myself too seriously and just let him do what he wants, which at that point is throw pebbles into puddles. That is, after all, the point of the local park – stare at a 200 year old dinosaur or displace the gravel , it really doesn’t matter because it will all be there, only a block away, to do it all again tomorrow. Except maybe the puddle, so I guess Addison has the right of it.
Should the puddle not be available on your visit, here are some of the other features:
The Jurassic Park of the Victorian Era, the CP Dinosaurs are a series of sculptures of extinct dinosaurs and mammals set on little moated islands. At this point I should do some research and tell you all about them, but why not go direct and Wiki it yourself. Or one up me, and do the Darwin and the Dinosaurs audiotrail . I have been meaning to for ages, but it struck me as rude to plug things in my ears in the company of my adorable babe. At the onset of this tantrumming stage (it is a stage, right?), however, my thoughts on this are evolving. By plugging my ears the podcast might both inform of the survival of the species, and facilitate it too.
Capel Manor Farm
A college farm, open to the public from 12.00 – 16.00 daily. The design is more functional than touristy, but worth a pop in. They have an assortment of animals- guinea pigs, alpacas, goats, sheep, pigs and chickens amongst others… no cow unfortunately, since Addison greets them all with a “Mooo.”
They also have a room full of tanks with insects, reptiles and fish. The look is more pet shop than wildlife centre, but still interesting. I think so anyway. Addison is more taken with a tatty plastic school chair that seems to have been left there in error. He heaves himself onto it for a little sitdown and sits proudly looking at nothing in particular. A young girl that enters soon after also walks straight past the snakes, spiders and rainbow fish and declares that she too is in need of a little rest ‘on that chair.’ I have a feeling that if either of them were taken to an establishment where sitting down was the order of the day, say somewhere with less reptiles and more lattes, they would neither of them be wanting to sit down at all. Sitting is apparently only a fun activity when you’re the only one doing it, and everyone else has somewhere to get to.
Speaking of sit downs and lattes, there’s a lovely little cafe just on from the farm in the train station. At the end of any farm visit Addison always starts shouting “Tea, tea, tea” and enters hysteria when I bypass it, so I know exactly what he usually gets up to on days out with Dad.
The Crystal Palace Ruins
The remains of the great exhibition centre that burned down in 1936. See them now before the ZhongRong Group build on top of them.
Its a hedged pathway, you have to find your way into the centre.
I’ve seen better, but its nice enough. The best feature (I think) is the huge sandpit with half buried dinosaur bones, but there are swings, slides and roundabouts, and most of the other playground regulars.