Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Summer fun with the kids

Today was a warm oasis amidst this long wet summer we have been having. Such a glorious day we have had at a local park. One of those long summer days that childhood memories are made. The kids: son, niece and nephew; packed a picnic for them and me and with our simple provisions we set off.

First there was the crazy golf, and then the canoing. Each child with their own canoe, scary at first for 10 year old niece but such a brilliant confidence builder as she learned to master the canoe on the boating pond which was little more than knee deep. The park rangers walked around the pond and assisted those that needed it. Meanwhile, I'm snapping away - thank goodness for digital cameras with almost endless memory cards.

Then our picnic followed by a very long play on the apparatus whilst I lay on the grassy knoll watching them. First the three of them are playing chase and then bit by bit the numbers involved in this game increased until there were about eleven children all playing. My son, possibly the eldest, saying "hi" to new kids and asking them their name and encouraging them to play it was wonderful to watch the co-operation. Children from five to thirteen all playing together. The older ones giving the younger ones a chance. So kind and democratic.

At dinner tonight niece asked each of us what was our favourite bit of the day to which I replied it was sitting on the grass watching and thinking. Thinking about how much the kids had loved the canoes and watching niece mastering hers. Watching the world go by was such a rare pleasure. All sorts of family groups going by. A grandfather waiting by the bin for his charge to finish his ice cream and then whip out his tissue wetting it with his mouth before rubbing vigourously at the child's chin. The child grimacing as all kids do. The three generations of women the youngest of which was not that young had her three young sons with them making four generations out for a summer stroll.

The family playing chase: mum, dad and children. The two young chic women with their impossibly small toy dogs wearing tiny jackets. The Arabic family, of which the three women in their floor length black gowns billowing in the warm breeze carrying a household rug as a picnic blanket. The university students, two of whom had those running stilt thingies and when one of the females in the group put them on then she'd have a bevvy of young males around perhaps on the hope she might fall into their arms!

Happy, smiling people the whole day. Except when a child fell off its bicycle and then a concerned parent would run up and soothe away the tears. No arguing. No fighting. Just an amazing day.

After hours of playing, long after most people had made their way home we headed over to the paddling pond where the children became more wet than they should. But oh so many lovely photos of them. To dry off they ran around the now empty go-kart track pretending to be racing cars, making all the noises and a mock commentary. That was all their idea and I just stood there laughing and laughing.

Such a glorious day and one for the memory banks.


Astryngia said...

Fantastic - how very English, like cricket on a Sunday and the thwack of the bat alongside the clink of teacups and teaspoons...memories of a traditional childhood.

Not that I had one but it's all there in the collective unconscious.

Doris said...

Same here with not having those traditional childhood memories but as you say, they are there in the collective unconscious. I love the idea of the English cricket pitch on the village green...

The rains are back so I guess an indoor swimming pool trip is on the cards after all today.

Anji said...

What a lovely day you all had. I miss the days out with the children, I suppose I'll have to wait for the grandchildren to come along.

Chandira said...

:-) What a lovely post. And thanks for making me a little bit homesick again after a difficult trip home. I wasn't sorry to get back on the plane to the US, but I am now. OK, just a little. sigh..

That tookme back to a great part of my trip, to a park in Brighton, where we ate strawberry lollies and sat in the sun.

Josephine said...

A lovely day honey :-)

Here's a secret. I'm back...



rashbre said...

Spotted you here when a strange ping about old post popped up across at rashbre central. I shall read the back catalogue whilst eating a chocolate bourbon.