So Boy, Girl and I headed out to North Oxford today, ostensibly so The Boy could have a taster session of ‘Hockeytots’ – a hockey course for two to four year olds run by the Oxford Hawks hockey team (honestly, arming three year olds, who thought that was a good idea? Oh yes. Me. Doh). He actually loved it and did rather well – it channelled his aggression in a productive manner and he could practice his listening and following-instruction skills. Turns out he’s a bit of a demon at thwacking a ball with a hockey stick and his competitive spirit is burning strongly, so we may head back for another go at that.
Anyways, he was partaking of this course alongside his lifelong chum, Miss J, whose mum, K, happens to be one of my particular friends. Naturally K and I decided long ago that The Boy and Miss J should get married when they reach their majority and so far our plans are coming along nicely as The Boy doesn’t actually brutalise Miss J, which is practically love in his world as far as I can tell.
After the hockey session we upped sticks and trekked round to Cutteslowe Park which is situated behind the training grounds. Well my, I’d heard good things about this place but consider my breath taken. Acres of manicured green grass, ancient trees, abundant and tasteful planting (rare, in county council planting as far as I can tell, since they tend to go for the more is more approach when it comes to choosing planting colour schemes) and a plethora of child-centred activities.
The Boy and Miss J cooed over the aviary full of lovebirds and budgies, bemoaned the fact the miniature railway was closed, clambered wildly over the play equipment that seemed exactly tailored for their ability level and went a little bit loco in the sandpit – a tennis court sized pit of fine white sand topped by a rope bridge and various crowsnests that seemed reminiscent of a scene from that masterpiece of filmic achievement, Hook.
K and I were able to sit quietly under a tree with baby Girl, enjoying the warm sun-dappled shade falling through the leaves and wondering why, each time our older children returned, they were wearing fewer and fewer items of clothing until eventually The Boy ended up stark bollock naked, thus apparently setting a trend for the surrounding small children who immediately started stripping off, to the chagrin of their various parents and carers.
Carefully avoiding the commission selling toasted sandwiches, crisps and – horror of horrors to the parent with no loose change – ice creams we made our way back to the car through the shady avenue of old trees. It was a shame to break up the party so soon, but K had to be back for the carpet fitter and I wasn’t feeling strong enough to manage The Boy on my own in a large, unknown park. I’ve made a mental note, however, and we will definitely be wending our way back there. Although preferably before the school holidays start – I can’t imagine it would be as peaceful then as it was today!
Five stars for this park – worthy of a full day out.