A Walk in the Park.


Recently I find that I’m more able to connect with the world out there than I have been in some months. On opening the close door it became apparent that the yaktrax ice grips were an excellent idea as the layer of snow visible from the top floor is resting on a bed of solid ice, buckled by yesterday’s footsteps and is treacherous underfoot.

Despite the ice there are few valiant souls on foot, obviously with better footwear than me as none walk so slowly as I did without the yaktrax yesterday. On crossing the road into the park I see a couple, with their dog, all bundled up like eskimos. He takes her ungloved hand and kisses it, she laughs. More dogs and their people pass by and I extend a hand to each dog that comes near to say hello.

A creature of habit, I turn right towards the boating pond and am delighted to see that it is entirely white, completely iced over with a layer of snow, like thick icing sugar on top of a delicious bun. This pond is usually full of coots, little grebes, swans and common gulls, but they have all deserted for the more hospitable duckpond. Pity, as I like to see them ice skating.

The sky is bright blue and clear and as I look over the pond I see a lot of purposeless walkers like myself. I am particularly impressed by a man using two crutches on the icy path on the opposite side of the pond. I wonder where he needs to go. A young woman enters the park from the main road above and overtakes me. Dressed in waterproof hiking trousers, and wearing a wide sporty headband I wonder if she’s training for something.

As I climb the hill past the golf course I see occasional sledgers, and a number of enormous snow globes. Abandoned snowman attempts I reckon. Or maybe the steepness of the hill meant that once rolling was commenced, momentum took over and the giant snowballs ran away from their originators.

On the home strait, past the potting sheds I saw a single struggler on the bumpy icerink pavements. A woman, perhaps in her fifties, in wellies and parka, carrying a large Asda Bag For Life and only just managing to stay upright. Her daughter was well ahead of her, frustrated at her guardian’s slow pace. Just before leaving the park, next to the children’s playparks a puce faced bawling toddler was being pulled by an older man in a small plastic sleigh. She was not best pleased by this arrangement, while her older sister was keen to have a shot, but from where I was placed, it looked to me like she might not fit in the little sledge.