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Sol: NaJoPoMo 14th: a toddler's Guide to... Hyde Park

Post 1


Hyde Park is big. It’s not as big as Richmond Park or, y’know, space, but it is nevertheless big and particularly big for the purposes of this Guide as Mama says I should include Kensington Gardens. She says no-one really knows where one stops and the other begins anyway, certainly not her. I concur.

Mostly our walks in Hyde Park begin in the middle of the sourthern side, hoping for a sight of horses as we cross the dedicated horse track. Sometimes we get to see the horseguards exercising their nags or, on really exciting days, practising for some big ceremonial outing. There were a lot of these this last Jubilee year, so there were a lot of opportunities for this to happen. Fabulous stuff.

We then either go left, towards the Albert Memorial, straight on towards the Diana Memorial Fountain and the Serpentine lake, or left and up a bit towards the Sepentine Art Gallery and thence on to the Round Pond.

The Albert Memorial route is the one we do if we are in a hurry. Straight along the bottom edge of the park and out via the ice cream kiosk to the bus home at the end. It is an excellent route for toddlers, having broad, well-paved pathways and a total lack of water features. I like climbing the steps to the Albert Memorial, and even Papa likes hanging out here. Built by Queen Victoria to honour her late husband, it displays all the taste and subtlety of which the Victorian age is known for, which is to say none at all, and the fact that Albert is covered from head to foot on gold leaf and very gaudy makes Papa feel right at home. It is really the only bit of public art in London he approves of.

The Diana Memorial Fountain option is something we have only really started doing this summer. Mama freely admits to being wrong about the Fountain, which she came across in its early stages, back when she didn’t have kids and it spent six months cordoned off for not working properly. At that time she considered it insufficiently fountain-like and totally unimpressive. It is, after all, more of a low lying circular cannalette than anything else, and there is very little spurting water involved at all.

Clearly she hadn’t been there on a nice summer day. The thing is, now they have fixed whatever problems it had, it has become a bit of a hangout. People sit on the edge of the channel, wade round and round the waters, picnic on the surrounding grass. There are a lot of kids, most of them having fun, but it’s not all families, which is rather nice. And while noting shoots up in the air, up close, as you wander round, it is interestingly textured, with different flow patterns and, in places, very loud and oddly musical. Mama says we can build her one of these when she goes any day. Not sure where, but I’m sure we will figure it out.

The Serpentine is pretty tedious to walk all the way round (Mama thinks) and best avoided altogether with two water obsessed children. Mama is particularly adamant about this after she had to fish my Incredible Big Brother’s scooter out of the water not once but twice on one trip. So we depart after hanging over a decently fenced section admiring the ducklings and goslings and signets as soon as possible for the playground back up near the Horseguard barracks. It has a coffee dispensing kiosk right outside, so everyone is happy.
But the way we most often go is to Round Pond via the Serpentine Gallery. Even through the Gallery sometimes, an occurrence which happens more if we are with my Incredible Big Brother’s friend and his artist father. Mama enjoys being in an art gallery with someone who knows what they are seeing, but since her default positions on art, especially rooms with large screens showing rather incomprehensible films about a music box, involve being polite and describing it as ‘nice’ or indulging her snark and being funny about it, she does find that rather stressful too.

Anyway, from the gallery it is but a short gallop to the Round Pond, which is indeed very round, completely open and much beloved of my Incredible Big Brother because there are many geese and swans and ducks here. Until recently, when Mama decided he is becoming rather too large and intimidating, my Incredible Big Brother would herd any water birds which had the temerity to set webbed foot on land back into what he considers to be their only natural habitat. But I have been taking notes and soon it will be my turn to harass the birdlife of London parks unmercifully. Also, squirrels.

It’s a good thing both of us are photogenic because the tourists who have got lost on their way from Kensington Palace to the Diana Fountain love this kind of behaviour and take lots of pictures of a line of grown swans waddling in front of a determined small boy (or girl).

Anyway, if we have made really good time, we sometimes bear right and go to the Diana Memorial Playground, although Mama is not a huge fan. It is, in fact, in many ways an excellent playground, with a huge sand pit, some really good slides, swings and climbing frames, and all divided up into different ‘rooms’ separated by grassy banks or really big bushes. It’s this that is the problem really. Thing is, Mama likes to be able to keep half an eye on my Incredible Big Brother whilst following me around wherever my whimsy takes me. Or at least, she likes to be able to keep an eye on the exit, particularly when my Incredible Big Brother was smaller and didn’t understand instructions like ‘stay in this playground at all times’. This is pretty much impossible with the Diana Playground, and so Mama is forced to chose between being the ultimate helicopter Mama or the momentarily panic of not being able to find one of her children when she makes sporadic checks to ensure he hasn’t recruited the other under fives in a plot to take over the world or something.

Which is why she is almost always forced to fortify herself at the refreshments booth outside. I recommend the ice cream. Mama likes the coffee.

Sol: NaJoPoMo 14th: a toddler's Guide to... Hyde Park

Post 2

Amy Pawloski, aka 'paper lady'--'Mufflewhump'?!? click here to find out... (ACE)

[Amy P]

Sol: NaJoPoMo 14th: a toddler's Guide to... Hyde Park

Post 3



smiley - fairy

Sol: NaJoPoMo 14th: a toddler's Guide to... Hyde Park

Post 4


smiley - biggrin, rather.

Sol: NaJoPoMo 14th: a toddler's Guide to... Hyde Park

Post 5


You must have very calm swans - Brussels swans hiss and make themselves big if herded by toddlers - which tends to lead to either the toddler getting the message and backing off, or a rapid maternal intervention...


Sol: NaJoPoMo 14th: a toddler's Guide to... Hyde Park

Post 6

deb - I'm in love with my soup maker & I don't care who knows it

smiley - cheerup

Sol: NaJoPoMo 14th: a toddler's Guide to... Hyde Park

Post 7

Researcher 14993127

smiley - cat

Sol: NaJoPoMo 14th: a toddler's Guide to... Hyde Park

Post 8

Titania (gone for lunch)

(smiley - strawberry)

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Sol: NaJoPoMo 14th: a toddler's Guide to... Hyde Park

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