Sunday 17th February, 2013.
My alarm went off just before seven in the a.m. with its chime of ‘Dad? Dad?? Dad. Dad! DAD!!!’ So, up I got. I put Erin in bed with Emma, while I busied myself with getting dressed. Then I scooped Erin up and took her downstairs to get her changed and fed. Breakfast consisted of a coffee with a vanilla shot, for me, and milk and toast with jam, for Erin. Pretty soon Emma was up and we all made our way to Cassiobury Park. We normally go for a walk on a Sunday, but this was the first time in a few weeks that we had ventured out, as the weather had been too cold and wet for Erin.
It didn’t take us long to reach the park, which we entered via Cassiobury Park Lodge, just off Cassiobury Park Avenue. Opposite the ‘Cha Cha Cha Café’, I unbuckled Erin from her pushchair and carried her onto the fields to the left. Although Erin has been walking for the last three months, she has never had a proper run around outside. Well, she was in her element, when I finally put her down. She began by holding my hand, then decided to go and look at the branches of a tree, then the tree itself. Then she was fascinated by the people running around kicking a football. Then her fascination was taken by her shadow, which she couldn’t pick up. Finally, giving up on catching her shadow, we started to head in the direction of the playground. Erin’s choice of direction was circuitous, to say the least, but we managed it, eventually. On reaching the playground area, we decided to stop for a drink and something to eat. So, while Emma took Erin to find a picnic table, I bought us both a bacon roll, Emma a coffee and myself a bottle of water at ‘Vince’s Café’. After we had all eaten, including Erin who had managed to con her mum out of a piece of bacon, or two, I took Erin into the playground, while Emma finished her coffee.
As with all playgrounds, that we take Erin to, she has to go on the swing, first. All other pieces of apparatus can wait until later. Well, she began chuckling and giggling before I had even pushed the swing, for the first time and, looking along the row of four swings, I noticed that every swing was taken by a daughter and each was being pushed by their dads. How cool. By the time Erin decided that it was time to try something else, Emma had rejoined us. Looking around the playground, which was getting busier by the moment, I took Erin over to a mini climbing frame with a slopes and slides. Once she was on it that was it. Backwards and forwards across the sloping bridges to peer down the two slides, before heading off in the other direction. The odd clash of wills with other bigger kids and the odd loss of balance on the sloping floor, but no tears. The only problem with Erin, on something like this, is that she has no fear. This is evident when she does decide it is time to go down the slide. She would much rather step out into thin air than sit and slide, so we have to be very wary. Of the two slides attached to this piece of play equipment, the smaller baby slide was far less slippery than usual and Erin really wasn’t interested in it anyway. The bigger, taller slide on the other hand, was super slippery. Once we had managed to get Erin to sit at the top, she began chuckling away to herself as she nudged herself ever closer to the precipice. Then she was gone. Laughing and giggling all the way down to the rubber floor at the end of the slide. With no other children waiting to come down the slide, I sat Erin back at the top and almost immediately she threw herself down again, laughing all the way. Then she decided that there were other things to explore. The bouncy ‘animal’ chairs didn’t hold her attention but the roundabout did. The roundabout was pure fun for her. She began by holding on, like we had told her to, then she let go and slouched back and began giggling, as her world began to blur. She laughed even harder when I finally removed her from the roundabout and stood her on the tarmac, which to her dizzied brain made her stagger in a large circle, before she collapse on the floor, smiling at her shoes. Another go on the slides and it was time to head into Watford town centre and, pretty much as soon as Erin was strapped back into the pushchair, she was asleep. We walked back up through Cassiobury Park and to Rickmansworth Road, where we went through the subway and out onto the High Street. I had purchased some new boots from ‘Shoe Zone’, the day before, and one of the rivets had popped out as I put them on, so I needed to exchange them. The lady in the shop was very helpful and they were exchanged with no problem. On handing her my receipt, she informed me that the boots I had bought had gone into the sale, so I was entitled to £5 back. Bonus!
It was at this point we decided to head home, before Erin awoke wanting her lunch.
All in all another great Sunday morning walk.
Until next time…
May it be well with you.