Sunday, 27 September 2009

Some things never change

When when Sebastian was just a baby,
 until about three years ago,  there was hardly a day when I didn't go across the road to Holland Park. That's over 25 years of enjoying one of the most lovely parks in London. 

My children spent their childhood in Holland Park. They both went to Playgroup in the park where they forged lifetime friendships.

They thought the park was their back garden.

Both of them are still closest of friends with the children they befriended at playgroup. From playgroup, to primary school
to secondary school, to this day they still have their Playgroup friends. (my oh my, how they've grown! - can you see who's who?)

And I made wonderful friends, some of whom are still the closest and most trusted people in my life. We spend endless magical days and wonderful summer evenings bringing up our children in what really could be described as in idyllic city life. The cafe was run by an Italian family and all the food was home made, so we ate there as much as we ate at home. My kids (well Dani actually) must have eaten more spaghetti than the average Italian child living in Naples.
Even after our children grew up, we still met for coffee and catch up at every opportunity. Yes, the group got smaller, friends moved away, some to the other side of the world. But when they came back to visit, you can bet one of first things they'll suggest is meeting at the cafe in Holland Park.
Even when I didn't have anyone to meet, I walked my dogs, Poppy (left), then Oona in Holland Park every day.

That was, until 3 years ago, when my soppy Golden Retriever Oona went to stay with my inlaws while I went on holiday. And then I got ill, so they kept her a little longer. And then they couldn't bear to give her back and I was so busy at work that I thought she'd have a better life with them.
So I got out of the habit of going to Holland Park every day. I had my new patio where i could sit and take the afternoon sun and it just seemed easier and lazier than going across the road to the park. Yes I go through the park when I go shopping, but I'm always in a hurry, so it just became the quickest way to the High Street.
And then this week, we have been treated to the most glorious Indian Summer.
 It's been just beautiful the last few days so yesterday my Italian mate Dina and I went for coffee at the cafe, which for so long was literally my second home. I grabbed my camera and off we toddled.

And how some thing never change. It was like going back in a time capsule. We weren't the only regulars at the cafe back in the 80's and 90's. There was a group of guys who were there every day playing chess. Just like us - every day, come rain or shine. And to my astonishment yesterday - there they were.  Still playing chess, still making one cup of coffee last 3 hours. Talk about blast from the past.

 Just twenty years older - just like me. God, isn't ageing beastly (this really is (was?) me)

Then Dina and I took a leisurely walk to the Japanese Garden, it was always a favourite place to go with the children.

OH MY GOD - are those my kids on the bridge? There, with my sister?
And there's Lara on the little bridge. Don't get too close to the edge Lara.
No of course not - I saw her last week and she'd just turned 30 (she still loves the water).

And there's the playground which our girls thought they owned.

Hey, they've got a new slide, but not much else has changed.  One day Lillan and I got severely reprimanded by another mum for taking Dani and Kerensa there when they were 3 and had chicken pox.
'Kerensa, stop picking the scabs, you'll make them itch more'.

And I can't believe those funny flowers are still there.

We never knew what they were called, but Dani used to love blowing them and seeing if she could make fairies in the wind.

I don't know why I'm so surprised that things haven't changed much in Holland Park. Why would they? - it's us that changes, not the things around us. Yet I felt quite emotional - it really was as if I'd gone back twenty years.

It even smelt the same - but I'm really sorry,  I couldn't photograph that.

More Holland Park photos from yesterday

1 comment:

  1. That is just absolutely lovely. I think it's so neat the culture of going to parks. It's more than just being outside, it's being engaged with the outside world.