Now, if you’re a BLW-er, I give you permission to skip this one. You don’t need me to sell Coram’s to you. Let me quote here from a little man who is a big Coram’s fan (not mine) it’s a “Big park in London”. And so it is, but what a park! Just make sure you take a few changes of clothes. Reuben worked his way through a whole changing bag on one visit there and ended up in this ensemble:
Beware! This gay matelot from the 80s could be YOUR SON. I now pack a towel and at least two changes. I will explain later.
So, another tricky one to find. I walked round three and a half sides of it before finding the little gate that lets you in (only if you have a child!). It’s hard to explain but go to the Brunswick Centre first anyway. There’s a Waitrose with a salad bar there and that alone makes the Centre worth a visit. Some women get their hair cut or have a facial to make them feel a bit special – I go to Waitrose. Anyhoo, I digress. If you leave the Brunswick Centre by the easterly exit, go down the very clever slope-steps and kinda verge round to the right, you’re going in the right direction. Good luck.
There yet? Great. Let me guide you round the myriad delights of Coram’s.
Firstly, there’s a paddling pool. The photo above is from a more recent visit (you can tell by the way he’s not a baby anymore. Or a matelot. Or from the 80s) and for that visit, I have done some kind of preparation and packed a wetsuit and towel. Of course, you can’t predict when the paddling pool will be operational but packing a wetsuit is a pretty good way to guarantee it won’t be. Either way, it’s not as good as the paddling pool on Hampstead Heath but if it has water in it and it’s a hot day, me and Roo will love it. Guaranteed. On this occasion, I had also packed him his ball (get me!) and this got repeatedly stolen by older children in the fountain bit in the middle. Is this where he got the idea for “ball in the duck pond?”
Moving on, there is also sand and water play. This was our downfall on our first visit there (which was also his first birthday). Sand and water is a fascinating combination for three lots of people – 1) small children 2) manufacturers of detergents 3) washing machine repairmen. For parents it’s more of a “urrggghhhh….what is this sludge? How do I GET IT OFF?” kinda reaction. See below.
Aww, he’s a baby again! He wasn’t even walking then, so how did he get himself into quite such a state?
That wasn’t a rhetorical question. I’m really struggling to remember.
So, sand and water…hmmmm…separate sand pit yeh! And there is at least one slide in that whole general area, then another one in the woodchip-y area next to it.
What’s with that whole woodchip thing anyway? In our childless day, on a visit to Australia, we found ourselves babysitting our then 2-year-old nephew in a park for the evening while his parents had a romantic picnic elsewhere. Nephew fell over onto that woodchip stuff. It went in his mouth. We handed him back to his parents with a mouth full of dirt and blood. What a way to end a romantic picnic! Ever since then, I have cringed whenever I see it.
I digress again. One more slide in that area, another one in the bigger kids area near the front gate and yet another one on the other side! Amazing, hey? I said this was quite some park. How many other small parks have 4 slides? Hang on, there is an even bigger kids’ area in the other corner with one of those tube slide things. So that’s 5.
We appreciate a good slide count.
What else? What, you need more?! Well, there’s a wildlife corner with birds, goats and chickens. I have sometimes seen the goats wandering around the park seemingly unsupervised. On one occasion, the goat was supervised only by a small naked child. Who was also unsupervised. I was with my cousin and we both hoped the other one would take charge of this situation before the goat kicked any small naked children in the face. Luckily, a parent of some kind stepped in. Phew!
To wrap up, there is also a flying fox (which seemed to be out of order and fire damaged last time we went), some tubular bells (which Roo loves) and a small Austrian cafe in the corner. Let me stun you by telling you now that this is all within seven acres. It takes a minute to walk from one side to the other. And yet there is a lot of green space. It’s tardis-like in its dimensions. Amazeballs.
A word of warning though – even though it’s small, I still lost Roo at least twice the last time we went, cause it gets very full of toddlers and they all look a bit similar. Dress yours in something distinctive. Maybe a ceremonial headdress of some sort?
VERDICT: Not a new tip, or even a hot one, but always a good option for meeting people.