This is the update I actually meant to post yesterday, instead of getting a bit of a rant on. But yes, I do feel better for it. Thanks for asking. Yesterday’s post contained a lot of words and almost no photos. Today’s is all photos. I’m worded out.
So, there has been some exciting playground action around the SE11 area. The little park next to the Tea House Theatre, formerly a bit of a wasteland, is coming on nicely. Here’s the before:
And here’s the work-in-progress:
Gone is the brightly-coloured metal, in is the natural-and-green coloured wood. Looks like it’ll be much better. And that insanely hazardous slide mound is gone now (“What shall we build a slide on? I know, something REALLY hard and steep!”)
Meanwhile, wandering through the estate after dropping Roo at nursery, I spotted a new play area being built on the tiny scrap o’ green that is Doorstep Green. Again, it looks like a more “natural” look from what I could spy:
Then onto the real prize of the day – the newly opened playground in the Victoria Tower Gardens, right next to the Houses of Parliament. I might have mentioned before just how underwhelming this playground used to be – just a sad looking slide and swings in one of the busiest tourist hotspots in London. It was ripe for a makeover. And so I was very excited when I noticed it was having one. Let’s remind ourselves of the before:
So, what do we have? A tyre swing that’s not a seesaw (Eva’s godmother thought it was), baby swings, a lovely clean sandpit and a small slide that I didn’t get as photo of because both my camera and my phone had run out of battery. I was mostly concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep an eye on the time to go and pick Reuben up – annoyingly, the most famous clock in the world is just out of sight, behind a tree.
You’ll just have to take my word for it then that there was a slide, built onto some pleasingly chunky wooden steps. And a flat kind of roundabout that was wheelchair accessible (there was a girl in a wheelchair enjoying it when we were there). But the big winner, with parents and children, were the dance chimes. An unexciting -looking panel of nine metal squares in the ground, they kinda just look like a drain cover. But when you jump on them, they make a glockenspiel-like noise! I’m not exaggerating when I say that parents were pushing kids off them in order to have a go themselves. Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a little….
A HUGE improvement on the playground front then. The only disappointment was that the water feature was a little lame – just one water pump, going into a snake-like brick channel. I expected there to be sprinklers and things inside the channel itself but no, it’s just one pump. So a slightly half-arsed attempt at water play (and I was looking forward to having a local-er paddling pool), but other than that I’m impressed.
This playground update wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the sterling work of several Kennington parents in cleaning up the Kennington Park sandpit after glass was found in it. The contractors had failed to take any action, so the parents mobilised themselves instead, led by H’s Dada, H’s Mama and a friend we’ll called Magical Mumma (we were sadly in Devon at the time). It goes to show there can be community, even in the big city and reports say that the sandpit looks lovely and shiny as a result.