Park Life

In praise of my local park, a perfect place for all of us around here.

Victoria Park

I like to walk in it. It is perfect for running. It’s my route to the local shop. Its my route into town. I meet friends for a cup of tea there. I sit on the bench and read. When my good pal died a few years ago, I found a bench no one walked passed and I could sit and remember him. Most weeks I play tennis there. Sometimes I just need 10 minutes out the house and in the open air and breath – and it’s down to the park I go. The trees there are a giant show of steadiness and change throughout the year.

I also enjoy greeting the dog walkers and their pets, seeing the children in the play area and parents chattering as they push the swings or stand at the bottom of the slide. I like to pause at the weekend football matches where the slightly less than fully fit players huff and curse their way around the pitch.It was a shame when the bowls club closed down, but it’s delightful now to see a martial arts group practising on the flat lawn every Saturday morning. My less charitable side finds it more entertaining than it should do watching dogs tearing around chasing squirrels and never getting close, not even once.

It was during lockdown that more of us started noticing the park,; not that was empty beforehand, but we became drawn to this place more often and in greater numbers. It was everyone’s outlet, an open area for all where we could come and do our own individual thing, but do it along with, amongst and beside everybody else. The park became more precious. And all you had to do was walk in through one of the squeaky gates to benefit from it. So I began to understand how one place could begin to take on a spiritual importance for its local community.

3 minute working from home mindfulness

We didn’t sign up for this when we took the job – laptop on the kitchen table or maybe on a desk in the spare room. Work hours leaking into home time. And the isolation, oh my the isolation. There are many new problems to face right now and no way of knowing when it will end. As a result, it is vital that we try to treat ourselves gently and go easy when our mind starts to rant and rave. Taking deliberate breaks and breathing spaces in the day to notice our physical, mental and emotional feelings, while not judging ourselves for whatever those sensations are can be a real help. So I have recorded a short and simple mindfulness practice (see the bottom of the post) that I hope will allow people the opportunity to pause in this way and notice a breath or two. I imagined that this could be done after a period of being sat down working, but really this could be used at any time in the day from waking up to going to bed.

If you find it useful please do let me know.



This is the recording of the practice. Just click play.

p.s. The photo is the view I get from work that I am missing 🙂