surinenglish

Park life

There's a public town square quite close to where the pub is located and I'll often pass through on my way to run some errand or other. With the best of intentions the council has installed a children's playground of sorts, although the lack of available shade there severely restricts its hours of usefulness.

I was legging it across the square the other day in search of some emergency peanuts or similar (such is the romantic nature of the publican's lot) and something struck me as very odd about the playground scene as I passed by, although, in my haste, I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. Anyway, I promptly forgot all about it until I'd finished work and settled down to watch Hinterland, munching on some beef Hoola Hoops. What was it about what I'd seen which seemed so out of place? Most of whom you'd expect to be there were definitely present: the brash children, the shy children, the funny children, the fat children, the fat adults...Wait a minute, that was it, the adults. There were - quite literally- more adults than children at a children's playground. Why on earth would that be?

Maybe it's a cultural thing or maybe we live in such paranoid times that leaving your child unsupervised for an hour is seen as inviting unmitigated disaster (I blame programmes like Hinterland). When we went to the park as little 'uns, it was always the exact same number of adults who came along to accompany us i.e. none. So, as you might expect, the big kids pushed the little kids off the best attractions (basically, an old creaking roundabout) and the teenagers drank cheap cider and we played football until the local bullies came and tried to steal the ball but Michael Fitzgerald nutmegged one of them and we couldn't go back to the park for a year. That was the playground scene round our way in those days.

I'm not sure which of these two extremes is the more desirable to tell the truth but it's probably somewhere in between as is often the case in these matters. How about if small groups of parents took daily turns to watch the little blighters leaving at least some of the adults time to do adult things like watch a film or go to the pub.

Come to think of it, there's a half decent one just around the corner, or so I'm told.