MIKE O'HARE
co-author of The Meadow
Mike O'Hare
June - 24 - 2012 | 0 Comment

A PLACE OF TRANQUILLITY 

The Municipal Park is a place enjoyed by the few and taken for granted by the many. Ward Jackson Park in Hartlepool has a serenity about it which is hard to match and can only be equalled by other towns but never beaten. Therefore when I decide to take a walk in the park, I do so when my resolve is low and my batteries require recharging.

Ward Jackson Park -- one of the best kept municipal parks in the UK

A walk in the park, particularly this park is the best therapy that I could recommend right now..

I chose a walk in the park to unwind after a busy and stressful week. I knew that I had to find a tranquil place with the least confrontation. My hopes were soon to be shattered as I entered the main gates. I suppose it’s better to be hit by a football rather than a golf ball, so I should be grateful for small mercies. The fact that this was an accident made matters easier and the young boys responsible were most apologetic. I took this observation as a positive start, having been so impressed with the attitude of the youths.

A safe place to play is always on the park swings and roundabouts

The Park swings

I believe nostalgia must have been created at the park. As I walked, the memories came flooding back, made more realistic by the presence of young children playing on the swings and roundabouts. All of a sudden I found myself re-living my past and this gave me a sense of great joy. I decided to make my way down to the lake.

The park benches

Park benches

It is such a pleasure to go into a public place which hasn’t been abused by vandalism. The old benches were still there, in good repair — just as I remembered them from so long ago. I took a seat next to a little old lady who was determined that nothing was going to spoil the enjoyment of eating her sandwiches. I decided to sit for a while and watch the world go by.

It wasn’t long before this lady struck up a conversation. I felt guilty that I hadn’t taken the initiative, but she soon made me feel comfortable. When a perfect stranger is prepared to share memories of their life with you, it restores your faith in human nature. The fact that this impeccably dressed and well-mannered person was giving her time, made me feel very humble indeed. I was glad that I chose a walk in the park on this particular day.

Mrs Duck taking her family to the safety of the bushes.

Mrs Duck and family

The lake was in view from where we were sitting and it wasn’t long before the presence of “Mr and Mrs Duck” and their family interrupted our conversation. What a joy to behold – witnessing those little ducklings engaging the tarmac path to reach the safety of the bushes.

I was hesitant to beg my leave of this lady and head for the lake. She reminded me of those days when I used to visit the park with my mother and a string of friends in tow. As I reached the water’s edge it appeared as though a re-enactment of the Battle of Trafalgar was in progress. The model boat “captain” was, by stealth of hand and skilful manipulation of the remote control, engaging a swan in its attempt to retrieve a piece of bread. This chap was revelling in the conflict and was determined that he would gain the right of way. In the end a compromise was reached whereby the swan grabbed the bread and made a detour, thus enabling the boat to proceed on its “voyage”.

Although the sun isn't shining, it's still a brilliant day in the park.

Park of tranquility

As I was walking back to the park gates, anticipating my reactions as I was about to enter the harsh world of reality, I suddenly realised that the day was overcast with quite a chill in the air. I had no idea that the sun had not been shining. If this is what a walk in the park can do then I’m keen to try it again and soon.

So why did I write a blog like this which hardly leaves you begging for more of the same? Life is a roller coaster — it has its ups and it has its downs and it’s just as important to experience the tranquil aspects of our existence alongside the excitement. In fact one can’t survive without the other. We progress in life on the back of the polarities that allow us to learn from the contrasts that confront us every day.

On another day — a more pleasant and sunny day — I was sitting on the park bench, contemplating my life, when it came to my attention how, many years ago, I missed out on a golden opportunity to boost my new family coffers. The thought soon turned into a nightmare and then the Cringe factor crept in. See what I mean when you watch the following video.

 

 

 

 

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