Back in late summer — a couple of years ago — I wrote about our old park.
We used to live in Marlow and I used to walk through Higginson park pretty much every day.
Midweek it was peaceful and gave the perfect distraction from work. If I was working at home, I’d walk down in my lunchbreak and sit on a bench by the river and feed the ducks and swans. Or wander down later in the day — pick up a coffee from the Costa at the entrance — and amble around, watching the boats go by.
On the weekend it would turn into a crazy crèche.
It’s a Mecca for families and the play area — which was fairly quiet during the week — would be swarming with little ones; the air full of the sounds of their laughter and squeals.
The area surrounding it would look like a buggy park. A giant showroom for every make and model of pram and stroller you can think of.
In spring, each year, there would be a French Market. The footpath, that wound through the park, would turn into a little corner of Provence; artisan breads, cheese and meat beautifully laid out on little stalls. Gorgeous pastries and sweets for sale, along with baskets and scarves — even a shoe stall.
My favourite was the soap seller, where you could pick up gorgeous Marseille Soaps — a pick and mix of different scents and colours. The atmosphere down there was always so vibrant. In all the years we lived in Marlow, it never rained when the French Market was in town!
Every summer, Higginson Park would be home to the Marlow Town Regatta and Festival. Each June, the fair would come to town and the manicured lawns would be covered with Waltzers and merry-go-rounds. From our house you’d hear music, late into the night, and screams from those brave enough to chance their luck on the fairground rides.
On the morning of Regatta day, you’d see the bright young things dressed in their finest; everyone looking as though they were off to a wedding. Roll on a few hours and you’d see the same girls, sitting on the pavements, absolutely plastered and missing their shoes.
To say I love that park is an understatement. It holds so many happy memories for me.
And sad too.
I’ve said before how much I yearned for a baby, the whole time we lived in Marlow.
I would walk past the play area and wish for a toddler to push on the swing or a baby to wheel along in a pram. To take a walk to see the boats and the ducks, whilst holding a chubby little hand.
Then it finally happened.
In September 2014 — 4 years after we’d moved and 18 months after becoming a mother — I took my babies to Marlow Park for the first time.
It might sound ridiculous but it was literally one of the best days of my whole life.
And we did it all again, a couple of weekends ago!
We spent the whole of Sunday afternoon in Marlow. Instead of two little toddlers, this time I was accompanied by two rambunctious three year olds.
My boy grabbed a picnic from Sainsbury’s in the high street — whilst I took our little sons to play on the swings and slide in the park — then on his return we found a sunny patch of grass and sat eating our lunch.
These kind of days are truly the best.
No bells or whistles, we didn’t have to pay to get in. The sun was shining and my three boys and I had the loveliest day.
Our new village park is very sweet but it doesn’t have quite the same pull as our old park in Marlow.
The Thames — with all it’s wild inhabitants — the play area, the Regatta, the French market, the GIANT bronze Steve Redgrave, proudly surveying it all. Hell — it even has it’s own Costa.
I always loved the park when we lived in Marlow but the couple of times I’ve been back since — with my children — have been so special.
All those days I sat, wishing for my babies, by the river.
So thankful that it came true.