To help us celebrate the long awaited bank holiday weekend we decided that a trip out on a steam train would be just the thing so this morning we set off to find one.
Luckily there was just the thing running – the wonderful Bluebell Railway which uses a piece of track from East Grinstead through to Sheffield park. On this bit of track they run a number of steam engines which have a range of different carriages and services. We got a day pass ticket and went off on the line to Sheffield park and after a quick stop for lunch headed off to find the nearby Sheffield park garden.
The gardens are very lovely and impressively were the work of the famous landscaper ‘Capability’ Brown. We admired a number of views across a large waterlily covered lake to the beautiful (but unfortunately private) manor house which looked like it was straight from a film version of one of Jane Austen’s books. While wandering round the many paths we also happened upon a fantastic little tea van that was thoughtfully provided to keep the park visitors refreshed. Rich climbed one of the largest trees that I’ve possibly ever seen and also did a very good duck impression that I make me smile for some time to come.
After such excitements it was time to head back to catch the last train from Sheffield park to East Grinstead. More photos were taken of the trains and we also managed to secure a private booth to ourselves. Be sure to check out the lovely photos in the new and improved photo gallery.
(it kinda follows the tune for teddy bears picnic if you really try)
What started out as being a small outing to meet up with Joh, Eleanor and Clare turned out being a lovely gathering that also included two other work colleagues. Chris was there with her son William and stepson Ewan and it was great to see how much bigger the two boys are now since the last time I saw them. Mike also came along with baby Ivy who is pretty close in age to Sam. Mike is taking a break from work to have a go at looking after Ivy full time so we were all pretty impressed with how he was doing.
We all had some tasty picnic food and then headed off to the play park so that the older two boys could have a good run round while us adults and babies could chatter away. I really enjoyed the chance to catch up with so many friends so many thanks to Clare and Joh who organised it.
After a lovely leisurely lie-in (ahhh – I do love Saturdays!) we all set off on the bus to explore Crystal palace. We stopped off first at a market that included craft stalls, but were rather surprised by just how small it was with only a handful of stalls including one very determined lady trying to sell her cards. We did buy a few things including some second hand baby clothes for Sam which he’ll need for winter.
Once we had exhausted the little market we wandered back towards Crystal palace park to have an explore. We started at the main entrance and followed the central path through the park which seemed to be all steps going downwards. Most of the top half of the park seemed to be deserted and we even came across a slightly eerie empty fun fair.
Because we had to find somewhere to stop to give Sam his lunch we went into the Sports centre and sat (all alone) in the little cafe there with a cup of tea while trying to persuade Sam to eat his food. Thankfully once we had continued past the Sports centre and down some more steps we came into a more foresty part of the park which was much more popular. Sam then had his nap while Rich and I pushed him round the Victorian model dinosaurs which were tucked among the trees as part of a display that was 150 years old. We really enjoyed spending some time with these odd looking creatures, especially Rich who even went so far as to name the dinosaur in the above photo “Toothy Bill”. More photos can be found in the improved photo gallery.
Sam and I decided that it was high time to visit Cheam again and have another look around the lovely Nonsuch park. After much dashing to get there on time (I ended up walking quite some way to pick up the tram as this week it wasn’t running on our part of the line) we turned up early but luckily Cheam station has a great little waiting area (nice sofas and even a selection of books from the local library that you are welcome to borrow!).
Once Joh turned up with baby Eleanor we all head off back to her house for some lunch and a chat before heading out to Nonsuch park. I ended up being very thankful for the hearty chicken and stuffing sandwiches that Joh made as she hiked across the park with little Eleanor strapped to her front and me huffing along behind trying to keep up.
We sat for a while admiring some of the flower beds while I gave Sam his 3pm bottle and then before we knew it I had to head back to the station to catch the train home. Thanks for having us Joh and hopefully we’ll be round to visit again soon!
Rich went off yesterday to attend the British Grand Prix at Sliverstone with his dad and so has left Sam and me to try and get by without him. We were not too distressed though as we had already made plans to met up with Thea and Katie who had also been left unattended by Marcus as he had to work today.
Seeing as Sam and I really love Kelsey park we decided to show it off to Thea and Katie and so packed up a very tasty picnic and we all set off on the tram. We had a quick wander around the park and after finding a good spot to stop and eat the picnic we eat all that we could (I may have over catered just a tad…). Katie then made a new friend while we packed up and he seemed quite sad to see her go off with us to find the swings.
There was enough time to have a good play in the lovely playground and Sam got a go on the swings at the same time as Katie which he seemed to enjoy. Katie made some more friends in the park and I also somehow became responsible for spinning a bunch of kids on a roundabout thingy for about 10 minutes.
Unfortunately I can’t show you any photos of our trip today as Rich took the camera with him to Silverstone so on the left is an earlier shot of Katie with Sam – look how much Sam loves his cousin 🙂
After a busy morning doing weekend chores Sam decided it was time to go out so we headed off to the lovely Kesley park again, excited to be able to show it off to Rich.
We dashed round quickly when we first arrived trying to find the cafe so that we could give Sam his mid afternoon bottle only to realise that the cafe seems to be in the process of being refitted… not to worry though as the sun was shining and there were plenty of picnic benches to sit at. After Sam got his milk he calmed down a little and allowed us to look round the park properly in a more leisurely fashion.
Our first stop was to the play ground that is just next to the picnic area/cafe where Sam had a go on the swings with both his dad and me. Sam also had a quick go on a little roundabout while sat on his dad’s lap but had to call it a day after that as there really isn’t that many rides that he is big enough for yet.
On our way round we saw a good few of the friendly squirrels that I had noticed some of on our first trip. These little furry guys seem so much tamer than usual and a few were very happy for Rich to get up close to take a few photos of them. There were also some of the young herons out on the lake as well as swans, curious geese, sleeping ducks and a handful of playful bright green parrots flying about our heads.
We looked wistfully at the little putting course and passed it by as we thought Sam wouldn’t get much enjoyment out of it yet. However, just being out on a sunny Saturday afternoon with my little family was very lovely – I’ll just have to learn a little patience and not wish Sam’s baby time away!
Sam and I decided that as the weather was so beautiful this morning that we should go out for an adventure and find a new park (which wasn’t called Morden Hall park) to explore. I had a quick look at our local council web pages and was again unable to find any useful or helpfully laid out information on it so I had to resort to doing a search on google maps. Well google maps certainly didn’t disappoint as it found me a couple of possibilities including a place called Kelsey park.
Kelsey park is just so lovely. I had no idea that there was such a beautiful park relatively close to where we live – if I had done then I think I would have probably spent the last few years going on to everyone that I know about how it is the best park ever – and I wouldn’t have been exaggerating.
When you first enter the park you think to yourself how lovely it is – but little do you realise what lies further down that path… a little out of sight from the entrance is a wooded path way which when we were there was next to some slightly flooded ground. The flooding is caused by some of the water from the river that they’ve dammed at a few points in the parks to create a lake for the wild birds that visit there. On the lake there are geese, ducks, swans, coots and even a number of herons who have a few nests there.
While walking round the park we also discovered some other animal life, one very tame and friendly cat (who perhaps belongs to the park keeper?) lots of squirrels and a good few pigeons and other non-water birds. Apart from the wildlife, beautifully tended green areas and flower beds there is also a great children’s playground, a putting course and cafe (which only open at the weekend). There are also events held through out the year which hopefully Sam and I will be able to join in at soon.
It’s starting to seem like I can’t stay away from Morden Hall park at the moment as today I yet again ended up visiting the lovely place. Rich was off out at funkle Nick’s stag do for the day and I was going to be at a bit of a loose end but luckily Thea and Katie were able to come round – hooray!
Thea took us all in the car (much nicer than trying to squeeze onto a busy tram) with Sam and Katie both in their car seats at the back having a great time. Katie kept Sam amused by drawing him lots of pictures so that when I looked back to check on him he had been covered in paper which he was happily playing with.
We started off by having a good look round the gardening centre and were tempted by a good few things there. By then it was time for Sam’s lunch so we invaded the cafe and I feed Sam while being fed some of my lunch by Thea.
Refreshed and happily full we went off for an explore of the park with Katie leading the way. We wandered quite a few paths that I hadn’t been on before and in our travels encountered one of the cutest little puppies ever which both Katie and Thea would have happily smuggled home.
After much exploring and a few games of pooh sticks (Katie took a little while to understand that you need to drop the sticks so that they float under the bridge and not away from it) we headed back to the cafe for Sam’s mid-afternoon bottle and some very yummy cream tea for the mums. Sam really enjoyed playing with his cousin (as you may be able to tell from the delighted expression on his face in this photo) and laughed like anything when Katie smiled at him.
Thanks so much for coming over to see us Thea and Katie we both really enjoyed our day with you and are already looking forward to the next time!
After our visit over to Portsmouth to meet up with my Grandfather we decided to spend the Sunday relaxing after all the train travel that we did so by Monday we were all a little tired of being in the house so we set off to Morden Hall park as there was going to be a Craft fair going on. When we arrived we found the park to be at it’s busiest that we had seen it with no space for us to sit down to give Sam his food and worrying about being stuck outside in the rain. Thankfully we did eventually manage to cram into the National Trust cafe but after that trouble I didn’t fancy trying to crowd into the very small craft fair thing that was going on – especially as the stalls seemed to be starting to close.
So our trip out didn’t go nearly as well as I had hoped it would on that Monday and I ended up feeling a little cheated out of my enjoyment of the park. Because of this Sam and I decided to make the trip out again today as the weather was just beautiful and we wanted to enjoy the park without the crowds.
With a little preparation I brought with me one of Sam’s feeds that enabled me to have a few extra hours at the park and really gave me the chance to have a good amble around the various foot paths and enjoy myself. Sam chatted away while being pushed about in the buggy and seems to be enjoying being outside as much as I do now – when I look down at him his eyes are always looking about him all that is going on.
We stopped for some lunch in the cafe – and this time it was much quieter. I treated myself to a tasty cup of hot chocolate while Sam feasted on a jar of baby food. After finishing up in the cafe we headed back out and had a nosy round the outside of the old snuff mill as well as popping into the little secondhand bookshop where I treated myself to even more books including a very old looking one by Rudyard Kipling called “Humorous tales” which I had not heard of before. All in all a great trip out 🙂
It’s been a good few years now since I first went past Wandle park tram stop while on the way to Ikea with Rich. When I first saw it I said to Rich that I thought it was a fantastic name for a park – I even went so far as to say that if I had a park I would want to call it that. So every time we travel past that stop on the tram and notice the Wandle Arms pub on the way I always think to myself that one day I’ll get off and go have a look round.
Well today Sam and I did get off – though we didn’t intend that Wandle park would be our destination, a naughty man who shouldn’t have had his bicycle on the tram caused a big delay while extra transport people came along to evict him and the offending bike. So instead of going a few stops further down the line we got off at Wandle park instead and had a wander around.
The weather today was glorious – lovely and sunny and warm with a slight breeze to keep you feeling refreshed. We started out by having a quick look at the playground and Sam even had a very gentle go on one of the swings while being held on my lap – he really seemed to enjoy it. As the other climbing frames and spinny things were a little too old for Sam we went off to see what else the park had to offer. That’s when we came to a little section that looked like in better times to have been some sort of small formal garden and nearby that was this little monument thingie which was engraved with the date the park first opened in 1890.
I’m happy to say that this park has won some lottery funding to pay for improvements including the raising of the River Wandle (which runs underground through the park), sadly the Fuzzy family will have probably moved up North by that time but maybe one day we will get to see the park after all the work has been completed.