After a few months where the smiles have been very slim picking, starting off last weekend with a close family funeral might well have been the last straw, the final push into a winter of discontent but sometimes you find smiles in the most unexpected of places.
The funeral, although not immediate family, was for a wonderful lady who will be greatly missed by everyone who’s lives she touched. She really did have a heart of gold and shared it’s seemingly endless riches without reserve. A northern lady through and through, she was born, married and died in the same village, the church was packed with family and friends from near and far, the old vicar came out of retirement for the day, and even the village tramp turned out at the crematorium for her send off.
After the funeral, we set off to our pre-planned sports weekend at Wolverhampton in a sombre mood. Friday night leaves no lasting memory and most of Saturday was spent wandering along a canal I had stumbled upon while looking for a large park Hubby had pointed out on the map.
I’ll take you on a stroll along the canal as soon as I sort through the photos. The slow wandering pace with the camera left me feeling quite relaxed and content – content is good. However, the take-away bacon and cheese butty, and accompanying coffee I bought on a pit stop at a local cafe had left me wishing that the conveniences weren’t quite so inconveniently far away. I picked up the pace a little and headed towards the park on the map where I was pretty sure I’d soon find what was required.
West Park in Wolverhampton turned out to be a lot bigger than I’d expected and seeing this big white building on the other side of the lake I mistook it for the Lakeside Pavillion and ended up completely at the wrong side of the park.
This pretty building turned out to be a Victorian Heated Conservatory, behind which I came across a small playground with four little girls playing happily. I know as a little girl I was always told never to talk to strangers, but needs must, I broke my own rule of always approaching an accompanying adult before speaking to a strange child and asked these four girls where I could find a toilet in the park.
“Do you know where the cafe is ?”, they asked… “No.”
“You know the bridge ?” … “Uh… No.”
The tallest, and probably the oldest girl turned to the others, “Shall we take her ?”
It seemed the decision was unanimous and I continued on my quest accompanied by four lovely little strangers. The two eldest walked either side of me, while number three followed closely behind, pushing number four in a pushchair.
On our way across the park they chatted away happily and I found out that the “greenhouse” held beautiful plants and was very warm inside, also that the girls had been asked to leave because they weren’t accompanied by an adult when they were in there. We walked past squirrels as friendly as those I had been feeding in “Cosmeston” and they came right up to the girls looking for nuts but soon abandoned us for more hopeful quarry when they determined the girls hands were empty.
I listened to how the girls had only lived in the area for six weeks and had come to the park often since moving there so they knew their way around, and as it was a very big park it was difficult to give directions from one side to the other, I didn’t feel so bad at not being able to follow their original directions after that.
We eventually arrived at the cafe and they pointed to a block of toilets in the near distance explaining that I would have to pay 10p to go in. The men’s were free, but for the ladies and the disabled, you had to put 10p in the machine on the door.
The girls had been so wonderful, helping out this particular stranger that I felt they needed a reward but again my motherly instincts would not allow me to be the stranger giving away sweets. However, I called into the cafe and bought two bags of nuts for the squirrels and four little plastic espresso cups which I gave the eldest girl charge to share the nuts equally into to feed the squirrels. I sent them on their way with their little gift while I continued on mine.
Now able to examine the park at a more leisurely pace, I stopped here and there with my camera. The picture from “Hidden in Wolverhampton” was taken from the bridge between two lakes there. After a while I wandered in the general direction of the greenhouse again and spotted the four girls playing on one of the paths, surrounded by squirrels.
“There’s the woman again”, one of the girls called out and they all waved.
I waved back and wandered back towards the hotel, tired, and happy.
More from before : Wandering in “Wolverhampton“