Summer Scrapbook: Stanwick Lakes

Posted on: 04/08/2011

A bunch of mums from the school were meeting up at Stanwick Lakes yesterday, and invited us along too…

Stanwick Lakes was a new experience for me; I’d heard other mums tell me how great it was, but never really found out why.  Then, when I said we could come, they sent me a mysterious text saying, ‘bring spare clothes, towels and swimmies’.

I was mystified.  I couldn’t even get much of a look-in from their website, which seemed like any other nice place to go for a picnic.

But we piled into the car, loaded to the gunwales with food, baby stuff, towels, swimmies, clothes and drove the half hour to Stanwick.  As we traipsed over from the car park trying to find the others, I began to get an idea.

The adventure playground mentioned wasn’t just any adventure playground.  Aside from being the biggest one I’ve ever seen (the sort where you can expect to take a good ten minutes to work out where your children are), the playground design also happens to incorporate a good deal of water.  They have cleverly harnessed rainwater and got it running down at least half of the playground structures.

Of course, this also means there are the odd areas where it’s more of a bog.  And somewhere along the line more than a few children started sliding into it. This created a mud slide, incidentally right next to where we had spread out the picnic rugs.

When our relatively little ones had a go in it, they were covered in mud up to their knees with the odd splash elsewhere. We were thankful that they got tired of it and went to play in the rather cleaner water areas, washing it all off.

Then, when we were having lunch, some teens and tweens discovered it.   Egging each other on, one particularly large boy slid down and submerged himself in the bog.  The only bit of him that was not greeny-brown and slimy was the area around his eyes, which had been screwed tightly shut.  There had been a large splash, and we all inched further across the picnic rug.

Then he did it again, and again, and again, for about an hour.  We couldn’t help but wonder…Why? Surely once you’ve got filthy, there’s no novelty any more?  One of our picnic rugs got splattered, and so did one of the adults, slightly.  We became rather less than impressed, and thanked our lucky stars this was not our child.

But the kids were oblivious, and just enjoyed the day for what it was – a scorching hot opportunity to get wet and mucky.

Then the heavens opened and a thunderstorm struck.

We had waterproofs, but they were all of two minutes walk away in the car.   We all got utterly drenched, except for oldest one, who hid in a playground tunnel and started building a dam to stop the water entering.  Smallest one was particularly unimpressed.

But it was fine really.  We hurtled to the car, dried ourselves off (I thanked my lucky stars that I’d put all but one towel back in the car already), and then I slopped over to the ice cream stall and got us all lollies to eat while the queue to get out of the car park slowly dissipated.

I had to drive home barefoot…wet, muddy crocs are a bit of a safety hazard when combined with driving.  Then, once home, we all piled into the bath, which turned rather brown rather quickly, and drank hot chocolate to finish off the day.

English summers. They always surprise you.


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