“This was a lovely idea, to come for a Winter walk around the park,” Mum said.
“It’s bloody freezing,” I reply.
“I told you to put a hat and scarf on,” Mum scolded.
“I know. But I have some street cred. Not much. But some,” as I say as pull my collar up.
A Winter walk always seems like a good idea, until the temperature drops one degree too much – or you put a hat and scarf on.
I am in the latter, as Mum is snuggly in her padded jacket, boots and hat. This is why she’s the Mother…
We’re in Heaton Park, a tireless Victorian park, just a twenty minute slow walk from Newcastle city centre. It’s one of five linked parks that make up Ouseburn Parks. The other four parks are Jesmond Dene, Jesmond Vale, Paddy Freeman’s Park and Armstrong Park. The whole area was open to the people of Newcastle from 1884.
“Thought there’d be a few more people about,” Mum says as we more or less have the wide walkway that encompasses the entire park to ourselves. “Just the dog walkers, really.”
I nod, as I see a dog taking a dump up ahead.
The owner of which looks around for the dog and runs back with her poop bag to do a bit of scooping.
“It’s nice to hear how quiet it is,” I say.
“To HEAR how quiet it is…?” Mum laughs. “I know. Who would think we weren’t far from the city centre?” she agreed.
There’s no kids crying, parents shouting after them, gangs of people talking.
Heaton Park has a mix of promenades, hidden walkways and vast greenery. There’s a children’s playground, a Bowling Green and Victorian pavilion, which is now an Italian restaurant. Plus the remains of a mediaeval mansion.
All open and free to the public all year round.
Frost remains on the leaves of the bushes and hedges, as well as the grass. All of them glisten in the low afternoon sun.
“I love this kind of Winter weather, when everything looks peaceful,” Mum said thoughtfully.
Different types of birds sing their hearts out, which resonate around the trees, giving an ethereal feel as we continue our stroll.
“How lovely to hear the birds. They sound bright and happy.” I say.
“Don’t blame them when it’s so quiet. Bet they are loving it,” Mum said.
“Probably asking what each wants for their tea!” I joke.
Some people are sitting outside at the restaurant, eating. That’s real al fresco dedication for you! No one was in either of the kiddies playgrounds.
I see another dog take a dump, this time immediately in front of us. As we walk by, I wait for the stench to hit my nostrils… The owner is quick off the mark and plucks it up into a bag as if it were a daffodil.
A flurry of snow begins landing on the ground. It begins to lie. The weather forecasters were right. Snow, ice, freezing temperatures, travel chaos and our last leisurely stroll for a while.
“Here comes the snow,” I say as I pull my collar up.
“I told you that you put a hat and scarf on,” Mum smiled as she pulled down her hat, holier-than-thou.