Chapter 4 – Storybook Gardens

Today we visited Storybook Gardens in London. My husband had been there before when he was exactly the same age as Bethan is now, so this was a nostalgic trip for his parents (as he doesn’t remember anything about it, having been only 8 months old at the time). The park had been expanded in the last 34 years and now includes a splash pad, huge adventure playground and a Wind in the Willows crime scene.

Who killed Toad and Mole?
Who killed Toad and Mole?

The girls started by heading to the splash pad (Catrin put on her multiple layers of swimming stuff and then decided she would rather eat ice cream instead, while Bethan didn’t bother wasting time waiting for her swimming costume and got her clothes drenched in her enthusiasm for the water tables). Bethan them dried off in the sunshine while Catrin tried the Ferris wheel, elephants ride and the super slide (again and again and again).

Catrin’s jaw hit the floor, though, when she saw the vast adventure playground… It must have seemed like a really excellent dream had come true for her. She spent hours running at full speed between the climbing frames, slides, huge trampoline and soft play and eventually dropped…she was so tired she couldn’t speak or keep her eyes open anymore and she fell asleep on her Grandma’s lap while waiting for lunch.

She climbed to the top and then told a teenage boy to 'Move!' because he was 'in the way!'
She climbed to the top and then told a teenage boy to ‘Move!’ because he was ‘in the way!’

We went back to our hosts’ house to find a chipmunk trapped in the kitchen, leaping around like a tiny, furry, ninja gymnast. I think chipmunk invasions would count as a very Canadian problem.

Twenty minutes later Catrin was wide awake again and demanding to go into the swimming pool. Back up to full speed, she then dictated to anyone within earshot that they would all now play football with her in the garden (I was exempt from this instruction as I was being attacked by a violent baby at the time). She then jumped back into the pool and climbed aboard a floating chair with her (very chilly) uncle and became his official drink carrier. He would call ‘beer please’ when he wanted a drink and she would pass it to him with a huge grin; ‘here you go!’. She thought it was the best game in the world and enjoyed ordering him to paddle them ‘this way’ and ‘that way’ around the pool while clutching the can of Dead Elephant (the beer was called ‘Dead Elephant’. It is made in the town where Jumbo the circus elephant was killed by a grand trunk locomotive, which I mentioned in my last post:

Apparently Dead Elephant tastes quite nice.).

Dead elephant... Making commercial gain from the demise of a pachyderm
Dead elephant… Making commercial gain from the demise of a pachyderm

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