Our friend Gary invited us to join him and his daughter Ella on a trip to Hyde Park last weekend. Gary and his wife Stacey have two children, both older than ours. They were friends of Ian’s at secondary school, and their wedding back in 2006 was the first time I met them both. They used to live in Huddersfield which made meeting up (from London) a little tricky. They’ve since moved back to London, but we never spend as much time with them as we’d like. It is a shame really, because every time our families meet up, we are guaranteed to have a brilliant time.
Gary and Stacey seem to always be doing something creative or making simple things special and fun. Last summer we met at a local large green called Figges Marsh. The memo was that we’d be ‘blowing bubbles’. Little did we realise that Gary had created a ‘bubble juice’ designed to make huge bubbles, along with a bamboo and string contraption to blow the bubbles with. We spent a couple of glorious hours on Figges Marsh that day in the sun, blowing the biggest bubbles I had ever seen, and attracting a lot of attention from other children passing by. It had inspired me to create my own bubble juice (using various online recipes) so that we could create more massive bubbles at home.
Anyway, that was my long-winded way of saying that I was really excited about going on a Hyde Park trip with Gary and his elder child, daughter Ella, as I knew that it would somehow be extra fun. On top of that, it was Finley’s first trip into London.
We decided to leave Fraser at home, as he wouldn’t have appreciated the journey, the freezing temperature or being stuck in his pushchair. It was a glorious day last Sunday. A perfectly crisp, freezing January morning of clear skies and bright sunshine.
We met Gary and Ella at 10:30 at one of the Hyde Park entrances. There was no real agenda, other than a stroll and a possible visit to a museum (depending on our 3-year old’s endurance). Gary had brought his DSLR as well as his awesome, teeny tiny GoPro 3+ camera, which was attached to a long stick with some tape. Gary uses his GoPro for a more exciting quality of selfie, as well as underwater shots (it is waterproof) and video clips. He took some photos of us from underwater in the lakes and ponds, as well as some group shots from the land. I also had my little Sony point and shoot, so we had many pictures between us.
It was freezing cold, and Finley was happy to be out, but had moments of reluctance. We all managed to encourage him to keep walking. Ian’s pedometer measured 15,000 steps on Sunday while we were out, and Finley was able to do a good proportion of those, bar a few carries here and there.
After we had taken a long stroll through the park we had begun to freeze up. We were relieved to find the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which was home to a rather plush restaurant. We needed no encouragement to head inside for a warming coffee, some hot choccie for the kids and a little packed lunch for Finley.
After this, we had a peruse of the gallery, which featured an exhibition by Julio de Parc. The exhibition featured an array of light installations. It was pretty awe-inspiring and made you want to reach for the camera a lot.
After this, Finley was ready to go home, so we bid each other a farewell and headed for the tube. Fin did pretty well, being out for nearly five hours. He was shattered but simultaneously inspired.
Thanks to Gary for permission to use some of his photos on this post. If you enjoyed those photos, there are some more in this little video compilation. I hope you enjoy.