We just moved in to Cul-de-sac, and are starting to explore the neighborhood. Across the drive from our house is St. Stephen’s Manor, a stucco over brick ‘villa’ built in the 1860s. Eventually the land around the manor was sold off to be developed into detached single family homes. In the 1980s the house itself was converted into several flats. Now “St. Stephen’s Manor” is an address which includes several dozen 70s-era homes built in, of all things, a Scandinavian alpine style meant to stand up to cold winters. But enough history, let’s go for a walk!
As we walk out the driveway, we pass the old St Stephen’s Manor.
We walk along the quiet street out of the neighborhood
Turn left along the old brick wall, with its bit of romantic English ivy
Past the round red postbox, which the kids find fascinating
Past blackcurrants (I think) in someone’s yard
Look for the green gate in between the houses
And walk down the path
Look behind you at the path — the park is entirely encircled by houses. The land now in the park was formerly part of an estate and was purchased for use as a park in the mid 19th century.
At the end of the path the walls open up and you are suddenly in the middle of a large green space
Including a duck pond
An outdoor education circle
Playing fields, and two playgrounds
What a relief to be able to walk, run and jump and make cheerful noise, meet the neighborhood dogs (all so well behaved!), and talk to the ducks. We are eager for our bikes and scooters to arrive so we can explore the park in another way. Depending on the time of day we may have the park to ourselves, or find it filled to bursting with other children of all ages.
The path back home, from inside the smaller playground
Back up the road to the house, with a peek-a-boo view of the cul-de-sac that is the source of the house’s nickname
A detour down a secret community garden path
To another peaceful pond
Our house is still echoing and bare without any of our household goods, I’m cooking everything with one skillet and one casserole dish, school has started back up after a break, and the days are getting shorter — but nothing cheers me up like a walk to the park.