Well I'm back blogging after a bit of a break. I can't promise posts will be daily - or even weekly, but I'm going to do my best to continue in the shoddy vein of stingy lifestyle that you know and love*.
Don't worry. I'm not going to start a "mummy blog". I could tell you (in a simpering tone) that this is because I can't write with the sharp good humour of Eeh Bah Mum or Hurrah For Gin but actually it is because this would mean starting from scratch and thinking up new ideas with my brain and shiz and I can't be doing with that. You know me, I sat slack jawed in front of cartoons from long before sleep deprivation kicked in.
So it's gonna be the same old, same old. Only with added fascination for the toilet and changing facilities on days out.
To whit - the toilets are the only down side to my recent favourite picnic spot: Brent Lodge Park. This park, owned by Ealing council, is a fantastic free day out with or without the overlords. Great for a picnic and with the kinds of views you just wouldn't believe from London, it's the epitome of a great freebee.
First off there's a zoo. Yep. An actual small zoo, One which does proper rare breed protection (of small animals, rare farm animals and birds) - and it's free. They fundraise via a small butterfly house and a bouncy castle. If I was some kind of proper blogger I would have a photo of an endangered crane or giant rabbit (yes, these exist and they do exactly what it says on the tin). Somehow I've managed not to take a single photo with an actual animal in it, so you'll just have to take my word for it. Honestly, swear down there is a little zoo.
There's also a maze. Which I got a photo of!
In addition, the cafe is excellent. They do the usual light snacks and coffee and more complex meals such as pasta dishes. However I would bring a picnic if I were you: one side of the park drops off towards the River Brent and golf course, giving the impression of being in a country meadow (with benches and plenty of space to spread out). The other benefits from an amazing view of one of Brunel's historical Viaducts. If you walk under this and across a further meadow, you get to a pub of the same name. Just saying. It's a summer afternoon in the bag.
There are two well equipped playgrounds and basketball courts in the recreation ground area of the park.
The main entrance to the park is an easy walk from Hanwell overground station - if you're up for major house envy! It's a beautifully picturesque neck of the woods. There's also a small car park and street parking (keep an eye out for where you're actually allowed to park though).
Oh, and the toilets and changing? Fecking rank. Accessible luckily, but made of that bobbly 80s metal and dubiously stained. Hover and bring your own tissue and hand gel - if you've got a nappy to change, it's time to use that travel changing mat on the grass. Because y'know... park toilets. Tis the way of the world.
Anyhoo, this is the bit where I ask everyone to comment and tweet and such like. So do tell. What's your most 'value added' local park?
*Thank you. Thank you Motorola for your gift of video baby monitors, AKA 2 hours of freedom between 8pm and 10pm.