"Three summers and a thousand years ago..." the day dawned cloudy, but we were hopeful for the sun as we threw our rucksacks over our backs and continued across the treacherous Indian mountains and desserts to the powerfully alluring Kafiristan in order to claim our place as future kings of the wild unruly natives. It had been days since we'd seen civilization. Roman was exhausted from crawling in the sand, I was nearing the end of my stash of Cadbury bars, but Matt insisted we press on...
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Ok ok so I'm no Rudyard Kipling, and this story is a little less, strictly speaking, "adventurous" than the one taken by the loony but loveable Daniel Dravot and Peachey Carnehan in The Man Who Would Be King but upon returning from our short and impromptu day at Wimbledon Park this weekend to celebrate Matt's first Father's Day, we too felt that we'd made a random but adventure-filled pilgrimage to a land far, far away which held many wonderous and splendid things in waiting.
the two heroes; photo credit
I'd never been to Wimbledon Park, just a short 2 mile walk from our flat, or a short trip on the local bus, but had heard Matt sing its praises ("sounds like an opportunity for men such as we...") many a time based on short excursions there on his bicycle. I kind of wanted to stay at home and tried my best to avoid heading out but the weather was somewhat cooperative, so, against my will, we packed a picnic lunch, a blanket, put Roman into his midge-mobile and headed over.
We missed the bus and so had to walk (trek, really, hence the Kafiristan comparison). Once there, though, it felt as if we'd truly left London. Wimbledon Park is pretty much the opposite if my previous conception of British manicured natural areas of leisure.
wild and snarly alright.
Wild "snarly" (as Matt called them) weeds, trees, shrubs and bushes grew everywhere with no rhyme or reason. Unpruned trees displayed endless branches and leaves that arched and overarched here and there creating a delicate, beautiful canopy over the earth and us. I kept looking for the "green," the opening where people would be lounging, playing cricket, or chasing dogs, but nothing. Just a path leading through forest and more forest.
Eventually we found a hidden spot nestled beneath giant trees and abundant in moss, soft grass and shade. Here we partook in our delicious picnic lunch of leftover KFC (admit it, you too love cold fried chicken!), cucumber salad, and cold baked beans. For a special treat Matt had scooped out the flesh of a particularly ripe cantelope and added a touch of lime juice to it. Perfection in a bowl.
Even Roman showed his appreciation for the excursion: he was silently mesmerized by the green surroundings. He didn't cry the entire time. Hey, that works for me! And as for the father in question, naturally he felt like a King after such a wildly successful outing. :)
Here are the best pictures from our father's day at Wimbledon park: