One day we’ll have to move, we have no choice, there’s only so long Girl and Boy Lacer can share a (very small) bedroom and although I bitterly oppose it (due to insanely stupid house prices we may have to move out of the area and I don’t want that) there is always one small silver lining about the idea of moving somewhere new, the idea of starting afresh and having a whole new area to discover. I still remember fondly going for a walk with Girl Lacer in her pushchair (as a baby obviously), shortly after we moved here, deciding to explore and discovering the most amazing riverside gardens that despite many trips to the area house hunting, we had failed to discover earlier and just going “wow”. We still go to said riverside gardens regularly, in fact if I think back to any random thought about Girl and Boy Lacer as under 5s, in my memory they’re in those said gardens but familiarity has dulled my appreciation of those particular gardens a little. In fact I had come to the conclusion I pretty much knew everywhere round here but the start of Girl Lacer’s orthodontic treatment has pleasantly proved me wrong.
Girl Lacer’s orthodontist is in nearby Richmond, she had her initial appointment last year when she was 7 (after a referral from the dentist) and she was told then (obviously) that she was way to young but it was worth coming back for yearly checks. So we went back for her yearly check last Monday, to be honest I was fully expecting to be told to come back in another year (8 is still young), so I wanted to make the most of the opportunity to pop into a nearby absolutely gorgeous bakery, that (other than going to the orthodontist) we would really have no reason to go to (because as far as bakeries go, it’s a little far to get to). So, as we got to the orthodontist’s early we decided to do the bakery first, got there to discover that their card reader wasn’t working, so we went for a wander to see if we could find a shop that did cash back, we didn’t find one (although I did, after counting all the small change in my purse find enough money for three chocolate biscuits, which to quote Girl Lacer later, was “like eating hot chocolate”) but we also found something else.
Walking down the street, away from the bakery I could see that something odd was happening to the sky line, in fact ahead of us suddenly it seemed to be all skyline, like we walking up towards a giant hole in the earth, we had to walk further to see what it was. At first I assumed that it might be Richmond Park (although my limited sense of local geography thought that was a little weird, as I thought the park was probably not in the direction we were heading). It wasn’t until we got to the top of the ‘hole’ did I realise what it was, a terraced garden, imaginatively called Terrace Gardens.
We had no time to explore but as it turned out Girl Lacer’s next orthodontist’s appointment was a little sooner than a year away, it turned out to be two days later, as Girl Lacer’s orthodontic treatment will be in two stages and they’re going to commence with the first stage now (she is ridiculously excited about the idea of getting a brace) and she needed to go back to get moulds done. So we went back today after the orthodontist, armed with more cash for the bakery and time to explore the gardens .
And it was fantastic, specially as at first it was very quiet, just us and an old man on a bench (who was probably cursing us for breaking his peace and quiet). The garden is a maze of paths snaking down hill and for two children who seem to have spent the whole summer holiday watching ancient reruns of Crystal Maze (whhhhhhhhhhhhhy), they immediately took to the ‘maze like’ aspect, deciding which direction to go as the path branched.
And then as the hill got steeper the other childhood instinct kicked in, which is of course, find a steep hill and run down it very fast (which they adored). Whereas I appreciated touches such as the massive mint bushes and the flower beds full of vegetables (looking far better than mine *sulk*).
There was even a cute little glass house (which you couldn’t go into, but it was small enough to see the entirety of the inside, just by peering in).
As well as renovated statues (we have now seen both of Bacon’s Father Thames statues, the other one is outside Ham House) and dug up artefacts.
The irony of it all is, that I have gone past the bottom of Terrace Gardens at least once a month on the bus since we moved here 8 years ago, I had just always assumed that the bit of the gardens I could see from the bus were just the grounds of a hotel or a restaurant, I had no idea it was a public space or how big it was (duh me), but now I know and it goes to show that sometimes new things can be under your nose without you even realising it.
And our exploring didn’t stop either once we’d left the gardens (through the Grotto Gate, which literally is a grotto), coming up from out of a small dark tunnel and into another set of gardens by the river itself. We walked through Petersham Meadows, which is another thing I’d spied from the bus window over the years and had always planned to go and explore, spying glimpses of farm animals though the bushes. Before heading back onto the main road just by the entrance to the kids favourite playground in Richmond Park (which was something they were very happy about). So, what a way to make a routine trip to the orthodontist into something a bit more fun.
With scenery like that on my doorstep is it any wonder I don’t want to move?