When you start pushing a pram around London you end up discovering lots of hidden green patches and pockets you never knew were there before. At least, that’s what I have done.
In the old pre-motherhood days I would stride the quickest route I knew from A to B, from our house to the tube, bus stop or shops. These days, just to shake things up a bit, when I’m trying to soothe a colicky / teething / overtired baby to sleep or find a way to ‘stay and play’ that exposes her to the least amount of air pollution, I say to myself ‘I wonder where this path leads?’ or ‘Surely, there must be a way through this housing estate that cuts the corner off this busy main road?’
I discovered Paignton Park off St Ann’s Road in this way, bringing the total of parks within 20 minutes’ walking of our house to an impressive five. Paignton Park first seemed a rather unremarkable rectangle of green, but a closer look revealed some rather lovely trees. Not least, the row of dual-limbed grey poplars that line the St Ann’s Road entrance. These trees, a hybrid of aspen and white poplar, with their silvery studded bark and moss-clad trunks, have an ethereal quality that I have utterly failed to capture on camera.
Luckily, my skills at photographing trees don’t reflect on my ability to plant them. And so, in early March, just after the last London snowfall of the year, I left bubs with her daddy, and joined the Haringey Arboricultural Team and other Tottenham Trees volunteers to plant more trees in Paignton Park. It was a joy.