Happy memories of picnics and peacocks in Vicky Park

The aviary in Victoria Park
The aviary in Victoria Park
Karel Doubleday, who used her mum's blue badge so she could park close to her workplace

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Victoria Park in Portsmouth has always held a special place in my affections.

Over the years it has been a green haven and a place of peace and tranquillity that is so important in such a built-up city.

So I was saddened when I read about plans to close the Arts Lodge in the park, as I often stop by there for a quick cuppa on a sunny day, plonk myself on a bench and watch the world go by.

Then I heard there was a danger that the aviaries and small animal enclosures could be removed.

I’m happy to discover that is no longer the case and that there are plans to improve the area and make it more desirable.

There may be even more animals in the future. I only hope the powers-that-be don’t install a petting zoo because animals don’t want to be poked and prodded all day every day. They should be respected and admired from a distance.

I understand Marwell Zoo got rid of its petting area because there was concern that some people were not being kind to the animals there.

I have many lovely memories of times spent in Vicky Park as a child. I can remember meeting up with family and having a wander around Charlotte Street before stopping for a picnic in the park.

We would walk through the entrance in Guildhall Walk and my nan would point out my great-grandfather’s name on the war memorial.

Walking through the railway arch into a green oasis made me feel like Lucy going through the wardrobe into Narnia. I was stepping into a magical place. It still has that effect now.

Back in the 1970s, peacocks would strut around proudly displaying their magnificient feathers.

I also loved the greenhouse, the amazing flower displays and being thrilled when the mynah birds ‘talked’ back to me, even if it was only to utter a swear word!

Many birthdays were celebrated there with friends and I even had my first kiss by the fountain.

I look forward to seeing the improvements to the area, but hope it doesn’t change too much. It has brought joy to many people and I hope it will for many generations to come.

FORGET SKYDIVING, I’D LOVE TO RIDE A HORSE AT BADMINTON

Tina, the lovely assistant at Pages newsagents in Wickham, told me the other Sunday that her son, who had never been in a plane before, was celebrating his 16th birthday by doing a skydive.

This got me thinking what I would do to celebrate a significant occasion.

Well, one thing’s for sure. It wouldn’t be jumping out of a plane at 12,500 feet.

I have never been in a plane and have no plans to do so any time soon.

It makes me quite dizzy just thinking about it.

But if I could do anything, it would be to tackle a cross country course like Badminton on one of the Queen’s horses.

Now that would be very special indeed. All I need now is for Her Maj to give her permission!

I CAN’T HELP THINKING THAT LIFE IS A BIT LIKE A TRAIN JOURNEY

Travelling to Portsmouth the other day made me think how life is a bit like a train journey.

We climb aboard at birth and meet our parents, believing they will always travel by our side.

Others join us along the route – siblings, friends, future husbands or wives.

People come and go. Some we don’t even notice they have gone, while others make their mark on our hearts.

The ride is full of joy, sorrow, hellos and farewells.

At some point our parents will get off and we continue the journey alone.

The puzzle is that we do not know at what station we will disembark.

So while here we should fill life with happiness and leave behind beautiful memories for those that will continue on the journey of life.