Warren Hayden: Slippery slope marks a return to childhood

Will Warren ever get his go on a zip wire?
Will Warren ever get his go on a zip wire?

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Can we go to the park?’ This is a question directed at me regularly by my daughters Caitlin and Alyssa.

an we go to the park?’ This is a question directed at me regularly by my daughters Caitlin and Alyssa.

Sometimes my answer is yes and sometimes no. It depends on the circumstances at the time and is also dependant on the weather. But when I can, I say yes.

I feel lucky to live in Portsmouth where it is true that you are never far away from a slide and swing. We have so many of them and of course there is no entry fee and they are open all day, every day, seven days a week.

But my daughters have their favourites and they label them not by the area they are in but by the thing in the park they are most fond of. For example, they will ask if we can go to the park with the big slide.

By this they mean the park next to beautiful Baffins Pond. Once you walk past the swans and ducks and make your way across the grass you enter the park which, as you’d expect, contains a rather large slide.

When the sun is shining this is where you’ll find the most activity in the park. Children having go after go.

Whoever decided to choose this large slide for the park over a smaller one, my daughters are very grateful.

I was too, until they invited me to its peak to have a go myself. In front of many other parents I let any inhibitions go and joined my daughters for a short journey down the big slide. Why not?

Sometimes I will be asked to take them to the park with the zip wire.

By this they mean the park close to the seafront with the model village on one side and Canoe Lake on the other.

It has the usual slides, swings and monkey bars, but the zip wire is obviously the highlight at this park for many children as you often have to wait in line to take your turn.

These and the many parks in Portsmouth not only give my daughters joy at no cost, but work up their appetites and help them sleep better at night. Climbing to the top of the slide, propelling themselves forward on the swings and using all their strength across the monkey bars is exhausting work.

As a parent, it can sometimes be tempting to stay indoors. But with a park never far away we’re making the most of what is on offer.

I’m hoping next time we’re at ‘the park with the zip wire’, I get to have a turn too.

My daughters’ theatre of dreams

The Kings Theatre, Southsea is a place my daughters and I love visiting. I have been watching shows in the beautiful venue for many years and I was lucky enough to star in the panto a few years ago.

My daughters now enjoy watching the family pantomime every year and when they were toddlers and at pre-school age both believed the Kings Theatre was a castle where a Princess lived.

It’s fair to say that when we are in the theatre and even when we are driving past, we collectively smile.

The Kings has launched its Give Pounds to Spend a Penny crowdfunding campaign.

More information can be found on its website, but its aim is to renovate the toilets in the dress circle.

This is the first phase of ‘the big project’ to build a sustainable theatre for all who use it. The theatre holds a special place not only for my family but it’s also clear it is loved by the people of Portsmouth and the surrounding areas.

I wish them the best of luck with the project and hope I’m lucky enough to visit the theatre for years to come.

Catch Warren on Heart’s Saturday (1pm-5pm) and Sunday (midday-4pm) shows on 96.7 and 97.5FM. Twitter: @warrenhayden.