The sun’s ray catches the water surface and the lake shimmers in the distance. I drive past it every Thursday and yet this is the first time I have noticed it. Fairlop Waters country park is not far from home and yet I haven’t been there for such a long time. The last time was years ago when Kavitha was still at school and it was a popular site for birthday parties. At one point if I remember correctly it was even in the running to host the water sports section of the 2012 Olympic Games. I have a feeling the lake is not big enough for such a major event.
The sun is out and I decide to take Lakshmi to see the ducks. She didn’t bring her coat or hat with her today. I layer her up and improvise using my hat although she does not keep it on for long.
Lakshmi’s appu drops us off by the play centre and we walk to the lake. There are quite a lot of families with little children and many dog walkers out today. She holds my hand tightly as we start our walk around the lake stopping every time a dog goes past to admire it. As she gains confidence she lets go of me and starts walking back. A group of ladies are walking their dogs. Lakshmi walks towards them and stops. They think she is brave and then wonders whether she is in a state of shock as she stands frozen to the spot. I reassure them that she’s used to dogs and that her other granny has a dog. Lakshmi wanders along happily talking to herself and stopping in between by the fence to admire the fields, the flying geese and the occasional speedboat that whizzes around the lake.
We walk to the area where the ducks, geese and swans have gathered as someone is throwing them pieces of bread. Some are making a lot of noise and some are even having a short stint of duck rage as they pluck at each other’s feathers. Lakshmi stays away and then slowly walks towards them. In between she goes ‘no, no, no’ and runs back and she keeps repeating this ritual. At some point she trips over and lands on her outstretched arms and we decide to continue our walk.
We stop again in the picnic area and Lakshmi runs around playing peek a boo and seems to be having a good time. I walk with her and let her have her freedom. A couple of riders go past on their horses. The last two times Lakshmi was this close to horses, she burst out crying. This time she is quite happy to see them.
The grey clouds seem to be gathering pace and it is starting to feel cold. It is time to go home. Next time we come, we will spend some time in the play area and maybe bring some proper boots to jump in the muddy puddles. I’m sure Lakshmi will like that.