If I lived in Gibraltar today I would probably want to adopt a couple of kids just so that I could take them to play in the Children’s Playground in Alameda Botanical Gardens. Yes, okay, I know, I’m being silly writing that (and there’s more chance of seeing pigs fly) but I guess the point I’m trying to make is that when I look back at photos of my children playing there I don’t really need to write anything because their faces say it all.
Of course I’m totally biased (because readers will already be aware of my love for Alameda) but it doesn’t take a professor to know that kids would rather have 5 minutes than £5 and I can’t think of anywhere better to spend time with them.
The play park itself was very basic back in 1976 but in those days that’s exactly what children wanted, uncomplicated play. Alameda children’s park has changed quite a lot since then, if I remember rightly it looks much more like an adventure playground with nets to climb and obstacles up a height. I guess play parks have had to up their game to compete with technology these days but there’ll always be something lovely about simplicity for the little people.
On my recent visits in and out of Alameda (May 2016) I noticed loads of new ideas taking shape and loved them all particularly the children’s garden that was planted with all sorts of vegetables and which even has a bee hotel; also the new and wonderful indoor botanical garden that was inaugurated this year by the Chief Minister Fabian Picardo. Sadly it was locked on the day I went to see it but I did get a grasp of things looking through the windows. A personal favourite new arrival that was certainly not there in 1976 is the Monkey Totem Pole (check him out).
For me I think much of the charm of Alameda is that even when I’m on my own I find it almost like a retreat; I can be lost in there all day (as though in David Bowie’s Labyrinth) either walking the walks and enjoying the flora, or sitting in the midst of a rockery smelling the herbs and reflecting on life. I can be in a place where the only thing I can hear is silence and then a few minutes later the sounds of children playing. And that really brings me nicely back to my theme of today, the children growing up. The photos on this page are among my favourite of all time because looking at them I see my children as they began that process of growing up (in the beautiful Alameda).