Two and a half years ago I was blindsided by my husband announcing: "I've been promoted … we're moving to Brisbane!" Whilst I was pleased for my husband's career progression and his obvious joy at returning to his home ground after almost 20 years away, I was horrified at the thought of leaving the leafy North Shore of Sydney. My husband is no fool and whisked me away, child free, for a reconnaissance flight to Bris Vegas before I could start digging in. For no particular reason, our first stop from the airport was Oxford St, Bulimba. The plan was to grab a coffee and the paper to start our research into where we could settle in just 4 weeks time.
We pulled up in front of Memorial Park and smiled. We didn't race to the coffee shops and boutiques despite the novelty of being without the kids. Uh uh, no sirree. Nope, we headed straight into the park and wandered through the playthings as delighted as if we were the almost 2 and 4 year olds who were uppermost in our decision making process. We were in heaven. We need travel no more. Decision made, job done.
Now you may think that basing our whole family's relocation and happiness on a park is a bit far fetched but consider this: if you move to a new city and are a stay at home mum, your local park is your new office. This is where you will meet your future coffee dates, your referees for doctors, swim school, childcare, schools – need I go on? And yes, all of the above were recommended to me at Bulimba Memorial Park and I thank all the wonderful mothers who gave me their sage advice. You were all right and so were we for making the park the start of our new life.
The children were smitten from day one. Whilst we waited for furniture to arrive, housed in a sterile serviced apartment in the city, I trekked out to the park on a daily basis, cruising with my children looking for pick up new friends. The kids loved the park then and they love it now. Back then, my almost 2 year old loved the flowers and the rocking pelicans. My four year old boy could climb the rigging of the pirate ship as well as any cabin boy. Now he scales the big fig tree and swings smugly from the monkey bars knowing full well how many four year old boys are watching him and begging their mothers to give them a boost up the tree. My daughter is now as nimble on the spiderweb as he was but prefers to whip up a latte and muffin from the 'café' and sit down for a chat with her girlfriends – where she got that idea from I can't imagine!
Yes, I may be biased, but I love Bulimba Memorial Park. A fence around the play are would be nice, sand rather than wood chips would remove the rather cute coalmining trademark of a kid who has had a fine old time at the park and a toilet block closer to the action would be the icing on the cake. But if I think back to my first impression of the park, fresh off the plane from Sydney, why would you go anywhere else??
Marks out of ten Play items: 9 Good variety for all ages Safety: 8 The woodchips are dusty but soft Sun safety: 8 Sun sails and beautiful trees offer plenty of shade
Water bubbler: 9 Two bubblers and taps at the toilet block Toilets: 6 OK but too far for a recently trained toddler Coffee access 10 We are talking Oxford St after all!