The world let me in on a little secret today. It was a thrilling surprise leading to a breathtaking adventure and resulting in a feeling of smugness (in a nice way) for the rest of the day.

I live near a lovely park and canal. This morning, on my jog/fast walk/slowing-to-a-plod through the park, I realised I’d never taken a certain path into the centre of the park-lands, I’d always stuck to the canal path.

It was a morning for adventure, you see. In truth it had nothing to do with me – no one under the same circumstances could have resisted the strange pull influencing me to get off the beaten track and have an explore. I suddenly found myself in a new land of rolling hills, and carriage-wide pathways, lined with tall trees and benches, criss-crossing (what I later found out to be 86 hectares) of grass.

The light drizzle falling on my hot skin, and the grey, smokey diffusing light set the scene – I wandered around aimlessly, not sure in what direction to leave the larger open space. There were denser patches of trees all the way around, each with the tantalising promise of secret-offerings to tease me with. Moving toward one patch, I found myself standing beside a deer park(!!) cooing at fuzzy brown skittish deers who seemed startled at my intrusion.

Moving away, I ended up in between a model boat lake and the most exciting play area – so tempting I couldn’t help myself and had to roam around the rocks, down The Best Slide Ever, climb across statues and leap over fountains, finally taking a ride on the coolest flying fox. No one was around, it was as if I’d stumbled on to a private place.

As I lept down from the flying fox I saw some roses peeking over a high hedge, and full of child-like (or possibly childish) enthusiasm, I bounded over. And discovered my own Secret Garden.

You have to realise the importance of all this – there was no way I could ever dream such a large park was so close to my home. I’m living the urban life of the concrete jungle. I still can’t believe I have such a wonderland so close to me.

The Secret Garden; paths of slate and rock winding around English roses, benches, past a derelict fountain. Hedges making it almost maze-like. Every type of spring flower, in every colour, blooming from ornately designed garden beds. It went on and on. And once again – not a soul in sight.

I wandered for hours. My plans for the day totally out the window. I’ve been walking in a daze ever since, and keep smiling to myself and thinking… I found a Secret Garden! 

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