I was looking at a beautiful photo one of my friends had posted, of her local park and was filled with a sense of nostalgia. I was born in the city of Bath and spent the first 35 years of my life there. Bath has many parks and gardens but the finest is Royal Victoria Park which was only a quarter of a mile from my childhood home.
My first memory was running off to the park when I was about 3 years old and was found sitting in the duck pond, having a wonderful time. My parents were hysterical with worry but it was just an adventure to me.
The bandstand in the park hosted a brass band every Sunday and we all trooped down there to listen to the music, when I was a small child. The music coupled with the heady scent of rose bushes was a powerful combination and I swear if I hear a brass band today, I can smell rose scent in the air.
The Temple to Minerva, in the Botanical Gardens, provided refuge for me when things at home were too ragged. I could sit in there, reading a book, even if it was raining. I could become calm again. I think I have always loved plants for this reason.
When I got married and had my two sons, Vicky Park took on a whole new role for me, providing places to play hide and seek, look for tadpoles and generally have fun.
I played golf and tennis at the park with my brother and sisters and kite festivals, music festivals and hot air balloon events were all part of the magic. I shall always have a special place in my heart for the place.
Just before I left Bath, there was a lot of vandalism in the park Terry and I spoke to the head gardener and he was despairing at the wanton destruction of the fantastic flower beds.
These days, Victoria Park is once again a shining jewel in Bath’s crown.