A glorious place filled with brightly coloured swings, slides and climbing frames where one can let loose, run around and generally have a fabulous time.
Of course, that's how kids see it.
But kids are stupid.
The park is in fact a gated, Council-funded prison filled with huge metal and wooden torture devices....designed to attack and shatter all of the adult population's nerves leaving them in a permanent state of anxiety.
Every time there's a hint of sunshine in the sky, we all saddle up and take our kids to this insufferable place just to 'get out of the house'. We are fooled into thinking that it is easier to bring our children here rather than stay indoors, but in reality, a trip to the park is not for the faint hearted.
The maths of the situation is as follows:
Young child with absolutely no concept of danger + Towering metal structures = Broken bones and potential paralysis
Just like Liam Neeson, parents have a 'very particular set of skills' that we must to call upon to ensure that our child survives a trip to the pit of danger that is 'The Park'.
So, if you are heading out for a 'fun-filled' morning, you might want to sharpen up these skills so you can handle what's coming.
First, you need:
THE STRENGTH OF SCHWARZENEGGER AND THE PRIDE OF SIMBA.
The Council, knowing that hundreds of energetic babies and toddlers attend the park on a daily basis, have opted to save Tax payer's money by installing a maximum of four baby swings per park (Yes. I know. They are assholes)
The results of this scrimping:
4 swings + 50 toddlers who haven't yet grasped the concept of sharing =
In truth, there's only so long that one can ignore the gathering of tutting parents who circle around your child's swing like a kettle of vultures waiting to swoop in.
They want your child's swing...they need your child's swing- it's the only way to silence their own toddler's hysteria and to prevent their arms being ripped out clean from their sockets.
So, when you can no longer stand the intimidating stares, you will have to remove your child prematurely from his little swinging cage of happiness.
This, is when you need the strength of Schwarzenegger to wrench your toddler out of the swing. Like the last dregs of ketchup in the bottom of a glass bottle, he will not come easily.
As your child flips instantly from a giggling, sweet little cutie pie into a crazed, violent nutter (and a gifted head-butter), your wrestling skills will be scored by the critical audience that circles you.
They will tut. They will glare and they will conclude that your child is an asshole and you? ...a rubbish parent.
You must stay strong. Be proud. Ignore the judmental glares and suffer the headbuttings.
Just get the kid out safely and get out of there!!
You can always knock a couple of Ibuprofen down to ease the swelling and cry into a family-sized box of Jaffa Cakes to ease the humiliation when you get home.
Next, you're going to need:
THE NERVES OF A BOMB DISPOSAL OFFICER AND THE REFLEXES OF BRUCE LEE.
If you want to spare your beautiful child the possibility of breaking every bone in his entire body, you must keep your eye on the ball.
DON'T look away, not even for a second, because a momentary glimpse of your Facebook feed may result in you having to catch that 27 lb ball of flesh and bones from hurtling towards the stoney ground.
And for those of us who were picked last in gym, our kids are particularly at risk. If you couldn't catch a rounders ball at age 9 then chances are you ain't gonna catch this brute of a ball now that you're older and slower.
NB. The reflexes of Bruce Lee will also come in handy when you have to suddenly throw yourself in front of a swing as it plummets towards your child who has conveniently positioned himself directly in front of it.
Stay sharp. Stay focused....or you'll be reading that Facebook feed for 4 hours in an A&E waiting room.
Next, you'll need:
THE STAMINA AND DEXTERITY OF AN OLYMPIC GYMNAST.
Kids don't know their own limitations.
Based on this fact, don't be surprised if you take a quick swig of your Starbucks and then turn around to find your child screaming to be rescued from the top of the highest climbing frame in the park.
Yes. Your kid somehow climbed up there. He doesn't like it. And now YOU have to get him down.
This is when you'll have to dig out your basic gymnastic skills that you learnt in the 1980s to contort yourself into a ball and mount the mighty frame to rescue him. And you'll have to do all of this without spilling your double espresso/Red Bull.
This is the time to ignore your crippling fear of heights.
This is the also the time to celebrate the fact that you binned your thongs in favour of some giant, over-the-gut pants from Primark a few years back.
Thanks to these, you will escape being prosecuted for flashing whilst preserving what is left of your dignity.
If you use these vital skills then your child will leave (be dragged screaming) from the park completely unharmed!!!
Once you have made it home, run to the bathroom, scream into a bundle of towels and then down an entire pack of Hob Nobs. This ought to take the edge off your shattered nerves and restore the 10,000 kilojoules that you used keeping your child alive for the last hour.
And next time the Sun is shining, think twice:
The park may not cost you any money...but at 33p per 100g, shovelling down Hob Nobs on a daily basis will soon mount up.