It was early Saturday morning. Actually it was really early on Saturday morning. In fact it was so early in the morning that the cockerel had not yet crowed and the blackbird was only just beginning to clear his throat as he prepared to lead the dawn chorus to greet the brand new day.
The playground was empty now, or was it? Still too early for the invasion of noisy, eager, happy laughing children. Birds began to sing brightly in the trees around the park whilst ducks quacked and flapped their wings as they waddled along the track, and rabbits hopped quietly around the climbing frame and rode the see-saw. Two magpies hopped side by side along the path between the leafy rowan trees, branches heavy with clusters of bright red berries and crystal clear dew drops slowly dripped from the tips of the leaves.
In the playground down by the riverside it was so early that the three white Witches of Wyre were only just returning home from their night-time broomstick rides as they flew into the playground for some fun on the swings before cooking frogspawn on toast for breakfast. Bees buzzed among the clover heads and fragrant elder flowers, collecting pollen to make into the nicest sweetest tasting honey on this side of the valley. Toads’ toe and newts’ tail porridge burbled and bubbled in the cauldron. Witches brew.
A welcoming aroma of freshly filtered coffee, toast and grilled bacon threaded through the air as it drifted over from the nearby Wyreside Café – tempting the old man to wander along the track and sit for a while at one of the wooden tables clustered outside. A solitary swallow flew in, flitting low around the tables and a woodpecker began his day’s drilling into the tree trunk high above. Six snow-white swans swooped by overhead, their wide wings sighing as they scythed through the cool morning sky above the park.
The Countryside Ranger drove into the car park and parked his white pick-up truck outside the visitor centre before opening up his office to get a brew going and prepare for the day ahead. It was a very pleasant place to be on that early Saturday morning and with a forecast of good weather it would be another busy day in the Award winning Wyre Estuary Country Park, a real jewel in the crown, right here beside the wide flowing waters of the River Wyre.
From just along the lane came the sound of the weekend caravanners stirring, stretching, scratching and yawning as they awoke to the morning light; door catches clip clicking, awning zips unzipping in concert. Who woke up first? I think it’s usually the granddads and then the grandchildren, but then again it could be the other way round of course. Time to get the kettle on, maybe take a wander down to the river bank, or along to the corner store at the farm gate to pick up the morning paper. And then it is time for breakfast. “Can we go down to the playground now?” a familiar chorus from the grandkids begins to rise, and peace has gone once more.
Back in the playground, songbirds continued their singing as they hopped higher into the branches, welcoming the warmth of the rising sun on their feathers, and the ducks flapped their wings again before waddling off across the grass to the waters’ edge. The rabbits had a last ride on the see-saw and a final quick spin on the roundabout before heading off to their burrows along the drumlin. And the three witches jumped onto their broomsticks and zoomed off to the old fairy-tale cottage hidden just out of sight deep in the dark wood.
For about fifteen minutes, or maybe twenty at most, the playground was empty. But a robin flew in to enjoy a few moments of hopping around on the climbing frame, catching any insects found lurking in the heavy braided rope squares.
And then the first of the children arrived, happy and excited, and the Playground was alive once more buzzing with their shrieks, shouts and laughter.
© Russ Morton – 3rd October 2014