I have begun the process of farewelling an old friend.
Richmond Park and I go way back and ever since I first set foot in it I knew we would be firm friends.
Many a day have I spent running it's tracks, breathing in the fresh air, puffing up it's hills.
As excited as I am to be going to Italy at the end of the month for a "wee stint", I am actually very sad about not having Richmond Park on our doorstep anymore. Running in Italy will be on the roads where I often come across a snake that has been a victim of road-kill or where big black dogs have been known to attack innocent runners and bite their bums...
(it was actually my upper thigh right under my buttock.)
But there are no black demon dogs or snakes here. Only friendly dogs who are being walked by their responsible owners, picking up their doggie's poop lest they be fined £1,000. It is the Queen's park after all.
I took the two youngest boys out for a run here last week and was once again in awe of this wonderful space in the middle of London. Even in the dead of winter it is beautifully majestic.Afterwards I let Beni run free after being tied down in the buggy for the good part of an hour.
He was quick to find a stick and do some drawing in the gravel then he was off down to the waters edge of the duck pond where he nearly got gobbled up by some very large angry swans a couple of times.
Fearless he is. I'm sure my grey hairs are because of him...!
And all the while as Beni tangoed with death-by-swan his little brother sat and let the sun's rays shine on his golden head.
With only a couple of weeks left before we depart I hope to visit my old friend a few more times yet, to run on it's tracks and conquer that Hell Hill one more time.
Who knows, maybe we will come back to live on it's doorstep once more. But even if not, Richmond Park will always hold a piece of my heart.