Before I had children, I paid little attention to playgrounds. To me, they were sad little urban prisons for children, full of noise and dirt; desperately boring.

To some extent they are still exactly the same; the only difference is now I have to endure them. The first thing my son wants to do on a Saturday morning is scoot to the local park, where he sits on a sheep-shaped bench licking a horrendously artificial, BRIGHT BLUE bubblegum ice cream. We have an argument in the shop, where I try to convince him to get something more NATURAL, like strawberry or lemon. In the end I give up. I suppose they’re all as bad,and it doesn’t really matter if he looks like he drank a bottle of ink for the rest of the day. We sit there watching the kids play, while his eyes move over the playground considering the…

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