Hilly Ibiza

I am an island. I'm bloody Ibiza!
- Will, About A Boy

We wrote the following article about a week ago, just before the weather turned rubbish again and have been waiting for a sunny day to publish it:

Last weekend, we went back to the new playground in Hilly Fields. And we realised, our last review was wrong.

It isn’t a playground. It’s a beach holiday.

The huge sandy stretch has become the centrepiece beside which parents loll on sun loungers, benches and blankets. Kids run and splash water and sand. Whereas play used to be a solitary experience, now it’s shared. Debates range over whether to dig a channel or build a damn or to funnel water from the pump left or right.

Now attend to us, because this is how it used to work, o best beloved.

You’d walk your kids up to the playground, whereupon they’d spend five minutes on the pirate ship, wrestling over control of the wheel with the one other child there. Then they might have five minutes on a swing, five minutes jumping in to the sandpit and that would be about it. As a parent, you’d prop yourself against the metal railings, waiting bored for them to finish. And so it wasn’t somewhere that was ever very busy, best beloved. Do you see?

But a twenty minute play session has become hours. We were there for two and had to drag the kids away. There were others who looked like they’d booked themselves in for two weeks. It’s fantastic.

The transformation means the play area is full from dawn to dusk with kids and their families. South London Press’ Kate reported that she’d arrived at 9am to find it already packed.

Yes, it’s summer and it’s new, but it’s already clear that the playground is a hit. They will keep coming. The market is there for the park cafĂ© that’s been mooted. Hundreds of people who’ve played for hours will want more than a single ice cream van (although props to the ice cream van man, who is lovely). The logic is irresistible.

Hilly Ibiza needs its Cafe del Mar.