You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2011.

First I had to recover from the event itself, and then from the after-event party… but here at last are some photos…


Disgruntled, http://cityexile.wordpress.com

I cannot tell you how much excitement there was in the anticipation. There was a daily countdown from about two months before. It was like Christmas. The above was the best part of the anticipation for me. Knowing we had the kit in our front garden which was going to turn our ratrun into a playground – oh, the power…


Disgruntled, http://cityexile.wordpress.com

Barriers in place. Everyone welcome (except for cars of course). Now what?


Disgruntled, http://cityexile.wordpress.com
A fire engine, for a start. On purpose that is.

Street Play
Erase, http://www.flickr.com/photos/erase

Facepainting was a big hit. The main facepainter had never done it in her life before and insisted she wasn’t up to much, but doggedly knocked out a choice of either butterfly or tiger from a crib sheet in front of her – very comptetently I thought. Then the Redster produced a facepainting book and insisted on this sunset. Our facepainter gritted her teeth and obliged. Look what a great job she did! Also, the friendship the Redster now has with this lady is one of the nicest things to have come out of this day.

Chalked cobbles
Richard Crutchely, http://www.flickr.com/photos/doiknowyou

There was also a lot of chalk involved


Disgruntled, http://cityexile.wordpress.com

And a fair bit of paint

Street Play
Erase, http://www.flickr.com/photos/erase

so we displayed the results properly.

Towards the end, the facepainters had other things to do, but the paints were all left out. A very nice couple of teenagers began painting all comers, and each other, then the rest of the kids took their cue from that and some intereting DIY designs emerged on faces, hands and arms. That was fine until the Redster got confused at painted her sister’s face with washable poster paints. (NOT designed for skin, really, especially when it gets into your eyes, and the ‘washable’ part only applies to clothes.)

Rope break
Richard Crutchely, http://www.flickr.com/photos/doiknowyou

After the tug-of-war rope snapped spectacularly, 30 seconds into a whole-street contest (the ones smiling at the back haven’t realised yet and think they are winning)…

Street Play
Erase, http://www.flickr.com/photos/erase

… we decided it was easier to concentrate on the children and give them their own tug of war.

The girls mostly beat the boys. They’d give the rope a jerk, knock all the boys off their feet, then drag them across the winning line. Simple.

Skipping
Richard Crutchely, http://www.flickr.com/photos/doiknowyou

And we found another use for the snapped rope. Mainly the adults, that is. There was a lot of reliving one’s childhood going on.


Disgruntled, http://cityexile.wordpress.com

Four hours after the barriers were put into place, they were reluctantly removed. People, on the other hand, were not so easily moved. Both adults and kids stood in knots on the tarmac long after the road was re-opened, and drivers just had to squeeze gingerly around them. For an hour or so it was possible to imagine a world where car is not king.

But the utterly best thing to have come from this one single afternoon is the change of atmospthere in our street ever since. I have enjoyed conversations and friendships in the last three weeks that did not exist for the previous fifteen years, both for us parents and our children.

I can’t recommend this enough. Check out Playing Out or London Play and think about shutting your street. It’s about a dozen times easier than you thought.

Advertisements