Hasn’t there been trouble with vandals wrecking the new playground equipment in the Playnies – Parc Gele?
Forget fingerprinting, community policing and closed circuit TV. The solution’s simple … bring back Parkie!
Back in the days when the Corona lorry came every Friday afternoon; in the days when Irwin’s supermarket gave away Free Green Shield Stamps; and when every band sounded like Oasis … Back in those days, the Playnies weren’t vandalised because we had Parkie to protect them.
He wore a grey overcoat, carried a big stick and a bigger bunch of keys. He seemed very old to us – about 100 – although a man of that age would never have been able to run so fast. If we so much as swung on a swing standing up he’d run to us yelling ‘Sit down!’
He was tough but he was fair and nothing got broken.
Every Saturday night he used to chain up the swings, see-saws and the witch’s hat so we couldn’t play on them on the Sabbath. If he could have locked the climbing frame he would have. No, there was no nonsense when Parkie was there.
I’ve got just one very sad memory of the Playnies. There used to be a big metal slide in the middle of the tarmac. I can remember the day when a young girl fell off the top of the steps. She died.
After that, the Council moved the slide 200 yards onto the hill that rolls down to the Gele.
As far as I know, that was the first time a slide had been moved from a free-standing exposed position to the safety of a grassy slope. Many other councils all around the country followed Abergele’s example and many young lives have been saved.
At least it’s comforting to think that something positive came from the sadness of that little girl’s death in the Playnies.