Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Escape the City - The Park Club



My local health Club, The Park Club in Acton has been open for 15 years. None of us who go there regularly with our children can imagine life without it.  If that sounds spoilt and reminiscent of FIRST WORLD problem in a first world country please stay with me. What  I am trying to say is that life would not be so colourful and manageable without it.  It's an oasis in the City, a break from the sirens, crowds, and pollution. I had been thinking about joining when the club first opened, but the crunch came when I took my toddler daugther (she's now 11) swimming in my local West London Park. She didn't have  a swimsuit to paddle in the shallow concrete pool so she stripped off to her pants and tee-shirt. Half an hour later, a park policeman arrived, ordered her to put her clothes on, and arrested a shady man who was hiding behind a tree.

From then on we went swimming at the Park Club, mostly in the outdoor pool. It's a saviour for those of us who have miniature outdoor spaces.   We could potentially squeeze in a 10' trampoline, (which my daughter desperately wants) into our 'garden' but that's all it could fit.  My son once insisted on installing a football goal in our diminutive patio, and the kids were literally standing in one flower bed to kick the ball two metres into the net which rested precarioulsy against the fence on the other side. The goal lasted a few weeks before it collapsed. Both sets of neighbours were justly relieved that footballs were no longer being lobbed over our trellis into their superior, patios, bedecked not with goals or trampolines, but ferns, and potted plants.

My children have spent hours at the Club playing football, tennis, cricket, making dens and eating supper with friends.  I have spent many mornings working in the bar with my co-writer, or sunning myself on the terrace. I practice Pilates andYoga there, and have just been told by a physiotherapist to use a crosstrainer  to help my weak knee. The gym and I have never really got on that well, but I am glad to have some kind of incentive to get there.

The Club already already seems huge with a massive outdoor swimming pool and 27 acres of land (the only problem being that children literally disappear in the grounds and its not always possible to leave when you want to)  But there are plans to make it even bigger. It has submitted a Planning Application to increase the size by %35 and install new studios, a hydrotherapy pool, steam baths, upgraded restaurants, a new top floor with natural light and a 50 metre pool. Bring it on.


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