A hanging Johnny in the parque

The last day of my week’s holiday was certainly full of activity, and was topped off with very weird find in a parque.

I actually set my alarm for 7.30am. You see, I’m one of those weird people who like to set their alarm half an hour before they actually have to get up on the Monday after a holiday; just to get myself in the routine. So I did. It was horrible after 10 days of no official alarms (just my son running in), but alas, we did get up at 8am on a Sunday, which meant we could go to Parque Porzuma.

We’d been meaning to go to Parque Porzuma for some time. It’s about a 30 minute walk from where we live, out in Mairena del Aljarafe in Sevilla, and it’s perfect weather now to go and spend the morning there.

As usual, even though we got up early, we didn’t leave the house till 11am. It’s one of those mysteries that I can’t get my head round. During the week, when the kids have to be up and out the house by 8.45am, we manage it. Of course with the usual stress of force feeding our kids and making sure they have the right pair of shoes on and have clean faces, but we’ve never been late (at least I haven’t). But when the weekend comes, no matter where we go in the morning, we never get out before 11am.

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By the time we got to Porzuma, the sun was in full swing and the kids were eager to arrive to the parque.
“Donde esta? – Where is it?” asked my son, 15 times in the 30 minute walk. Each time he asked I did actually explain it to him, but as he’s only 3 so he doesn’t understand directions. He was still asking when we got near the entrance.

“Where’s the parque Daddy?”
“Just there, where those people are.” A couple were walking towards us. When they got to us, they’d obviously gone passed the door.
“Now Daddy?”
“No, it’s still up there a bit.”

When we finally got to the parque, my son ran up the steep welcome hill and almost fell over at the top. Then he went barmy when he saw the huge tunnel – slide (it must have been at least 6 times his height so no wonder he got a bit overjoyed). He jumped up and down and shouted that he’d seen a massive tunnel.

My daughter was equally excited, so much so that she started to take off her shoes. She’s only 2 and forgets that she needs shoes to walk, at least she does in the parque. So off we went to the huge tunnel, and I had a great time throwing myself down it, as did my son of course.

If you live in Sevilla, or are ever passing through then I’d recommend exploring Parque Porzuma. You can take a picnic and there are those funny public barbecues that people share. There’s also a great path all the way round and takes you past pretty flowers, and a dog training place, an overgrowing allotment, and two lakes, one which has water, and one which has dried up. This is where we set off next.

It was a struggle getting my son away from the parque, but I felt I had to. For some reason a couple of 6 years old Spanish kids were discussing the benefits of adding the word ‘f$cking’ to the phrase ‘Oh my God’. An interesting conversation, but not one for a 3 year old. So I had to get my son out of there because he’s picking up so much language recently.

So we got to the lake, which was my favourite part because I’m a fisherman at heart. I always wanted to give up my A Levels to become a professional fisherman, but my Dad wouldn’t let me. Or hang on, was that a footballer? Anyway, we got to the lake and saw a few turtles, so, as you do, we chucked in a biscuit. Then the carps started to come out. My son was as fascinated as I was. So I jumped over the protective fence and lifted him over so we could get a closer look.

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This was great, but I forgot his sense of spacial awareness isn’t great so got plenty of frights each time he darted for the water. We emptied a good 20 biscuits or so in the lake for the fish and turtles. My daughter was getting annoyed though, she was making the usual moaning noises. So I did a swap to give her a closer look as well, she was just as eager to do a belly-flop in the lake, so we went round the other side in the hunt for some frogs.

It was the perfect end to a great holiday with my kids: being with nature, animal spotting, and just chilling out before going back to work. Luckily I had my new phone with me, so I managed to get some lovely photos too.

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Then we saw the hanging Johnny.

We were on our way back to the massive tunnel, my son hoping to throw himself down it again, and I hoping to avoid any ‘Oh my God’ swearing kids, when I noticed a security bloke on a motorbike stop in front of us. My first thought was ‘Oh my Jesus he spotted me jumping over the fence,’ but I wasn’t the guilty one.

“Hi,” said my wife as we got closer.
“Can you believe it?” he said, nodding towards the outdoor gym, specifically to some pull-up rings.
“What’s that?” my wife said.
“It’s a hanging Johnny,” I wanted to say, but neither of them would have known what a hanging Johnny was, plus the security guard wouldn’t have been pleased with my joke.
“Can you believe it,” he said, again.
“But how? Isn’t the parque shut at night?” asked my wife.
“They jump over the fences and do what they need to do.” Literally. “At least I have gloves,” he said, tightening up the straps on his gloves. Rather him than me.

What did you do at the parque today Darling?
Oh, just the usual, stopped some fathers and kids from emptying biscuits into the lake, and tore off a used condom from the pull-up rings.

Que asco,” said my wife, which my son repeated, even though I’m pretty sure he didn’t know exactly what was disgusting (you see how he’s picking up everything so fast?)
We didn’t stick around (or hang around) to find out how the security guard got off the Johnny. I was desperate to take a photo, but my wife wouldn’t let me. He survived though as we saw him a little further up the road telling someone else about the hanging johnny.

Thinking back, it was pretty sick, but I suppose when young people need to do their thang, then they have nowhere else to go. But it was a bit harsh to tie the used condom up on the ring. Did they not think that someone had to pull it down again?

I’d still recommend going to the park though; it’s a great place for kids, has a massive tunnel, and a lovely spot to feed some fish, turtles, and go frog spotting.

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