Swings & Roundabouts

25 August 2020 – Doing an extended zigzag through residential streets, making my leisurely way home from a visit to the VanDusen Botanical Garden, I find myself in swing territory.

This kind of swing: the kind attached to a sturdy branch of a sturdy tree, to please kids who are happy to mix traditional amusements with the electronic kind.

This swing is as trad as they come — rope threaded through a wooden plank — but I soon start seeing variations on the theme.

Synthetic ice-blue plank and black plastic rope, for example, plus snazzy red discs to stabilize the rope …

or trad wooden plank, but with a nearby bench for passing pedestrians as well .

Every now & then, I must admit, rampaging fall flowers distract me from my theme. There are masses of rudebekia …

and, speaking of yellow flowers with attitude …

towering sunflowers. Plus happy bees. Check the rim of the “clock face” of the central bloom: just about 1 o’clock, that’s a bee.

Back to the swings!

Another twofer — this time, inner tire suspended from a tree-branch rope, plus wooden climbing slats nailed to the tree trunk itself. (With an “I ❤️ climbing!” sticker up near the top.)

There’s the bright-blue minimalist swing …

and then there’s the bright-blue maximalist swing.

And then, just as I’m quipping happily to myself, “All these swings, so where are the roundabouts?”  …

and then, right at the corner of Tea Swamp Park …

I see one.


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  1. Took me back to our first house and the swing I built for our boys. VERY long rope slung up and over a very high branch. Thick rope but it got a lot of work. The boys are bright and they worked out that friction would do its job sooner or later and they were right. The rope went over the branch via my strong throwing arm (I was much younger then lol) and was too high for me to put up a proper anchor. We used to tease the boy from next door, who loved the long arch of the swing, that we didn’t need to worry about the rope snapping because he would be on it when it broke and that would be okay with us. We all laughed, including the boy. Sure enough, the day the rope wore through — Big Matt, the boy from next door, was on the swing. Fortunately, very long thick grass cushioned his fall, but I do admit to holding my breath. I did a better job of putting the rope back up and it was still there when we moved out.

    • Thank goodness for all that grass – and perhaps for Big Matt’s well-cushioned bum?

      • Yep. Fortunately, children are built to survive. The boys are in their forties now and that story resurfaces from time to time.

  2. Hahaha. :D. A very enjoyable post!

  3. Of course. Really entertaining and interesting as usual. Lovely to think that old fashioned entertainment is still out there.

  4. That first traditional swing with the wooden seat made me happy. And then the Black-eyed Susans and the Sunflowers, what a party they’re having! Your minimalist/maximalist pairing is clever – so many swings! Am I just dense today (probably) or is there something about a swing – roundabout connection that I should know?

    • You’re not dense, just geographically disadvantaged! “Swings & roundabouts” is a Brit catch-phrase thus better known my side of the border than yours. It’s used to shrug off a situation, just like saying “6 of one and half-dozen of the other,” meaning what you gain here you’ll lose there so it’s a toss-up, pretty well much of a muchness. Thanks to your query BTW I googled the saying and discovered it arose from an English poem of that name — didn’t know that, so thanks for adding to my magpie-size pile of non-essential information.

      • Interesting! That’s a colorful one, I like it. A magpie-sized pile of useless information – I like that idea, too. 🙂

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    "Traveller, there is no path. Paths are made by walking" -- Antonio Machado (1875-1939)

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