Maria: Rory, do you like parks?
Rory: Yeah, it’s nice to be out in open spaces, isn’t it? I think it’s quite calming.
Maria: Are there many public parks in your country.
Rory: Well, actually, I think the whole country is kind of a park, really. In Scotland, we’ve got something called “Freedom to roam”. So it’s actually possible to go anywhere you like in the countryside.
Maria: Scotland! Freedom! Yeah!
Rory: Freedom to roam…
Maria: Freedom to roam!
Rory: Although in a more traditional sense, there are lots of, like, actual parks where people go to. We’ve got two outside of our house, actually.
Maria: Are public parks important in your country?
Rory: Um, yes, I think so. Especially now having access to green spaces… Well. It’s good for your mental health as well as your physical health, especially when people are spending so much time indoors even before this crisis happened. I think that’s probably quite an important thing.
Maria: Oh, so now all parks are crowded in Ireland?
Rory: In Scotland… We just screamed “Scotland! Freedom!”, and you forget…
Maria: Oh Rory, you’re from Scotland, right? You’re not from Ireland, OK ????
Rory: I don’t think they’re crowded though. I think they’re big enough for everybody, aren’t they?
Maria: What do people in your country like to do in parks or gardens?
Rory: Um, What everybody else likes to do. I think most people go for a walk, but a lot of people like to go running or other kinds of cardio, for example. And then of course people can walk the dog and… well, they can go wandering or just sit and admire the view. So there’s lots of different things to do. But I think those are the main ones, to be honest.
Maria: What are the benefits of having gardens in the city?
Rory: Well, I suppose foremost it’s a place to escape the rigors of city living, even if just for a little while. And if you like running, it’s cheaper than going to the gym. Um, I think I read somewhere as well, that plants and greenery in general help people calm down. So it’s actually… Well, you could have a plant in your house, but if you can go out to a local park then… Or a garden in the city, then that would also be quite helpful.
Maria: Why do people living in cities like public gardens?
Rory: I think for all of the reasons I just mentioned, actually, I imagine. Plus it’s kind of a rare thing for people in the cities to be out in green spaces very often. I mean, compared to people who live in the countryside, for example. So it’s like a special experience.
Maria: Do you think it’s important for cities to have public parks?
Rory: Oh, absolutely. If we just had endless rows of apartment blocks and modern buildings, even if they were quite beautiful to look at, it would be pretty depressing for people, because all they could see is just buildings, buildings, buildings, and there would be nothing natural for them to engage with. So, yeah. It’s important to have these things.
Maria: Do you think there should be more parks in cities?
Rory: I think it depends on the city, to be honest. Like, for example, in my hometown, there’s enough space it seems and we’ve got lots of parks and the same goes for Moscow and London. So I… I don’t know. I think for now we have enough. Although it might be a good idea to have more in the future if they get bigger.