I like to think that as you read the blog, you’re thinking something along the lines of “gosh, how well organised that katese11 is! Her adventures around London always go off without a hitch”. Well, readers, I am about to disappoint you. This was a hitch-filled trip. But it has a happy ending, don’t worry.
Let’s start with the bit where we were at Halfords, Old Kent Rd with a sleeping Reuben. We needed to buy a new car seat. That bit went OK – the bit that was not so OK was the way we were an hour or so late for a play date in New Cross. And Roo being asleep also wasn’t ideal.
But Nathan bought the car seat, and all was fine. We were so late for New Cross that we scrapped the idea of meeting at X’s house and instead drove straight to the soft play at Wavelengths in Deptford. And that’s where the trouble started. Y’see, this had all been a bit spontaneous and while I’d found the postcode for the soft play and put it into SatNav, I hadn’t checked out the parking situation.
Yeah, there was no parking.
There were a few spaces (all full) around the back of the leisure centre but no onstreet parking. We drove up and down a few alleyways, before going back on the main road. We eventually found a spot on a housing estate. As Nathan did an incredibly tight parallel park, I noticed the name of the tower block we were next to – Mermaid Tower. Mermaid Tower in Deptford. It sounded familiar.
Now, there’s a general rule when it comes to tower blocks in South London – if you’ve heard of them it’s not a good sign. These tower blocks rarely appear in the Metro because they’ve won architectural awards or because one. Of their inhabitants is running for Boy Scout of the Year. It’s generally not good, and bodes ill for somewhere you’re abandoning your car, complete with in-box car seat in-boot.
I did a quick google. There was a massive fire there a few years back. Not good, but not overly sinister either. Anyway, we didn’t have much choice, parking-wise so we left.
And that’s where the plan started to fall apart. Again. I hadn’t packed the buggy because we were driving. I hadn’t factored in that we might have a mile-long walk once we’d parked and that a sleepy Reuben may not want to walk that far. At least we had a sling to carry Eva in.
No we didn’t.
But again, no choice. Just like we had no parking, no buggy, no sling and no idea how to get back to the soft play. We set off, using sat-nav to guide us but it started throwing tantrums whenever we wanted to cut through somewhere a car couldn’t.
X called just as we’d gone into a car park with no apparant exit. Reuben’s legs were aching, and I suspect Nathan’s Eva-carrying arms were too. When she asked how it was going, I told her honestly that we were lost in the back end of Deptford, with no hope of ever being found. She suggested we ask someone for directions.
There were no people.
There was no hope.
Until we saw – a person! Taking a path out of the car park! So we followed him and found the not-overly bright lights of Deptford High St, which we had definitely (deptfinitely?) passed while driving around. And then we found Wavelengths.
After such drama, are you really expecting me to review the soft play? Gosh, you ask a lot. OK, go on then. It was brand new, still v clean and undamaged (unusual among South London soft plays). There was a baby area for 0-5s and a toddler area for 5-12s. Not sure I totally agree with their age brackets/definitions but it meant that Reuben could happily rampage over both.
And turned out that Eva could also handle the “toddler” area. She got to the top of this ladder all by herself and (under supervision) to the top of the multi-coloured slide. I didn’t know she could do that. Only slightly terrifying.
It’s pretty small, with a view of the building site of a swimming pool, but a sign said it had a capacity of 72 children. Not sure where you’d put 72 children. There wasn’t anyone manning it, so I guess they aren’t counting people in and out yet. It was good value at £2.50 (though babies are chargable too) and made good use of the space.
Then it got to ten past meltdown and I took the kids downstairs to the “Rhubarb and Custard” cafe while Nathan walked back to the car. For a man with no sense of direction or phone (yes, another hitch) he did that surprisingly quickly and was back in a now-vacant parking space before Roo and I had finished our Pash ‘n’ Shoot smoothie. So it all ended well, just not my proudest moment…