It’s finally happened! You may have noticed we’ve been talking about LolliBop for a while now and Reuben was particularly “percited” about it last night. So, you’d think we’d be raring to go this morning, wouldn’t you?
You would, but you’d be wrong. Eva decided to have an late-night grizzle party, culminating in the two of us downstairs at 1am watching Father Ted and writing about whirlpools. I finally got her back to sleep somewhere around the 2-3 zone, after calpol, teething powder, cursing and winding her like a baby. Come 8am-ish, I was strangely sluggish in the get-set-go department and she didn’t even bother to wake up till 9:30.
It wasn’t the best start, but a Starbucks at Waterloo and some eager scooting from Roo got us to the site around 11:30. We didn’t have tickets, so I felt a little Argo in the queue, but luckily we were on the guestlist, so got shiny red blogger wristbands and our own little bloggers’ lounge to hang out in. Score!
First off was Andy and Sid in the LolliPalladium. Now, whenever mothers get talking the conversation eventually turns to which CBeebies presenter you think is hottest. When I say eventually, I mean it could take years…so I may not have had that conversation with you yet. Anyway, my answer is always Sid and/or Andy. Mr Bloom is too obvious, Mr Maker is way too unobvious and as for Justin? We’ll get there later… But Sid and Andy always look like they’re up for a laugh so yeah, why not?
On an entirely different note, Roo and Nathan enjoyed the end of their show, with Roo dancing as best the could perched on Nathan’s shoulders. Eva in the buggy was seeing nothing but knees, so I hoiked her out for a go in our new sling and went to put the buggy in the buggy park, which was right next to the marquee on the map.
Sadly, the map wasn’t right. There was a flag which looked like it might have said “Buggy Park” but it was furled up and there was no buggy park in evidence. After the show, I asked the guy on the gate if there should be one there and he was non-committal. But he was guarding backstage, and his main priority was to make sure I wasn’t a crazy fan, about to hurl myself at Sid yelling “Let it be me!”
Apologies to my fbook friends – I may have re-used a gag there. It won’t happen again. Anyway, we went for a little wander around to see what there was to see. Being LolliBop, there was a lot! Hello Kitty was doing a personal appearance, I Can Katy was hanging out at the back of the kitchen stage and waved at us, there were a bunch of Mr Men posing for photos, and there were some people on stilts dressed like white rappers. Everywhere you looked, there was something. Was it over-stimulating? Why yes, but I don’t worry too much about it until it leads to a meltdown in the play area because a boy is sugar-crashing after his bear-shaped cake and desperately wants to see those Mr Men again.
Naturally, those of you who have ever been to a festival before will be chortling at this point as you consider the incompatibility of those last two sentences. Of course getting lunch would involve queuing. And at 1pm, it would involve a lot of queuing. So much so that it would be nearly 2pm before we got to eat anything. The consequences of this would be grave.
We chose the Byron burgers stall on the basis that the queue was half the length of the neighbouring Nandos stall. They didn’t do chips or any drinks that weren’t water, but they do make a tasty burger, so the kids were about to learn a bit of burger-appreciation. I queued with the buggy for ages, while Nathan and Roo went off to try and spy AlexBeebies on the main stage. They mainly saw some guys beatboxing “Seven Nation Army”. Then we queued some more and some more and then we paid and then we waited some more while our burgers were cooked. It was a pretty slow process. I know LolliBop put in extra food stalls this year to try and reduce queuing times, but you’ll always get delays when several thousand people get hungry at once. So, Nathan was waiting at the stall for the order and I sat on the grass a little way away, with the kids – who had decided to crack open their snackboxes and have a little starter by now.
And then….the horror.
If you know me well, you’ll know that I’m not the biggest Mr Tumble fan and we have Roo conditioned to leap up and switch the TV off whenever Something Special starts. But today, Justin was on the main stage and there was no off switch. Or a red button to summon iplayer and the Octonauts-y goodness contained within. I was too tired to move far, and anyway his nasal voice carried far beyond the area of the main stage. Besides, we had waited a long time for these burgers and we were darn well going to eat them now.
So, the set started and a little while later Nathan returned in full-hunter-gatherer mode, with our boxes of meat. I won’t dwell on the version of “The Music Man” that floated about us as we ate. I’ll just say that they were tasty burgers, the kids had a goodly amount of theirs and nothing was going to spoil that.
We’re so stoic. Didn’t stop us racing off as soon as Roo had declared his finished. But the Voice of Justin followed us at least as far as the portaloos, where Reuben discovered the delights of a manual flush. Then back to the LolliPalladium, where we were met and greeted by Postman Pat and some cloudbabies.
I had no idea what was going on the marquee – Nathan said it looked a bit like South Park. But Roo correctly identified it as “Tickety Too” and went in for a dance. He tells me he’s seen them in a comic. That boy’s capacity for remembering obscure cartoon names is astonishing. I wish he’d remember some useful stuff sometimes.
Sid and Andy’s second set was coming up next, and I was keen to get a better view this time – for the purposes of some blog photos, obviously. Reuben was keen to get the best view of all, as he was convinced that he was going up on stage like he’d seen some other children do in the first set. You know this’ll end in tears, right?! But I used the time-honoured festival technique of going forward as soon as the previous act finished and we got right to the front, by the stage.
After some entertainment from a guy from the GoGoShow, Sid and Andy were back and Roo was happy for a while. Even though technical difficulties meant they had no backing track (cue some improv’ed banter – Andy: “Who needs music?” Sid -“Errr…us?”)
Then they got to the bit where they needed some help. Roo and all the other kids in the audience stuck their hands up desperately, like they were answering a question in class and were super-keen to show off just how clever they were (not that I ever did that. *cough*). But just as Andy bent down to scoop one of them up, someone hissed something at him and a parade of pre-arranged children walked onto the stage. It’s no exaggeration to say that Roo was still sobbing about this at dinner time. But that’s showbiz, kid.
Sensing that we all needed some Time Out and with the rain just starting we headed to the Bloggers’ Lounge for a cup of tea and a sit-down. Eva had been peacefully sleeping on her Daddy throughout the Sid and Andy malarkey but woke up in the tent as Roo stropped about something or other. It was meltdown o’clock. But we loaded up on caffeine, apples and bear snacks and headed out to do one last thing before going home.
The Duplo tent! It would be rude not to. Of course, it’s the one thing that Roo really could have done at home, but he and Eva both thoroughly enjoyed stepping through the Duplo train into the play area and we had some peaceful minutes while they pottered about.
Then it was actually home time. Stage-related meltdowns and Justin-bombing aside, it was a great day. Everything is so geared towards children – from the child-size food portions to the bountiful freebies. And there’s loads that we didn’t get time to see – a whole play area, the WOW! toys tent that sheltered us last year, the Science Museum and Roald Dahl tents and all the craft stalls. But we did swing by the place with the bouncy toys and Shaun the Sheep’s Olympic arena. A very fun family day out – just be prepared for queues and overexcited meltdowns!