Imagine Festival #2

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I know I’ve already blogged about the Imagine Festival but we went again today, with another child to try things out with and saw some different things. So, stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but here’s our day out at the Southbank Centre.

We started out with a walk along the Albert Embankment, and one determined toddler decided that the buggy was cramping her style and she needed to “doddle” instead.


Silly girl – doesn’t she know she’s far too small for this kind of thing? Luckily, she soon realised her tiny legs couldn’t keep up and she got an “up” from Daddy:

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Just, awwww…right? Anyway, enough of that kind of slushiness. We were at the Imagine Festival at half term, and it was  hardcore.  None of the serenity of the week before – there were kids everywhere, jostling each other out of the way for the prime position in front of the time mahine and drawing on the columns that didn’t have the drawing paper on. Anarchy. Still, Reuben loves a bit of anarchy and he got stuck right into playing with the jack leads on the time machine:

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And the lights:

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And a bit I hadn’t noticed before, with tiny solar panels you put your hands on:

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Which in turn power the fans, which make the balloons move. Science-y!

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There was also an orchestra playing but it seemed they were just practising for a performance later on. Still, they sounded pretty good as I picked out the mambo from “West Side Story” (I do love a musical). Reuben had been sold a trip to the South Bank with pictures of Eva’s butterfly biscuit from last week, so we furnished him with one of his own while we sat at a table and pored over the festival programme to plan our next move. They was something intriguing-sounding called “Land of Kids” on the 3rd and 4th floors (Blue Side) so we decided to go and see what that was.

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I’m not entirely sure whether we found, but we certainly found something. They was nothing much on the 3rd floor, but on the 4th? A pirate ship! Of sorts! Reuben joined the crowd of children who were trying to see what was going on and somehow managed to skip the waiting list and be one of 20 children who got to join in with the pirate games. There were three actors dressed as pirates in the “ship” area, who furnished the kids with eyepatches and headscarves and led them through half an hour of pirate mime and general silliness. I’m still not certain whether Roo was meant to be involved, but he seemed to get away with it. This is him at the back:

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I was chasing Eva around and calling estate agents, so I missed much of the piratical fun, but they seemed to be running from one side of the ship to another, jumping up to salute the captain, bending down to scrub the deck and…well, you can imagine how they interpreted “poop deck”. Meanwhile, Eva was enjoying the time-honoured RFH pursuit of watching the lift go up and down:



Apparently, the scrubbing, saluting and pooping had worn Reuben out to the extent that his legs no longer functioned. It was time for a quieter pursuit. Luckily, tucked away in a corner of the RFH there was the “Vintage Reading Library”, which had classic children’s books to read, and big cushions. The kids found one each and sat quietly for a few minutes reading:

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But even sitting down becomes too much sometimes:

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It was time to go home. On the way out, the lift at the back of the RFH was broken so we had to go the long way round. At almost exactly the same time, Reuben’s long-serving and long-suffering friend Scooty broke. Her back wheel spun no more. Disaster! Roo was heading for mega-whingeville until we spotted something so random it might just distract him:



It was a little farm at the end of the street market. What possible connection could farm animals have to a market, you might ask? Well, the pigs didn’t need to ask that question, given they had this permanent Memento Mori:




That’s right kids, you think about where your food comes from. It’s a dark note to end on, but happily, the animals distracted Roo from his scooter woes and he enjoyed petting them and trying to feed them straw. And then heading home to eat his sausages. Like I said, dark.

The Imagine Festival is on until 23rd February, which is also my birthday. So get down there quickly. And buy me chocolate. 






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One Response to Imagine Festival #2

  1. Pingback: Greenwich and Charlton – 29/03/14 | London With a Toddler

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