You can tell by the title of this post that it’s not going to be an exciting one. I would love to report that I explored Leytonstone fully, and discovered a treasure trove of toddler-friendliness there. But it wasn’t like that. I’ll explain.
It was a rainy Bank Holiday, and apparently the coldest one in recorded history. The kids were bouncing off the walls and so we needed something to do. A bit of Facebook research led me to conclude that the Rabbit Hole might be the best place to hide out and wait for the storm to blow over. Me and Eva had been there before but the boys hadn’t, so it was worth a revisit. Plus, it was near Leytonstone, so I could totally tick off a list item on the trip (see here if you have no idea what I’m talking about).
The first bit of the plan was really good. Eva was asleep in the buggy, so Nathan and I sat and drank coffee while Reuben did crafts with the cafe owner Nicci. He produced this rather lovely version of himself (complete with dinosaur boots and rain trousers) and then went on to make palm trees and, of course, some dinos. We had some cake – chocolate brownies with cream for me and Nathan and carrot cake for Roo. When Eva woke up, she played in the teepee (“my ‘ouse!”) and the ball pool before starting a long and drawn-out tea party at one of the little tables. It continued to tip it down outside.
I played Snakes and Ladders with Roo. He won, through some hefty cheating. It was still raining. None of this was incentivising us to leave the warmth and comfort of the cafe to explore Leytonstone. Reuben had his pocket money to spend so we could have found a 99p store for him. There would have been some kind of point to it all but it just seemed a little unappealing. I’m not above visiting obscure parts of East London for funsies but bright sunshine tends to put me in more of an exploring mood. Eva wasn’t keen to leave either – an attempt to clear up her tea party met with screams of “no, not tidy up time!”.
It was getting late though, and we’d been hiding out in the Rabbit Hole for over two hours. So we ventured out to find a bus, and ended up on the 257, which handily passed straight through Leytonstone. It was raining so hard by now that the bus was dripping on the inside but that still wasn’t inspiring me to get off it. Through fogged-up windows, I saw what we were missing and concluded it was….not much. But I was right in thinking there would be a 99p store:
So, we stayed on till Walthamstow, went to the 99p store there instead and utterly failed to explore E11. I’m going back there for a choir rehearsal in a week or so and maybe then it’ll unveil its charms to me. Don’t sit too close to the edge of that chair though…