I’m really tired today. Eva had me up during the night, I was working today and then looking after Roo and that’s the reason my brain is running so slowly that I can’t even mock hipsters properly. It’s taken ten minutes to come up with this opening joke, so you’d better appreciate it. OK, here goes…
Where do hipster ducks live?
I know. It’s not my best. But it kinda introduces you to the whole concept of hipster animals, just in time to take a virtual trip to Spitalfields City Farm, as part of item 7. “Notch up some more city farms”. We’ve notched up one and this was it. Still, it was a pretty good one.
It’s signposted from the main road but you basically turn off by a very East London piece of graffiti:
As with every trip to Spitalfields, you should ensure that your daughter is wearing appropriately edgy clothes:
With the scratched camera, this actually looks like it was taken in the 80s, doesn’t it? The residents of E2 photoshop for hours to get this kind of look.
Anyway, let’s get back to the farm and we managed to steer Reuben away from the park next door with the promise of some animals. On first glance it looked pretty big- bigger than Hackney City Farm anyway.
It’s also full of bits of shiny artwork, which are all made of of hundreds and hundreds of bottle tops:
These pieces were the work of Robson Cezar, who is an East End regular and currently artist-in-residence at the farm. How many farms have their own artist? This is getting no less hipster. Anyway, Reuben liked the monkey:
But we were here to see real animals and those they had in abundance too. There were pigs, a pony and donkeys called Bayleaf and Derek. I can’t help feeling that Bayleaf got the nicer name. Derek obviously felt that too, and skulked at the back of his pen, ignoring us. But Bayleaf came up for a stroke after a little coercion:
And some yummy stinging nettles as well. Lucky Bayleaf.
Reuben was very impressed that the goats had their own climbing frame, although they didn’t seem to be maximising its potential:
You might even say they were less impressed with Reuben than he was with them. Ah well, there’s always a cow to befriend..
We thought we’d seen all the animals, so stopped off at the treehouse, which both kids managed to climb without any help. At the top, Reuben starting flinging off his shoes. You might wonder why, as we did. His answer was that there was a tiny soft play in the tree and you don’t wear shoes at soft play.
That didn’t sound right. We scaled the tree too, just to investigate.
He was right! A tiny soft play in a treehouse! There was a pile of these blocks and some stools to sit on. In this picture he still has his shoes on, but that didn’t last long. Nathan and I had a bottle of flat coke and a relax while the kids stacked the blocks and knocked them over. Then I went to the “Bug Hotel” to listen to the sounds of a beehive through some earphones. Or it could have been experimental jazz – never forget we’re in Shoreditch.
At the bottom of the tree, there were also some ride-on toys and a little table to sit and draw at. Sadly my phone battery died so I have only one more photo to show you and none of Reuben pulling Eva round on a little trailer.
Technology, huh? The kids could have played for much longer but we had Bob’s birthday to get to and it appeared that we’d missed out a whole other side of the farm. It was called The Farmyard, and was home to the aforementioned hipster ducks, some rabbits, sheep and even a free-range cat. We tracked the cat down sitting inside a little cabin, enjoying the sunshine and the stroking of random strangers. He soon scarpered at the sight of a toddler though. And the toddler and her brother were settling in to stay, with a big pile of puzzles and books and some comfy cushions to sit on. There were plenty of things for us to look at too – from a whole snakeskin to some fly-vision glasses. If only we didn’t have somewhere to go and if only we could save time by skipping the playground in neighbouring Allen Gardens (we couldn’t. Our kids aren’t dumb). So, we left the farm after about an hour but really could have stayed longer. It was one of the best equipped city farms I’ve been to, in terms of things to do for kids. We didn’t even get a coffee…we’ll never make hipsters, will we?