Like all the best plans, this one was a spontaneous one. I’d spent the morning wrestling with a utility company that I won’t name but they’re the one that use one of my favourite ever songs in their adverts….how very dare they? So, once work hours were done, Roo and I needed to get out. Or at least far away from the phone before I did some serious damage to either myself or the wall. Our friend Mrs Rabitt (not her real name) had suggested a trip to a park I’d never been to before and had never heard of. It sounded right up my street (or to be more precise, right up a street that I’d never heard of before) so we set off with the most cursory of glances at Google maps and a meeting point that was some kind of ice rink.
Plans have been planned better. Google maps doesn’t work well in the middle of Walthamstow Marshes. The ice rink was completely the wrong direction. We made a new plan, to meet in a cafe in this park I’d never been to before, which was somewhere up the road from a station I’d only briefly been to before…and somehow it all worked out. We met in a cafe. We had tea and cake. We sat outside, enjoying yet another sunny day and a view of the rolling hills of the Lea Valley. Spontaneous plans rock.
(Actually, the bit which was most difficult, confusing and time confusing was getting the tea and cake in the cafe. I emerged with mango juice, popcorn, cake, a child that was not my own and a cup of tea that had no milk. Mrs Rabitt procured the milk from somewhere but I have no idea how she did it)
Cafe issues aside, it was a very pleasant spot to sit while and relax while Reuben and Rabittkin1 ran off into the bushes. Hold on a second, relax? While Reuben is “exploring”? That doesn’t sound likely. And no, it didn’t last long as I lost sight of him in the undergrowth and had to go and check that he wasn’t a) being kidnapped b)kidnapping anyone else or c) finding things that were best left in the bushes. Turns out that the only thing he and Rabbitkin1 found was a “lovely place” on the other side – a lake with a fountain and ducks and geese pottering about. It was very lovely. The toilets were also on that side as well, which is always useful.
In case you’re wondering, Eva was at nursery. Spontaneous plans without a toddler rock.
We had to go and investigate the playground, which was at the bottom of the hill so Mrs Rabitt suggested taking the pretty, loopy route which wouldn’t involve any steep slopes for her buggy. That was indeed a reasonable thing to suggest but the older kids thought differently and were already escaping doing the hill…so we followed. There were a few steps but she’s a pro and wasn’t phased.
And just look how lovely the playground was!:
Yet again, a glorious day for taking photos, even on my soft-focus “beauty shot” camera. It wasn’t warm exactly, even though Roo was in shorts and no coat, but it wasn’t too cold either. The kids all ran (or crawled) off to play in the sand and on the wooden pirate ship and we sat in the sunshine, only occasionally having to intervene and break up fights/dig up treasure etc.
It’s a huge and lovely park, with a nicely dramatic gradient and it’s right next to the Lea Valley Marina, for extra boat-spotting fun:
I honestly had no idea that Clapton was so pretty. But then I knew very little about Clapton, aside from the fact that my children have to clap every time we got through it. They have something for every stop on the line. You don’t want to be near us when we’re passing through Woof Street or anytime they get denied some food at Snackney Downs.
But I digress! Such a nice park and I had no idea till today that it existed. Clapton is near Stoke Newington, apparently, and full of both trendy parents with Ergos and Orthodox Jews. See how much I’ve learnt in just one afternoon! I also figured out how to get back to the station after a nice walk along the towpath. I saw a couple of very exciting-looking Children’s Centres along the way, including one with a treehouse in the grounds and quite a few hipster cafes, with strong coffee and craft beer. It’s, as you’d expect from a look at the map, somewhere between Hackney and Stoke Newington but I couldn’t quite imagine how that would work. Somehow, though, it does. We’ll be back, Clapton!