We’ve just had a week off….unusual, I know but these things happen when you fail to use up your annual leave in a timely manner. So a rainy week in November it is. What to do?
Well, I started the week by taking a group of English Class students to see the Lord Mayor’s Parade. They are always fascinated by weird British stuff and it doesn’t get much more British than standing around in the cold for an hour watching people in robes processing around. But there were also Indian drummers, Chinese dancers and a giant inflatable pig. There was also a giant cricket bat so I’m quite glad I didn’t take Eva with me. She has a weird phobia of cricket bats ever since a close encounter with one during a PE lesson.
Incidentally, if you want to find somewhere to take a medium-sized group for lunch and/or coffee in the City on a Saturday, let me recommend Leon at Liverpool Street. I don’t recommend it for getting a quick lunch in between trains as I’ve been burnt before but for a leisurely post-parade coffee, it was fine and there was lots of space. Don’t bother even looking around Bank Junction – it’s pretty much all shut.
Monday saw us wandering, childfree, around Oxford Circus and Soho. We spent quite some time in my old haunt of H&M where I have hastily bought post-work “going out” clothes more than once. We were in search of something 80s-styled for my work Christmas party and it did not disappoint. There was too much choice if anything.
Oxford Circus has changed a little since My Day though. This diagonal crossing has probably been there years now but it still freaks me out a little to be walking across the middle of the circus. I feel like I’m about to rudely interrupted on my scroll by an angry 159. But it was all fine.
We also took in the giant teddy bears and sparkly lights of John Lewis, while popping in to use the facilities.
And also saw the Carnaby Street Christmas lights, which I usually enjoy but this year they seem a little….confused. Giant 60s-style balloons, paper chains and…err….jellyfish? There’s a lot going on here.
Then we had lunch at Busaba, which does Pad Thai for £11 on a weekday. I’ve clearly been working in the City too long because that genuinely seemed like a bargain to me. There was a bit of incense burning, which reminded me of Catholic school, but the food was lovely and we got to spy on people from our window seat. Oh, and the toilets were very shiny.
After lunch, we hung out in Denmark Street on the pretext of getting something for the kids for Christmas but really so that Nathan could lust after midlife-crisis guitars and I could blither on about buying an electro-acoustic ukulele.
If Oxford Circus has changed since My Day, it’s got nothing on Tottenham Court Road which has basically been bulldozed and rebuilt in the last few years. I spotted the new theatre and a mysterious building called Outernet when I was visiting Foyles with Eva a few weeks back. But now I had a bit of time of actually see what the mysterious building was. To be honest, I’m still not sure. But it has two rooms with massive video projections that you can walk through. Look, it’s just like being in an aquarium:
After all that exciting Central London action at the start of the week, we needed to slow down a bit so Tuesday was mainly spent sorting out our mortgage renewal and watching the Sound of Music. Then we met Bob for lunch at The Vincent in Hackney Downs on Wednesday, which was very hipster but very nice. And on Thursday we went to Hackney again for another lunch at Stone Cave in Dalston. This time I was lunching in the presence of someone who is very nearly a Real Live Toddler. I know that it’s unheard of for this toddler blog to feature actual toddlers but I have high hopes for the heir apparent.
I’m happy to report that he enjoyed his lunch and smeared baba ganoush into every conceivable crevice. I remember mezze being a winner when my own toddlers were toddlers and the combination of bread, halloumi and dips is a weaner’s delight. He also enjoyed the fish tank at the back of the restaurant:
I’m also happy to report that he is fully adorable and I can’t wait to borrow him for future adventures.
Friday was highly ambitious and I got to cuddle a baby that was even smaller than the heir apparent. We also got back in time for pick up, despite leaving London during school hours:
I’m impressed with us too.
So what else to do on the following Saturday but go to Hackney yet again? With Eva this time and the slope that no child can resist climbing:
Oh, and I also went to Leytonstone and got mildly lost. But I’d offloaded the kid onto Nathan by that point so don’t worry, she wasn’t hanging out with me when I was on a motorway bridge in the dark:
I found the tube eventually.
So, an exciting week and about as much fun as you can have when it’s raining every day and you need to be back for the school run.We know how to party.