Regular readers of mine will know that my watchwords for this blog are “accuracy”, “clarity” and “focus”. I would never offer anything up to you that was “half-arsed”, “rambling” or “irrelevant”. And I’d like to think that these words reflect my personal qualities. Why, I am just full of focus. That’s why I’ve been to the fridge three times to restock on chocolate since starting to write this post. Three times in 74 words – that’s an average of once every 24 words. In fact, it must be chocolate time again, no? As I said, it’s all about focus.
In that same spirit, here’s a post about the Southbank Christmas Market that’s not really about the Southbank Christmas Market at all. I think I like the idea of Christmas markets more than the reality of pushing a buggy through some crowds in order to buy some stuff that you can probably get cheaper online. We were meeting C’s family there, after standing them up on Friday and by the time we all got there, C was ready to run around and have some fun rather then traipse through crowds. Nathan and I had a complicated system where we tried to park on Waterloo Bridge on the way home from church, then tried to find a spot in the backstreets of Waterloo but failed, so Nathan dropped me and the children off and then drove home and walked back in. I walked to the Yo! Sushi at County Hall to find Family C, then realised there was another Yo! Sushi right next to the market which was a more likely place for them to be. So we walked a long way round and by the time we’d got there, I was in no mood for crowds either.
So, I went to Eat…which was full of crowds. But then we sat down for a few minutes to eat our sandwiches and then the plan was to try out the new Jubilee Gardens Playground. But first, there was a parade to be watched (see very fuzzy picture above) and then C wanted to have a go on the carousel. Naturally, Reuben did too. Equally naturally, I decided this was Nathan’s responsibility. I’d already taken Roo on that same carousel in July and once was enough for me.
(Yes, it was July…don’t let my winter coat confuse you)
So C and his Mum climbed on, as did Nathan and Roo while me and Eva, R and R’s Dad all watched from the side. I thought that C looked like he was enjoying it, whereas Roo looked terrified. C’s Dad thought the opposite. My source from aboard the carousel (Nathan) said that both boys enjoyed it, and were racing their horses. But they couldn’t agree on who won in the end.
Then it was time to check out the new playground. I’ve attempted to go there a couple of times, but it’s always been under construction or closed for maintenance, so I was keen to try it out. We have been before, but that was before it was redone, and it was a pretty average playground with slides and swings and all the stuff you’d expect. Look, here’s a nearly-2-year-old Reuben:
It’s essentially one long assault course with nets and poles to clambour over along with a couple of things to swing on (with the kind of rubber seats you get on aerial runways). The swing things were pretty popular – C waited around 10 minutes for his go, whereas Reuben just pushed someone else off. Oh, such a proud moment. Needless to say, Nathan was supervising him at the time.
There were no slides or anything geared towards preschoolers, but still they seemed to enjoy it. We also bumped into Rufus and his mum there and he too seemed to like it. I think they all needed a little parental help to balance on the poles but they entertained themselves for a long time. There were also wooden animals to sit on and a spider web to climb.
It was an unusual set-up, but I like that. You can get bored of standard slide’n’swings playgrounds if you hang around them enough (I do). We spent long enough there for my toes to go entirely numb (ballet shoes were maybe a bad choice) and for R and C’s Dad to pop back to the market to purchase some strange German cakes for us all. Ah, but what tasty strange cakes! Looked like a mug of soup made of out doughnut, tasted like Christmas. Mmmm…
Ah yes, the market. Want more details on that? Well, I’ve been through it twice at a run and it looks like your standards Christmas market. Gluhwein, sausages and a stall selling wooden ties. There always seems to be a wooden tie stall, but when’s the last time you ever saw anyone wearing a wooden tie?! More interestingly, there was also a stall selling original board games and C’s Mum was delighted to see one called “You cannae throw your Granny off the bus” (apparently this was a song form her childhood). I think the company were called “Pants on Fire” and all their games looked cool. When I walked through the market on Thursday, I also spotted a Santa so authentic looking he might just have been the man himself. He had actually grown long, white, curly whiskers and a long white beard. I didn’t see him today, so I only wish I’d got a photo. As I mentioned before, it was all pretty crowded (not quite Winter Wonderland standards but not far off) and getting round the bottom of the Golden Jubilee Bridges created quite some bottlenecks. Best to take a quick look then retreat to the playground.
Anyway, it was time to go. Roo had been asking repeatedly to go to the “big purple house”, which on closer examination turned out to be the “one that looks like a cow”. He was referring to the Udderbelly stage, which we had visited briefly a few days before Eva was born. He was correct in thinking we were in the right place, but he was wrong in that there was a distinct absence of giant purple cow. So we steered him homewards, pausing only to watch a man blow giant bubbles.
On the way home, the Thames looked disturbingly high, as if it was just about to breach its walls and flood South London. Emerging from the tunnel that cuts under Westminster Bridge, we noticed actual Thames water leaking through the wall onto the Albert Embankment. In several places. Is it just me that finds this slightly worrying?
The bridge to the River Fire Station was up at an angle too, whereas it’s normally pointing downwards and the water level seemed to be lapping the bottom of the terrace at the back of Parliament. There’s been some more rain tonight, so the next post from me may well be written from the roof of our house….