Is anyone worried that London With a Toddler has got too shiny, too commercial, too slick? After all, we’ve had what you might describe as both decent content and decent giveaways recently. Worry not! This post has all the LWAT staples you love so much – rain, questionable parenting decisions and whining children. Read on.
Today, me and the kids were evicted from the house for the day while Nathan got on with painting Eva’s skirtingboards pink and Reuben’s green (they look awesome, in case you were wondering). So, we went down to Walthamstow to visit cousin Leo, a boy who has been on the blog since the first month. He’s grown a bit since then. Coincidentally, that part of Walthamstow was also hosting a jumble trail today – a chain of E17 residents who were setting out stalls in front of their homes to sell clothes, cakes and bric-a-brac. We considered going, looked at the pouring rain and reconsidered. This would be a foolish thing to do.
So, naturally we did it. Taking kids out in the rain is an absolute doddle, as long as you’re well prepared. Pity then that I was completely unprepared, despite the very obvious black rain cloud on the weather forecast. My cousin offered up to us all that she could, but Reuben refused to wear Leo’s spare wellies, instead choosing his rather leaky trainers. Eva was all up for wellies, but she has teeny size 5 feet, which Leo hasn’t had for years…probably since that first post on the blog. She was very insistent though, and she was going to be in the buggy anyway, so what harm was there in her wearing Leo’s old size 9 wellies?
We set out, with Eva protesting that she didn’t want to be in the buggy and Reuben and Leo questioning the whole validity of this walk. Roo kept asking where the car was and they seemed unconvinced by the promise of exercise, fresh air and bargains. To be honest, we were a little unconvinced too but we wanted to show some community spirit and tire the boys out a little.
We soon found the first stall, belonging to a lady I now know to be called Isla. She had an alluring selection of craft supplies for sale and it’s only a pity that my cousin and I share a particularly cack-handed gene pool so crafting isn’t really part of the family skill base. Eating cake definitely is part of the family skill base, so we bought some yummy chocolate and banana muffins and carried on.
There was more cake at the next stop, where my cousin bought a very nice dress. It was maternity, but you couldn’t tell. Some children were selling goodies for charity but we were still working on muffins so instead went inside to have a look at more clothes. Meanwhile, Roo and Leo had disappeared up the stairs to have a look at the little boy’s bedroom. They like to make themselves at home. Eva was digging through the toys too, as I bought her a purple spotty t-shirt. It was tough to extract the boys but somehow we did it, and sent them back out into the rain.
Approaching Thorpe Crescent, Eva was protesting loudly that she wanted to walk so I let her. Yes, in the size 9 wellies. Yes, she fell over a fair bit. But they had all found a rabbit hole to get their feet stuck in, so that was an unexpected bonus. The gazebos around the crescent were starting to pack up (it was about 3 by now, and the stallholders had clearly had a long and cold morning) so we didn’t get anything, though my cousin was tempted by a gin bucket. The boys were putting their feet in more rabbit holes, Eva was running off in her oversized wellies. It was almost time to give up.
So, we headed towards Lloyd Park, sadly not seeing any more stalls on the way. I think we’d left it a bit late, and the weather was really far from ideal from jumble trailing. But we’d had some fun, the boys had made a new friend and they were definitely being exercised. Plus, we saw the world’s most hipster estate agent sign:
I should have got a picture of the kids at this point, but my phone was misting up in the rain even more than it normally does. Eva had been wrangled back into the buggy and I’d taken her wellies away so she was just sulking and stretching pink-socked feet out of the raincover into the rain. Reuben was complaining loudly that the water in his shoes was weighing him down. I am totally mastering this parenting thing. Just in case my children looked too well cared-for, I decided to take Eva’s socks off as well. Barefooted toddlers just make me look like a natural parent rather than a bad one, right?
It was clearly too wet to go to the park (clear to us, not to the children, obviously). Our destination was instead the cafe where the nice man gave us five hot chocolates for £4.50 (two adult-sized, three child-sized). The kids ate pombears and read through the stack of books there, while we observed the Mormons praying outside. The rain soon passed and we headed back to Leo’s. By 4, it was gloriously sunny but the trail was over by then. It was a fun experience which would have been more fun if it’d been sunny all day (I assume a lot of the stallholders either didn’t put stalls out or gave up early…and I don’t blame them). There is talk of putting the trail out again tomorrow….keep an eye on local groups to see if that happens (I’ll try and post it on the Facebook page too). There are still Walthamstow bargains to be had, people. Just go prepared for any weather….