The Imagine Festival – 14/02/17


Well, not really much of the Imagine Festival. We were there for a bit and then we weren’t but I got some photos and I’m confident that I’ve lowered your expectations after all these years so you’ll be grateful that I’ve ever managed to blog about it before the whole thing’s over.

Half term has something of a curse for us, and none more so than February half term. It really peaked in Feb 2014 when we visited the Imagine Festival but it was marred by frantic calls from the estate agent, as our buyer was threatening to pull out and our seller was suddenly demanding an extra £40k. Then Roo’s faithful scooter Scooty broke on the way home. We thought that was unlucky enough but the next day Eva woke up with chickenpox. And it got worse from there.

So you can see why I’m a touch paranoid about Feb half terms. We had a close call with a bug on Sunday night which turned out to be nothing after a full day of cautionary quarantine. But I twitched whenever either one of them needed the toilet and tried to keep their interaction with other children brief. You’ll be pleased to know they were fine and they remain fine. I am probably just insane.

Anyway, we got to the Southbank Centre at ten and found this incredible den (that rhymed didn’t it? Not intentional I assure you. Keep those expectations low). It was basically just some matresses to bounce on and a bed to climb on but the kids loved it. They’re not always allowed to bounce on the beds at home.


There was also a wardrobe with a Narnia-style false back:


But we’ll come back to that because it was storytime with Nimble Arts Becky and Boris the Bird! It was in the Clore Ballroom, which feels huge after the intimate storytelling sessions we used to enjoy at The Dish and the Spoon. It was aimed at the under 5s but I figured that Reuben would still enjoy Becky’s surreal sense of humour and I think he did. Not so sure about C, who joined us briefly but thought he was a bit above it all. The toddler hordes were well into it though:


It’s basically preschool Glasto.

We had to nip off and collect the mothers from Waterloo so we could go for lunch. My masterplan was to visit the Nando’s opposite Southwark tube, which we did, but first we had half an hour to kill as it wasn’t yet acceptable lunchtime. So I spotted a playground on the map in Nelson Square. It was a nice day and not too cold and I thought the kids could have a run around and we could have a sit down on the benches. Except the benches were covered in polythene sheeting and so was the rest of the play equipment. And there were workmen still building it. Darn. But good news folks, brand new playground on the way…although it’s running behind LB Southwark’s schedule.

So instead we nipped to a nearby Costa for much-needed caffeine, while Eva whinged about only being allowed one mini muffin (“I WILL eat my dinner if I have another one” she claimed, against all empirical evidence), then off to Nando’s where our table for six was encased in a cute nest that Nathan and I entirely failed to get a photo of. Told you, I’m winning at this blog thing.

But hey, I found this little bit of wonder under the bridge on Blackfriars Road:


We unanimously agreed it sounded far tastier than a Trump Burger.


Then we walked back to the Southbank Centre but really, by the time Eva had painstakingly eaten a tiny amount of food and then walked ever so slowly on her tiny yegs, it was nearly time for us for go home for Roo’s swimming lesson. Still, we had a few minutes to play with that wardrobe, which has its own escape hatch:



We dropped the mothers back to Waterloo and on the tube home, Eva experimented with the Rosie the Riveter look, which is curiously appropriate given one of the friends we met today:


And…saving the most exciting news for last. There are new seat covers on the Bakerloo Line. Yes, you read it here first. The red, blue and brown has given way to this tasteful, almost-monochrome:


They still have the fingernail shapes on the wall though, don’t worry.

If you fancy doing the Imagine Festival a bit better than we did, check out the full listings here. There are Lego workshops, virtual reality trees and the temporary Moomin exhibition downstairs. Though sadly, I think you’ve missed the Finnish singing dinosaurs. I’ll have to get the report back from Bunny and Bunny’sDad.


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