So, this is what I failed to talk about in my last post. Our day in Central London with our 2-year-old. But first, a digression. There are many things to do in Central London that are actually fun for a toddler –Corams’s Fields for one, London Transprt Museum for another. But that is not the purpose of these posts. No, these are survival posts. “Oh-Good-grief-I’m-stuck-in-Soho-with-a-toddler” posts. Enjoy.
As you can probably tell from the photo above, our day began in the none-so-child-friendly Kings Cross station. We were there to see our friend Ruth and Roo’s friend Luke off as they were moving to Yorkshire. I had foolishly thought that Kings Cross on a Sunday morning halfway through a Bank Holiday weekend would be fairly quiet but noooo! I was wrong (happens, occasionally). I’d forgotten how small the station was, compared to Waterloo or Victoria. My idea of letting Roo have the run of the place was swiftly quashed as I realised there was no physical space to do so.
Luckily, we found a spot just by the platforms that are being refurbished (6 and 7 from memory), where there was a Caffe Nero express and the boys could see the trains, although they kept running over to look at the building works as well (Bob the Builder has a lot to answer for). Away from the craziness of the main concourse, it was actually fairly calm. And coffee on tap helped. Somewhere along the way, Roo and Nathan had a wander off and found platform 9 3/4, confusingly not between platforms 9 and 10. Not sure Roo really understood the significance of it but Nathan explained that it was somewhere where children went to have pictures taken and he willingly complied.
So, that was entertaining a toddler for over an hour in a major railway station. Elegantly done, I think. Next up was church in Soho (which oops, we seemed to miss) and then we went to lunch in The Stockpot in Old Compton St. I wouldn’t overly recommend it – it certainly was cheap but they looked a bit taken aback at the sight of a toddler. I know, you wouldn’t really expect somewhere in Old Compton St to be overly child friendly but they gotta eat sometime… Having said that, Roo refused to eat anything (maybe he heard us discussing how the chicken burger looked like no chicken burger we’d ever seen before) and was getting restless, so I took him for another walk round Soho (see my last post). After climbing on the benches outside the Coach and Horses and touching the chairs outside Maison Touareg (they were quite tactile), we headed towards Soho Square again for lack of anywhere better to go. It was only when we were nearly there that I had an inspiration and we turned off into Manette St towards the children’s section of Foyles.
It’s amazing what the dim reccesses of your mind can produce and sometimes it pays to believe it, even when it seems unlikely. So yes brain, you were right. There IS a piranha tank in the children’s section of Foyles. And it kept him amused for at least a few minutes. There’s also a little table and toddler-sized stools, as well as a big fluffy pink and zebra-print chair. He ran around there for a while, picked up the Enormous Crocodile toy and menaced Jemima Puddleduck with it, and chose some books to spend his birthday money on. Luckily, I remembered shortly before getting to the till that I had left my wallet with Nathan to pay the bill at the Stockpot. Even more luckily, Nathan soon turned up and we were able to furnish the child with some new books/justify spending half an hour wrecking the place. It also has toilets, which were useful when I detected an unholy stench coming from Roo’s bottom department. Not so usefully, the lift is tiny and it was embarrassing sharing it with anyone when Roo smelt so bad. Serves me right for being too lazy to take the stairs.
Nappy changed (in the large cubicle, rather than the ridiculously tiny one), we went back through the Politics department, where Roo became very attached to a book with a picture of an apple on it (not entirely sure why) and we strapped him, extremely grumpily, back into his buggy. Foyles was a hit, then…!