It was another nice sunny day on Saturday and so a prefect day for a little jaunt to Hackney. That’s what we thought, and so did the English Defence League. Whoops. I’ve had a lot of experience recently in “being near a riot but not in it” and, accordingly, we managed to get to London Fields and back without a whiff of skinhead sweat or even a graze from a flying missile. We are lucky indeed.
The purpose of the jaunt was a friend’s birthday at Pub in the Park in London Fields. You have to be quite canny when socialising with a toddler and this one seemed like a no-brainer. One parent goes to the pub and talks to real, live adults and the other one hangs out in the playground with the boy. Then swap. Perfect!
So, the playground. It was bigger than I remember – at least four slides, of varying heights. Roo’s favourite was the one cut into the bank, although he was determined to go down it on his tummy, which was slow at best. There was also a natural play area, with logs to climb on, those bouncy motorbikes you get everywhere and various climby things. This being Hackney, there was also a parent asking another parent for some rizlas (prefixed with “I know this isn’t a very “playground” thing to ask but…”)
The duck in his hand here is his bath thermometer. He picked it up shortly before leaving the house and wouldn’t let go. Even on the train back to Liverpool St (and the chance to go on a choo-choo, however briefly, was a big selling point for Roo. You can also see the train from the park, which is another bonus).
A successful day then. Roo happy, parents happy. I’m not the biggest Hackney fan, pretentious and scruffy as it is in equal parts, but some dear friends live there and we’ seem to trek over there on a regular basis. In a former life, I also spent some time running assessment centres in Hackney Job Centre but the less said about that the better. Against my instincts, it did seem to be particular toddler-friendly, with all the skinny-jeans-ironic-hat-wearing, iphone-wielding guys of a few years ago now skinny-jeans-ironic-hat-wearing, iphone-wielding daddies. Even Pub in the Park was full of toddlers and small children, drinking lemonade (in an ironic way?) and eating stuff from the BBQ on the back terrace. Maybe toddlers are the new, must-have accessory. I don’t know. But either way, rough ol’ Hackney suddenly seems like a good place to hang out with a 2-year-old. Especially when there’s a playful doggy for Roo to chase around.
VERDICT: Nice playground, lots of green space and you can see the trains. Worth a visit if you’re headed that way. Definitely worth alternating between pub and park if there are two of you. There is also the lido there, which we have completely failed to check out and a paddling pool too, although it was dry the last time I tried to paddle there (that might have been pre-Reuben. What do you people want, facts and stuff??)