A day trip to my sister-in-law’s in Leyton, Stratford, London turned out to be the ‘best day ever’ according to my daughter. The victorian terrace house they live in is straight out of the Ahlberg’s ‘Peepo Baby’ illustrations with kitchen lay-out, courtyard garden and sash windows teeming with pots of all sorts of shapes and sizes with herbs and flowers sprouting green, purple and pink flowers (including purple carrots, much to my daughter’s delight).
As we drove to the cable car by the O2 there was no end of people watching entertainments from the busy high streets of food and veg sellers and asian boutique shops, to the tree lined avenues and Victorian terraces all painted different colours adorned with geranium window boxes. My Sister-in-Law joked that you could tell who owned the houses by the railings, lion statues and paving laid outside.
The cable car provided an amazing view of the City and the River Thames. My son had his nose pressed against the window the entirety of the trip, enjoying the copious chances to see diggers, cement mixers, lorries, boats, cranes, bin lorries and all other manner of big noisy vehicles busy around the capital.
I love the East End of London. The highlight for my daughter was a visit to a play park in Barking. It dates back to the Victorian era, in the days of the ‘promenade’ with beautiful tree lined walks and landscaped grounds. The best feature was the play park with the wooden playground equipment made set in sand for a beach with bonuses experience. It was a truly cosmopolitan play park with black, asian, white and eastern european children playing in harmony with each other and enjoying one another’s company with the willingness to share the see saw the only pre-requisite to getting along and turning from strangers to friends. My daughter lives in the countryside and goes to a village school where only 2 children are black, so it was great for her to enjoy the company of children from other ethnicities – all British but with a slightly different cultural influence. This is the London that was celebrated during the Olympics and this is the London that I am proud to be a part of. If only this cosmopolitan society was reflected across the country….it would make all our communities a better and more interesting place to live and work.
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