Sunday, 24 January 2010

Columbia Road market and the Museum of Childhood

Apologies for the long break in blogging. There are various reasons for this, some important and some trivial. The main one is that I was involved in an accident in November where I lost the end of my right little finger (eek). I have had various operations since then (including one on Christmas Eve), and I had effectively lost the use of my right arm until now as I was having to wear it in a sling and with a huge bandage. I am starting to get some use back, and am testing the waters by entering this post, but it is going to be a long road to recovery. I am tentatively starting to type again, a bit slower than before, but thankfully with less agony than it was late last year.

But enough of that already. It is now thankfully 2010, and I am making a fresh start on many fronts. As there is very little to report on the plot at present, I thought I would do a series of some of my favourite pastimes when I can't do much on the plot.

The cold makes the finger very painful, so there will be very little going on this winter. Come April there will be a frenzy of activity! We are trying to move house, so this may be the first year that we are able to grow seedlings in a greenhouse at home. The reason we haven't put a greenhouse on the allotment already is that we don't get to visit reliably as often for watering as I think you need to. Really for us it needs to be out the backdoor or on a windowsill.

Our flat is now just too small to accomodate the various propagators we have acquired over the years, so we have waited until we get a small garden with at least one sunny spot for a greenhouse. Anyone who has ever tried to sell and buy a house can imagine how fraught and stressful the whole process is, and so the sooner it happens, the better for our sanity.

Onto the main topic of the day:

Idea 1. Visit Columbia Road Market

A fabulous market for garden and plant lovers, and well worth a visit to London if you live further away. Every Sunday morning, rain or shine, the market is a hive of activity, from fantastic value plant and bulb stalls, to flowers seemingly straight from the suppliers.

In addition, the road itself is lined with shops selling vintage and handmade stuff, as well as a sprinkling of unique and interesting cafes. Nearby at Bethnal Green, is the recently refurbished Museum of Childhood. The V&A have taken it over and made it a fanastic experience for young and old alike, with vintage toys from your childhood as well as lots of sensory and play areas for children of all ages. Well worth a visit while you are in the area.

Photo Gallery of the Museum of Childhood:

Thankfully there are still lots of toys before my time!

My kids still play with these classic building bricks, although the packaging has changed over the years...

Enid Blyton - Essential To Childhood

Snoopy Dog - how many of you remember this one? We had one at home.

Who could forget the story of Dogtanian, which brought serious literature to pre-schoolers?
This set brought back memories that I didn't even know I had until I saw it!


  1. Stickle Bricks! I used to LOVE them! Wish I'd kept them.
    So sorry to hear about your accident, glad you are on the road to recovery.
    My mother had an accident years ago where she lost the end of her left little finger. Its a sore business!

  2. Oh wow - I actually think I am trying to create my own mini childhood museum in my home - I can't seem to pass up on buying an old board game or toy. I have to go here!!!!


  3. I agree with you. Enid Blyton should be essential childhood reading, which explains why I published a book on the writer, titled, The Famous Five: A Personal Anecdotage (
    Stephen Isabirye