After all the dire predictions that this winter would be the coldest winter in half-a-century (and other similarly doom-laden statements), the incredible mildness of the autumn months had lured me into a bit of a false sense of security. So it was a bit of a shock to look out of the window on Saturday morning and discover it was actually snowing. Quite heavily. And it is still only November.
I quickly grabbed Tom, and woke up Mr Techno, excitedly pointing out at the falling whiteness. Unfortunately the snow fall was relatively short, and none of it settled, but Tom was fascinated to see it.
Though the snow was brief, the cold was not, and we experienced our first properly cold day of this winter so far. After a morning of reading stories under blankets, we’d had enough of being indoors. Luckily the day had become one of those lovely clear days you get sometimes when it’s cold. I felt like a bit of a change from our usual haunts, so we headed into Walthamstow to visit Lloyd Park.
I love Lloyd Park. It’s a bit of a way from us, so we don’t get there that often, but it’s a really pretty park and, best of all, is home to the William Morris Gallery.
The Gallery is housed in the childhood home of William Morris, one of Walthamstow’s most famous former residents. Most people know of the Victorian designer for his pivotal role in the Arts and Crafts movement, or his signature nature-inspired wallpaper patterns, but Morris was also a fervent socialist and a campaigner against the harmful ‘restoration’ of old buildings. In fact, in 1877 he was one of the co-founders of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the organisation I now work for.
As you can imagine, I have been round the Gallery a few times. I haven’t taken Tom as yet – though the Gallery is very family friendly and has some great exhibits for kids, they are better suited to slightly older toddlers (I’d say three and up).
We gave it a miss on Saturday as well, preferring instead to explore the gardens and park. It is really well equipped – play areas, basketball and tennis courts, a skate park, bowling greens, and open spaces. There is also a Children’s Centre, and, most importantly for trips with kids, two cafes – one in the Gallery and a more, ahem, affordable (read dirt cheap) one by the play area.
Tom, however, was interested in one thing only. The park has a moat, which is home to several species of ducks, Canadian Geese, and moorhens. Tom was in love. There was no hope of dragging him away from his new feathered friends, so I resigned myself to missing out on the playground. It’s just a shame I hadn’t thought to bring any bread with us.
Despite the cold, we had a lovely afternoon in the park and were thrilled to see so many families doing the same. Plus Tom actually wore his hat and mittens for once, so we’ve finally justified buying them!