Tags: Carter's Steam Fair, Five Have a Wonderful Time, Paradise Gardens, Victoria Park
Carter’s Steam Fair is in town! In short, it is an amazing traditional fun fair, complete with dodgems, swing boats, gallopers, and retro amusements which only take old money. It’s just like the type fair the Five would go to, although unlike Faynights in Five Have a Wonderful Time, in that there are no pythons, fire-eaters or dodgy criminal types.
We went last night (the fair is part of Victoria Park’s ‘Paradise Gardens’ weekend) and had a thoroughly super time. I got to ride on a black galloper called Stan, ate candy floss and had my fortune told by Old Betsy (she looks like she puts lithium in her tea – or at least she would if she wasn’t an automaton). There’s also a coconut shy, dive bomber, utterly terrifying ‘steam yachts’, and the obligatory hook-a-duck stall, as well as a beautifully restored 1954 Morris ice cream van where the Five could conceivably buy ices for themselves and Timmy (although as we are often told, Timmy doesn’t really savour his ice cream – he just wolfs it down in one go).
Tags: Cycling, Hackney Marshes, Lee Valley, National Cycle Network, Route 1, Sustrans, Victoria Park, Walthamstow Marshes
Sustrans sent me a really useful ‘Free Your Bike’ pack with a map of my nearest National Cycle Network route (you can sign up for a free one on their website), so today I set off on a short reconnaissance jaunt along part of route 1, from Victoria Park, East London to Walthamstow Marshes. The route goes alongside the Hertford Union Canal and the Lee River Navigation (the canalified part of the River Lee). Some parts, especially near Hackney Wick feel slightly lonely and potentially dodgy (I wished I had a fierce and protective Timmy with me from time to time) but on the whole it is an interesting and eerily beautiful journey, with large stretches of open space and plants surrounded by overhead power cables with industrial buildings and lots of cranes in the distance.
There’s also lots of FF style potential. I’m sure the Five would be interested in seeing the new Olympic stadium being built but there are also loads of brambles for autumn blackberrying, the Lee Valley Riding School (shades of Captain Johnson’s riding school in Five go to Mystery Moor) and the marshes themselves which are a nature reserve and home to over 300 types of plants as well as numerous birds and butterflies (Billycock Hill stylee). You also go past the impressively large Hackney Marshes where, as the ‘about Hackney Marshes’ notice board says, up to 100 games of Sunday League football can be seen in one day.
Next time I will have to go a bit further (you can continue past Tottenham Marshes and thenceforth out of London) and take a nature guide and some binoculars (sorry, field glasses) and see what wildlife I can identify. Oh, and some tomato sandwiches and a ginger beer of course!