A couple of weekends back, we set of to Stratford to see NoFit State Circus’ Open House show. Betsy hadn’t seen anything like this before, but we knew she’s love it and I was keen to see the Olympic park, having not been there since the Paralympics.
You get through the park by walking through the outside part of Westfield (exit the Tube station and in front of you you’ll see lifts and stairs – go up them. It is signposted, but not amazingly well). There’s a Shake Shack there now! I need to visit that.
Walk past the Aquatics Centre, over the wide bridge crossing the River Lea and you come to the stadium. As you walk towards it, you’ll spot some fountains next to the Orbit, along with the rest of the park visitors. These fountains are brilliant and worth a trip to the park in itself. A long sinuous line formed of little fountains, people can run through and play with them to their hearts content. It’s hugely popular and on a scorching day like the day we visited, it was crowded, but it didn’t seem overly so. Even Arthur found a little spot to play with the water.
Thoroughly soaked, we explored the park and found a spot to picnic. The planting is fantastic, gorgeous colours and lots of trees, although there were very few trees to actually sit under and shelter from the sun.
The playground looks pretty good, but we didn’t use it. Apparently there is an even better playground to the north of the park (which we didn’t explore, it was too hot to do much walking with the little ones).
It was amazing walking around the park again. Perhaps it was the weather, perhaps it was the dance show that had set up in a corner, but there was a real festival feel to the park. It really felt as if it had kept some of that amazing atmosphere the place had during 2012. People were happy and smiling and chatty to each other. Everyone was just having a very nice time in the park. I actually got quite emotional walking around and remembering where a then nine month old Betsy and I walked three years ago. But then, I’m an overly emotional thing anyway, so that’s hardly surprising.
Even Dave, who hates sports with a passion and the thought of being close to a stadium gives him hives (I exaggerate slightly), enjoyed it here.
But the circus. That was why we were here, and boy was it worth the journey! Part show, part workshop, we had performers all around us, encouraging people to join in at parts or letting people just sit back and watch some of the show. The ringmaster (if you call him that) was brilliant with a constant commentary of everything happening, from the giant human pyramid happening in one corner to the majestic trapeze artist in the centre of the mini arena.
Everything was backed with a great soundtrack from a fantastic soundtrack – sort of gypsy, sort of folky. Both children were entranced, and hopefully we’ll get to see something like this again in the near future. I’ve done a tiny video of the event, a moving postcard if you will, to give you a small taster of what we saw.