Friday, 24 October 2014

WONDERFUL Gunpowder Gertie, The Waiting Room, Colchester

Trying to find things to do with a small child in a place where you are not familiar and don't have many/any friends is hard. The few people I did know when we first moved here were at work during the day so not around to mop up my tears of despair and answer my reoccurring question of "Have we done the right thing? Have we done the right thing? Have we done the right thing? etc etc etc". I'm pleased to say now though that things have definitely improved after being in Colchester for almost 2 years. But last year was the loneliest year of my life. I don't know what I was expecting but it was harder than I could have imagined. I was so desperate for friends I went on 3 Park 'dates' with a woman who stopped me in the street simply because I had a buggy and she had a buggy (therefore we must have a few things in common right?). However, it was on the 3rd 'date' I realised I had never actually seen what was in her buggy as the contents was always covered in a muslin. Just because there is a buggy, doesn't mean there is necessarily a baby in it. Our friendship deteriorated/ended soon after. (My boyfriend and I also used to bid farewell to any workmen that came to work on our house with a "See you again, if ever you want to go for a beer, please let us know. Please....? Hello...?...").

Luckily the situation has improved. Like most traumas you will experience in life, it just takes time to get through them. I have also come out of my shell a bit now, you just have to put yourself out there, make an effort and embrace your new surroundings. Now we have some really good friends here and also now my son is no longer a baby but a walking, talking little person, life is so much easier. What has also made life a bit easier in terms of meeting people and having things to do on our doorstep, is The Waiting Room. I have mentioned this place before but it really is great. Not only for the creative events they organise and the awesome pop up food nights they host, they now have a weekly baby/small child event! Hurray!

'Gunpowder Gertie' (made up name) is WONDERFUL. So great she really does deserve capital letters. She runs her session every Thursday (although not next week as its half term) from 11am for about 90 minutes. It costs £5 per adult/child combo which includes a hot drink for the adults and a water/juice and snacks for the little ones. The amount of effort 'Gertie' puts into these sessions is second to none (and I have been to quite a few other 'kiddie events' both here and in back in East London so I do have something to compare it to). I have never witnessed such enthusiasm in a  person, ever. Each session has a different theme, previous weeks there have been insects, dinosaurs, the Circus. The session starts with some gentle exercises that my son has yet to participate in, then there is music, stories, toys to play with, musical instruments, dressing up clothes, colouring in stuff, everything a small child could want. If this event was in Hackney, there would be a queue out the door for sure. I know of certain weekly kiddie events in East London that were so swamped you would often make the effort to go and then not get in. So disappointing/annoying when it can sometimes take so much effort just to get out of the front door with a small person.

The atmosphere is also WONDERFUL. 'Gertie' has such a warm, welcoming manner that it's impossible for everyone (adults included) not to have a great time. She would be your favorite teacher at Primary School if she was your teacher at Primary School.  I can not say enough good things about this particular event, and no I'm not on commission, just trying to spread the word of some of the great things going on round here. And this has become my new favorite great thing going on round here.

I would love to have posted some photos of her session but sadly the times we live in make it a bit dodgy to take photos of children's events so unfortunately this short post doesn't do it justice. However, any local parents/guardians looking to find a fun / educational / relaxed activity to take a small kiddie to on a Thursday morning must come to this. It's WONDERFUL.

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