Above Ground on the London Underground—-Day 56: The East End of London [From the Cereal Killer Cafe to the V&A Museum of Childhood]

If it's Friday we must be back in London. Every Friday I take a virtual walking tour ‘above ground’ on the London Underground. Using my Tube guide & my fitbit® device, my goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day roughly following along the Underground route, reporting back here on Fridays with my findings We're currently following the Central Line. Here are the previous days. This is Day 56
I’m starving! Time for brekkie. I don’t know about you, but I don’t start my day, not every day anyway, with what they call the full English breakfast: fried eggs, stewed tomatoes, sausage, toast, beans (beans, ugh) black pudding (blood sausage, yikes! but my dad loved ’em) and, oh I dunno, mushrooms, avocado, etc. My dad would have added fried bread.

Not my breakfast. I’m a cereal woman. Usually Cheerios with a sliced banana. Sometimes porridge. That’s oatmeal to you, Yankee. To be honest, calling my Quaker Oats “porridge’’ is one of my few remaining shout outs to my British heritage. Another is calling what you term a washcloth, a flannel but I digress.

Cereal Killer Cafe

9 out of 10 days, I’m all about my Cheerios, so imagine my delight when I learned the Cereal Killer Cafe is just down the way from where we departed last week’s walk at Petticoat Lane and where I can get my usual bowl. Or because it's the Cereal Killer Cafe maybe I’ll broaden my horizons and get something really cray cray as the kids say: a bowl of Brit Krave hazelnut cereal with bubble gum flavored milk and Reese’s pieces or Rollos chocolate candies on top. With cereals from all over the world, there are hundreds of variations of cereal, milk and topping combos to try. Don’t like cereal? They’ve got poptarts. Who doesn’t like poptarts? You? Okay, how about toast? With marmite and something they call ‘popping candy spread.’

Run by a pair of twin brothers, the cafe is on Brick Lane and the object of controversy. The Keery twins are accused of gentrifying the neighborhood, pushing high end pricey and trendy foodstuff instead of creating anything for use by the local community in which they’ve inserted their colorful little restaurant. Judging from the lines, the 1%ers don’t seem to care.

Close to Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane, the cafe is in a part of the East End of London that’s seeing a lot of spiffing up lately, a center for fashion and the arts, the area is known for producing cutting edge artists such as Banksy, Stik, ROA, D*Face, Ben Eine and Omar Hassan.

Breakfast out of the way and my milk mustached dabbed away, we’ll head over to the Columbia Road Flower Market to stop and smell the roses.

 image via timeout.com

From the Columbia Road Flower Market website: 

We are one of the few streets in the country composed of sixty independent shops. Small art galleries sit next to cup cake shops, vintage clothes stores, English and Italian delis, garden and antique shops. There is also a wealth of great pubs, cafes and restaurants. The shops have a common thread, a love of the flower market and its history, and a refusal to be dictated to by a retail world where the sense of fun has all but gone.’’

image via visitlondon.com

As far as the flower growers go, I couldn’t help noticing that 7 out of the 8 flower growers featured on the site are men. The remaining grower is a married couple. Just saying when you stop to pick up a bouquet, who knows you may pick up something else.

Victoria & Albert Museum of Childhood

 image via V&A Museum of Childhood

Our bellies fed in yummy kid style fashion, let’s feed the kid inside a bit more at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. There are four main galleries in the museum focusing on Childhood, Moving Toys, Creative and the Front Room gallery. Dollhouses, old-fashioned toys, moving objects like k'nex and all kinds of building sets from Legos to Meccanos.  Full of old and new fashioned ways kids can interact with each other and the world, the Museum of Childhood may be about kids, and for kids, but like cereal, grown ups like it too.

image via V&A Museum of Childhood

I think I’ll just stay here and revisit my youth. The museum has over 100 dolls' houses on display throughout the museum, dolls' houses that remind me of the old fashioned doll house my dad made me back in the day. While I’m sure I coveted a Barbie’s doll house complete with swimming pool and a convertible in the garage, that doll house my dad made and mother decorated when I was 8 or 9 years old, is what I remember. My father wasn’t the handy type—he didn’t have a garage with a workbench and tools, and I don’t recall him hammering anything but the occasional nail to hang a picture—but somehow he built a two story dollhouse about 3 feet high, down in our basement, taking me completely by surprise on my birthday. The acrid smell of the glue they used to stick the carpet down on the floor and wallpaper to the walls—they’d gotten hold of books of carpet and wall paper samples, probably from a vendor my dad worked with at the store he managed—is a scent that sticks in my nose to this day when I think of doll houses.

Let me get in there and have a look see at what else they’ve got. There are art sessions where I can build a puppet (although it’s probably an activity reserved for the kiddies) there are storytimes where kids can help tell stories using props and exploring sessions where children are given short talks about a display and then given a chance to handle it themselves.  Beyond that I’m not sure how interactive the place is, lots and lots on display but it doesn’t look like there’s that many things a kid can actually play with.

Correct me if I’m wrong, please.

Still, admission is free but I’d happily part with a fiver for the trip back to my childhood.

Sidenote: It looks like the museum does a pretty decent job for kids with special needs, from autism to the visually impaired 

‘‘Making SENse Family Packs
Making SENse packs are designed to make the Museum more accessible for families with additional needs, and are available to borrow from the Information Desk for one hour. Packs are available for families with children on the autistic spectrum, with toys to touch, sound mufflers, PECs symbols, a photo booklet and colouring in sheets. There are also packs for families with a visually impaired child, containing large print, Braille translation, raised images, a Penfriend audio guide and toys to touch.’’

Cereal Killer Cafe
139 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB
 +44 20 3601 9100

Columbia Road Flower Market
Columbia Rd, London E2 7RG,

V&A Museum of Childhood
Cambridge Heath Rd, London E2 9PA, UK

Counting the Fitbit steps

Day 1-55:                                                        382,590 steps/167.75 miles

Day 56: Liverpool Station            .               7000 steps/3.5miles

Total Imaginary Miles to Date                 389,590 steps/171.25

 Connect to Joy Weese Moll's British Isles Friday meme

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