Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Islington: Surestart, the adventure playground... and the robot horse

Two places to dance in Islington, on a sunny Saturday (10 June).

We started at Mildmay Surestart's Summer Fair, on Newington Green. The show coincided with England's opening match against Paraguay, but despite this we had an audience.

Given the football, and the fact that Surestart is the Government's programme to support young families, the crowd was about 95 percent female.

A very hot day, so we had two short performances, and lots of tea in between. There was fine curried goat, available from a woman who remembered us from a previous Canal Festival - her son was the four-year-old who was determined to join in outside the pub in 2004, remember him?

At the opportune moment, Jeremy announced "I've got another place to dance at, it's just round the corner," and managed to whip up a small amount of enthusiasm. Well quite small in fact. He cycled off with one other man - me.

I was glad I went. It was a fundraiser for the Hayward Adventure Playground, which caters for children with disabilities. When we arrived, they were being entertained by a man juggling with a chainsaw ("don't try this one at home"), and a band was warming up in the background. There was more tea, and very nice banana cake.

Pretty soon there was a suitable spot for a solo jig, and then some hanky-waving action with all the children chasing round.

And then the mechanical horse arrived. The children shrieked, but Jeremy seemed to get on quite well with it. My day was complete.

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