It’s not for the faint-hearted. With ten minutes still to go before it opened, the long queue was already snaking through the church car park and I looked on in awe at the pregnant ladies in the line. I seem to remember having no patience at all for prolonged queueing while I was in their position, not least because I need the loo every five minutes. Soon the doors were opened and cheery volunteers were ushering us to the table and rails groaning with toys, books and clothes. One friend who arrived at this point, took one look at the scrum and walked straight out again. Admitedly she is eight months pregnant. But the elbows-out jostle is not for everyone.
However, it was worth persevering. I got lots of In the Night Garden toys (as that is the current addiction in our house) and a few books that look new to put away for Christmas. I was a bit disappointed by the selection of clothes for our Little One’s age group but was cheered up by some as-new wellies from Mothercare for £1. But the real bargain of the day was a second-hand MacClaren pushchair for £24. We’ve been keeping an eye out for one for while now, and although it needed a bit of a clean it even had a rain cover. There was another one next to it which was a bit cleaner but cost £60. That’s the beauty of the NCT sales, everyone prices their own stuff so things can vary which also means you can get some good deals. When I paid, the volunteer cashing up helpfully told me that I could just put the seat in the washing machine on a cold cycle which worked a treat. So free tips as well, double win.
Next time, I must try to organise all the bags of clothes so I can actually sell stuff myself.
Our trip to the Woodford Green Fire Station wasn’t quite as exciting as I’d hoped. Firstly, The Little One had a late nap so we didn’t get there until almost 4pm and by then there was no sign of the helicopter, guide dogs or even much going on. But really, I think he’s actually a bit too young. He usually loves big trucks and vans so I thought he’d love the fire engines. But as they are static they are not quite as exciting and he was a bit little to get inside them and try on the helmets etc. However, all was not lost as there was a little fun fair ride with mini cars that went round which he totally loved and went on twice. There was also a bouncy castle for older children. By the time we were leaving at 4.30pm they had already packed up all the stalls inside so we didn’t get a chance to look at those and I’ve heard a few other people complaining that things were finished well before the advertised time of 5pm. I do think it will be more of a success when the Little One is older so I’d definitely go again and maybe in the morning next time.
The other event we had hoped to go to was the Apple Day at Copped Hall but instead, I stupidly uttered those dreaded words ‘I think we need to go to Ikea’. I then spent most of Sunday wishing I’d just ignored the growing pile of toys like normal instead of buying shelves and toy storage. I joined the chorus of people in the car park muttering ‘never again’. But sadly, like Arnie, I know I’ll be back.