Since becoming a mum, the offer of a post-work pint in town is something of a rarity to say the least. So in a slightly over-excited fashion, I accepted such an invitation last Friday. My trepidation grew when I realised a) my children would have to accompany me - I had no alternative childcare, and b) it was at Lock 17 in not-so-child-orientated Camden.
Upon arrival, I noted with relief a few alternative/cool/young parents out and about with their under 7s. I even spotted a pushchair on the terrace bar of Lock 17 itself. I felt my confidence rise as we entered without any problem from the bouncers; apparently the No Children Allowed policy kicks in at 8pm. So far so good.
However, my success was short-lived. Bud and Daisy managed just 5 minutes at the table; hellos and admiring comments about their brought-along toys were not enough to integrate us fully into the assembled throng. Understandably, the grown-ups soon drifted back to their contemporaries. Daisy spilled her apple juice within 2 seconds of it reaching the table and it was then, with an exasperated realisation that the post-work-pint-plus-children dream was never going to happen, we went to explore the lock.
And at last we found our place in Camden. We were really in the wrong place - yes, but luckily just at the right time. And it was great.
Camden Lock on a sunny summer's evening
We watched a narrow boat's crew navigate their way through one of the locks. Bud and Daisy were really impressed with the whole process.
We explored the raised walkways and bridges near the lock itself. There, without the usual hustle and bustle of the market, we discovered a quiet Camden; walking past the empty frames of the market stalls, over the spacious cobbled courtyards and passing just a few people eating noodles, sitting outside bars or simply taking the evening air like us.
And as our evening drew to a close, the promise of an ice cream led us to a typical Camden eatery; inSpiral lounge.
I love this photograph of Buddy and Daisy eating their sugar-free, cashew nut, additive-free, vegan treat. They are definitely thinking, 'It is ice cream but not as we know it.' All a bit strange but hey, when in Rome...
So, thank you Camden for throwing us a curve-ball.
We caught it, ran with it and had a lovely time.