We emerged from the tube to the frankly run down shopping centre, its own weary elephant staunchly carrying its castle towards a hopeful renewal. We needed to be the far side of the centre but heading through it at least found the quirky “selfie stations” set up in a disused unit, which were great fun to take some pictures in.
Behind the centre is a massive regeneration of housing, an estate which doesn’t seem quite so bad as some modern, bland areas simply because it maintains a diversity of architectural vocabulary (although it’s still, inevitably, mostly balconied flats). In among this development sits a little park, and it was there, once we’d found our way past shopping centre and train station, we found our first Elmer. Forget Me Not endeavoured to be memorable with a bold flower and well executed animals adorning its form.
Further in the little park was a very familiar, traditional sight—an actual simple patchwork Elmer to welcome us. He couldn’t point us to his friends though as we realised we needed to head back out and round the building site to find further elephants.
On the far side of construction Forest Of Stars was tucked in a very windy corner between a new building and a building to be. It’s a pretty Elmer, a subtle design in contrast to some of the bolder options. Just round the corner, down a currently dead end and even windier road (it blew my hat off!) was Kindred Spirit, pink swirl of an Elmer declaring its location across its bottom.
We had to walk down the road a ways for the next Elmer, another declaring it locale. London’s Heart celebrates the park created within the regenerated estates. Heading round the corner and into that estate led us to Elmer Says Hi, a garish collection of faces, presumably saying hi.
It was again quite a stroll down the to Elmer number seven. We briefly called in the Tap-In on the way but it was frankly weird so we quickly left and found Through Artist’s Eyes, a pretty Elmer (though slightly difficult to access in a slightly scrubby bit of grass of to one side). Across the road a little park had the normal play equipment and a bouncy trampoline for Heather to play on. On the far side was the reason we were crossing the playground, We Are One—a purplish affair a little reminiscent of Elmer Says Hi with smiling faces below a colourful cityscape.
There were only two Elmers left now, in theory more or less at either end of the long block of road we now found ourselves on. We headed down the road but despite careful peering somehow missed the first and were soon standing outside Hej Coffee with the playful Showtime!. I liked the little cartoon penguins going about there various fun activities (ice creams! the theatre!). Probably my favourite of these Elmers.
We were not to be defeated though, so looped back around in search of our missing figure, finally finding Jazzy Victor, and completing the trail, just around a corner from where we’d looked earlier. We thought we were done at that point, only to realise we hadn’t officially “collected” Showtime! (each Elmer must have a photo with Heather to be collected); so back it was for one last picture.
The walking round was tiring and we considered stopping at Diogenes The Dog but it looked as poncy as its name suggests so we ended up all the way back at the tube station, and going to London Bridge and the Bridge Tap (at least moderately empty on a day when everywhere appeared packed) for some food, before the second half of the days adventure…