Day Out

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The Independent Culture
As my weekdays are divided between rehearsing and being clamped to a word processor, the weekends are sacred times. We live in the East End of London, so our first port of call is usually Eagle Pond, a picturesque stretch of water attached to Snaresbrook Court. No eagles but plenty of geese, swans and ducks. Then a walk round any of the markets: Walthamstow Market, huge, rambling and chock full of bargains, Hackney Car Boot Fair, Waterden Rd E15 every Sunday, or even a trip to Islington Antiques Market, Camden Passage N2 (071-359 9969). We ramble and like to imagine we'll discover something we can take to the Antiques Roadshow, find out it's worth half a million and declare that we'd never sell it because it's an heirloom.

Lunch is on the run, unless we've fitted in a shopping trip to Green Street in Forest Gate E7. Every Asian shop you could possibly want is here, plus a vibrant, organised chaos we think of as home. We'll walk along eating a hot and spicy take-away from Mobeen's (081-470 2419) and always bump into someone we know.

If the weather's been awful, we'll take our daughter swimming to Cathall Leisure Centre, where she can splash off some energy, or maybe even Captain Al's Adventure Playground at Fairlop Waters. A tea time walk is usually around Hollow Ponds - boating lakes and more ducks. If we've booked a babysitter, evenings are always spent at the cinema or theatre. Theatre Royal Stratford East (081-534 0310) is around the corner and has the best atmosphere of any theatre in London. Otherwise it's an evening round at friends with other small kids. We watch our offspring tumble around and contemplate Saturday nights as fully-fledged parents.

Meera Syal wrote 'Bhaji on the Beach' and will be appearing in 'Absolutely Fabulous' and 'The Real McCoy' later this year

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