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There is something about a Playbus that gets under your skin and into your heart. Mandy Potter and I both agree with that.

Maggies logoMaggie the Playbus offers play sessions across the town of Ipswich, visiting seven locations inviting parents and their young children to come along and play.

I had been wanting to visit Maggie and see for myself for some time, however I never quite got around to it. With Mandy, her driver, we had at least shared ideas and experiences on social media, as well as our appreciation of a bus. With the ‘Daisy Daydream’ book now out in print Mandy (and Maggie) asked for three of the story books so this seemed like a good opportunity to take a break and deliver the books in person.

It was a warm yet cloudy start as I headed out to find Maggie.Maggie and Mandy

In the laybyThere she was safely parked in a layby opposite a school. The bright yellow bus stood out as a different kind of bus and with her smiling face I just wanted to go along and look inside.

I was not disappointed, I was greeted with enthusiasm and welcomed aboard.

Inside it was cosy and warm and the parents were happily playing alongside their children.

This was a beautiful and effective conversion and the downstairs was light and full of the usual things that the children love. Playdough and sand today, and with space for parents to sit and join in too.Sand pit

The front door had been taken away and here the generator was housed for on board heating and lighting. You entered through the centre door which was also gated for safety. Both the bottom and the top of the stairs had a safety gate which parents and workers could open for the children to ascend or descend the staircase. But as ever the children knew the stairs were steep and knew they had to be careful and they took each step slowly despite their little legs and young age.

upstairs playUpstairs the children were enjoying playing in the roleplay ‘Post Office’ as well as the ‘Fantasy cube’. The usual train track was there too and one little boy picked up the play ‘Henry hoover’ and began to tidy up, I liked that. With books and fancy-dress clothes this reminded me so much of Jay-Jay; Daisy and the playbuses I knew and with a warm shiver I felt at home.Hoovering

It was great to chat and to finally meet with Mandy Potter, it was so special to see this unique and valuable children’s play project being used and valued. The parents and carers all seemed to be having as much fun as the children, which is how it should be, so why not.

MandyI really hope that Maggie and Mandy can keep up their momentum and that they continue not only to have support but also a safe place to rest and be cared for.

When not out on Maggie, Mandy also drives the ‘Routemaster’ wedding buses. Now that is another story and maybe I will have to come back and see these buses too. But I bet they have ordinary seats inside and not a place to play.

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