Jeepers. So it was a really lovely weekend of walks and met some great people and experienced very different types of weather. Saturday was one of those really nice cold, but crisp autumnal days and in the morning I met Kat and Nancy for the walk from Trafalgar Square to St Paul's.
Here they both are outside the Royal Courts of Justice, which was unusually busy for a Saturday ('cause it was open) due to the London Open House Weekend which happens once a year and if you've never got involved, then you perhaps should next year, because it's great. Lots of buildings all over London, from the flat Jimi Hendrix died in to the Gherkin are open to the public for one weekend only.
We also sampled some tea at Twinings tea shop before winding our way through Fleet Street to finish at St Paul's. I'll also quickly mention that Nancy has her own mobile hairdressing business and zips around London on bike visiting people at home to cut their hair, so if you fancy having your hair coiffeured in the comfort of your own home, then get in touch with her.
Kat is one of a select group of people to do both Saturday walks on one day, so after a spot of lunch, returned for the afternoon walk from St Paul's to Monument, where she was joined by Rachel, Hannah, Claire and also Liron (who had done the east end walk previously) and David, both from Israel.
Rachel is busy, trying to uncover things to do, see, eat and experience in London for Londoners ... and anyone else for that matter, which she compiles in to a radio podcast for Shoreditch Radio and just last week unleashed a brand spanking new website called 'i love London town' ... which you should also check out. Anyway ... we had a wander around Borough and Southwark, before heading back over London Bridge to finish at the Monument.
Sunday was an entirely different weather kind of day and Sabine and Dario, from Germany, braved what began as a steady influx of greyness and rain to become mildly torrential during their exploration of the east end. We popped to the Geffrye Museum en-route, which is a great little place built in 1714 and now is a museum dedicated to the history of how people lived in London from 1600 to the present day.
Because of the Open House weekend, I took the liberty of taking them to the wonderful Hoxton Hall, built in 1863 and one of only two surviving Victorian music halls in London. It was originally called McDonald's Music Hall and strangely was forced to close down after less than ten years due to complaints about the noise.
Keenest double whammy Saturday walker - Kat
Best moustache - No winners
Most likely to be unobtrusively recording - Rachel
Most Israeli - Liron and David
Most German - Dario & Sabine
It was a lovely weekend for walking around London. Having said that, on Saturday morning, I didn't have a walk, so popped to the Household Cavalry Museum instead down at Horse Guards Parade on Whitehall. It just reopened on Saturday after a couple of months hiatus due to having the Olympic Beach Volley Ball on their doorstep.
It's a pretty small museum which tells you about the History of the Horse Guards from when they were first formed by Charles II. I thought the best bit about it, is that the museum is actually inside the old 18th Century stables. They've spilt the stables in half to accommodate the museum, and the guys, girls and horses that you see standing outside still use the other half. The partition wall is clear plastic so you can watch them going about their business. As I happened to be there on the hour when they changed I could watch them saddle up and get ready, and the ones that had been sat outside for an hour return. It felt like I wasn't supposed to be watching.
Anyway, I took this photo as I left of a guard (sans horse) having his photo taken by tourists.
In the afternoon I met Paul, Trish and Linda (who is the first person ever to just magically turn up without booking) near St Paul's. It was the Thames Festival this weekend, so it was pretty chocka around Bankside. There's also a 17th Century 'galleried' Inn down just off Borough High Street, which we usually take a look at on our way back towards London Bridge.
Paul actually grew up in London in the 1950's, so it was really nice to hear his perspective on how the area had changed since he was a boy, and how he remembered it.
Sunday, was the east end walk and included a couple of people who had been on one of my Saturday walks previously. Joantoni actually came on one of my first ever walks back in December last year, whilst Emanuela had come just a couple of weeks ago. Here they are outside Columbia Road Flower market.
Most unexpected walker - Linda
Tallest - Ben
Best Moustache - No winners
Most Spanish group - Sunday (Joantoni & Zara)
Most Italian - Emanuela
Saturday mornings walk got off to a flyer with a reasonably biggish group, who hailed from New York, Ireland, Canada, France, Scotland, England and Tel Aviv via London. Here they are outside Samuel Johnson's house, where the first definitive dictionary was complied, after a nine year slog in 1755.
Although Gough Square where Dr Johnson's house can be found was largely demolished during WWII, the house is now a museum, so why not visit it, if you're in the area.
In the afternoon, I was joined by Rufus and Philip for a walk from St Paul's cathedral to the Monument via Borough Market. Philip, who was visiting from Germany seemed mildly infatuated with Renzo Piano's pointy building, The Shard just south of London Bridge, so it seemed entirely appropriate that I should try and take a photo of them with Europe's tallest building in the background.
I completely forgot to take a photo of Sundays east end group. There were ten of them in all, and on my way to meet them, spotted one of street artist Ben Wilson's tiny paintings, which he paints on to pieces of chewing left discarded and squished on the street. This one is a brilliant depiction of Old Street roundabout, so the first thing we did, was go and check it out.
Youngest - Robyn (12 years old)
Best sunglasses - Nella
Best Moustache - No winners
Most colourful name - Gideon Greenspan
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.