There are just two walks to roundup up after this weekend due to a rather wet Saturday afternoon, a couple of people who evidently left their hotel without waterproofs and a guy who just didn't turn up.
On Saturday morning, the weather was fine though. Laurie and Ben were down in London to see Bruce Springsteen play at Wembley that evening so I can try and kid myself that I was a sort of warm up act for Bruce Springsteen. I get quite a few people who are over in London for a few months or a year working and have that healthy appetite for exploring the city, which people who have been here for longer, or are from England often don't. Anyway ... Ali was one such person, over from the States and brought along Jared, her brother who was visiting.
Here they are standing in front of Dr Johnson's House, the 300 year old townhouse, where the first definitive English dictionary was compiled.
It was the Queen's Official birthday on Saturday, so Trooping the Colour had been taking place that morning down in Westminster and a short while after the above photo was taken, we saw the 'fly past' where by a number of planes ranging from a WWII bomber, helicopters, to fighter jets and the Red Arrows flew across London and over Buckingham Palace. Jared felt it was a little excessive for one persons birthday, but then again, maybe it's a bit excessive to have two birthdays in the first place.
For Sundays east London walk, there was a rather splendid group, which included Elodie over from Germany who was back for the second time, Barbara and Andrew visiting from Scotland and a number of others who had read about my walks in the Guardian article last week about 'pay what you want' tours.
Here they are standing in the middle of Arnold Circus, England's first Council estate, built at the end of the Victorian era.
Veteran walker - Elodie
Most American - Ali & Jared
Most likely to have an in depth knowledge about the price of sugar - Archie
Most likely to respond positively to the question 'Are you a clown?' - Sandra & Elodie
Most Scottish - Barbara & Andrew
Most medical knowledge - Laurie & Ben
I managed to squeeze in four walks last weekend, but (as ever) forgot to take a picture of one of the groups, a lovely bunch of international liver specialists ... as you do. So, on Saturday morning Scott & Bailey, Tania & Chandra (who all stayed for the afternoon walk) were joined by Daniela. Here they are with Dr Johnson's House behind them, where the first definitive English dictionary was compiled in 1755.
We also managed to sneak in to the Inner & Middle Temple area which stretches from Fleet Street down to the Thames as we happened to be standing outside the gate just as someone went in. Very sneaky.
Daniela left us at St Paul's where the walk finishes, and after lunch the rest of us carried on over the Millennium Bridge to Bankside, and as Scott and Bailey had never visited Borough Market before, stopped for a quick look around before continuing back over London Bridge to the Monument. Here they are in Borough, and yes, it did rain quite a bit, so the umbrellas were pretty handy.
On Sunday, Bailey and Scott came back for more (these guys were unstoppable) and were joined by Marcia and Dui from Rio who had been forced to buy coats as they apparently don't need them in Brasil.
Girl with the most boy-like name - Bailey
Best Kevin Spacey impersonation - Scott
Best moustache - No Winners
Most collective knowledge of livers - Sunday afternoons group (no photo I'm afraid)
Most Brazilian - Marcia & Dui
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
Aside from doing my regular 'pay what you want' weekend walks, I also do weekday walks if people enquire and would like me to do a special walk for a group. They don't have to be any of the three I do on Saturdays and Sundays and actually, the walks I've done just recently have all been completely different.
An epic stroll through the City of London - Peter, Liesbeth and Ezra were over for a few days from Holland, and were very kindly put in touch with me via Dutch blogger in London right now who not surprisingly writes about what she would do if she was in London ... right now. I put together a few suggestions for walks based upon various things they wished to see and they chose a walk that began in Covent Garden, moved down the Strand, taking in the 12th Century Temple Church, nipped in and out of the streets around Fleet Street, then after a brief stop off at St Paul's Cathedral cut through the City of London, through Leadenhall Market and down to the Tower of London. Here they are standing by the statue of Hodge, the beloved cat of Samuel Johnson who was responsible for compiling the first definitive English dictionary in 1755. Samuel Johnson compiled the dictionary, not his cat ... as far as I'm aware.
Fire of London walk - Just last week, I was asked to do a walk that followed the path of the Great Fire of London, a catastrophic event that occurred in 1666 and in just four days burnt down a vast swathe of the City of London. We began at the Monument, just a short distance from where the fire began in the bakery belonging to Thomas Farriner (or sometimes Farynor) and walked through the City towards Bank and then up to St Paul's Cathedral, which was engulfed in flames on the third day of the fire. Here you can see the group with the new St Paul's Cathedral in the background, the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren, who was responsible (along with a lot of help) for rebuilding the City after the fire.
A Westminster Wander - On Monday I had the pleasure of taking a school group on a walk around Westminster. We met in Trafalgar Square, then headed down Whitehall past the spot that was used as the entrance to the Ministry of Magic in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix film, saw Banqueting House which was the real location for the execution of King Charles I in 1649, had a few photos taken with Horse Guards on their horses and ordinary guards without their horses, then nipped through St James's park to Buckingham Palace (which is currently hidden behind a recently erected temporary stadium for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations) then past St James's Palace and up to Piccadilly. Here they are outside the Royal Academy of Arts where I left them in time for the next activity on their schedule.
So there you have it. If you'd like me to do a weekday walk at some point, then let me know. The next regular weekend walks are on the 9th & 10th June.
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.