I know we're already half way through July, but I thought I'd just post a little thing about some of the 'private walks' I did in June. Just in case you're wondering, I do my regular 'pay what you want' walks around London most weekends, but during the week I also do private tours for groups, families, couples, birthdays, work outings and that kind of thing. They're pretty much tailor made to each individual group, so I might meet them at their hotel, or at a station or somewhere-else and we explore London, based on what they want to see or their interests and stuff like that.
It would seem that in June, we spent a bit of time hanging around with the Queen's Guard at St James's Palace and Horse Guards. They're quite easy to hang around with as they tend to stand really, really still. The last photo is of Lisa and her family outside Buckingham Palace. Although you can't see any guards, there was actually hundreds of them passing by on horse back, as we stumbled in to the midst of the dress rehearsal for 'Trooping The Colour', the week before The Queen's official birthday. Since the restoration of King Charles II in 1660, these guys and now girls have been responsible for guarding the Royal palaces.
We did do other things aside from taking photos with guards. I did a couple of walks around east London, which inevitably involves a bit of street art. Shyam was over on business from Canada and staying near Liverpool Street so wanted to explore around that area. You can see him next to Richard Rogers Lloyd's building which was finished in 1986 and was said to look like someone had dropped an oil rig in to the City of London. Despite the modern appearance of the building, the company themselves have a colourful 325 year history which can be traced back to a 17th century coffee house ... called Edward Lloyd's. Nazatul and her family are pictured in Trafalgar Square with Nelson's Column behind them.
The photos below show Penny Bond and her crew from Canada in St James's park and John and Susan on London Bridge. Kim and Ciera are standing by some 17th century waterman's steps, which now stand quite far from the Thames, but once was a gateway from the river to a mansion called York House, which belonged to George Villiers, the first Duke of Buckingham, who had the steps built ... hence the nearby Villiers Street. Mehul and Neha from the States are relaxing in one of Westminster Abbey's cloisters.
So, as you can see ... we managed to explore quite a bit of London.
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
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.