Weekend Roundup - Sun 18th March '12
After cancellations on Saturday, I only have Sunday's east end London walk to roundup, but what a bumper group they were too and from far flung corners of the globe like Beijing, San Francisco, Amsterdam and north London. According to my official figures they comprised of 14 adults, 2 babies, 1 toddler and a dog (Enid in fact who was back for her second walk). They looked very much like this ...
... which on reflection resembles a rather strange wedding photo. From here we nipped down to Columbia Road flower market, and I forgot that trying to extoll the virtues of a bustling flower market would be rather lost on Daphne from Holland, who probably came here to escape a deluge of flowers back home.
Now, the interesting thing about Sunday's group was that it was a real heady mix. Not only did it include Anita, Fang Yang and Daphne from their far flung corners, but also a family whose roots were very much firmly planted in Spitalfields and its Jewish past and knew the area intimately, even if not its more recent trendification. After a tip-off from Chris, we made a minor detour down Grey Eagle Street where Tony, his father-in-law (who you can see on the far right of the above photo) spent four years of his childhood. Unfortunately, I hadn't fully appreciated that Tony had no idea that the street where he spent the most informative years of his life, once lined with terraced housing, now looks like this:
Tony was pretty good about it actually and didn't fall to his knees weeping as I thought he might. He was obviously completely thrilled to discover that a bit further down his childhood street, street artists Invader and Ronzo had left their mark in their respective styles.
Most Baby like - Stella & Mari (joint winners)
Most Toddler like - Sadie
Best Moustache - No winners
Most Dog like - Enid
Furthest travelled - Anita just pips Fang Yang to this award it would seem with 5354 miles.
Thanks to everyone who came yesterday.
weekend Roundup - Sun 11th March '12
Well, it's another demi roundup today, as I have only the east London Sunday walk to report on so will be reasonably brief, but what a glorious springy day it was. After five people dropped out, I was left with the select, but very pleasant group of Eleanor, Florian, Alison, Matt and Patricia.
We did a mildly different route from previous Sundays, and walking down a road I'd never been down before certainly paid off, as we discovered one of French street artist 'Invaders' space Invaders that I'd never actually seen before. You can see it in the photo below, along with Sunday's Chalkers.
This photo was obviously not remotely posed, and Eleanor on the left was not at all embarrassed about being in it. Honest.
Then literally minutes later, we stumbled across a brand new Sweet Toof mural on Ravenscroft Street, that he only painted last week. It's pretty big actually, and his trade mark teeth and gums are surrounding a shop doorway. It would appear to be a scary clown-esque character.
Anyway ... then after a stop at Columbia Road flower market, we passed the new Eine mural on Great Eastern Street. Eine's letters feature quite a lot on Sundays walk, but that's because he's been so prolific around the area. Last week he painted some words for Shelter, the housing and homelessness charity, to highlight a charity art auction they organised called 'Up My Street'. It also included an exhibition at the Coningsby Gallery in central London and 40 artists including the likes of Antony Gormley, the Chapman Brothers and Grayson Perry donated work. Here's a photo of his mural. It reads 'Home Sweet Home Less'.
So ... all that remains is for me to thank Sundays intrepid east end explorers for coming along and of course ....
Most French - Florian
Most English sounding surname for someone not from England - Patricia English
Actually, most English - Eleanor
Best Moustache - No winners
Most diligent note taker - Alison
Most American person called Matt - Matt
Weekend Round up - 3rd & 4th Dec
The current walks are a bit of a work in progress, trying different things, getting feedback from chalkers, trying to figure out what works and what doesn't and so on. Robb who came on the first 'London in a nutshell' walk suggested trying it backwards. Not literally walking backwards, but starting at the end. I had been wondering the same thing myself, so on Saturday morning, the 7 would be chalkers very kindly agreed to meet me near Trafalgar Square instead.
Also, I'm very much under the impression that it's quite a long walk, again feedback that I've been getting. I'm very much of the opinion that walking tours should be fun, (or at least a little bit fun), and if people are getting tired, and hungry then it ceases being so fun. So, on Saturday I suggested trying a different and shorter walk finishing at St. Paul's and see then how everyone was doing.
I personally thought it was a good length and we finished by going up to the roof of the New Change shopping centre which not only gives you stunning views across London, but of St Paul's too. I took the following photo from up there one evening the other week.
Anyway, I really enjoyed it and they were a lovely group. Christina, who came on Saturday wrote a nice review on The Travel Editor website. I might be using the following quote in future marketing campaigns ... "Jonnie is endearingly scatty in his approach, like a fully loaded iPod of history set on shuffle." I think it's a good thing, maybe, unless you don't like scatty iPod shuffley history type things.
Pretty much all of the group then went for a well earned post walk drinkie poops in Ye Olde Watling nearby.
Sunday was an intimate affair, as a couple of people didn't turn up, but Kalpana and Matt valiantly agreed to go it alone. They of course had very little choice, as they'd come down from Birmingham. We had a wander around Shoreditch, Hoxton, Columbia Road (lots of Christmas trees there at the moment) and Spitalfields and after they left, apparently went for a curry on Brick Lane. Kalpana sent me a few photos she took on our travels and has very kindly let me put them up here.
Male Chalker, with the most female name - Joan
Best translator - Joan
Best moustache - Joan
Best sideburns - Joan
So, I'm thinking of having a minor walk re-shuffle in the new year. Nothing drastic, but will hopefully make them better and more enjoyable, so do check back to see what's happening.
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.