Over two and a half years ago, two people ... one called Christina, the other, Dave Shaw ... came on one of my first ever Saturday walks. Last Saturday they returned for their fourth weekend walk with me, joining an incredibly elite group of people who have achieved or perhaps managed to complete such a feat, like a strange test of endurance. The group they have joined is so elite that I think it previously consisted of one, a lady called Denise Rhodes. It was a walk of what I call 'repeat offenders', as Christina's brother Tim and his wife Sarah were back for their second walk, and John from Boston was also returning for the second time, bringing with him this time, his wife Kathy. We also had some first timers in the form of Anne (AKA Petal) and the Guarino family from the States.
You may wonder why I chose to take the photo of the group next to a lamp post, but it is the only surviving gas destructor lamp left in London. I think someone reversed their lorry in to the original one a few years ago, but never-the-less, it is still on 24 hours a day, burning off the sewage (methane) that runs beneath it, which is why the street it can be found on, Carting Lane, is sometimes known as 'Farting Lane'.
Sunday's walk around east London saw a couple more people, Mandi and Owen back for their second walk. They brought with them their friend Barbara and the ensemble was completed by a family from Warrington. Here they are at Columbia Road flower market.
Also, as I didn't do my 'weekend roundup' from the previous week, or indeed, the week before that ... and maybe even the weekend before that. Here they are.
Oldest - Barbara (80 and a half)
Looked most like Jake Gyllenhaal - Marc
Best moustache - No winners
Most tall blond people in one group - Sun 13th July
Private Walks - June 2014
June was my busiest month yet, and was lucky enough to meet people from all over the world and show them around London during the week ... and even some born and bred Londoners. Just to reiterate, as well as the regular 'pay what you want' walks that I do each weekend, I do 'private walks' during the week, whereby I put together itineraries for people based on their interests, what they'd like to see and stuff like that. Most of the walks I did are pictured below, and as you can see, we managed to include quite a bit of London ... one way or another.
So, first up, at the beginning of the month, I was delighted to see Gurudhan and Jennie again, who I met last summer whilst they were visiting from Austin, Texas. They were back in London for a flying visit and brought with them, Jennie's daughter Ella. They're outside Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on Bankside. Courtney and Emily joined me for a walk around Westminster, and you can see them outside the side entrance of Westminster Abbey. Julia & Michael were visiting from Denmark, and brought with them their respective parents / parents-in-law. You can see them in front of the iconic Big Ben which presides over one side of the Houses of Parliament. I met Kent and his crew of Chemistry Professors outside the Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, where they'd spent the afternoon pouring over the journals and diaries of Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton and co. I took their photo outside Buckingham Palace.
I did a walk with Angelise & Caroline around Bankside and Southwark and took the above photo of them outside the George Tavern, just off Borough High Street. Joselito and his family were visiting from the States, and we stopped off at Borough Market for a quick pre-lunch snack. I met Matt & Gin from Australia on the first day of their honeymoon and did a bit of a London Extravaganza all day tour, and bumped in to one of the Queen's Guards along the way. Lastly, you can see Lyn and her daughter outside St James's Palace.
John & Leonie were visiting from Australia, so took the liberty of taking their photo alongside the statue of Arthur Phillip, the first Governor of New South Wales and founder of the settlement which became Sydney. Kevin & Ellen brought a load of their friends over from Texas and as they were all pretty much of a medical persuasion, we ended the walk at the Hunterian Museum. Just before we finished, I took the photo of them in the rather beautiful Lincoln's Inn. Some more guards, this time with Sundar and his family outside St James's Palace, and lastly I did a sort of orientation for a group of American exchange students. We ended up in Trafalgar Square, where I took their photo.
Lorne is the first Canadian Mounty I've ever met, and had a great day showing him and various members of his family around London for the day. You can see them (top left) with St Paul's cathedral in the background. I spent the day with Lynda and Peter from Australia and their friends, and it was them that brought to my attention, the Australian War Memorial on Hyde Park Corner. It commemorates Australians who died fighting alongside the British in both World wars and is made from 200 tons of granite from Western Australia. We also have Debbie and her two kids outside Buckingham Palace and Gisella and her family visiting from Australia, with Nelson's Column behind them.
So ... the last four photos show Kristen and her extended family striding down from Leicester Square, having spent the morning around Westminster. Jeanne and co. stopped for a sandwich in Shoreditch, so that's where I took the photo of them. On the wall behind them, you can see some work by French street artist Thierry Noir. I spent the morning with Carrie and her family and left them just by the Millennium Bridge, as they were going to head over to Bankside for lunch. Lastly we have Jeanine and her family outside Berry Bros & Rudd ... the Queen's wine shop. They were from Texas and just behind them on the wall of Pickering Place which runs down the side of the shop is a plaque stating that the Republic of Texas once had an Embassy there between 1842-45.
So ... there we have it. If you're going to be visiting London in the coming months and would like me to show you around, please feel free to get in touch.
It's been a busy month, or at least June was a busy month and I've been a bit poor at adding my weekend walks roundups, so here are the two I did last weekend and also the weekend before that. All in one post.
Above, you can see the group that joined me on the walk from Trafalgar Square to St Paul's cathedral last Saturday. They're standing next to the only surviving City gate, called Temple bar, although it's not in it's original position. I had spotted one of street artist Ben Wilson's bits of chewing gum art and had drawn it to the group's attention, when Bruce ... one of the group members discovered another one, which is a great depiction of the gate itself. It looks like this.
For Sundays walk around east London, it was such a massive group that I had to climb on a wall to take the photo and make sure I could fit them all in. Although it was a mix of people from India, the States and Spain we also had Gareth who both lives and works in the area. Bruce, Kelly and Kelsey who had done the Saturday one even came back and did another. Dedication indeed.
Here are the groups from the previous weekend. I was delighted to see Supro (from India) back for another walk. He'd been on one last year and brought some friends with him this time. Oh yes, and Sean (from Australia) was back for his second walk too.
Tallest - Brett
Youngest - Tara (think she was 9 months old)
Best raincoat - Valerie
Most beardy group - See above photo
Best moustache - No winners
Bowl Of Chalk
Bowl Of Chalk based shenanigans.