Sunday, 1 June 2014


At last, blogolites, I've made it through the grim undergraduate exam period. It's all money, but to be honest it's been a bit of a killer! Still, it's out of the way now, so here goes to catch up with the doings of Charno.

Of course, I suppose the biggest thing to have happened since my last offering is that I am now fifty: as of 24 April 2014. In the morning I met up with my crony Viv Schrager-Powell to work on our second business City tour, which looks at trade. I then gave old chum Herb Danner a go of my 'Tidemarks from the Pool' tour, as it impinges on his territory. Sadly Mrs Herb couldn't make it. We finished at the White Hart brew pub at Mile End Gate where some of the more discerning types arrived (Wes, Brad, Dan and Nick) and came back to the old doss house to sample two single malts, both distilled in 1964. Matt Tilbury turned up later to give his professional opinion.

Walkie Talkie, the adult education course giving an introduction to guiding in Tower Hamlets, has concluded its five-week run from 23 April to 21 May inclusive.

There were eighteen students at the first session. Not all stayed the course: fourteen passed by satisfying the 60% attendance rate. Sadly the last session, 21 May, was the night before the elections, so a number of people had to miss it because of dealing with postal votes. Still, there was a great deal of enthusiasm for the course and for the subject matter, and for the five Saturday morning walks devised as a complementary programme by some of last autumn's veterans: Judy Stephenson, Julian Walker, Andrew Parnell, Mary Best and I covered Limehouse (and its environs), Bow and Bromley, Poplar, Mile End Whitechapel and Aldgate, and St Katharine's, St George's and the Liberties of the Tower.

As there's no funding to run the second five-week course this summer, and there are people too keen to progress to wait for October, we've decided to devise a workshop - or walkshop - group to work on projects. More details will be forthcoming ...

I'm still working on building up my own guiding business.

I have two bookings for the engineering in the City tour 'Venture Capital' coming up, one with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and one with Imperial College. I'm managing, by and large, to keep up a regular schedule of Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon tours, but though I seem to be generating interest in the stuff, this isn't really translating into numbers on the day. I had one person today for the 'A Helping Hand' tour. Still, it takes time to get this sort of thing bedded in and established.

 Thanks to Viv, I back-marked her on her 'In the Shadow of the Shard' tour for Walk London weekend, which was good fun. The only thing was that I got lost at London Bridge station. This wouldn't have mattered, but I got talking to a woman on the tube and her two friends. They were heading for our tour. Strangely enough they joined the other group that was doing the same tour.

I've managed to get a little further forward with the second collection of stories, but now that the exam hall stuff is (mainly) out of the way, there should be a bit more time to fit in writing so that I can get the second lot out. Possibly then I can get back to revising the novel about John Tawell:

He'll be featuring on my next City walk, on law and order. Again, more details later.

One thing about getting my days back is that the cats can get their routine re-established. Obviously I was leaving food and water out for them during the day, but leaving them for eleven hours every day seemed to be interfering with them. They couldn't go out while I was out in case anything happened to them, so they were gagging to get out in the evening.

A bonus from the impending cash injection from working at UCL is that I'll be able to get to the theatre more. Thankfully had a flash sale recently for the Jeeves and Wooster adaptation 'Perfect Nonsense' at the Duke of York's, and I managed to get tix for £19.50 for myself and my two close personals Kath 'Sweetcheeks' Pykett and Denise Kent.

During the exam period, I could do a bit of reading for pleasure on the tube, so I took 'Blandings Castle' with me:

I also took the opportunity to try some Nick Hornby:

I'm still not sure whether I liked it ...

Anyway, that'll do for now. I'm not sure what I've missed, but I'm starting to drift off now, so I'm going to leave the ironing for the morning and get my head down.



Dave Charnowalks

Monday, 21 April 2014

Howdy Blogolites,

I hope you all had a superlative Easter. I did some red hot things like ironing, a bit of tidying, Zzzzz. Plus I've been putting together my materials for the wonder-course Walkie Talkie which starts this coming Wednesday, i.e. in two days' time!

Queen Adelaide's Dispensary, Pollard Row -
relevant to Session One

It promises to be an interesting course, if I do say so myself. Big thanks to those who took a punt on it last October-November; the experience has helped mould this repeat run. Sixteen people have signed up: a full house. The five-walk supplementary programme of tours has come together nicely, and I'll be doing mine on 3 May:

Where the tour kicks off

Courtesy of my old schoolfriend Brad Baxter, Viv Schrager-Powell and I have a booking for our organised finance tour on 10 May:

The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street

and I'm 'back-marking' her on a Southwark tour the following weekend.

I've done some odds and ends with the stories: it's the psycho story that's causing me a little difficulty, because I need to make the opening work, but I think I've got the answer now!

Otherwise it's been a head-down week, without much out-and-about. Some of the usual domestic stuff, but that's not my story, so no details!

We're getting close to May, which is when I get my teeth into the UCL exam halls, particularly the Garden Room, which is one of the venues where special needs candidates are accommodated. This means that for the whole of May I will be thinking only of invigilating/supervising, and of course the Walkie Talkie course, but not much else. Mind you, this gives me a perfect excuse to read some stuff for enjoyment's sake, particularly the last Jasper Fforde.

Anyway, time's winged chariot is doing its thing, so I'd better shift. Toodly-bye!

Mind how you go.


Dave Charnowalks

Monday, 14 April 2014

Howdy bloggarians,

So, what has happened since last we conversed? Well, the practice tours for the Walkie Talkie course are coming along well: we'll be offering the students an interesting and varied introduction to Tower Hamlets and its story. This week, Judy Stephenson previewed her tour 'Why Limehouse?', during which we managed to pop in to St Dunstan's Stepney for a poke around. Given its age, it's a remarkable survival.

Spandrel above the western entrance
showing St Dunstan's tongs and the devil

A gallimaufry of interesting sites, and sights. Judy will be beginning our programme of walks on 26 April, having kindly swapped dates with me to allow me to hit fifty without undue strain.

Yes indeed: I'm shortly to hit my half century. To prove how old I'm getting, I went along with Danny Warren and Richard Wood to join my nephew Wes, the real Pub Landlord, for his celebratory birthday booze-up around Islington, then to Kentish Town (I know, I know, but there was a reason - the Southampton Arms:

Lots and lots of lovely beer
at the Southampton Arms

Dan and I had to call it a day when the group moved on to the Camden brewery. As I say: just to show how old I'm getting ...

On 8 April, m'colleague Viv Schrager-Powell organised a trip for us to St Peter Cornhill. The church isn't open usually, so this was a prime opportunity.

The screen in St Peter's, created supposedly by
Christopher Wren's daughter

On Friday 11th I went with Kath Pykett and Denise Kent to see Handbagged at the Vaudeville: an excellent comedy, nicely structured, and of course it was all our yesterdays.

Two Queens and two Mrs Ts

Well, that'll do for the moment. Not exactly a thrill a minute, but that's life when you're self-employed. Once things get firmly off the ground, things will get more exciting!

Anyway, I'm off now to get in some serious preparation for 'Walkie Talkie', which starts on 23 April.

Mind how you go.


Dave Charnowalks

Monday, 7 April 2014

Hello Blogophiles,

Dad's getting his hearing aids sorted out at last: the woman came round last Thursday, and she's booking him an appointment with the audiologist, because increasing the amplification doesn't seem to be the answer. Ho hum.

The Decent Homes people came round on Tuesday to inspect the flat: we're getting new kitchens, toilets and bathrooms. The downside is that, because of fire regulations, I'm going to lose my serving hatch. The kitchen will feel very closed in with that gone - I can see out into the back garden through it, and it makes a small kitchen airier.

The Walkie Talkie programme of supplementary tours is developing well. This time it was Andrew Parnell's look at urban renewal in Poplar, a fascinating tour looking at the way architecture has sought not only to accommodate (literally) the local community, but also to control and maintain a good living environment. He also showed us how styles and attitudes have behaved over the decades of the last century.

The Lansbury Estate

Its amazing how much this project has uncovered so far about the borough: and there are people who say there's nothing to see in Tower Hamlets!

I'm working with m'colleague Viv Schrager-Powell to develop our suite of tours examining the development of business in the City. We're working the second tour now, how trade placed the City in the global context.

The Custom House of 1715 - Pool of London

The Law and Order tour is still on the stocks, as is the London and the World tour - just working on that at the moment, looking at the career of Meinhardt Schomberg, whose late C17 house is on Pall Mall.

The man himself - what a dude

On Friday I took two discerning people - Nichola Oxley and Steve Motley - on my judicial punishment tour. Some gruesome stuff there, including just how bad the pillory can be. If you're only used to seeing them at fetes, where an upstanding member of the community is pelted with wet sponges, you ought to hear the story of John Waller's fate when he was pilloried in Seven Dials.

John Waller: shortly before he was pulled out
and beaten to death in a revenge attack

Steve and Nichola were also good enough to secure themselves a copy of 'Death and the City', such delightful bedtime reading.

As usual, I don't have much else to report, except that I've been working more on the stories, so that the second collection is a little closer. Oh yes, I managed to submit a proposal for a paper on Peter Ackroyd and the perpetual London for the Literary London Society's summer conference. Thankfully I've been able to give a paper for the last three conferences, so we'll see what they say about this one.

Ah well, I'd better make a drop of tea and head for bed. More in the next fun-packed edition.

Mind how you go.


Dave Charnowalks

Monday, 31 March 2014

Hello Blogworld,

Things are ticking over here. I managed to get tix for Moira Buffini's new play 'Handbagged' at the Vaudeville, and am going with two dear ladies I'm privileged to call friends, Kath Pykett and Denise Kent.

Sadly though, I didn't manage to get tix to see Kate Bush, the woman I've loved since I was thirteen.

Maybe she won't leave it another thirty years until her next live appearances.

Thankfully I've managed to get my proposal in on time for a paper at the Literary London Society's annual conference in Bloomsbury this summer. It was good to focus on something academic, even if for a little while. My mind has been fixed so firmly on tours and guiding that it's good to be able to do something else. I will make time definitely this week to concentrate on getting my second collection of stories up to scratch and ready to (self-)publish. The paper is on Peter Ackroyd's presentation of London as a perpetual City, transcending time. That old thing.

Preparations for the Walkie Talkie adult education course are coming along well. Julian Walker, who has an ideal surname for a tour guide, gave us the test run of his tour in Bromley and Bow, and he's got together a fascinating collection of sites, from past and present. I enjoyed it hugely. He finished it at Bow bus garage: the sun was shining, and as I said to him, a bus garage in the sunshine always makes me think of days out into the country and down to the seaside, so it ended on the highest note.

Gandhi at Kingsley Hall in 1931 -
one of the stops on Julian's tour

Viv Schrager-Powell and I met up on Monday to chat about resuming work on our suite of tours examining the business City. So far we've got a tour looking at organised finance. now we're working on trade. Viv did the St Paul's guiding course, which meant we suspended work for a while, but now it's getting back into the swing. After our chat, I rushed home to get a couple of things done before rushing back to visit Haberdashers' Hall with Viv and some of the current students on the City course, and a couple of qualified guides, including the redoubtable David Thompson, whose architecture tours and lectures I found so helpful on the course last year.

The original grant of arms for the Haberdashers -
featuring their original arms

St Katharine is there with her wheel - the Haberdashers met originally in a chapel dedicated to her in St Paul's.

Well, I've got the Decent Homes inspection tomorrow - we're having new bathrooms and kitchens - so I need to get the flat straightened out, so I'd better sign off now.

Mind how you go.


Dave Charnowalks

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Hello Blogpeeps,

A funny old week: putting together information for a new tour most of the time, and a week without either Italian or Spanish students! Still, I went with my old schoolchum Brad Baxter on Thursday to the Rose to see the rarely-performed Christopher Marlowe bloodbath, 'The Massacre at Paris'.

They used red confetti for blood, picking up on the marriage scene that begins the play, and just as well, because there's a lot of blood flows in that show. This meant that the stage got progressively covered with red, which emphasised the gruesome business going on. Very effective.

Yesterday saw the first preview of the walks we're devising as a supplementary programme of tours for the Walkie Talkie course which begins next month, on St George's Day. This weekend it was my turn, with my tour of the Liberties of the Tower looking at the remnants of visual heritage testifying to the area's links to maritime trade.

The former Court House of the Liberties
of the Tower

This afternoon I had another outing of my 'The Dark Side of Bethnal Green' tour, looking at chapters of Bethnal Green's criminal history in their historical and legal context: stories from the C18, C19 and C20.

Sadly, life is still centred around tours, and currently I'm working on my Law and Order in the City tour, which I have named provisionally 'Law and Order EC'. We shall see! I need to make some time however to carry on working on the stories for my second collection, as well as putting together a proposal for a paper for the Literary London conference this summer.

Well, I need to get my ironing done and get an early(ish) night, so I'm going to sign off now. I hope to be able to bring more exciting posts soon!

Mind how you go.


Dave Charnowalks

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Hello Blogophiles,

This has to be a record delay - it's now Wednesday, and I haven't done the weekend's blog yet, so I thought while it's still in my head I'd get something down on virtual paper.

Looking at the work diary I'm obliged to keep for the New Enterprise Allowance, to show that I'm not spending my days watching Loose Women and eating hob nobs, I see that last week saw me twice on the streets: Monday taking Spanish students around Westminster on the overseas student version of 'Of Commonwealths and Kings', and Tuesday taking Italians round on what, for convenience, I'm calling 'Squares and Palaces': from Covent Garden through Leicester and Trafalgar Squares and then along Pall Mall to St James's Palace, then Buck House and back through St James's Park to the heart of Westminster. As usual, the squirrels in the park are the main attraction, but the students react sympathetically to the story of poor Giro, the German ambassador's dog who was electrocuted when he bit through a live wire.

Giro - ein treuer Begleiter

I'm trying to find out who's responsible for cleaning the window in front of his stone: the German embassy say it's not them, so I'm trying Westminster City Council. The window's filthy, so you need a picture to show what it looks like.

I'm putting together my next tour, which will be one about law and order in the City. I've been reading up about Kitty Byron and the Lombard Street Post Office stabbing. I'm also putting together material for the walk based on trade and the City which will be the second of the series Viv Schrager-Powell and I are creating about Business and the City. Thinking of a linking theme for the tours' titles, I thought body parts might be an idea - the financial heart of the City, the sinews of trade, the commercial backbone, etc. We shall see.

Sadly, my life at the moment tends to revolve around business - such is the lot of the self-employed sole trader. Consequently I don't have much personal stuff to report for last week. I need to focus more on housework. I have someone coming round in April to inspect things in preparation for the Decent Homes work, where we have new bathrooms and kitchens. The bathroom certainly is a priority: I couldn't get the ceiling done for ages because of water penetration from the flat upstairs, and it's in a terrible state.

One positive note about last week is that I got Series 8 of the Navy Lark on CD: the previous week I'd been playing loads of episodes from Series 1-7 to get myself into an appropriately salty frame of mind for the preview of my maritime trade tour.

Anyway, that'll do for now: I'm going to brew up and get back to my tour preparations.

Cast off for'ard, cast off aft!


Dave Charnowalks

Monday, 10 March 2014

Hello Blogonauts,

Rather a week last week, hence the delayed posting. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible! Much of the week was taken up with creating the new tour, 'Tidemarks from the Pool', which looks at remnants of the heritage of marine trade in the area east of the Tower, the Liberties of the Tower. Very interesting material, but it needed so much work to get to grips with all the history involved, plus the area is south of the Mile End Road, which is largely terra incognita for me, being Bethnal Green born and bred. It needed also a number of episodes of 'The Navy Lark' to get me fully in a properly salt-caked, tar-coated, rum-sodden frame of mind.

Of course, part of the tour deals with the loss of the Scandinavian quarter of Wellclose and Princes Squares. Not only were buildings destroyed needlessly in the 1960s that were of architectural merit, many were of interest for other reasons, like the Court House of the Liberties of the Tower, which was part of the 1680s phase of building and stood on the south side of the Square.

The Court House, Wellclose Square

The remarkable Wilton's Music Hall is also on the tour: a vague hint of which can be got from Tommy Trinder's 1944 film 'Champagne Charlie'. Thankfully Wilton's was spared in the 1960s, thanks to Betjeman and the London Music Hall Trust.

Tommy Trinder in 'Champagne Charlie'

I've done a little work also on the Law and Order tour in the City, which will probably be the next cab off the rank. Indeed, it was after doing some work on Thursday in the British Library on Kitty Byron that I met with fellow Old Parmiterian Brad Baxter, and we popped into the Queen's Head, Acton Street:
followed by a stroll through southern Pentonville and into Clerkenwell for a long-overdue visit to the Jerusalem and the Sir John Oldcastle. Some highly interesting housing en route, houses and blocks of flats. London just keeps unfolding ...

A beery time because on Saturday, after a morning preview of the maritime trade tour, we took the underground Overground line from Shadwell to Whitechapel and had a few pints of the excellent 'Lost at Sea', brewed on the premises at the White Hart, Mile End Gate.

Sunday afternoon saw another outing for the 'Behind the Magic Curtain' tour of Theatreland. Lovely sunny weather, making me regret my wearing a coat. As a theatre addict myself, I enjoy doing this tour hugely, mainly because it visits actual theatres, so you can see places that have contributed to the development of performance in this country and continue to do so.

Brian Rix (L), the man behind the Whitehall Farces,
with Ronald Shiner

I took out some Spanish students today around Westminster - where did all the sunshine go?

Anyway, this is more than overdue, so I'll go now and get me some victuals.




Sunday, 2 March 2014

Dear Blogpeeps,

There was me, just about to close down and head for bed, and I remembered that I hadn't done this week's blog entry. Got to keep on top of things. Particularly since I've managed to make it through the ordeal of a Dry February! I'm currently preoccupied with maritime trade, working on the prep for my new tour eastwards and inland from Tower Bridge and the Pool of London.

The former Courthouse of the Liberties of the Tower
Wellclose Square

The preview run of this walk means I won't be offering a walk next Saturday morning, but will be offering one on Sunday afternoon: 'Behind the Magic Curtain', my Theatreland tour.

Joseph Grimaldi as Joey

Last week saw a second go at my new walk for Italian students from Covent Garden to Westminster via Buckingham Palace, where as usual the stars were the squirrels and birds in St James's Park! Not to mention the red telephone boxes ... Still, I shall be developing it into another tour for 'regular' clients in due course. Here's a clue to what it'll be:

Wyld's Great Globe

Not much else of interest to report, except that I got a freebie to see Emil and the Detectives at the National on Thursday, which was very well done. It was an early start - curtain up at 6:00 and it finished 7:50. It meant I missed the launch meeting for the new book group at the library, but hopefully there was enough interest, and it'll be meeting regularly, so I can catch up.

Also my good friend Anna Tomlinson has been making me jealous by posting FB pix of Cologne: or Köln, as it should be.

It's nearly midnight now, so I must get my head down.

Look after yourselves, and I'll be back next week.


Dave Charnowalks

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Hello Blogpeeps,

Another round up from my full and eventful life. Much of my week has been spent working on a new walk in the liberties of the Tower, which will visit tidemarks left behind by the area's history of maritime trade. It's not a docks walk - if you want one of them, my good friends Nika Garrett and Rob Smith can oblige:

My one is more inland, and takes in one of the grossest acts of architectural vandalism committed in the name of post-war city planning:

Five of us are working on a walk each which together will form a supplementary programme of walks for the adult education course 'Walkie Talkie' when it comes around again in April ( This will be my one.

Anyway, yesterday morning I gave my 'Before the Make-Over' tour for a very enthusiastic audience of five (did the wine gums help, I wonder?). It tunes in to echoes of Plantagenet and Tudor London which persist despite the destruction of the Great Fire of 1666. I get the feeling though that it would make a pair of better walks if cut in half and worked the halves. We shall see.

We started at Blackfriars, where Paul Talling was also starting his River Fleet walk:
He does excellent tours, ferreting out so many obscure and unnoticed items and places.

The Black Friar - quite a pub

On Thursday evening I was allowed to contribute to Red Army Fiction's first gig back at the Gallery Café this year: It's a writers' forum created by the lovely and lovable Alison Eley and Raven Garcia, whose imaginations are possibly even more fertile than mine. I read out most of the opening section of 'Jack', a story from my (hopefully) soon to be ready second collection of stories. Jim Minton, who read a beautifully descriptive item of his own, was good enough to lay out ten smackers for a copy of my first collection, 'Death and the City':

Anyway, I think I'd better get on and do something more useful, like tackling that stack of ironing. So, thanks for tuning in. More drivel will be forthcoming next Sunday.

Mind how you go.


Dave Charnowalks

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Hello blogfollowers,

The final meeting of the Walkie Talkie group took place on Wednesday, so that we could debrief and finalise our project, to provide five East End walks which will constitute a supplementary programme to offer the students on the second outing of Walkie Talkie: With walks in Limehouse, Poplar and Bow, from Aldgate to Mile End Gate and between St Katherine's and St George's, it's looking good. We also shared our ideas about our next guiding project. More details about that later, when the ideas and responses have been collated.

On Tuesday afternoon I did another outing of my 'Of Commonwealths and Kings' walk for the UKEDA. I was expecting Italian students, but this time it was a group of Spanish students. Thankfully, all but two were reasonably competent in English, and of course a teacher was with them, a charming lady called Christina. I've had to create a revised version of the walk now, as I have to meet some groups at Covent Garden, which means I've got to do Covent Garden, Leicester Square and Trafalgar Square before taking the students down to Buckingham Palace. This will be via St James's Palace, and the grave of Giro the dog, who belonged to the German ambassador Leopold von Hoesch:

Giro's grave, Waterloo Place

Poor Giro was electrocuted in 1934 when he bit through a live cable while Speer's refurb of the inside of the embassy was going on. Sadly the window in the protective housing is filthy, so it's not as visible as it could be. You can't get to the grave, so I'll try getting some fizzy water and seeing whether I can spray it clean.

A good time on Thursday evening: I went with Kath 'Sweetcheeks' Pykett to see 'The Duck House' at the Vaudeville Theatre. Based on the recent expenses scandal, it was hugely funny. Of course, an evening out with such company as Ms P is enjoyable enough in itself, but this made it all the better.

An outing yesterday morning for 'A Helping Hand', my walk in the City looking at the various enterprises connected with the City which brought help to others. Ann Flowers and Jenny Almeida came along with me, which was excellent. Most of these enterprises were started by individuals, many without money or influence but who exploited resources around them for the good of others. The walk takes in Postman's Park, the memorial to heroic self-sacrifice by all sorts of people who died saving, or trying to save, others from life-threatening situations. A couple of them were Bethnal Green people: Elizabeth Boxall is commemorated, as are Alice Maud Denman and Arthur Regelous:

Though the weather has been horrible, it was kind to us on Saturday, even if there were a couple of showers. Today it looks quite fine for this afternoon's outing of 'To Make the Punishment Fit the Crime'.

Anyway, I've got to get ready to head out to St Paul's for my merry stroll reflecting on the death penalty and judicial punishment as a whole, so I'll sign off this week's blog: anything I've missed I can add next time.

Mind how you go.


Dave Charnowalks

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Howdy blogreaders,

Another late blog: life doesn't always respect timetables.

Yesterday morning's outing for 'Venture Capital' was a wash-out because of the weather. The thing was that it was really fine weather until about 10:20 when the rain began lashing down. I was leafleting at Tower Hill station - alone, up against three leaflet-givers from the Tower Bridge exhibition! We were driven into the station by the rain, but I did manage to get over forty leaflets taken.

This afternoon I got lots of leaflets handed out outside the Clerk's House, next to Shoreditch Church, and a charming couple called Iliona and Graham came along to sample 'The Dark Side of the Green', hearing stories about the likes of Arthur Harding and the London Burkers:

Bishop, Williams and May at Bow Street

Yesterday and Friday have been taken up with work on existing stories, since I've decided I've left it long enough before getting the next volume of stories published. I've reworked 'Jack', 'Commitment to the Community', 'Zuleika Day' and 'In Bobby's Room', and am now giving the treatment to 'Disturbing the Garden'. I know those titles don't mean anything to you now, but they will.

Otherwise I'm working on various odds and ends, walk-wise. I'm not yet taking up the law and order in the City walk; instead I'm concentrating on the Wellclose Square area as part of the Tower Hamlets project, and will be marshalling material for the trade walk Viv Schrager-Powell and I have had on the stocks for some months now while other things have gotten in the way.

Interesting meetings this week were a meet with David Graham down at Wilton's Music Hall last Tuesday, talking walks and outreach and similar things; then William Palin of the East End Preservation Society came along to our Tower Hamlets group last Wednesday and had a chat with us. Connections, liaison and co-ordination are so important.

Work, work, work: is there no end of work? Well, Kat Pykett was kind enough to take me along to hear Mark Steel at the Leicester Square Theatre the other day, which was a fab evening out, and as we were nibbling our pre-theatre sandwiches in the Trafalgar Square Pret, in walked Martin Shaw.

I'm afraid that I've become quite the home-body recently, so apologies for the strictly non-racy nature of my posts to date. They will open up more in due course when things get more even. I don't even have more cat pix to post this week! So, I'll go now, and resume next weekend. Who knows what the intervening week will bring about?


Dave Charnowalks

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Afternoon Blogpeeps,

Rather late this week - sorry about that.

Today, I've been concocting my February schedule of tours and, as I must have been sleeping awkwardly, I've got rather a stiff neck and right shoulder, so typing has been literally a pain in the neck. I did slap on some Deep Heat, but it hasn't really helped much, so I'll have to resort to Voltarol.

Having posted pix of Bogart and Oscar, I tried to take one of Nicholas the other day while working, but he's not as sedate as the other two (which is why he's less of a tub), so I managed to get only unsatisfactory photos, but here's one, taken using webcam technology:

Last Friday (31 Jan), I previewed my new walk, 'The Dark Side of the Green', with an enthusiastic audience despite the cold and the rain. The tour looks at stories from the criminal history of Bethnal Green: the twentieth-century (mainly, but not exclusively, gangland stuff), but also eighteenth and nineteenth century stuff. I need now to work on the City law and order walk.

One sad story from last Friday's tour was that of Frances Shea: she married into the Kray family only to find out too late what that meant. She tried to find her way out but couldn't, even in death.

Frances and Reggie Kray on honeymoon in Athens

We finished in Paradise Gardens - if ever somewhere failed to live up to its name ...

I'm now officially on the New Enterprise Allowance, which means I have to come up with a projection of what my income will be over the next quarter. Hmm.

The schedule of tours I've devised for February can be seen on Eventbrite:
I've sent this out to my loyal mailing list followers, but there's always room for new fans: I can be reached on

The website is getting updated nicely, since Graham Starling (its creator) walked me through the processes. I'm still getting the hang of it, and there's much to learn. Once I master the secrets I shall stamp it more forcefully with my own personality!

The Tower Hamlets group didn't meet last week, allowing time for us to work on our walks, but we're reconvening this coming Wednesday. All being well, we'll welcome William Palin to speak to us. He's the man behind the East End Preservation Society. The group seems to have shrunk somewhat, but we're pushing towards the goal of creating a supplementary programme of Saturday morning walk for the April rerun of Walkie Talkie. More information as and when.

Well, that'll have to do for the moment: I need to go and slap on the Voltarol before I seize up completely.

Keep smiling!


Dave Charnowalks

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Hello there,

Much of the week has been spent on research. All sorts of information for next Friday's preview of the new walk looking at aspects of Bethnal Green's criminal history, but also I'm working through Sarah Wise's 'The Blackest Streets', the story of the Nichol slum.

I've read 'The Italian Boy' and have heard Sarah speak on a number of occasions: excellent research, and a good communicator. Spot on.

This week I signed off of Jobseeker's Allowance, and (hopefully) I am now going on the New Enterprise Allowance. I've put a link to Eventbrite on my website home page, so that people can see what's on. Also I've had a large number of leaflets printed, and I'm trying to get them into as many places as possible. I need to take some time in the week, though, to make a concerted effort to get them placed. I did a little leafleting at Shoreditch High Street Overground this afternoon en route from the White Hart, Bishopsgate (a couple with Neil Salmons after this morning's tour) and Tesco, Bethnal Green Road. How the other half do live ...

A small but select group for 'Before the Make-Over' this morning: I've done the walk only once before, and that was last autumn, so a little tightening up is needed. It will be very slick next time; I'm feeling easy with it now. Cleary Gardens isn't at its best at this time of year, with the vines cut back. Not as cheery as in the warm weather:

A rush to the vet on Thursday morning with Bogart - a touch of cystitis they reckoned: he had an anti-inflammatory injection and a painkilling one, and is fine now, but even more affectionate than he is usually. Perhaps it's gratitude?

Got the idea for one or (maybe) two walks on the way home.

Sadly these blogs seem to be dominated by walks, but my life is dominated by them at the moment. Trying to get a business off the ground, as I was saying to Neil in the White Hart, is like trying to get a plane off of the ground. A colossal effort to get it to leave the ground in the first place, then continual thrust to get it higher and higher. Eventually all that effort pays off when you level out, but until you get to that, it's murder!

I must put aside some time for writing so that I can get a second collection of short stories into circulation, particularly as Ronald Chapman sent me such a good picture for the cover. I've got most of the stories at least in their initial drafts. I still need to sprinkle them with magic dust though.

Well, I don't want to get tedious, so I'll leave it there. Until next time ...



Sunday, 19 January 2014


As mentioned, last Saturday I was at the real Pub Landlord's gaff, the utterly exclusive and truly amazing Auvache Arms, for the Big Boys' Beer Festival winter ales special:

Dr Pintz doing his bit
Danny Warren and Richard Wood came along: thanks to Richard for the picture. Much good stuff was available and enjoyed. So, no walks last weekend. for obvious reasons!

I did manage to get out yesterday morning for my 'Looking for Clues' walk - looking at remnants of the past in the borderlands of Mile End Old Town and Bethnal Green, finishing on the southern close of the Green itself, or 'Barmy Park' as it has been known for generations.

The sadly neglected cemetery of the Synagogue
of the Amude Yesharim in Bancroft Road

This afternoon and tomorrow afternoon it's off to Westminster for 'Of Commonwealths and Kings' - tomorrow it's for another group of Italian teens courtesy of the UK Educational Development Agency. I'm supposed to speak in English, as they're over here for language practice, but I've got some Italian phrases to explain the salient points!

The trial of Charles I for treason

The walk looks at the development of parliamentary government before considering the way that successive monarchs have shaped Westminster.

Currently I've got a head full of crime - I'm working on the first of my law and order walks, this time in Bethnal Green. 'The Dark Side of the Green' is taking shape nicely, and it has quite a range of subjects, though of course we can't ignore the Twins.

At this point Ronnie hadn't put on all that weight,
so I can't say which is which, though I suspect
Ronnie is on the right - he had the more open face

If only they'd been able to carry on boxing, things might have been very different, but then 'if only' is one of the saddest phrases of our language.

Tomorrow I sign on for the last time - hopefully! I'm closing my claim for Jobseeker's Allowance and going on to the New Enterprise Allowance. With the blessing and a fair wind, this is the official launch of the good ship Charnowalks. We shall see what we shall see ...

Well, I've got to get ready to head out to what looks like might be a bit of a bright day. There be clouds, but they're quite broken. I hope St James's Park offers us a nice sky, and the beginnings of a beautiful sunset by the time we cross it.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend, peeps.


Dave Charnowalks

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Hello blogaholics,

Since Friday is proving unmanageable, I think I'll move my update day to Saturday. I would have updated yesterday, except I was out at Bletchley. Not visiting Bletchley Park, but, in my rôle as Dr Pintz, attending the Big Boys' Beer Festival winter beer fest at the Auvache Arms, the intensely private bar created for personal use, and for entertaining family and friends, by my nephew Wesley Auvache, the real Pub Landlord:

Ronnie and Reggie at the Auvache Arms

Six exceptional ales on offer for those fortunate enough to be within this exclusive circle.

Last Saturday, we had a little rain to contend with on the walk 'Behind the Magic Curtain', looking not only at the origins of West End's Theatreland with the Restoration, but seeing some of the West End's theatres and their connections to major developments in British performance in the C19 and C20.

Charnowalks at the Savoy Theatre

Get that 'air cut! Why do I always forget to trim that beard before going out on tours? Anyway, we enjoyed it. It was a good time to do the walk: just after New Year, when things can fall a little flat, but on the Eleventh Day of Christmas, so the Christmas decs were still up and we managed to capture a little more of the seasonal magic before it went. Sadly you can't see the light-up Christmas tree on the other side of the collar.

In the evening I indulged in my first 'tweet-up' courtesy of Valy Dumoulin and Nika Garrett, at which I met some illustrious persons such as Simon Gregor of secretlondonphotowalk:
Anthony Lewis, intrepid explorer of the Lost Valley of London:
and Sheldon, one half of the Cemtery Club:

In the week between these two Saturdays, business preparations continue apace. I'm working on law-and-order walks at the moment. One in Bethnal Green and one in the City. This has meant researching rape, murder and miscarriage of justice in Bethnal Green, as well as the changing face of crime in the City.

I've set up another couple of walks for next weekend, I've designed a leaflet which I need to get printed, and am creating a mailing list. For any blog-followers who don't get mails from me, if you want to go on my mailing list please mail me at and I'll put you on.

I think that'll do for the moment: please feel free to find me on facebook and to tweet me @Charnowalks. I don't tweet that often - I find twitter a little aggravating, as you're limited to a handful of characters, many of which are taken up if you mail to more than one person. Still, some people like it ...

Looking forward to connecting with you next weekend.

Best wishes,