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