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