Friday, 5 January 2018

Dear Charnowalkers,

Happy New Year! Oh dear, it's been nearly two months since the last outpouring of the splendours and miseries of the jobbing tour guide. I'm afraid December was a bit hard going. I won't go to far into details, but suffice it to say that my cat Bogart was put down, I had an eye operation with painful consequences, and my lap-top still isn't back after nearly two months, so I'm using borrowed tech. I had to cancel almost all of my tours except the Theatreland tour on 29 December. Mind you, I did have a private booking on Boxing Day (see below).

So, what's been gong on? Well, my tutoring skills have been ticking over. We managed runs of Part One and Part Two of the Walkie Talkie course, and hopefully this will mean we can progress to Part Three in April. (Details via the links at this paragraph's end.) One unfortunate trend is that we're not attracting experienced guides, who would benefit from a bit of Continuing Professional Development out in the East End. CPD is becoming my thing now. I used to be a bit wary of the idea, but it does make sense if you think of it in terms of deepening your knowledge and experience. Abbreviations (and CPD is NOT an acronym!) do tend to put me off, I must say, but once you get beyond that you're alright! Also there's a project brewing down on the Island - that's the Isle of Dogs, for non-locals - but I'm not sure how much of this is under wraps, so schtum for the present.

Not only did I have the renowned author Rebecca de Saintonge all to myself for a day earlier last year, but since last I blogged I've had the benefit of guiding two more authors. In early November the American pen-swinger Nicole Galland was good enough to spend part of her visit to the UK by coming on my 'Shakespeare - Take Him for All in All' tour. And on Boxing Day I had a private booking which turned out to be none other than Philippa Gregory and her husband Anthony, whom I escorted along the river from Queenhithe to Tower Bridge as we reflected on the development of London's trade over the centuries from the medieval to the Victorian. Just before Christmas I had a busman's holiday by going on Lucinda Hawksley's Dickens and Christmas tour, on the back of her new release 'Dickens and Christmas'. The tour was as rich and satisfying as the best of Christmas puddings.

And now, to look forwards to 2018. Again I have themed my weekend tours, and this month they celebrate the Footprints of London blog. I have the privilege of being a director of Footprints, which is a guiding co-operative of independent, qualified London guides. But what many may not appreciate is that we have a blog, featuring items written by these guides. So, for a street-level appreciation of London's many curiosities and splendours, take a peek at the blog which can be found by clicking HERE. All of my January weekend tours have featured on the blog through items written by me. You can find details of the tours on my schedule, and my blog items are listed on my website too:

As I said, December was rather sterile in guiding terms, but work is progressing on my Peter Ackroyd tour. I'll have more information on that in the next blog instalment; the usual reduced-price preview will be in February. There will also be a new tour which will be a companion to 'Tidemarks from the Pool' - again, details in the next blog instalment (I hope), with a reduced-price preview either in February or March.

So, apologies for the gap in transmission on the blog, but my guiding experiences were rather muted in December. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.

Hoping to see you soon.


Dave Charnowalks