Obviously when I am guiding somewhere it is a place I have explored and studied. Oh the late nights over guttering candles, the hours in libraries, the sore feet from investigating hidden corners.
Not that I am complaining: absolutely not. I love my job.
One of the joys is seeing somewhere familiar through other eyes. This was very much the case recently when I had the joyous task of accompanying some French primary school children when they visited Windsor and Eton.
They were impressively au fait with the various personalities of the Royal Family, even young Archie who was just five days old at the time of their visit. They came from Grenoble, which is about as different geographically from Berkshire as you can get. As we walked over the bridge and entered the town of Eton their eyes grew round. Two of the boys, aged about ten, were walking with me. The shops, the streets, the hanging baskets all made a huge impression. But my favourite observation was from the child who remarked on the absence of mountains.
If you have ever questioned the value of school trips, question no more. Those observations, the wonder those children expressed at a world so unlike their own, was something I was very privileged to share. It amy be a cliché, but it’s true; travel does broaden the mind.