Summer in the City

Yesterday was hot, though fortunately London is not suffering the same high temperatures as parts of France. It was a good reminder to always carry water, and to refill water bottles at every opportunity. You can now get apps for your ‘phone which tell you the sites of water fountains and other places where you can do this.

Throughout July visitors to London can see the guard change at Buckingham Palace daily. I must have witnessed it hundreds of times during my time as a London Blue Badge Guide, but somehow it never fails to please.

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Continue reading “Summer in the City”

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A Welcome in Eltham

Yesterday I enjoyed a visit to Eltham Palace with a lovely couple from Sydney, Australia. Although the weather was grey, the palace still shone.

Eltham Palace

We walked and talked. All of us being animal lovers, May-Jongg (Jonggy) the Courtaulds’ pet lemur featured quite strongly. Bought by the couple from Harrod’s pet department in 1923, he lived with them for fifteen years. Much loved and indulged by his doting owners, he was regarded by their visitors with a certain nervousness.
Mah-Jongg

Prone to stealing olives from martinis, nipping guests’ ankles during dinner, his most outrageous action was to bite the hand of Percy Lemon at a lunch the Courtaulds gave on their yacht Virginia on the morning scheduled for the departure of the 1930-1 British Arctic Air Route Expedition. Lemon was the expedition’s wireless operator. He turned out to be allergic to the iodine used to disinfect the wound and the expedition had to be postponed for three months while he recovered. Continue reading “A Welcome in Eltham”

William Molesworth

I needed a break from paperwork as well as a visit to the local studies library and so took myself out on a walk in the cold air.
I was delighted to see the scaffolding had been removed from Borough Road Library and the building open. it’s not been used as a library for many years. LSBU either owns it or leases it from Southwark Council. It’s a building I talk about on my Elephant and Castle walk, so I took the opportunity to look inside. Most of the building is for the sole use of the LSBU, for their apprenticeships, but there’s a light, bright café and friendly staff.
They weren’t terribly busy and kindly took the time to talk to me.
Inside the entrance I had seen this:

William Molesworth

Who was he? I wanted to know, and why had John Passmore Edwards presented his likeness to the library over forty years after his death? Continue reading “William Molesworth”

Animal Lovers’ London

Leading a tour of Greenwich yesterday I was delighted to see two mounted police officers coming our way. We weren’t in trouble, but meeting police horses on tours, or police dogs, or any horse or any dog has to be a plus.

The officers had ridden over from nearby Lewisham and were relaxed about stopping and talking to us. One of the horses was called Livingstone, the other Young Rupert. I carry packets of mints in my bag for exactly this type of encounter, so soon most of us had rather slobbery hands and Livingstone was very aware I was the keeper of the treats.

Much as people love going on holiday, those with pets often miss them, so having a cuddle with a police horse or a friendly dog is welcome. I’m surprised how many conversations about pets take place on guided tours. Continue reading “Animal Lovers’ London”

Hey Ho

Hey ho, it’s back to school they go. Meaning London is quieter as well as cooler. The crowds in the museums and galleries are thinning out and there are hints of autumn in the air.

For a Keatsian moment visit the British Museum. You could contact me to arrange a private tour, or come on a public tour. I’ll be there this afternoon, 22nd August, meeting outside Russell Square tube at 2.15, and again next Monday,27th August, at 2.30.

The City is endlessly fascinating. Such a small area packs an impressive punch. I am always happy to lead bespoke tours around the Square Mile on a variety of subjects and themes. st-pauls.jpg

Continue reading “Hey Ho”

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