All through the month of August we'll be blogging a few choice nuggets from The Mothership – that's www.walks.com, the main website of London Walks. Our From The Archive series is written in the main by London Walks' Pen David Tucker and will feature practical tips on joining in with a London Walk, some general London info as well as some more "off the beaten track" bits…
London Walkers – You're the Best!
Angela rang up earlier this summer. Fizzing with excitement.
"I never want to stop doing this. I love this job. The people you meet on these walking tours – it's beyond price."
In this instance it was a family from Texas. Goat farmers. (Who'd a thought it?) They were on their way to Cannes. To the Film Festival. Someone had made a film about them. And why not? Lovely family. Counter culture types. Mum, dad, two teenage girls and their goats. The daughters – the teenagers – were home schooled. So they could help with the huge job of keeping the goats farmed. Turns out the girls did most of the milking. The mum and dad had wired the barn for sound – fitted it out with speakers. Two birds with one stone. Girls could have something to listen to while they were milking the goats. Not Justin Bieber or something even more mindless (or insipid). The father hit on the idea of "barn"-casting articles from The Economist. He'd be at the mike in the broadcast booth reading the articles – the girls and the goats would be on the receiving end. Didn't work especially well. "Everything slowed right down." Daughters and goats got completely absorbed in what they were hearing – what The Economist was uttering took precedence over the uddering – and the business to hand went, dare I say it, tits up. Mozart and Prokofiev yes, The Economist no.
But it's easy to understand Angela's excitement – and be completely attuned to the stand she's taken. "The people you meet on these walking tours – who'd want to forego that?"
Anyway, that's the overture for this page.
The overture because Angela's moment of buzz chimed with something we're fairly often asked these days: "Who goes on your walks? What are the people like who go on London Walks?"
Now the cookie cutter answer has always been: "bright, fun, really nice, switched on independents – people who are anything but 'spam in a can', bog standard, yucky tourists; and – and this will almost certainly catch you off guard – a huge number of them are Brits, and a lot of those Brits are Londoners."
That's the cookie cutter answer. But we've decided to go one better. Decided to take the occasional "snap shot" of a London Walk – a snap shot of who goes there! Take, more or less at random from time to time, a London Walk or two and find out: Who were the people on that walk? Where were they from? What do they do? Should be fun. And, indeed, of some interest. Do, for example, we get more lawyers on our Inns of Court walk? Is the demographic significantly younger on Pepe's Street Art walk? And so on.
Here's a snapshot.
Walking Hampstead with me (David) on Sunday morning, August 18, 2013, were:
Anna, a student from Poland.
Pat, a retiree from Luton.
Andy, a professor from Toronto.
Dorothy, a librarian from Toronto.
Paul, a retiree from Belsize Park (just down the hill from Hampstead).
Dalia, a journalist from Belsize Park.
Phil, an urban planner from Bath.
Akiko, a translator from Japan.
B.E., a student from Vienna.
Rasami, "in government service" from India.
Tzipi, a forensic anthropologist from Israel.
Michelle, an embroiderer from Australia (but now lives in London).
Barbara, a retiree from Eugene, Oregon.
I.M., a civil servant from London.
Elfriede, a civil servant from Vienna.
Anything else? Yes, sure. Four of them were on their 1st London Walk. For three of them the Hampstead walk was their 2nd London Walk. One of the group was on his 3rd London Walk. Two were on their 7th. One was on her 8th. One was on her 10th And one on his 20th. Pretty good customer loyalty, wouldn't you say.
A London Walk costs £9 – £7 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at www.walks.com.