Well we awoke to find a dreary day… but none the less undeterred, we had planned to go on a walk around London. The plan was to go on the Bloomsbury walk, we have been planning this for ages but alas it was not running today.. so instead I twittered and face-booked to see what folks suggested. The consensus was the Shakespeare’s and Dickens’s London. We wrapped up warm and I donned my hat and off we went. Gordon Hill Station to Kings Cross then the tube to St Pauls. Liz has been up there of late training and was thrilled to see another side of these roads that she knows so well.
We enjoyed a lovely meal in Byrons in the new shopping centre there, then nipped into Foyles where I treated myself to three gorgeous little penguin classics that they had on offer. A bit of culture to start off the day… ‘Albert Camus’ – The Adulterous Women’, ‘H.G Wells’ – ‘The Door in the wall’ and last but by no means least ‘Virginia Woolf’ – ‘The lady in the looking glass’ so with my reading for this week sorted we headed off to meet our guide. A friend of mine called Andrew had told me about David. Told me he was a brilliant guide an American. He lived up to expectations, a most dapper chap in a trilby and brilliant blue glasses. I would say there were about 40 of us on the walk. It was wonderful to follow a wise man around the city that we just barely glimpse as we pass through it normally, a joy to follow the footsteps of the above writers and of course history itself. At one point David told us, as we were to be found standing at the Guildhall, to imagine we were in Roman times and explained that the normally very straight Roman roads were in fact turns in the road due to the fact that the Guildhall was in fact a Roman amphitheatre, and that the turns in the road have featured on poems and literature through the years. I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil the walk for others who may like to go on it.. but must just say one thing. David is a passionate fan of Shakespeare and as we were stood by the statue of the great man, which is in the location of a church that he once attended, David told us that not only did Shakespeare use words that were the most eloquent for the play but also (and this truly amazed me) he would use words that would leave the actor in the exact pose facially that was required to convey the emotion for the part, so if in fact an inexperienced actor was playing Juliet there is a certain line regarding him wanting to kiss her, and by the simple words that he utters the actor’s lips are in fact puckered up ready for a kiss!!! I never knew this and was amazed…. We visited places that are actually mentioned in Dickens books, particularly a door in a tiny alley that is described in ‘Martin Chuzzelwit’ as David read from the book he described where we were standing and it was amazing that it has changed so little in all these many years…. So all that remains to be said is… you must go on one of these walks, you learn little nuggetts of information that will alter your perspective on these writers and also see hidden corners of London that ordinarly we would walk right by. Thanks David for a splendid afternoon!