Friday, 27 November 2015

Literary #London. He's Brooding Over Words Again, That David

Meteor Showers of Literary and Literal Birds on This Day (November 27) Past & Present

"'And finally, bird-watchers everywhere have reported that the nation's owls have been behaving very unusually today. Although owls normally hunt at night and are hardly ever seen in daylight, there have been hundreds of sightings of these birds flying in every direction since sunrise. Experts are unable to explain why the Owls have suddenly changed their sleeping pattern.' The news reader allowed himself a grin. 'Most mysterious. And now, over to Jim Mcguffin with the weather. Going to be any more showers of owls tonight, Jim?'"
                          J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

"A most interesting morning. Awoke from one of my painful coach sleeps, in the coach to London... The sun at length rose upon the flat plain, like a hill of fire in the distance, rose wholly, and in the water that flooded part of the flat, a deep column of light. But as the coach went on, a hill rose and intercepted the sun, and the sun in a few minutes rose over it, a complete second rising through other clouds and with a different glory. Soon after this I saw starlings in vast flights, borne along like smoke, mist, like a body unendued with voluntary power. Now it shaped itself into a circular area, inclined; now it formed a square, now a globe, now from a complete orb into an ellipse; then oblongated into a balloon with the car suspended, now a concave semicircle; still expanding, or contracting, thinning or condensing, now glimmering and shivering, now thickening, deepening, blackening!"  Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Notebook, 27 November 1799

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 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

Bookmark and Share

Friday is Rock'n'Roll #London Day – Making the Rock'n'Roll London #Comic Book

Friday is Rock'n'Roll London Day - the Rock'n'Roll London Walk meets at Tottenham Court Road station today at 2pm.

The Rock'n'Roll London Walk is the only guided tour with its own dedicated comic book – and its author, this afternoon's guide Adam, now offers a guided tour of the sketchbooks that made the comic book… phew! Here's the video…

You can buy the Rock'n'Roll London Comic Book on the tour today, or online at The London Bookstore HERE.

Last postage dates for Xmas orders…

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 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

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 November 2015

#HappyThanksgiving – Have a Drink On Us!

Have a drink on us this Thanksgiving with a seasonal classic: eggnog.

As with many cocktails, the origin of eggnog is uncertain. But this we do know: the great American barkeeper Harry Craddock, king of the American Bar at the Savoy Hotel, popularised the drink in this country.

So in honour of Harry, of his country, of Yanks in London and of Thanksgiving, here’s his recipe from the indispensable Savoy Cocktail Book (we're working from our battered and well-loved 1965 printing). No less a British authority than Delia Smith considers Harry’s recipe to be definitive.

There are innumerable variants – and, of course, heated debate about “rules” regarding eggnog – but we love the simplicity of Harry’s recipe…

You will need

1 egg
1 tablespoon sugar
2 oz any spirit desired

Fill glass with milk

Shake ingredients well and strain into long tumbler. Grate a little nutmeg on top.


A London Walk costs £10 – £8 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

Bookmark and Share

More From @RickSteves on #Paris – A #Thanksgiving Tale

D.C Editor Adam writes… As regular Daily Constitutionalists will know, we were moved by Rick Steves' response to the terrorist attacks in Paris. We posted his piece, written under the headline Don't Be Terrorised, on our blog HERE.

Rick responded to many of the replies to his toughts – some positive, some not-so-positive – on his Facebook Page.

It's from that same page that we share this lovely message, from an American family visiting Paris in the aftermath of the attacks…

"Hello there Rick Steves!

My name is Amber, my family and I are currently vacationing in Paris for a week with your Paris 2015 guidebook.

The city is like none other. And the French people have been so kind to us. Yesterday we toured the Eiffel Tower and watched the sun set from the top with both our girls. It was a moment we will never forget. It was so beautiful, I shed a few tears. I'm so glad we made the choice to come, and to be able to have these wonderful experiences together as a family.

As we made our way back to our flat, we boarded the metro, and started discussing dinner ideas. A nice French businessman was sitting next to my 12 year old and must have over heard her talking. He asked her, 'Do you speak English?' She said yes. He said, 'Are you American? Did you come here from America?' And she said yes again. Then he put his newspaper down and said to all of us, 'Thank you for coming to visit Paris. Despite what happened. We are a strong city. I hope you have a wonderful stay.'

Au revior!

The Revis Family"

Read the full version at It will lift your spirits for Thanksgiving Day.

Our very own American in Paris David Tucker had a similar experience – he visited the city just a few days after the attacks and posted this on Twitter…

On this Thanksgiving Day, we say thanks for joining us in London. Last night on my Rock'n'Roll London Walk (it's Adam writing here) I had folks from Sacramento, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, San Francisco and Vauxhall, South London – we are, after all, the walking tour company used by Londoners and we're thankful to our lovely locals as well as our visitors. To all of them them – and to all of you – we say thanks. In rain or shine, good times and bad, we're thankful for your presence.

Thanks for walking with us. Thanks for supporting Paris. Thanks Rick Steves for such an inspirational piece of journalism.

Happy Thanksgiving one and all

London, November 2015

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 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

Bookmark and Share

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all London Walkers! And on this American Day of Days, who better than David – Wisconsonite and ferociously proud denizen of London, both – to take the helm of the LW Blog? Here he is with a special linguistic and etymological fireworks display for Thanksgiving:

Famously, London Walks guides – brighter, bolder and better read – bedazzle.

Connections – making them and having them – are a classic case in point.

So just for fun – especially if you’re an American – here’s some Anglo-American, London Walks-London-American razzmatazz connections.

And, yes, why not invoke six degrees of separation? Since in this case the ‘at most six steps’ – separating you Yanks and Mary (yes that Mary, the London Walks ‘Boss’) – aren’t back-to-back paces, they’re a pas de deux. (But what’d you expect? She was a ballet dancer, after all.)

And I’m not talking about the fact that she shares the same name – Mary Chilton – with the first European woman to step ashore at Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620. Yes, that Mary Chilton was a pilgrim on the Mayflower. She was 13-years-old. Like our Mary she was from Kent. She was so excited she jumped off the little row boat and waded ashore and bob’s your uncle.

And I’m not talking about the fact that our Mary has a famous father – 'the one true genius the BBC ever produced' – who, along with Winston Churchill, was the world’s biggest Americanophile. He wrote and produced famous BBC programme after famous BBC programme that looked very affectionately, bedazzlingly at America and its history.

And I’m not talking about the fact that our Mary is married to a Yank (Me! From the Land of the Gathering Waters) and she’s the mother of three American kids (okay, they’re also English – as they said when they were winks, “my mummie’s English and my daddy’s American and I’m haf and hawf”).

What I am talking about is 457 AD. Talking about London – or Londinium as it would have been called then – taking in the British survivors of a battle fought in Kent (yes, Kent again) against the fierce warriors of the Saxon chieftain Hengist. Recorded history doesn’t come much starker. Because that’s it – after that scrap of 457 AD information – London disappears from the historical record for a century and a half. The Mary Celeste of cities.

Okay, now what I need you to do, American cousins, is take out a dollar bill. Or your passport for that matter. That pyramid-eye thingie on the back of your buck is the reverse side of the Great Seal of the United States. It’s also on your passport.

And here’s the wonderful connection. Hengist – his name means 'stallion' – is traditionally taken to be the founder of Kent, Mary’s county. More to the point here, a certain Thomas Jefferson – remember him? – sat on a committee (along with Benjamin Franklin and John Adams) that decided on the design of the Great Seal. Jefferson didn’t get his way. What he wanted on the reverse side was Hengist (and his brother Horsa, whose name means, yes, you got it in one, “horse”). Jefferson wanted them because they were the legendary leaders of the first Anglo-Saxon settlers in Britain (another Mary Chilton connection anyone?). And because – and this is the big one – Jefferson believed the English possess a natural sense of liberty which came, via the Angles and Saxons, from the forests of northern Germany. And was personified by Hengist (and Horsa).

So if Jefferson had had his way – well, how, er, merry, would that have been? You’d all be carrying around in your wallets a spellbinding, indeed indissoluble American-London-London Walks-Mary connection. But the mind’s eye – forget that pyramid eye – will do just as well.

And on that note… (Though one could go on and on, couldn’t one? The English love of horses. London being the horsiest town on the planet. The London Walk that takes in the ancient blessing of the horses ceremony. The tantalising question – how good is Mary’s horsemanship? Etc.)

And off he goes, saddled on his trusty steed (in this case a motorbike), a modern-day Paul Revere spreading The Message. And the message is? Well, you’ll have to meet him at Westminster this afternoon. That’s right: David’s working up an appetite for his Thanksgiving turkey by leading his Westminster Walk at 2.00p.m today!

Happy Thanksgiving London Walkers all!

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 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

Bookmark and Share