Thursday, 23 November 2017

LW's David Tucker Wishes You All A Happy #Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving to all Daily Constitutionalists and 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 ? Here he is - in a post first published in 2015 – 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, 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 www.walks.com.



The #London #Christmas Shopping Guide 2017: LW's @GuidedbyIsobel Picks Pullens Yards @PullensYards #Walworth #SE17

DC Editor Adam writes…

It's the annual Daily Constitutional Christmas Shopping Guide!

Every year the London Walks guides round-up their fave shops and stalls along (or near) the routes of their London Walks tours. Today we're in south London with Isobel…





Pullens Yards


Isobel writes…

For Christmas shopping in London this year, it has to be Pullens Yards Artists Open Studios described by Terence Conran as the hippest place in London. It's where I finish my Walworth Old and New Walk 10.45 2nd December (meet me at Kennington tube).
-->

The Pullens Yards contain unique 1870’s live / work spaces . These workshops are still home to designer makers. Within the yards there are diverse and established arts and artisan businesses, including potters, furniture designers and architects.

Saturday 2nd December also happens to be right in the middle of the Pullens Yards Open Weekend. See you there."








Visit the website here: www.pullensyards.co.uk






The  Walworth Old and New Walk 10.45 Saturday 2nd December Meet at Kennington tube.




Your correspondent… 

Isobel is an artist, journalist, linguist, prize-winning Blue Badge Guide and London Walks' token aristocrat. One of her ancestors introduced the waltz to this country.




Christmas 2017 With London Walks…


On Christmas Day there are TWO London Walks: 

Walk up an appetite with The Christmas Morning 1660 Walk – meet at 11:00a.m by the big tree in Trafalgar Square



Walk off the pudding with The Christmas Day Charles Dickens Walk – meet by the big tree in Trafalgar Square at 2:00pm








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 www.walks.com.



Wednesday, 22 November 2017

The #London #Christmas Shopping Guide 2017: West End Lane Books @WELBooks in #WestHampstead #NW6

It's back! The Daily Constitutional's annual London Christmas Shopping Guide kicks off with a trip to West Hampstead…







DC Editor Adam writes…

Exciting times ahead for stationery junkies. (Although, tbh, all times are exciting if you're a stationery junkie.)

First there was the good news that "journalist" and TV "personality" Piers Morgan has pledged never to shop at Paperchase again. He's in the huff with them. For a grown man I spend an indecent amount of time in Paperchase and I was in constant dread of running in to the phone-hacking old, er, hack. One less thing to worry about, there. Hurrah!

Better news: word reaches The DC that the great West End Lane Books is hosting a Personalised Moleskine Day on December 8th. Any Moleskine product – diaries, notebooks, sketchpads – purchased that day can have the name of your choice hewn into to cover.

Best. Christmas. Present. EVER.

Plenty seasonal goings-on at West End Lane Books



While you're waiting for your Moleskine book to be engraved, do make enquiries about my two favourite children's books of the year so far…

The fourth instalment of Chris Riddell's Goth Girl series - Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony – came out this year.



The books, written and exquisitely illustrated by former Children's Laureate and Observer political cartoonist Riddell, follow the spooky adventures of young Ada Goth. Ada is the only daughter of Lord Goth and they live in the Gothic sprawl of Ghastly Gorm Hall.


In this instalment, Lord Goth is throwing a music festival, with performances from the finest composers in the land. Ada can't wait, but it's quite distracting when her grandmother is trying to find her father a fashionable new wife, there's a faun living in her wardrobe and sinister Maltravers is up to his old tricks. Ada must make sure everything goes to plan, and luckily help is at hand from a very interesting house guest . . .

As usual it's a rip-roaring adventure laced with a ton-and-a-half of gloriously daft gags.


Tip: Don't wait for the paperback. Get the hardback. It's sumptuous




***


The Forbes review for Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls states that it is "A must-have for the night stand of every girl or young woman you know."

I'd add… it's a must-read for everyone.


Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls is written and compiled by Elena Favilli and Francesco Cavallo. Their project is the most-funded original book in the history of crowdfunding, which tells us something about the lack of books featuring powerful role models for girls. Clearly, the people wanted this book. And it was worth the wait.

The idea is simple: take 100 women who have changed the world, present their inspirational stories simply and illustrate each with a memorable image.


The scope is broad. Malala Yousafzai is here, Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks and Joan Jett, too. A little further off the beaten path of the standard English school curriculum we find astrophysicist Margherita Hack and Colombian spy and revolutionary Policarpa Salavarrieta.


It's inspirational stuff, and boldly presented. So bold, indeed, that I'm willing to bet that the recipient of this book will always remember the person who gifted it to them. It's already a landmark event in my own daughter's reading life. Ditch the Disney princesses this Christmas and make it a landmark in the reading journey of your daughter/granddaughter/neice/Goddaughter, too.



Books for ALL ages at West End Lane Books. Here's the map… 





-->


Christmas 2017 With London Walks…

On Christmas Day there are TWO London Walks: 

Walk up an appetite with The Christmas Morning 1660 Walk – meet at 11:00a.m by the big tree in Trafalgar Square



Walk off the pudding with The Christmas Day Charles Dickens Walk – meet by the big tree in Trafalgar Square at 2:00pm







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 www.walks.com.



Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Reading & Listening Prep for the Next Guided 5K Run with @hallett_g #Fitness #LondonRuns

DC Editor Adam writes…


Andy's off and running again!

My guiding & podcasting colleague Andy Hallett embarks upon the next in his season of guided 5k runs this week – meet him at Hyde Park Corner tube (Exit 1) Thursday 7th December at 6.45pm for a fascinating guided run (there he is in the pic above with some of his runners from last season).

Personal recommendation here: this one is a cracker, I joined in on the "dress rehearsal" earlier this year. Here's a picture of Andy laughing at how unfit I am…





For my part in the preparations, I've been rummaging in the Daily Constitutional library for London-related sports books to get you in the mood. I've been reminded of one of my all-time favourite London reads.


Janie Hampton’s wonderful book on the 1948 Olympics tells the tale of London’s second hosting of the Games.

For those of you stifling a yawn at this point, perhaps anticipating lists and times and heights and team sheets and medal tables, well think again. 

Hampton’s narrative is just that: a narrative, a tale well told, mercifully free from dry match facts and mere sports reporting.

Instead, Hampton treats us to the stories of the people who made the Games: the posh rower who thought his official Olympic blazer to be of such poor quality that it must have been “cut with a spoon”; then there's the athlete who found her blazer so smart that she wore it to her sister’s wedding. 

There are tales of the American and Canadian teams sharing their ample rations with the deprived European teams – and of the French captain complaining strenuously about the British food!

In the aftermath of war, as London and the world was being rebuilt, every corner was cut, every penny pinched. Teams were put up not in a swish Olympic Village, but in schools and army barracks. One official even expected the cycling competitors to be able to ride their own bikes to Herne Hill for the races!

The Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen remains the heroine of the ‘48 Games, winning four gold medals on the track. Despite the fact that she beat British girls into silver position to take three of those golds, the London crowds took her to their hearts. And her journey is here too – from Nazi occupied Holland to the Hunger Winter of ’44 to the winners’ podium at Wembley.

But it is the unsung heroes who make the story such a delight. The overall tale that emerges is humane and moving, nuanced and rich, truly Olympian. Left to a sports reporter, there’s every chance this book would have garnered as many gold medals as the British track and field competitors in 1948 – none at all. In the hands of Janie Hampton, it’s a story as garlanded as the great Fanny Blankers-Koen herself.


Join Andy at 6.45pm this Thursday 7th December at Hyde Park Corner tube (exit 1) for a 5K guided run.

Keep up with all the 5K Guided Run News (including route maps) at www.facebook.com/londonwalksruns



If you'd like to hear us road-testing the guided runs, listen to this episode of the London Walks Podcast…







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 www.walks.com.