Today, I was with Walking in London (a Funzing group) for Southwark's Saucy Secrets.. Now, the last time I was booked for a walk in that part of town - also with Funzing - I missed it, so was paranoid about doing the same this time. Happily, I headed out in plenty of time to catch the bus. It also helped that, on this occasion, I had the guide's phone number - unlike the last time.
Again, despite not being listed on the departures board initially, my bus did happen along quite quickly. Whatever route I took, if it was to be by bus, would involve a change - so I got off near Angel to change to the 43. I was supposed to catch it at the same stop I got off at - oh here we go again, it isn't listed at that stop!! I have, again, complained on the TFL website, for all the good it'll do. With a sizeable walk to the stop that was listed as having buses going to London Bridge, I gave up and took the Tube, which was a shorter walk. Thanks again, TFL, for costing me more - not for the first time.
At London Bridge Station, I'd hoped to catch somewhere I could get a hot chocolate - I'd got up late, as usual, hadn't had breakfast, and it was cold out. This would do perfectly. Sadly, on the short trip to the Duke Street Hill exit, I saw nothing that would sell me anything. There was a small coffee shop outside - "My Tea and Coffee Shop", with workers in high-vis jackets sitting outside with their purchases, so probably a good choice. Sure enough, for the princely sum of £2.50 (and no card fee), I got a hot chocolate that's one of the more decent I've had. Recommended, if you're around those parts.
Our guide was stood across the road, underneath the "pointy sculpture", as she described it. The Southwark Gateway Needle would be a more official way to do so, but less informative! She didn't have a sign - as she explained, she was asked for directions enough without drawing attention to herself! And we gradually accumulated there, waiting for the inevitable latecomers and the one that got lost. What they hey, they were prompter than other tours I've been on, and it wasn't long before we were off.
Into a stiff breeze, which, honestly, has gotten stiffer since. Now, I've been on many walking tours of London - not so many of Southwark - and the real test for me is whether I knew it before. I'm delighted to say that this personable guide managed to wend her way through several parts of town I hadn't seen. Like, for instance, Guy's Hospital - which you can use as a shortcut, if it helps - and which contains this interesting sculpture, which, it transpires, is one of the arches of the old London Bridge!
That, by the way, is Keats, sitting in it - used to work here as an anaesthetist, it seems. More photos here.
We passed old breweries, and heard much about the naughtier side of town, what with bear baiting and the Bishop of Winchester's Geese..
And despite nearly becoming icicles with the force of the wind, we had an excellent 90 minutes! Well done, that lady - her walking company is actually called Look Up London, it seems, from the very good advice to raise your eyes from the pavement, as there's so much to see above your heads. I'd be delighted to go on another of her tours.
Afterwards, desperately needed a Tesco, and Google Maps kindly directed me to the nearest one. And then directed me to where I could get a bus - which was along shortly. Tomorrow, back with the Crick Crack Club - at Soho Theatre this time, with Nell Phoenix telling us all about Tricksterland: a favourite theme of hers!
On Tuesday, the London European Club (first time in ages!) - we're off to the Barbican for a dance production by the Michael Clark Company.
On Wednesday, Walking Victorian London is doing a walk called Alexander Pope's The Dunciad.
On Thursday, Up in the Cheap Seats is off to Albion, at the Almeida. Then I'm back to Ireland for the weekend again - hopefully, by that stage they'll have cleared the roads following Storm Ophelia. And Storm Brian.
On the 30th, I finally get to see Apologia, at Trafalgar Studios - London Dramatic Arts was going to this a while ago, but it was far too expensive on that occasion. Well, that's what you get for having Stockard Channing and Laura Carmichael in it! Amazon Tickets again.
And finally, I'm hoping for a nicely scary Hallowe'en.. when I heard that they were doing the first-ever stage production of The Exorcist - and what's more, it's on in the Phoenix Theatre, right behind the office.. well, that was fate, wasn't it?! I jumped to get a ticket for that, as soon as they went on sale - after all, Hallowe'en has to be its most popular night! Jenny Seagrove plays the mother of the demonically possessed teen..