Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Streets Ahead

Streets Ahead is the new occasional column from London Walks' Pen David Tucker


Here's David - hoeing away (again) at our row…


A great walking tour is an education. (Okay, a mini education.) You see things you won't have seen before.* And you learn things - interesting things. The unknown is suddenly - satisfyingly - "shown". Things - and the way they fit together - snap into focus.

Sometimes it's a literal, physical, "facts on the ground" thing. Getting the vantage point exactly right. Getting you, for example, to the exact spot, the only spot, where you can see - can understand, can grasp - the magnitude of the Londinium fort, the Roman fort. The which is the necessary prelude to the follow-up: the full implications of that "picture".

Sometimes it's purely mental derring do. An example? The extraordinary linguistic connection between London's guilds, the world of academia, and knights in shining armour. Comes up on my Shakespeare's and Dickens' Old City walk.**

And as for a parting shot about a walking tour being a (mini) education, try this for size. Both of the examples - the lingistic and the physical (the "vantage point" example) - are from my (David's) Shakespeare's and Dickens' Old City walk. (Yes, the old Roman fort has a cameo role in that walk.) But what else would you expect given that Shakespeare was the first author to use the word "educate" in its "to provide schooling" sense? "Do you not educate youth at the Charg-house on the top of the Mountaine?" (Loves Labours Lost, v. i. 77)

*Even if you've been there before - and how satisfying is that!

**And, yes, this is just a hint, a whiff. Necessarily so. You want to tuck into this dish properly you'll have to come on the walk. Not being cagey here. It's simply a question of not handing things on a plate (so to speak) to the knock-offs.



POST UPDATED 17/5/16

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.









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