Beacause, as of now, I am fully fledged one!
I did my bike maintenance course on Friday and they asked me if I would take a tour out on Sunday morning. No one booked on it just yet, but might be best to take a small group out first time round. Not sure what possessed me, but I said “Yes”! I had been reading up on London history, facts and figures but with my memory, keeping dates and architects names within this sieve I call a brain, well they were just vanishing completely. Reciting was not my best skill so I was just going to have to hope for the best and wing it. Hope that they didn’t ask me too many questions and not drink too much wine at the BBQ I was hosting the night before!
I cycled by the office early so I could get an coffee and bite to eat beforehand and all I could see were people and it looked like the bikes were vanishing too. Shite! I hope a huge group hadn’t arrived in and now I was going to be the guide to take them all out and be under scruntiny and asked a multitude of questions that I wouldn’t be able to answer!
I calmly had my coffee trying to read my facts and figures notes… 1066 for Edward the Confessor to be coronated in West Minister Abbey, 1666 for the Great Fire of London, 1834 for the fire that burnt down the Palace of Westminister aka Houses of Parliament and so it went on…. I headed for the office and was told that I only had a group of 4 people. Woo hoo. There were two groups going out as I waited for my four to show up and they had at least 15 people each in them. With them, the bike numbers were dwindling too. The mechanic spotted me and I told him thatI was also going out, suddenly he sprang into action, he needed to get tyres changes, chains on and oiled so that I had bikes for my group.
A dutch mother and son and a young american couple were my group. They seemed very lovely as I gave them the safety briefing and an overview of what we were going to do. Of course as we got our bikes and headed out I started to remember all the additional things I should have told them. Hopefully they worked out that the brakes were the wrong way round! At least they knew that we would be cycling on the other side of the road and that they needed to stop at red lights!
We had no sooner left the wharf when the Dutch mum realised that her bike was making funny noises and back she had to go to get it changed. Please please please no flat tyres or chains falling off, I really don’t know how I would cope with that on my first outing. Bike changed, we were on our way.
Quietly confident at the dragons to the City of London I told them my few facts about the city of London. Onto Clepatra’s Needle, I was slowly remembering the deets about it. London Eye and the Southbank – no problem too me, well its all about being out and about, eating, drinking and enjoying yourself; of course I remember that. Next stop Parliament Square; oh bugger this is where it starts. The facts, the figures, the architects… please don’t ask me indepth questions about Westminister Abbey, I ain’t gonna know the answer!
And on we went. Buckingham Palace; lets make up a few facts about Queenie. Trafalgar Square – well there was a Hindu / Seikh event taking place. Could hardly hear yourself think, so my dodgy facts and figures were drown out there. Next Covent Garden; my old stomping ground and do you think I remembered half the history about the place. Fortunately for me they were too busy thinking about coffee, toilets and a break to take too much notice of me.
So, we are into the final hurdle of the tour. Two more stops – actually I threw in Lincoln’s Inn as an extra – not too sure what I was thinking as my knowledge on the place was limited. Onto Smithfields Market and finally last stop St Pauls, where my facts and figures really did go out the window. I was tired. The Dutch mum was conscious we were running a few minutes late and she had a plane to catch that evening, so again not really listening to me.
I got them back to the Wharf 10 minutes late. The dutch two ran off and the american couple went in and got some change that they could give me a tip – can’t have been too bad! Manager was well impressed with the tip amount that they gave me, that he phoned me later to take out a private tour the next day.
Shite, time to go home and start reading up on my London facts and figures again…