London Walking Tours    with Joanna Moncrieff

Another VaughanTown trip + Air Fare rip-off

Despite not having any work I’ve been a bit reckless and booked myself onto another VaughanTown trip during the Easter holidays from my course. My theory is that as long as I don’t spend too much in the bar or in Madrid it will be a very cheap week – and possibly the only break I’ll get this year. The hotel in Salamanca looks fantastic and it will be good to be in an urban location rather than in the middle of nowhere. Am already looking forward to meeting everyone. Last time I went in September I was bitten very badly by mosquitos and possibly a spider in Madrid (I still have the mark) and ended up on anti-histamines and antibiotics so not only couldn’t I drink any alcohol (which at least saved me money) but I was drowsy all the time. Will make sure I take loads of insect repellent with me this time.

Have just booked my flight as was tempted by very low fares with Ryanair which is what got me thinking about going. However my 99p return flight Stansted to Madrid actually came in at £83.34. Grrrr…….

I really must “pen a letter” to Ryanair over this deception. There are charges shown next to the flight costs which come to £45 but when you start the booking process you realise you have to pay £19 to take 1 bag plus check-in of £9.50 and £9.50 for paying by debit or credit card – but how else can you pay!

Having said that because the 6 days in Salamanca with 3 meals a day, wine with lunch and dinner are free and staying in a luxury room all to myself – it is a good deal for a week’s break.

Greek Comedy night

On a very cold Saturday night I was at first reluctant to leave my cosy home and wait for a bus to South Woodford, then a tube and then a walk to the Heathcote Arms in Leytonstone but I had promised my friend, D, I would go and am glad I managed it. D’s friend was the compere of the evening – Manos – whom she had met on a retreat weekend. It was good to meet him and he was very kind and gave us a lift home afterwards.

When we arrived we were offered a free glass of Ouzo and there was a voucher for a free drink plus nibbles on the table.

The first 2 acts both had a confident manner and were good at presenting themselves. However they were just too rude and un PC for me. I’m not a prude but just find this sort of humour unfunny and the swearing unnecessary. We did find out however that Simon in the front row was (so he said) a Time Out reviewer. The 3rd act we recognised immediately as the lady who had been selling tickets on the door. I don’t think this was a good plan by the organiser as this immediately gave us an opinion of her. At the end of the evening (after several glasses of Ouzo) I volunteered myself to sell tickets next time. Will see if they take me up on it.

The next act was an Italian who must be the worst comedy act I have ever seen. His English wasn’t fantastic and his delivery of “jokes” was far too slow and painful. He completely lost the audience but although everyone was talking amongst themselves there wasn’t anyone brave enough to shout him off.

After the break things improved. Canadian Wes Zaharuk entertained us in a Tommy Cooper type way with really silly antics using such props as a hoover, some sticky tape and several members of the audience – the funniest being a girl who stood behind him and used her hands to peel him a banana etc. This was absolutely hilarious. So absolutely silly but really funny. He ended up down to his boxer shorts at one point but he was never rude and he didn’t swear as far as I remember. He’s performing at quite a few venues in London in next few weeks – details on Chuckle website below.

The evening finished with some Greek music, more Ouzo, Greek dancing and plate smashing – not what you would usually find above a pub in Leytonstone. Will definitely go again and might even be selling the tickets next time.

Working for a living

I’m now into my fourth week of no work but wonder how I ever managed to fit work in. I have so many projects on the go at the moment and still seem not to have enough hours in the day. In connection with the course I have to put together a walk on paper by the end of April and learn a route with 16 stops around the London Transport Museum by mid March. I also mentioned in passing on Facebook that I was thinking of putting together a tour around some historical London pubs as seem to have a bit of an encylopaedic knowledge of good pubs – and I’ve already had quite a few enquiries.

I still need to find some “proper” work though so I can pay my bills. Have put my mortgage on another “holiday” to take the pressure off a bit but not having any money isn’t a great thing especially as I want to get out there exploring London and having been at home so much recently now notice all those jobs that need doing but require money!