Open House Weekend - Raw Guiding

I am trying to think of a phrase that conveys quite a few of my recent tour guiding experiences. To be honest I don't think this one is the keeper, suggesting as it does intrepid girls trying to put a tent up in a Force 10 gale. I think I'd better explain - both the Angel Canal Festival (6 September) and the Open House Weekend (19 and 20 September) involved me turning up, having a quick look round and then getting stuck straight in, taking people around.

And a great time I had too - adrenaline can do wonders and learning as you go gives the whole event a real buzz. It helps, of course, that the Islington Canal Basin is a wonderful treasure tucked away a mere five minutes from the Angel Tube. Likewise St Mary of Eton is a gem of a church, surrounded by really inventive modern architecture, on a junction in Hackney Wick. It announces itself from the train via its striking blue and white brick pattern and is well worth a closer look if you have the time.

Finally, Finsbury Town Hall on Rosebery Avenue, an Art Nouveau masterpiece from the days when local authorities had surplus funds to go a bit loopy with. An elegant tribute to a more flamboyant time. Whether public money should be spent on a Free Flemish Baroque hall with sprung dance floor is a whole other debate, but as this one is here I say let's celebrate it.

The joy of all these events was learning as you go. The walks were free and quite short, creating a relaxed, freewheeling style of delivery that I wouldn't contemplate if charging money, but they were fun and I'm pretty sure the visitors enjoyed them. I'll be doing more...