Tag Archives: ghost walk

Q and A Part 2

So here are some more questions about me and my work as a guide…

What do you do when you’re not guiding?

Alongside my guiding, I work as a freelance German-English translator.  I am fluent in German – which I am also fully qualified to guide in – and the combination works well as I can do as many tours as possible and take translation work for other times.  When I’m not working I love to read, either novels or books on history and travel.  I also spend a lot of time listening to music – varied styles but rock music is my favourite – and attempting to play the guitar.  I am a keen sports fan, especially ice hockey, which I have been watching since the age of 7, cricket and football.  I try to keep fit by running, swimming and walking.  As you might expect, travel is a big passion and I am always finding new places to explore, in this country and others.

What is your favourite castle?

To be honest, I think that most castles are fantastic places to visit, as they have links to some of the great people and events in history.  Many are also very impressive buildings in scenic locations too. If I had to pick one, however, it would be Kenilworth Castle.  Mainly in ruins, it has enough of its buildings left to retain some of the atmosphere of its glorious past, while its countryside setting and sandstone construction make it extremely picturesque, especially when the sun shines on its walls and makes them glow.  I prefer exploring ruined castles with my imagination and a good guide to visiting better preserved or reconstructed ones with costumed staff and the like, as I think this helps to bring the place to life much more effectively.

And what about stately homes or country houses?

Again, they are fascinating places, as each has its own stories.  While I am keen on what I would call “big history” – kings and queens, great events and so on – my real love is social history, and I am intrigued to discover as much as I can about the people who lived and worked in places, what they might have been like and how they lived.  The best houses manage to convey this effectively through their choice of how they present themselves.  Generally, I tend to prefer smaller ones to the huge palaces, but I have to make one exception here as my absolute favourite is Burghley House near Stamford in Lincolnshire.  Everything about it is impressive, from the architecture to the gardens to the absolutely stunning paintings and wall decorations to the presentation of the house and the family who created it.  Every time I go there, I am amazed all over again and I highly recommend a visit if you haven’t had the chance yet.

Where do you most like to unwind with a well-earned drink after a tour?

My drink of choice is real ale, and I’m fortunate that I get to sample the delights of local pubs and brews throughout England.  It is hard to mention just one favourite but if I had to choose it would be the Red Lion, in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.  It is a small local pub with a long tradition, and serves superb food and a great choice of regional ales.  Our Birmingham Graveyard Ghost Walks finish there too, so I do literally get to unwind and refresh my vocal chords after tours there on quite a regular basis!

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Can anyone join your tours?

blue badgeI offer two types of tours: public and private. The public walking tours are run by me and a colleague, Michael, and take place in Birmingham on Saturdays, and anybody is welcome to join these. You will find details of times and prices at Midlands Discovery Tours. Michael and I also offer public ghost walks in Birmingham, Sutton Coldfield and Warwick and details of these can also be found at Midlands Discovery Tours.

Private walks are ones I have been booked for by a particular group or organisation, and these are limited to people that belong to that particular group.

Anyone can book a private tour – I have done tours for tourist groups, corporate incentive schemes, schools, birthday parties, business trips, office nights out, book clubs and music fans, to name just a few examples – so if this is something that would interest you, get in touch

A Day in the Life of a Blue Badge Tourist Guide

I’m up early because I’m doing a Meet and Greet at Birmingham Airport this morning. I’ll be welcoming a group of 6 people from their flight, making sure that they have no problems, such as lost luggage, and then escorting them to their coach. I’ve already checked that the coach is there, so I’ve got time for a coffee while I wait for the flight to land.

After this I’ll be jumping in my car and heading into Birmingham city centre. I’ve been booked to meet a group from a conference in one of Birmingham’s hotels, and to give them a walking tour of the city, finishing at the restaurant where they will be having lunch.

I’ll grab a quick lunch myself, and then it’ll be back in my car and out to a primary school on the outskirts of the city. The Year 6 children there have been learning about their local area in geography and their teachers have booked me to do a coach tour of the city.

Then it will be back home so that I can pack my case ready for a multi-day tour with a group of German tourists. I will be meeting their coach from the ferry tomorrow and accompanying them for the next five days on a trip that will include Oxford, The Cotswolds and Stratford-upon-Avon. The coach company has chosen me because of my fluent German.

Often this would be the end of my working day, but today is Friday which means that tonight I will be dressing up in a top hat and a long black cloak for a public ghost walk. It will start with a few ghost stories in a city centre coffee shop, and then continue with a 2 mile walk around the city with plenty of stops at haunted buildings, streets and graveyards along the way. We always finish at a haunted pub, where I’ll have another coffee to warm up – I’d love a pint of real ale but I’m driving – and then I’ll pick up a takeaway on the way home. I usually read or watch TV for a while to unwind before bed, but I don’t want too late a night. I shall need to be up early in the morning because it’s a long drive from Birmingham to Harwich.