Tom Hooper is our barrister guide who doubles as a biker. More important than both of those, he’s our jolliest guide. Extremely bright, fun, friendly, assured, armed with all kinds of specialist expertise, he’s a superstar guide, crème de la crème. His professional expertise doesn’t just extend to being a Blue Badge Guide – he’s an Examiner for the Blue Badge course! High wattage, witty, companionable, ridiculously well informed, assured, 5G (that specialist expertise), he’s one of life’s good guys – the platonic ideal of a great guide. Tom guides 30+ different London Walks, among them: Westminster Abbey, Legal London, the National Gallery, Notting Hill Gate & Portobello Road, Westminster at War, the Famous Square Mile, St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Tower of London.
“When you were tugging on their udders were you speaking to your cows in that plummy accent?”
“I was given the job of counting the sheep”
“a cartographic post at the Ministry of Defense”
“if you go to an interview it’s not a good idea to argue with your interviewer”
“that didn’t seem to go down incredibly well”
“Middle Temple Hall was the place where you had to go for your requisite number of dinners”
“that would not be too difficult” [my taking an American visitor to lunch at Middle Temple Hall]
“did they throw you out?”
“sometimes if you are traumatised you don’t remember it afterwards”
“you get ridiculously rich people”
“I found it [the Blue Badge guiding course] more challenging than the Bar course”
“It’s a two-year course, Tom, how did you do it in six months?”
“I’m follicly challenged”
“have sheep featured in your past?”
“I being entirely innocent”
“no guide has a clean slate”
“the complaint about you said ‘there were too many jokes and history shouldn’t be fun'”
“Guilty as charged”
“clearly the idea of going on a walk is not to enjoy it”
“when I watched the inauguration that episode came back”
“I apparently did not realise that I had to let go of the ball”
“Motorcycling has been my biggest hobby”
“you can’t ride bikes and not come off”
“I was riding the bike to court…”
“I slid along the road”
“to the French I say ‘thank you for half our language'”
“thank you for our royal family”
“a pretty good recipe without a sheep in sight”
“I don’t ever read books on London, it’s a bad habit”
Roy’s (Tom’s partner) reaction to this interview: “Kindly he says he enjoyed it. He says we came across as having a friendly chat and that although we were trying to be serious our mischievous natures couldn’t be repressed. He suggests that it showed we get on well. He is worried about your sheep background.”
Just tuned into your podcast with Blue Badge guide and biker, Barrister Tom while baking cakes in the USA. Thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Loved the banter between you and hearing about London and all about Tom’s journey from Cornwall to London. Looking forward to more!
I was feeling a little sheepish about posting a comment, but I found the interview udderly fascinating, I wasn’t quite sure at times who was doing the interviewing!
So glad you did!!!
What a wonderful hour this has been! Thoroughly enjoyed hearing Tom my favorite biker, Barrister, guide – Go Hooper!!!!! Looking forward to any virtual tour hosted by Tom Hooper!!!
Very interesting meet your guide interview with an expat Cornishman!!!
Very interesting and meet your guide interview with an expat Cornishman who hasn’t pulled the wool over our eyes.
Great interview. Having been with Tom on two 10 day bus tours, I still learned some new things about him. One thing that didn’t come out in this interview was that Tom received quite a bit of coverage in the press when he (being an experienced Cornish farm boy) spotted a sheep stuck on its back in a field in the rain. He stopped the tour bus so he could right the sheep. One of the tour members took a video and Tom became famous (at least in some circles). Apparently a soaking wet sheep cannot right itself if on its back. Although Tom is a master of the pun, he totally missed the opportunity to refer to the wet male sheep as a hydraulic ram.
BTW the interviewer was very nice, but for a “Wisconsin boy”, he had no Wisconsin accent.
Hello Den. Yes, it was udderly udderly wasn’t it. Full agreement about the “who was doing the interviewing” matter.
Hello Sue. So glad you liked it. He’s such fun. You’re permanently in stiches when you hang with Tom. And all the rest of it is there as well – he’s a wonderful human being.