And here’s a little postscript to this morning’s interview with Simon. He got back to me a few hours later. It was clear he was on a roll. Simon said, “hey, and how about this –– I’ve just got a hot tip from one of my London art contacts. He rang up to tell me about a wonderful new exhibition that’s just opened in a little private gallery in St. James’s. Some things were just meant to be. The fit is perfect for my Village in Piccadilly Walk – it’s right there, practically on my route. So I’ll either be taking them by it – we’ll do some quick en passant window shopping – or I’ll give them very good directions and the strongest possible recommendation at walk’s end that they make their way back there – it’s only a hundred yards or so from where we end. Best possible encore for the walk – stop by that little private gallery and spend half an hour feasting their eyes on 400-year-old masterpieces that they’ll never get another chance to see. It’s completely free to go in. My contact says it’s the best exhibition of its kind to hit London this century. Not to be missed.
“And if we’re honest all the more satisfying because most people will miss it. They’ll miss it because most people don’t venture over the threshold into private art galleries. But trust me, I’m going to make sure my walkers will.”
And what Simon was saying, well, it was of course music to my ears. A classic London Walks impromptu. It absolutely underlined the point made in the interview about the route, about the best possible use of your time. What a great tip. What a bonus. What an afternoon those walkers are going to have tomorrow. And there you’ve got it in its distilled essence. It’s what you get from a great guide. It’s why you get a great guide.