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Blue Badge- London
Blue Badge - SE England
I was born near Tunbridge Wells in Kent and have travelled widely but still live in the county of my birth. Prior to qualifying as a guide I had spent several years working as a holiday rep and tour manager, looking after English-speaking tourists in Europe. Nowadays, in addition to guiding, I enjoy working as a lecturer on cruise ships, and have accompanied cruises to Scandinavia, the Mediterranean, the Canary Islands, Belgium, Germany and the Caribbean. My travels have taken me to some incredible places, including the Galapagos Islands, Bhutan and the island of Montserrat, where I was one of the first overseas visitors admitted to the ruins of the former capital, Plymouth, devastated by the Soufrière volcano eruption in 1995 and off-limits for many years. I have family in New Zealand and visit that beautiful country every few years.
I have always loved history and became intrigued by old churches when aged about six: my parents gave me a Ladybird Book on Churches & Cathedrals and I soon learned to tell the difference between Romanesque and Gothic architecture. Historic churches continue to fascinate me: when driving around the country I frequently make unscheduled stops whenever I see an old church! Living on the Kent coast I am within easy reach of many other amazing buildings, ranging from Roman forts to Martello Towers. I never tire of taking people to the wonderful castles at Dover, Hever and Walmer.
Whilst I am also a fan of buses and coaches (naturally), I enjoy travelling by train, and have escorted a number of trips to the Bluebell, Spa Valley and Kent & East Sussex Railways. I’ve written a book - “Single Track Obsession” - about my favourite railway journeys, in addition to a novel, “A Coach Load of Chaos”, published in 2008, which draws on my experiences as a tour manager. My own place in railway history is that I was the very last person to buy a return ticket from North Weald station when London Transport closed the Epping - Ongar line in 1994!
When not guiding, I enjoy researching my own family's history, reading, walking, wild water swimming (occasionally with dolphins!) and adding to my collection of squashed pennies - the elongated coins that you get from machines at numerous places of interest!