Well this is my final blog post for the year. It’s been a busy old year with over 116,000 readers at the time of writing so thank-you everyone for giving me reasons to carry on blogging and sharing my questionable wisdom, hidden areas of history and occasional tourist related posts.
2017 saw the release of my latest book, Straight From The Horses Mouth in the early summer and yet I’m fortunate that it is only one of the highlights of my year.
On top of being featured in a feature in the prestigious Harrods Aviation magazine, undoutably the most exciting moment and the only one I have any pride in whatsoever (as I don’t ever feel proud of any so-called achievement) is that mad weekend I was contacted by the CommonWealth War Graves Commission and went over to the Western Front to do some filming with about 6 hours notice.
Co-incidentally WW1 almost bookended the year when I was invited to give a reading in November at our village war memorial. I’ve never thought of myself as an important figure of the community before and I hate public speaking and yet afterwards had a line of people wanting to speak to me and others contacting by email afterwards.
It’s also been another fantastic year for Ye Olde England Tours it is no longer just myself but now a growing team of us and we have given several hundred tours in 2017 and now heading towards 200 5 star reviews on various websites. I’ve only had 5 or 6 days off all year including weekends and this special Christmas week alone we have 16 tours and I’m doing 6 of them myself including tours on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Years Day.
I’ve given tours to some incredibly nice and interesting people this year, heart surgeons, special operations people, TV producers and writers, global musicians, education and corporate groups and so much more. It’s been particularly gratifying given the 2 or 3 sad events in London this year, all of which I was actually close by just before or after. Happily business is booming and if 2018 is in anyway better than 2017 then things will keep on a strong upward trend.
Not being one who celebrates New Year as I find each one to be broadly as bad as the previous; I still have a few goals for 2018. I hope to have one or possibly two or three new books out next year. In the summer I’ve booked a trip to walk Hadrians Wall, the Roman wall that used to separate what was vaguely England and Scotland. Then in September I’m hoping to visit Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. If you’ve never been there then that is why I want to go as I love visiting rarely visited places. Apparently only 7,000 British visit Georgia every year, less still for Armenia and I believe only 3,000 to Azerbaijan which out of 66 million people is hardly any at all. It will also let me tick off a few places from my 100 Places I Want To See Before I Die Khor Virap Monastery which makes for a good read if you’re planning your holidays.
Similarly out of all the tours I enjoy, my favourites are taking people to places that no-one else goes too. You might remember my post on Christmas Eve about my first ever Secret Sacred Gardens Of London well, I’m glad that the very happy visitor left me a 5 star review for that as well.
What am I most looking forward to though, having Tuesday 2nd January off… having worked all Christmas and New Year, I think I deserve a day off as I might not get another for months.
I hope your year has been a good one and if you have any suggestions at all over what you’d like to see in my blog in 2018. And if I have to say it…. Happy New Year 🙂