Unseen Tours' Not-in-a-Pub Quiz

Finding connection through our Not-in-a-Pub quizzes

As we head towards the end of March, I see the shorts-wearers have hit the streets, when only a few weeks ago our Trafalgar Square water nymphs were feeling distinctly chilly.

The fountains at Trafalgar Square

Every day in London is an adventure, weather-wise – don’t let gazing out of a window on to a bright, sunny morning fool you! If you ever find yourself wandering around the fountains, maybe spare a thought for the artesian wells behind and in front of the National Gallery that keep the water flowing.

Despite my groundhog mornings – socks? again? – I’m very fortunate to always find something, somewhere, to focus on, an aim, however tenacious. One of these is capturing particular moments in time. Capturing my reality. I just use my phone camera – I like the element of spontaneity, or maybe I’m just impatient.

During the pandemic, I’ve gained much insight into diverse subjects by attending online talks, whether it’s climate change, food production, privatisation, law….subjects I am interested or involved in. I now feel I have a more in-depth awareness, in both positive and negative ways.

Over the last year, Unseen Tours has been busy making connections, keeping us afloat by launching its online Not-in-a-Pub Quizzes. They are such a fun social event for groups of colleagues or friends and who better than us guides to get creative with the questions! It’s fair to say that my technology skills leave a lot to be desired, but we have all been using our different, transferable skills to make the quizzes a success.

For centuries, London has brought people together from across the world to discuss, observe, laugh and learn….and in a somewhat smaller way this is what our quizzes aim to do, by inviting your imagination to run. 

A springtime stroll along the Thames

It’s the random nature of subjects and individual memories inspired by the seemingly insignificant or a throw away comment or word that may resonate deeply with one individual. A tree, a street, club or café which may be now long gone but others could remember it in a different way, and you can begin to view a place, time or people in a different light. Or just share and enjoy.

Our Not-in-a-Pub Quizzes have helped me maintain my mental health balance, though I, very gratefully, leave my more outgoing colleagues to appear on the screen. I listen and it’s so good to hear, and feel, people getting together, laughing and puzzling, you can feel the warmth. We’ve all been apart for so long. Bring back the hugs! The quizzes have also helped me rethink and get out of my door, when otherwise, I would have just sat in my own small bubble. Walking around locally, I’ve seen familiar Soho faces, no names, but just a look – eyes do say a lot – and a mask-muffled ‘Hi, alright’? can make a lot of difference to the day. 

My neighbourhood, Soho and St Giles, is constantly evolving and I’m always unearthing a new, to me, fact or story. I use these to adapt my guided walks accordingly, but as they have always been very fluid, going with the flow or feel of the group at the time, that just adds to the charm! My City of London walk (coming soon…) will be the same, though lacking in as many familiar faces.

So here’s to the return of frolicking, in our own ways. We keep moving, like the river.

Sending warm wishes to you all, I hope to see some of you soon. To good health and curiosity, from Nic, under a St Giles moon.