Number 45 greeted me with a big smile at Tower Hill tube station on Wednesday night. We were meeting there for a takeaway burrito before joining the Jack the Ripper walking tour of the east end. It was a cold evening, and we considered postponing, but she was told it was more atmospheric in the cold! Right from the start, the energy that came from her made me forget about the cold.
We ate the burritos by the sun dial looking out at the Tower of London. I didn’t recognise it as a sundial, something Rina found hilarious. Her name is Rina, but I had been calling her Eevil Midget up until now. You see, that’s her nick name from her Uni days. ‘Evil’ because she was always playing mischievous tricks with her friends. ‘Midget’ because she is 4ft 11ins & ¾ – technically a midget. That, and her email address and twitter handle include her pseudo name. So, of course we had to do something evil on our date.
The burrito eating went well and we were ready to join the 2hour walking tour. It was the perfect activity for a date with Eevil. She loves discovering the city, and takes part in a hunting-style water pistol game called Street Wars. She also loves photography, telling me about the 6 or 7 cameras she has, her extensive Flickr account and that she takes part in a photography treasure hunt around the City. On the Jack the Ripper walking tour, she was able to see parts of London she had never seen before and take some photos too.
Our tour guide, Steve, added to the atmosphere, he had one of those Sideshow Bob hair cuts, and was great at the East End accents required to tell the stories. We started by seeing a hidden and preserved part of the old City wall. Steve set the scene, London circa 1880, the East End was a slum area full of bars and brothels. He said that around that time there were 80,000 prostitutes in London around then, the same number in the whole of England today. We walked and talked, listening to the stories of the terror that gripped the country during the 3 months in 1888 when 5 women were brutally murdered by a killer that was never caught, and has since been known asJack the Ripper. Eevil is the 45th girl I have written about, give or take, but at times the chat and banter between her and me made this feel like the 45th time I was on a date with her. I bet we looked like we had been hanging out for ages to other couples on the guided tour. I bet we looked the part.
The setting, and the people described immediately reminded me of the amazing artist William Hogarth (who painted these people around this time), and I was delighted and impressed to hear the Eevil knew all about him. She had studied art history in Warrick Uni. I regret not taking Art History when I had the chance. Not only do we both share an interest in Art, but we both have similar jobs in Advertising. Eevil didn’t think that was so unusual when so many in this City have simliar media related jobs. But then, we both have 5 siblings, 1 older, and 4 younger. And we both have moved to London from other counties. Eevil comes from the Philippines and I from Ireland. While you might not think a Filipino girl and Irish guy don’t have much heritage in common, you’d be wrong. Both countries are colonised and Catholic, and known to be warm and friendly nations!
After the tour we went to the Jack the Ripper pub in Shoreditch, The Ten Bells. Over a few warming whiskeys, I teased Eevil about all the people that were going to read this review, and that she should be on her best behaviour. She found my boasting funny, and then told me that she has been blogging since 2005 (that’s a long time to be blogging!). Getting late, I walked Eevil to Liverpool St. tube stating and said good night, thinking to myself I would like to see her again. And the sooner the better.