New Year Discoveries in Borough Market

Hosting the second, ‘New Year, New You’ Street Wisdom Walk in Borough Market on Friday 12th Jan, I was joined by a fabulous group of six, who brought along a really wonderful range of questions.

Two antipodean friends, working in London on short-term visas, wanted to know if London was a place to stay for a while, or if there was time to develop a long-term relationship. Someone wanted to know whether to fully commit to a charitable venture in Nepal – Girls Empowered By Travel, and another whether to ask someone out on a date. One participant had the perfect question for a New Year adventure, wanting to know what 2018 would bring….

As usual the market and its surroundings provided plenty of inspiration – whether it was drawn from the wonderful sculpture by the late Alan Collins, the plaque identifying the location of Old London Bridge, a fish and prawn wrap or the (now famous) Take Courage sign.

I was particularly moved by a description of two seagulls flying over the river. One flying low and flapping frantically to stay airborne, and another effortlessly soaring high as if on an imaginary thermal. The message from this was clear – how can we be more like the soaring seagull, flying high and freely above the buffeting fluctuations of everyday life?

Those looking for relationship advice and nourishment, were heartened by the abundance of many loving families and couples strolling in an around the market; and this provided inspiration for one participant to send an email asking a close friend out on a date. Here was a thought that had been brewing for some time, but it was Street Wisdom that had provided the key prompt. Could we perhaps be looking at our first Street Wisdom wedding…?

A great Street Wisdom observation was provided by Sarah, one of our Australians working in London and wondering about the future. Walking past the Shard, St Pauls, Tate Modern and the Tower of London, she realised that London is an amazing place to be, for however long it lasts and living for ‘the now’ and savouring the moment, is the key to happiness.

by Nick Hammond

A Street Wisdom Wander in Borough Market

A Street Wisdom Wander in Borough Market.  8th September 2017.

Despite the rather damp weather on this Friday morning, we still had nine intrepid and inquisitive wanderers gather together, at one of the entrances to Borough Market, London.

This is the third time I have run a Street Wisdom walk in Borough Market, one of my very favourite places. The terrorist attacks of a few months ago were terrible and tragic, but in the aftermath, it is heart-warming to see the market so busy and buzzing.

All markets are wonderful places and their importance to individuals and communities, was nicely summarised by this piece in the Borough Market Magazine – The Social Life Of Markets. ‘In an era of food deliveries, click and collect and supermarket self-checkouts; everyday personal interactions that used to punctuate our lives aren’t nearly as frequent as they once were. In fact, it is quite possible, in a city packed with millions of people, to go for long periods of time without ever really talking to anyone.’

It was surrounded by this welcoming crowd and community that we gathered opposite Monmouth Coffee shop on Friday morning.

Our group had come in from all over London – North, South, East and West. A few had arrived with set questions that they wanted answers to, but some simply wanted to wander and see what the street had to say.

One of our group was looking to develop her business, which provides environments for carers with young children to gather together. Seeing groups of old and young people on the street, suggested the idea of old and young people meeting together, to the benefit of both. This could be done in old peoples’ homes, which would be affordable for low income families and provide a positive experience for the residents. What wonderful and inspiring idea!

Another wanderer was taking a work break, looking for new opportunities and perhaps a new direction. Seeing a large amount of green space suggested fresh opportunities, whilst a large sign declaring – ‘TAKE COURAGE’, instilled a sense of purpose.

Another person, dealing with writer’s block, found inspiration from a gargoyle carving demonstration, taking place at Southwark Cathedral. These stone masons were creating amazing sculptures from featureless stone blocks. If they could achieve this kind of transformation, then filling pages with words must also be achievable.

Another wanderer was looking to manage different life opportunities, following the conclusion of major exams and changes to their personal life. Although interesting new opportunities were apparent, there were so many it was proving difficult to prioritise. In this instance, benefit was derived from the ‘slow right down’ street tuning task and the exhortation to move so slowly that ‘we could feel the hairs on our heads growing slower and slower…’. This person felt the overall result was ‘seeing everything in front of me’ and ‘enjoying each available aspect.’

One individual, also looking at new opportunities, was seeking a path that appealed to them (alone) rather than one chosen, because it was respected by other family members. 

There was a great deal of interest in repeating the Street Wisdom experience, either in groups or individually. We discussed ways that exercises could be done one, two at a time, to deliver shorter but effective experiences; and also how people could run events of their own.

Finally, I loved observations of Street Wisdom as a kind of ‘moving meditation’ and a technology that allows us to powerfully and effectively connect the present, past and future. What is now, what has been and what is yet to come. #loveborough

by Nick Hammond


A new year adventure in London’s Borough Market

We decided to run a  Street Wisdom Adventure at the end of the first week of January, as we knew this would be a time when people would have some big questions in mind and would be looking for some big answers. 

Sandie (@dilgers) my very wonderful co-facilitator and I, met our Twelve Adventurers opposite Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market. The day was very ‘full’ of weather – both foul and fair.  We started with lovely crisp sunshine, followed by heavy rain and then a dry spell ; all with heavy cumulus clouds chasing each other across the sky above our heads.

We had lots of big questions being asked and it was clear, when we met for our round up discussion, that a good deal of inspiration had been gained and some big answers found.

There were plenty of goosebumps created as immediate and powerful connections were made . The smells ,sights and sounds of the Market as it set-up for Friday lunch , provide a rich territory for stimulus and inspiration.

One participant wanted to build better relationships within the family and became aware , inspired by the sight of surrounding scaffolding, that the key was to build events and activities that would enable this. For another person, looking to start a new business, the sight of office workers at computers was a reminder about getting the set-up and structure of a business right.

The sight of a deflated children’s balloon, children on a school trip and a building housing a charity for adolescent girls; created some great connections around belonging,  working with young people and the nature of home. One person felt the process was made more powerful by simply raising his head, looking up,  and seeing the world from a uplifted perspective.

All in all a great gang, a great adventure and a wanderful way to start 2016.

Nick Hammond

A Street Wyesdom adventure at the Hay Festival

So this was the plan, right? I agreed with Street Wiz Mark , that we would attempt the, not insignificant, challenge of running a Street Wisdom Adventure during the Hay Festival…

 You are probably already on board with the difficulties that might have arisen. First and foremost (not withstanding the powerful allure of a SW stroll) there is a LOT going on in Hay during the Festival. People overfill their diaries with the sumptuous cultural cornucopia on offer. They dash madly from a lecture on late Byzantine art to an interactive exercise in philosophy combined with t’ai chi (or something similar)
It can be hard to stand out in this kind of context…and so it proved. This Street Wisdom Adventure didn’t quite take off in the traditional way and although we did not manage to prise any people away from their Festival fayre; Street Wisdom delivered in exactly the way that is normally does – unexpectedly. And this is how –
  • Rachel ( Mark’s wife) ran into a very old  friend, Penny, that she had not seen for over 10 years. Someone indeed, with whom she had crossed America, in her youth. Needless to say,  If we hadn’t set off on our Adventure, then they would not have met.
  • As we walked the beautiful streets of Hay, handing out leaflets (I had never been before) we met and talked to a large number of  people. It seems everyone is friendly in Hay!
  • At the Festival itself, we listened to a wide range of wonderful talks – from Eddie Butler (Rugby author and commentator), Victoria Hislop and from a Curator of the British Museum talking about their new exhibition : ‘Defining Beauty – the body in Ancient Greek Art’
  • Finally, we were blown away by the amazing The Unthanks in the evening concert. The trumpet solo on Mount The Air was sensational.
Thanks to Mark, his lovely wife Rachel and their two daughters, for kindly putting me up in their beautiful and peaceful home.
The big (and rather marvellous) learning from my Grand Street Adventure to Hay, is that Street Wisdom doesn’t always deliver in the way you expect; but it never disappoints.
Here’s to the next Adventure!!
Nick Hammond

A Street Wisdom Adventure – ‘squared’ in Soho

Our session last week in Soho Square involved a group of 5 lovely people Charlotte,Annette, Keiko, Jamie and Ian.

Despite the rain at the start, everyone was keen to get involved and really embraced the introduction and ‘street tuning’ exercises. The sun came out ( as if on order ) as the group headed off on their Street Quests, before we met at a local coffee house to discuss what they had all discovered.

There were some really interesting themes. One of my favourite lines was – ‘the importance getting lost before you can find what you are looking for’. One of the group, looking for a possible change of direction in life, saw a number of resonant signs and notices, whilst another literally bumped into an old acquaintance who works in a field that she is looking to move into ( coincidence….?). One member of the group loved the ‘permission just to wander’ and find new and interesting passageways that lead off, oft travelled thoroughfares.

Everybody felt the Street listening to them and their questions, and although not all received specific responses to their questions; the Street gave everybody plenty to ponder, the chance to look at the world in a different way and a relaxed and soulful start to the day.

Nick Hammond @digital_filter

Nick Hammond, May23rd London

The Question I wanted an answer to –

‘How do I find the courage to do what I love, all of the time?‘

(or..increase the time I spend running Creative Thinking workshops, so that this becomes the thing that I do)


As we began, we saw the start of the Walking for Homeless People – Annual Pilgrimage, on the steps of St Martin in the Field. A pretty inspirational start to the day !!


I spoke with Pascal, busking in Trafalgar Square

I spoke to him because he looked like he had the conviction to follow his dreams.
He was inspirational – he talked about the positive power you create for yourself (and for other people) when you follow your dream


St James Park

I paused in St James’s Square

Despite having worked in London for 26 years , I was last in this garden 24 years ago

I saw that some parts of the garden were carefully tended and others left to grow wild. This meant to me that some plans need to considered carefully and other times, you just have ‘to go for it’


White Van

Inspiration from the White Van Man

Working on their own and without a company structure to support them. They just get on and do , what they do.



Inspired by Napoleon III

Who lived off St James’s Square prior to the 1848 Revolution and his return to Paris in that year. I imagine he must have felt a fair bit of excitement, energy (and some trepidation) in this house !!




Look down

Looking down, instead of Looking up

I have always sought a fresh perspective by ‘looking up’ in cities (this thought inspired my website – but this time I looked down. I found it helped focus my thoughts really well





different senses

Using Different Senses

Instead of looking and listening, I tried touching things. Perhaps the most under used Sense? This made me more sensitive to, and more aware of, my surroundings and my thoughts


Stephen Wiltshire MBE

Stephen Wiltshire MBE

Walking in a quiet arcade off Piccadilly, I found the gallery of Stephen Wiltshire. He paints marvellous, detailed pictures after seeing a location for a brief period of time only

On the video running in the window was the wonderful quote –

‘Find what you are best at… and do it all the time’

Stephen Wiltshire MBE 2








Art from Afganistan

First World Problems

Passing an art gallery focusing on Art from Afghanistan, I was reminded of wider problems in the world and how lucky we are – to express ourselves and pursue our dreams






Finding Space

Finding Space in the City

I learnt I could do this on a busy street or in an open place – It’s all about finding  space in one’s mind

Nick Hammond

Finding Time in the City

It is possible to take time out of the hurly burly , get some peace and be creative. Street Wisdom only lasted 2 hours but I felt I had been away for ages



What else did I learn?

(some of these from the fab post session in Grace Bar on Great Windmill St)

Grace Bar

  • Cities are not about buildings, but about the people who move between them
  • Everyone is on the move in cities. By standing still, even for a short while, you notice so much more
  • I started by looking at the buildings but ended up looking at the people – they are so much more interesting !!
  • Back streets are much more interesting than main streets
  • The initial simple ‘street sensitisation’ excercises really worked. By the time we addressed our individual questions, I felt relaxed and confident about asking the Street for answers.
  • I can really see how the process boosts sensitivity, awareness and our ability to solve problems

Go on a Street Wisdom session!!

I really can’t recommend it enough.

Something pretty special happened to me out there.

Nick Hammond @digital_filter ;