By Jumara Mulcahy
The shift begins with a quick catch up with my peers – discussing the weekly plans; what is left to sort out, and hopefully, how many people we aim to talk to. I’m feeling pretty ambitious today and want to achieve 30 (50 if I manage to get a coach full of people).
I’ve been doing this for two and a half years and the start of the shift always feels like something different. To an extent, each shift does feel brand new. There’s new people to meet, new shops opening up and new facts and stories to absorb. That’s one of my absolute favourite elements of it all. No two days are the same and there is always some excitement around the corner.
I decide to start my shift down Gentleman’s Walk; a very scenic part of the area, where I speak to a very lovely couple from Amsterdam. They tell me how much they’re in love with the city already – having been here for a mere few hours. And there’s so much more to see. I tell them about all the wonderful cafes, perfect for a spot of lunch or a tea break while taking in all the history residing in the atmosphere. The Castle and Cathedral are a must on their To-Do List so I advise they walk down Elm Hill to gain a historical-view of the place. Yet another reason why I love this role! Talking to people is what I’m good at and telling people what I like most about my community and the city I am a part of is the icing on the cake. The couple are in awe of everything I’ve told them and can’t wait to get a move on so I bid them goodbye and really hope to see them again. I know I won’t, but I’ll keep an eye out for them.
After a while, I move towards the Castle via London Street in hope of catching an incoming coach. This place is beautiful anyway, but on a crispy, blue-sky winter’s day, with the strong aroma of coffee coming from to-go cups for those keeping warm - it’s truly magnificent. Walking past Jarrold’s and the beautifully adorned shop windows, smiles and all from the faces I can see – it takes my breath away. Who else can say they’re working when walking around the city, and helping people is their job? I am a very lucky person.
Once I get to the Castle, I see my peers have already got the coach! Timing is everything in this job. As is luck. I go over and see if they need any more maps and assistance but they’ve got it covered. I work with the best team possible. All so genuine and wonderful, sharing the same passion as I do for the role and the city. There, yet again, is another reason to do what I do. Need I give more?
As the clock gets closer to 12.30pm (where the time goes, I know not), I make my way back to The Forum to regroup and discuss the shift over a nice hot cuppa (and some biscuits too, I hope!).
I take the tabard off, and I am me again. Not a City Host who walks around Norwich helping locals and visitors with questions they have about the centre. While I walk back to the bus stop, I notice a group of people with a map looking lost. I go up to them and ask them if they need any help? I am a City Host after all, and who knows Norwich better than one of us? A look of bewilderment strikes them as I look like the average local without the tabard. So I explain who we are and what we do and proceed to help them, looking forward to my next shift of being a City Host.