Monday, 30 April 2007

Descent towards paradise - # 93

Having admired the "Drebbel" yesterday, we now descend the stairs out of Heron Sq towards the river, and come to this fine view of Richmond Bridge almost as it must have looked in 1780. At this point I wanted to continue into a debate on the Government's current policies on Alcohol and Gambling and compare the situation today with Hogarth's painting series on alcohol, gambling and loose living in 18th century Britain. But Mrs ..'roony told me that this was too complicated and that I should just shut up and make the posting. However, there are parallels, and this river front is now a prime area of entertainment and alcohol consumption. It's worth discussing, so I might get back to it in another way, later. (I'm sorry about the cars in the pictures. They are not permitted except for exceptional business needs in day's nearly impossible to ban them totally.)

Sunday, 29 April 2007

The "dreaded" Drebbel - # 92

Let's dive into this archway that takes us off Hill Rise into Heron Sq, down towards the river. Lead on!
What is THAT!!!?????
In 1620 a Dutchman named Drebbel came to England and sold his concept for a "submarine boat". Records were lost, but legends remained strong. It was claimed that the boat had been successfully rowed under water from central London down river to the Navy HQ at Greenwich where the King had witnessed it. Recently the old account books were found in the Public Records Office and, in 2003, using the details and designs held in the old record books, the boat builder based beside Richmond Bridge made up this replica of "The Drebbel" - the world's first known submarine. Exactly how Mr. Drebbel designed the air supply is not clear....but it is clear that he deserves the credit.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

Doors and windows 1 - # 91

Don't worry! I'm not going to belabour you day after day with an endless display of architectural shots. But Richmond is a treasure trove, and one of the key values of City Daily Photo is that it helps you notice what's happening around you. So please feast your eyes on doorways of Ormond Rd. It's typical 18th Century, and was probably noticed by Karl Moritz as he strolled towards Richmond Bridge. He would have marvelled as much as I do.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Spatial transposition at the speed of thought - # 90

I like the way that my shot of the bus stand advert for Gdansk in Poland shows the Polish Street (with a very un-Polish red head??) alongside the Richmond scene of people waiting for their bus. One suddenly thinks - "Where are we, exactly?" I am absolutely delighted to see the Poles promoting themselves like this. It's a very new departure 17 years after the collapse of communism. I'm a great fan of the country - and a piece of Chopin on the record player is a true delight.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

The cafes of Richmond 9 - # 89

We are nipping back into town to enjoy the street life and urban bustle again. Here is an old favourite Le Parisien. It benefits from a sunny position and a great site ideal for "people watching".

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

The generations - # 88

It's a quick snap-shot of a moment in time. I passed on my bike, saw the scene and snapped. No time to look for the clever angles, the "grovel on the ground", the "great diagonal". I don't know if these are young mothers or nurse maids with their charges. The heavily loaded buggies put me a little in mind of a military scene, and no doubt the boys will go through their stage of wanting to be soldiers and the little girls will want to be nurses. Like all children they love to watch the horses. What is it about little girls wanting horses? Is it a kind of control freakery? Look at me, slip of a thing, in control of this throbbing surging monster? I had a happy thought, quietly to myself, when I saw and snapped. It's a warm domestic scene. Who would know that the Monster Mega-Metropolis "London" is so close? Will this moment be burned on the mind of a child and remembered for the rest of his life?

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Service Industry - "ye olde style" - # 87

After enjoying the rides and the Merry-go-Round at the week-end we could retire to the New Inn. This building is over 200 yrs old, but there has been an inn serving travellers at this spot for about 500 years.

Monday, 23 April 2007

Cave of delights - # 86

Look back to Post # 22 from last February and you will see again the magnificent Thames skiff. Here's a snap of the interior of this craftsman's heaven. Note the tiny white mug half hidden on the bench.......that's essential for moments when ispiration is needed!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Merry-Go-Round - # 85

This week-end a small travelling fair came to Ham Common between Richmond and Kingston upon Thames. This magnificent hand painted Merry-Go-Round was built in about 1889, and originally steam driven. The superb air-pipe organ, built in Belgium in 1920, had a wide variety of "Olde Time" and modern music all printed out onto huge punched cards: truly a miracle of technology and hand craftsmanship that brought fun and enjoyment to kids and "techno-freaks" like me.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Oh look dear! It's one of those new buses! - # 84

In early April (? ;-)) London Transport introduced a new extra long bus. I saw one for the first time last week-end. The gentleman seems to be very impressed and excited by the new vision of urban efficiency, but the lady beside him seems to have kept it in its correct perspective (?). ;-) Looking back at Post # 19 I can see that I really must get my camera checked ;-).

Happy week-end to you all!!! Ho, Ho.

Friday, 20 April 2007

I 'ad that blue geezer from Dubai in my cab the other day - # 83

The London Licensed Black Cab driver must acquire a detailed knowledge of the streets before he can get a licence You are guaranteed a good conversation on any subject thanks to a cabby's enormous knowledge of everything which he gains from talking to his selection of world famous passengers. On entering a cab the conversation might open with "Ah, a camera! Keen photographer are we? Well I 'ad that blue geezer from Dubai in my cab the other day........" and so on. Keen followers of City Daily Photo can now rush to Dubai Daily Photo to feast their eyes on "that blue geezer".

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Part of the problem or part of the solution? - # 82

Ageing European societies need immigration to help generate economic capacity to pay taxes that support ageing indigenous populations. But another government report has said that pressures caused by immigration have caused greater child poverty and increased the problems of inequality, thus spoiling Government's efforts to address these issues in Britain. In London and the southeast it's obvious that immigrants are absolutely essential. Go into any cafe, hotel, or call a plumber or an electrician - you'll be served by an bright, pleasant person from abroad: the finance houses operating in the City of London are full of foreign professional workers.........but elsewhere in Britain, the immigrant will probably be poor, and unskilled, and forbidden to work because of "the rules". Frankly he is an unwanted nuisance, rather than a welcome friend. It's not easy to run a country and be fair to everyone.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Old tricks & new ways to turn a penny - # 81

Warmer, sunnier weather has encouraged and enabled traders to make productive use of the space in front of their shops. The Natural Cafe (Post # 31) has set up some tables and started to promote their delicious rustic bread specialities. The pavement is narrow and the road is busy, so I'm sure that there's a delicate balance of things to settle to make it possible and successful in our modern, regulated, society. It's an enjoyable and welcome new sight on the street.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Just larking about - # 80

Last Saturday's record hot April temperature did wonders for the British "Street Photo Opportunity". These young boys were like the cubs of any other animal - just larking about and having a really good tussle and a good laugh. Perhaps I could have cropped the photo a bit more, but I wanted to keep the whole scene in context, full of people enjoying themselves in the town.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Sunday, 15 April 2007

The cafes of Richmond 8 - # 78

The Hollyhock Cafe in Terrace Gardens has the most beautiful outlook of all the Richmond cafes. Looking across the lawns and the formal flower beds you can see the Thames and take in the sweep of the world famous view. Do click on my Karl Moritz link on the right and find his Richmond section. A lot of what he says is still true today.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Do birds have values? - # 77

This heron occupies the territory along the Richmond quay side and around. He is very confident and seems to be quite happy to display himself. He knows that if anyone gets too close he can easily fly off and sit on a boat at a safe distance. I wonder what he thinks about himself and his world. Is he aware of himself as we are? Watching the birds and animals that share our "urbanised space" I am fascinated to see how they operate and behave. They are certainly not stupid! I once watched a crow fold an extra long piece of nesting material into three too make it a convenient size to fly off with, exactly as I would have folded a long piece of string to put away in my tool box.

Friday, 13 April 2007

Crown of Spring - # 76

Crown Imperials flanking the steps up to the main door at Ham House.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Spring in the city - # 75

.....turning a sharp bend in the road I was suddenly amazed by the scene. The natural beauty of this grouping of trees is truly remarkable. The cedar tree is probably 300 yrs old. Spring has dressed the others in their full blossom of red, white, and leaves of soft green. This is the A307, a very narrow but extremely busy urban road linking Richmond to Kingston, at the point where it passes the Fox and Duck pub and the long "Eastern Avenue" approach to Ham House.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The cafes of Richmond 7 - # 74

Fortunately, there is a Starbuck's immediately next door to the Russell and Bromley shoe shop. How convenient!!!..............and they have wi-fi.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Desire v Common Sense - # 73

...............a/k/a "Helping your Daughter to buy Shoes". Guess who chose the red ones. ;-)

Monday, 9 April 2007

A walk around Richmond Park 7 - # 72

The Park is home to red deer and fallow deer. Here we see fallow deer grazing on the lower meadow land on the north side near Roehampton Gate. Look carefully at the centre of the herd and you will see an all white albino. I was surprised.

This lower, flat area is loved by model plane enthusiasts and a special flying site has been provided. I crashed my radio controlled glider here. I tried to dump speed when landing. I tried a controlled stall, but over-corrected the recovery, and learned a nasty more nice model glider!!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

A walk around Richmond Park 6 - # 71

Another gem in the centre of the Park is the approx 8 hectare (17 acres?) Isabella Plantation. This photo is not a special set piece - it is simply a typical shot of anywhere in the garden. The damp acid soil is planted with rhododendrons, heathers, azaleas and there are numerous small drainage streams where beautiful water and shade-loving plants flourish. The clearings have ponds full of Mallard and Muscovy ducks and coots. Soon the azaleas will appear....the colour display will be stunning. You can only reach the Isabella Plantation by walking some miles across the park (carefully passing the herds of red and fallow deer), but there is special provision for cars to bring disabled people right up to it, and electric powered chairs are provided. This is one of London's "must see" spots if you are a long-stay visitor.

Saturday, 7 April 2007

A walk around Richmond Park 5 - # 70

Pen Ponds are in the centre of the Park, and naturally fed by spring water. I could not resist showing two photos, both taken on the same day. I wanted to show how the sun and sky play on the pond and give magnificent natural effects. Brookville DP and St. Margarets at Cliffe DP will appeciate the birds, but I cannot rise to their level of skill capturing them for you.

Friday, 6 April 2007

A walk around Richmond Park 4 - # 69

We have now moved into the very centre of the Park. There are no set paths. You can roam freely, but now and then come across a request to be more careful. This particular area of acid grassland is important for the larks. Come up here in high Summer and here them singing as they climb up and up into the sky. Here's a link to help find out more about skylarks in Britain:

Thursday, 5 April 2007

A walk around Richmond Park 3 - # 68

We have climbed to the top of the ridge a moved north, half way along it towards Richmond. Whatever the weather, the view is spectacular and dramatic. You can see west and southwest "to the ends of the earth". Here we can see the chalk hills of the South Downs looking southwest towards the "Dorking Gap" - a strategic gap in the hills that is the site of the town of Dorking. I chose this dark, cloudy scene, taken on a cold, windy day to give you something less sweet and mild!. I was glad to get home afterwards!

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

A walk in Richmond Park 2 - # 67

Moving away from the quiet pool we can either go north along the bottom of this ridge, or up it onto the plateau of the park. Walk north (straight ahead in this picture) and you will come eventually to the Dysart Arms (Post # 48), contimue along the foot path across Petersham Meadow (Post # 1) and then continue along the river bank into the town seeing Post # 17 as you go......that's about 2 miles of park, meadow and river.
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Tuesday, 3 April 2007

A walk around Richmond Park 1 - # 66

Look at London on Google Earth. When still very high in the sky you will see a huge green area in the southwestern corner. That is the Royal Park of Richmond. It is 8 miles (13 km in circumference) and full of wild life and different habitats. This is the pond at the entrance known as Ham Gate. The photo was taken at about 07.00 hrs two weeks ago. You can see another shot of the Park in Post # 4 - that was taken around Christmas about two or three years ago.

Monday, 2 April 2007

Spring breaks out - # 65

The "Snake's Head" frtillarii (fritillaria meleagris) are looking especially good in the Wilderness Garden at Ham House this week. Be quick, or they will be gone.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

Twickenham riverside scene - # 64

One week ago I crossed via the "500 year long queue" (see earlier post - # 5) to go to the Farmers' Market in Twickenham (post - # 57). The temperature was dropping, the cold wind getting stronger and I rushed back along the riverbank to the ferry. But this scene forced me to stop and admire it. The lack of sunshine makes it a bit dull in colour, but otherwise I find it delightful - an 18th Century house, a late Victorian gas street lamp, the high garden wall and the climber in full, but too early, bloom (a clear sign of climate change!). There are many scenes like this around "London's Arcadia", and as you can see from the official web-site the restoration plan, which will take many, many years, is in full swing.