Sunday, 30 September 2007

Damp air, mud, puddles, dead leaves, reflections and moodiness- # 246

Well, as the old English saying goes: "Mustn't grumble". Or as Shakespeare wrote: "Nothing's so bad as thinking makes it so".

I hope that on the whole I'm going to give some pleasure with my "impressions of Autumn", even if yesterday's "nasty orange beermat" caused some upsets. I was very pleased until you all pointed it out to me. Now I'm all miserable, and left with a sense of failure where achievement once was.

Here is the edge of the "Heron's Pond" shown a couple of days ago. Some of it is reflection, and some is "below the surface" get your poetic and interpretive temperaments bent around that!

Saturday, 29 September 2007

Autumnal refelction - # 245

As nights draw in and the weather gets chillier it's time to seek the cosier atmospheres of "the great indoors", but also to appreciate the natural colours of frosts, mists, damp air, and the colours of autumn leaves. This is an opportunity to experiment with reflections and colours discovered around Richmond upon Thames.

The Queen Victoria is a small, intimate "one room" pub on Hill Rise - being in the bar is like being in your own cosy livingroom 100 years ago. I prefer the colour photo, but found it hard to choose, so I've also included the B&W version and left the decision to you. Which one do you like? Assuming you like them at all!

Friday, 28 September 2007

His Lordship and his ladies- # 244

The rutting season is beginning in Richmond Park. The stags have already staked out their areas and can been seen guarding their ladies.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Hints of Autumn- # 243

There's already a nip in the air, and the ground has become very dry. Leaves are turning yellow. This Heron is in his usual perch above "his" pond.

The picture's not pin sahrp. I've cropped it a bit, and had to zoom in to enlarge the Heron: and I tweaked the colour contrasts to boost the autumnal look, but on the whole, that's how things are looking now in Richmond Park. I need a longer lens to capture this bird in his element.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The global village - # 242

Today I'll conclude the short visit to Southall .

I'll reflect on the so called global economy as seen in two beautifully decorated Indian ladies in a British High Street surveying the agency that offers global instant money transfers.

In the late 1580s Queen Elizabeth 1 sent a letter to the Mughal Ruler of India in which she expressed her hope that trade would develop rapidly between our two countries......and so it did. By 1610 the East India Company was established and the story goes on from there.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Idols and images - # 241

India is truly a land of colour, as much in the mind as in the flesh. This display of images in a Southall supermarket says it all. Travellers and invaders have been impressed by Indian philosophies over thousands of years.

By the way: to those who placed a question yesterday, about the's "East meets West and triumphs".

Monday, 24 September 2007

'phoning home - # 240

Our short visit to Southall, and tribute to India will soon end.

On the main shopping street you immediately notice the number of shops and small street tables set out for the convenient sale of low cost international phone cards. The destinations read like an early 20th century British schoolboy's thriller novel of "daring do" and evoke camel trains crossing vast deserts and bold young secret agents crossing the Khyber Pass. Today, all of these places are accessible by mobile phone and conversation is a way for astute traders to make money. The Indian community and IT/computing seem to be made for each other.

I was struck by the lady's combination of traditional dress and western jeans and fashionable block high heels.

The colourful metal shutters on the shop windows and the number of small private shops (as opposed to larger brand named chain stores) are more reminiscent of "far away" than the usual British High Street.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The Himalaya Palace - # 239

Continuing or little "sidestep" up to the immigrant settlement of Southall -we discover the breathtaking Himalaya Palace Cinema. The 1930s cinema was recently restored and is now the ideal place for "Bollywood" movies. Currently showing is "Marigold - where East meets West".

Saturday, 22 September 2007

Good Morning, old friend!- # 238

Two very distinguished Sikh gentlemen greet each other and chat in Southall. This is one of my favourite snaps.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Bridal jewelry, India style - # 237

My snap through the shop window fails to do justice to the magnificent creations on display. No price tickets were attached.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

All our drivers wear collar and tie - # 236

We continue the celebration of India and Indians in Southall.

The Southall coach company Dhillon's has a fine reputation for running immaculate new vehicles and providing customers with what they want.

Nevertheless, being a "collar and tie" Englishman, I was taken aback by the site of this magnificent set of grey whiskers behind the wheel.

So it's clear: hire Dhillon's to transport your "collar and tie" Japanese business visitors - or, if your granny from the Punjab is on her first trip to England, hire Dhillon's to meet her at the airport. She will feel comfortable and at home.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Girls love bangles- # 235

Here's a shop selling everything that is deeply loved by the female of the species! Look at the colourful rack of bracelets so well displayed as if it is a demonstration of the light spectrum! Look at the necklaces, and the hair clips!

Indian ladies have always known how to dress up; and the same can be said of ladies all over the world. Southall highstreet is full of shops catering to the tastes of the ladies.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

The march of life - # 234

The busy pavement scene in Southall. I chose black and white because I wanted to focus on the busy walking. The vibrant colour I mentioned ealier is still there. It's anything but drab!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Southall, and a celebration of India cont'd........- # 233

Once again, it's all about colour. A Sikh trader sets out his display of toys and personal knick knacks, and bright wrist watches in Southall.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

Just keep walking - # 232

We are in Southall, near London.

(the photo is in the style of and a tribute to the, currently resting, Dubai Daly Photo published by DXBluey)

Saturday, 15 September 2007's all about colour - # 231

There's little that is "aesthetic" about the physical structure of the town of Southall, but the Indians have brought their own magic. It's all about colour - vibrant colour! You first notice it in the vegetable displays. Not only are they a little bit exotic for the traditional English "northern climate" eye, but they are strikingly colourful: absolutely dazzling.

Friday, 14 September 2007

(Belated) welcome to Southall- # 230

Back in August I wanted to feature the celebrations of 60 years of Independence for India and Pakistan. I lost the photos in a computer accident and have been unable to recover them.

So, here is my belated tribute to India and Pakistan via a new set of photos. The weather was a bit grey but nevertheless I still captured the colour of Southall.

Southall is a town in the western suburbs of London, close to Heathrow Airport where the population is, as far as one can tell, almost 100% Punjabi. As an Englishman, walking down the street gives you the feeling you are in Amritsar, not London.

As you can see, even the railway station has a sign written in an Indian script.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Bar on the Titanic? - # 229

I had it in mind to talk about the creation of atmosphere, illusions, fantastically evocative and well crafted pictures of Florentine bankers/accountants, and Jack Vettriano.

But some days ago Richard at pointed out a wonky horizon. Since then I have become over-sensitised to this issue and have to admit that suddenly this photo, so evocative, so meaningful, so cleverly contrived, now makes me feel rather queasy.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Renewing the life cycle- # 228

A few weeks ago I showed this view in the fog:

The important thing about this shot is the swan.

For several years two swans occupied the pond and reared successfully reared their young. Last year a fierce dog killed the mother swan and some cygnets. The father reared the remaining cygnets single handed, taught them to fly, and remained alone unable to attract a new mate. He pined away and died early this Summer. The pond remained empty.

Suddenly a new swan has appeared to occupy the vacant pond. Here he is. He has been around for several weeks and hopefully he will attract a mate, and so next year we will have swans on the pond again......

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Great River madness- # 227

Contestants on the 22 miles (nearly 40 Km) run came in all shapes and sizes.

Crazy guys from Holland and mad, English, physically fit pensioners took part for fun and for their favourite charity:

Totally serious female Atlantic rowing ahtletes competed for pleasure!
......and strange dragon boats made the scene even more colourful.

See it all here and discover how the different classes got on:

Monday, 10 September 2007

At the Start of the Great River Race- # 226

"Read all about it"

Every year crews from all over the world come to London to take part in the Great River Race, to celebrate the River Thames and London.

Fairies come (as above).

Glamourous ladies come and......
Serious Canadians come.

Tomorrow I'll show some more.

Described by many as "London's other Marathon", the Great River Race is London's most colourful and spectacular river event. Each year contestants compete in a 22 mile race between Richmond and Greenwich to find the UK Traditional Boat Champions. Up to 300 traditional boats, from wherries to war canoes, and from Cornish gigs to watermen's cutters, take part.
This year's race took place on Saturday 8th September with the first boats setting off from Richmond at approximately 12:55 pm.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

....and here's the "strand"- # 225

I had hoped to end the week with a beautiful sunset at Strand on the Green, but computer crashes, lost photos, and the lousy, cloudy, unusual weather have conspired against me.

However, here is "the strand". I showed the high tide at the start of the series. Here is the current low tide. At the centre the water is still deep enough for traffic.

I make a guess that this helped to create Strand's development and history. Barges could come up river on a full tide, and at Strand they found an excellent place to lie flat and safe for convenient unloading/reloading. They could then carry grain and agricultural products back into London. As I said, I'm guessing, but it does make sense.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

A walk through time- # 224

There's a lot to see when you look towards Kew Bridge from Strand on the Green.

The Strand settlement itself is ancient, and was always a convenient spot for shipping and crossing the river.

We can see Kew bridge, first built in 1759 and twice renewed; just beyond that, some modern offices and apartments built on cleared industrial land. The tall tower is an important Victorian water pumping and treatment site built as part of the mighty sewerage and water system of the nation's Capitol. It houses huge steam engines and is now a pumping engine museum. Beyond that we see the tower blocks of Brentford, built to replace dwellings lost during war time bombing (Brentford was an industrial area). And just beyond the tower blocks, but out of sight, are the "iconic" 1930s buildings of the "Golden Mile" described in earlier posts.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Anglo-Dutch friendship at Strand on the Green - # 223

Here, again, we see the high steps and walls to keep the high water out. The brick work indicates the age of the house. The style is's clearly English 18th Century but with a Dutch overtone. Next door on the left we can see a purely English style.

I wonder what deeper research would reveal? Was this the house of an Anglo-Dutch merchant who had founded a good business in the area and shipped his goods by barge after transferring from larger ships down in London?

Whatever the answer, it's a pleasant sight as we walk by the river.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Technology for the improvement of society - # 222

Walking along the tow path at Strand on the Green we pass under the railway. The so-called North London Line and the District Line cross the river here, going towards Richmond.

The brick, stone and iron structure is lavishly decorated: yet another demonstration of the desire of the Victorian railway masters to create structures that were enjoyable as well as practical.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Super security for brave and bold revellers - # 221

Here's more on the flood defences at Strand on the Green; that elegant yet eccentric Thames-side community.

Questions about yesterday's steps and doorway have been answered on that post # 220.

Here, in # 221, you can see the massive door that protects the downstairs bar of the "City Barge" pub. Naturally there is also an upstairs bar well above the water line. The food is excellent, the beer is first rate, and the atmosphere superb; ideal for crafty photographers.

The City Barge claims to have been on this site, under various names since at least 1484.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Don't bring your wet boots into my hallway!- # 220

Strand on the Green is clearly an old riverside wharf area with merchant's houses and warehouses often incorporated into one, coming close up to the river mooring point for the loaded sailing barges.

The things to note in this photo are: the massive base wall to protect from the high water, the unusual steps up to the raised door, and the typical elegant 18th Century fan light over the door. Every fanlight is unique. I will go so far as to wager that you will not find two alike throughout the length and breadth of England. The houses along the this waterside date mostly from the early 1700s, but some sites have a written historic record from as far back as the 1400s.

Notice also the debris from the recent high water right up against the wall. The water had gone back less than 20 minutes before my arrival, as you saw in yesterday's picture of the wet tow path.

Monday, 3 September 2007

Strand on the Green goes under the microscope - # 219

I've done four postings of views of this small riverside community close to Kew Bridge.

The first was taken from Kew Bridge towards Strand on the Green:

It's a charming and puzzling place where the houses are build right alongside the river with special raise doors to keep out floods. Here you can see the early 18th Century terraces close to the towpath, and you can see how the high tide has flooded over and made the pavement wet and totally inaccessible for a half hour or more.

This view is looking back to Kew Bridge from where I took the first photo. More will follow.

Sunday, 2 September 2007 the limits of capability - # 218

Just a little action snap of village cricket on The Green in Richmond. Camera set on ISO 400 and the digital zoom at 500 mm; the camera clamped against a knobbly tree all a bit fuzzy, but it's caught the energy and speed of the batsman starting his run and the ball flying away from the desperate fielder.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

What happens if I make the wrong decision?- # 217

Another in my chronicle of hostelry research. Look at the concentration: the sheer hard work of it all. Enlarge the photo and notice the cool droplets condensed on the metal of the pumps....very refreshing in themselves.