Saturday 31 March 2007
Friday 30 March 2007
Regulars now know that 'roony cannot avoid a good cafe. The cafe in St. Mary's church Putney is excellent. I don't know what Cromwell's puritan, parliamentarian cavalry soldiers would have thought about it, but today it is a most welcoming place offering a perfect service and good food.
It is now 360 years since the Debates, but they are so important that an exhibition will mark the 360th anniversary this coming October 2007.
Thursday 29 March 2007
The church features this "headline statement" made during the Debates by the puritan Colonel Rainsborough, expressing his concern and his hope for the Common Man in England: - naturally, it reaches out to everyone.
This photo series on St. Mary's Putney, the Putney Debates and the Levellers will finish tomorrow.
Wednesday 28 March 2007
History goes through phases. First: chaos - the "What on earth is going on?" phase. Second: - the Party Line when winners tell us what was really going on. Third: the Revisionist phase -when counter revolutionaries deny it all and tear down myths, only to erect their own, usually wrong myths. Finally: chaos again - the "I still haven't a clue what happened" phase, when we just give all the records to the kids, let them draw their own conclusions, and we end up with 1,000 crazy views based on personal foibles.
The Putney Debates were all written down, and kept. We have it word for word; the whole discussion. It's a unique insight - fully recorded 17th Century political debate with important implications that still impact on modern Britain.
Here is the modern, restored interior of the church. Imagine Cromwell slugging it out verbally with his radical commanders, and a couple of diligent scribes scribbling furiously, catching the whole thing for posterity. Suddenly Cromwell finds the debate going in directions that he never expected. His men are more radical than he is. "Can somebody please tell me what's happening?"
Tuesday 27 March 2007
Monday 26 March 2007
Sunday 25 March 2007
Saturday 24 March 2007
Friday 23 March 2007
Thursday 22 March 2007
Wednesday 21 March 2007
Tuesday 20 March 2007
Monday 19 March 2007
Sunday 18 March 2007
Whizz past in your car and you will not notice this tiny wooden shed 10 meters back from the road side. Walk past and you will assume it's an old garden shed in an odd position. (The building behind is younger - but not much - and was a blacksmith's forge.)
This white hut is an ancient police station built in the 1780s. There are only two of these left in England. It is the Petersham Pound and Lockup, where criminal vagrants and straying cattle would be kept awaiting the attention of "higher authority".
The constable was armed and paid for by the local magistrates. The last serious incident was in the mid 19th Century when a carter, up to no good with smuggled goods, tried to make a run for it and was shot dead. A court case then took place to assess whether or not the killing was lawful.
This little survivor from the past is listed by "English Heritage" as a "building at risk". Read more here: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/server/show/ConBar.4343
Type TW10 7AD into Google Earth and see where is on the Petersham Road A307.
Saturday 17 March 2007
Posted by Chuckeroon at 09:35
Friday 16 March 2007
A good night out on Thursday! Live jazz at the Dysart Arms, at the bottom of the Star and Garter Hill in Petersham.
Have a good weekend, everyone.
Thursday 15 March 2007
Yesterday I touched on the effect of climate change, and how it is bringing a new, stylish and very welcome cafe life-style to our streets.
Today I show you a converted church! A number of magnificent Victorian Gothic church buildings, erected in the 1880s/90s, have been converted to extremely stylish apartment blocks with high, well lit and spacious interiors that make full use of the enormous stone arches and pillars.
Here is one, on Richmond Green. It has been well crafted, but the treatment of the street-side main entrance using a rather cheap looking "prison-like" grey metal security door system puzzles me. Surely they could have chosen something better to sit inside the grandeur of the main entrance archway.
Wednesday 14 March 2007
Who's oiling my sunburn? Who's taking care of my global warming? Who's feeding off my latest City of London bonus? Can you remember where I left my carbon footprint?
Carluccios http://www.carluccios.com/ has arrived in Richmond! I'm not sure if this means that Carluccios has "Arrived", or that Richmond has "Arrived". Either way one may feel graced, and pleased by the other.
Carluccios is a sympton of the "New Britain" - glitzy and brash - probably a bit like "big city" Britain always was, actually; except for a short period between 1945 and 1985. (Warmongers note: that's how long it takes to fully recover).
Climate change has brought us out onto the streets in a big way. The continental street cafe style suits us. The taste for bright spot lights to add glitz, and external heating elements to warm the temperate evenings for outdoor diners might prove to be a clear target for the new breed of "eco-puritans" to attack. (Can't they wear thick undervests, for heaven's sake?)
This certainly is not the Britain of "warm beer and old maids cycling to church on Sundays", but it's typical of life around our big cities today.
In case any of you are worried: this cafe/restaurant is within 100 meters of the superb "Orange Tree" theatre, and about 200 meters of the equally good "Richmond Theatre". Yes, you can have it all in Richmond upon Thames.
Posted by Chuckeroon at 14:38
Tuesday 13 March 2007
Monday 12 March 2007
Sunday 11 March 2007
Saturday 10 March 2007
Posted by Chuckeroon at 10:33
Friday 9 March 2007
Thursday 8 March 2007
But if you were walking down a darkened servants' corridor, alone, at night, in 17th Century Ham House, you certainly would wish that you had not come across it here either - (click on the side bar at the right to read up on Ham House where I continue to try to repair the unrepairable).
Posted by Chuckeroon at 13:18
Wednesday 7 March 2007
'roony trots down an alley off the main street and emerges onto Richmond Green. "The Green Cafe" is tiny. It serves good snacks, fresh pressed juices and good hot drinks. The cafe front is shady in the hot weather (so a bit bleak in winter), but you can look out across the Green which is bathed in sun all day long. At week ends you can watch the local cricket match. Next door is the magnificent doorway featured in Post # 38
Tuesday 6 March 2007
Posted by Chuckeroon at 13:18
Monday 5 March 2007
Posted by Chuckeroon at 15:00
Sunday 4 March 2007
Posted by Chuckeroon at 13:00
Saturday 3 March 2007
Is the outcome of our life dependent on the way we play the cards we are dealt? Do we create our own luck, or is it all planned and mapped out beforehand by destiny?
Down these stairs they stream: taking the main line fast train direct to Waterloo Station for the City, the world’s leading financial centre, for the Inns of Court where the world’s top lawyers practice, for Fleet St. where the journalists grub up the financial and legal scandals, and also to Waterloo for the luxuries of the Savoy Hotel, the fleshpots of Soho and theatre land, the elegant shops of Bond St. and the HQ offices of the world’s great mining and minerals companies, and of course Westminster and the Houses of Parliament.
If you are in the oil business, or a senior civil servant, then you might take a semi fast to Clapham Junction and change for Victoria Station for the West End of London.
The stars of television and radio, and media and advertising executives, head for the District Line to Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush.
They all stream out to conquer their day.
In the opposite direction, arriving on the Northern Line from east London come the “ethnic” minorities and asylum seekers, desperate to become “British”, looking for the main railway line that will take them from Richmond west to Feltham and the court tribunal that will decide on their future. They will later return happy, or not return, being sent on, broken-hearted, to await the next plane out of LHR back to a place they tried to escape from. On the Northern Line, also, come the poor from east London, going down to Feltham to see their delinquent underage sons who are locked up in the Feltham Young Offenders’ Centre (do not use the word prison). In amongst them are those who do not want to be noticed, on “other business”. The secret policeman and the surveillance cameras are watching them. You will notice a discrete flash of a badge, or a radio call.
Together with these downhearted from the east end of London come the Poles: marching in disciplined ranks, all with the correct ticket held up clear to see (they do not want trouble), dragging their tool boxes. Poles now make up about 80% of the, builders, electricians, plumbers and cleaners who keep the professional classes of Richmond happy. Five years ago there were no Poles apart from left- over Polish soldiers who came in 1939.
Stand here and you will see them; recognise them. They will reach out and touch your mind.
Take up your cards! Play them! Now!
Posted by Chuckeroon at 12:13
Friday 2 March 2007
At Ham House we have taken down a large picture of the Battle of Lepanto for cleaning and inspection. A team of researchers and technicians arrived. I spotted a tiny incident, about 3cm x 3cm, where the artist depicted a tiny individual tragedy in the gigantic battle. The oarsman looks over his shoulder in alarm as the sharpshooter beside him is hit. Many of the figures are indistinct and carelessly drawn, almost lumps of plasticine, but here and there all over the picture the artist has detailed intense moments of hand to hand fighting, like this one: an interesting technique.
Posted by Chuckeroon at 09:19
Thursday 1 March 2007
Having protested too much about his inability to take nice photos because of the weather, 'roony has been imprisoned for 3 months in the dungeons of Ham House. (Actually it doesn't have any "dungeons", only rather spacious "below stairs" servants' quarters. Come and see it when you get the chance. You will not be disappointed).
Posted by Chuckeroon at 16:38