Thursday 31 May 2007

Anything for the weekend, Sir? - # 124

Feeling creative, I have dived into the archive and played with the processing to bring out my feelings about the scene.
This was a difficult, quick snap in between cars passing on a busy street. I immediately liked the "edginess" of it. I used B&W, sharpness, contrast and graininess to bring it out.

Wednesday 30 May 2007

A very successful Garden Show - # 123

The Police Sergeant put on his full uniform

The boys had great fun cutting cake and serving the teas.

It rained!!!!

The gardens were wonderful

Tuesday 29 May 2007

Les parapluies de Ham - # 122

May I remind you of the delightful film starring Catherine Deneuve "Les Parapluies de Cherbourg"....a classic of the French "nouvelle vague" cinema, made in 1964. See it! It's a fine film.

On Sunday my village held a very successful event in which several houses opened their gardens to visitors. The rain stopped for 3 hours and a large number of visitors came. All the wonderful cakes (you saw some of them yesterday) were sold, because the teas were also in high demand.

Anyway, here are some nice English people doing what they normally do when rain sweeps in from the Atlantic.

Sunday 27 May 2007

Something's not right here - # 121

.......there really is something wrong here! What do you think?

Oh, Mr Buchanan! Leave me alone! - # 120

This is the birch tree at the bottom of my garden, and this is the sky I'm looking at. The weather is AWFUL. (But the rain is welcome....I must say).

But, scientists say it's normal! A famous Scottish meteorologist named Buchanan proved by statistics that in May it is normal to have weather that is not normal. Now think about that, children.

Saturday 26 May 2007

My hero regularly drinks with me - # 119

Those of you who want to read more about the River Raft Squatter featured yesterday can try this URL link. If it does not work, tell me, and I will help you out.

Now let's move on to the Saturday "Mug Feature". This mug is MINE, exclusively and absolutely. Nobody is allowed to touch it - ever. It celebrates Horatio, Admiral Lord Nelson. He's a hero because he made his men feel good about themselves, and although he took them into great danger, because of his aggressive tactics, they felt safe with him because he was always a winner. He also had enormous physical and mental courage, and his men would see him exposed to danger as they were. He was also a fine dresser and if around today would probably have been found driving a flashy car. Those meeting him for the first time might have no idea that he was a heavy-weight hero, but on closer acquaintance his high mental ability became obvious. He was a lady's man - but in the right way.

Friday 25 May 2007

Affordable housing for workmen - # 118

I may be wrong, but memory tells me that this highly respected gentleman has been here for 17 years - or almost, if not more! The raft has evolved over that period. The Port of London Authority tried to sling him off, but local residents campaigned to keep him, so here he stays. He tends the birds, building nesting areas, and is generally regarded as a very good neighbour - the kind of chap you like to have around.

The equipment is quite sophisticated. Originally he had a wind mill to generate electricity but last year I noticed that he has cut out the wind turbine and moved to nuclear power! Look closely and you will see the photovoltaic panel on the far side of the roof.

In the early days it was fun to watch the raft "morphing" into new shapes, and seeing experiments in protective cladding systems being tried and rejected. Today the form seems to be more or less fixed and final. This is human resourcefulness at it's peak. In my opinion it's a noteworthy sight for genuine tourists .

Thursday 24 May 2007

What more could a working man want...? - # 117

The area of Richmond and the associated villages of Ham and Petersham abound in specially designated "conservation areas". However, the pressures of modern day traffic, the demands for affordable housing, the pressures from central government to fill in every remaining bit of space that can be built on, the demands for unsightly mobile phone masts, and so on are a serious threat to areas that are beautiful, but old and highly fragile.

Wednesday 23 May 2007

In search of the true "workman's cottage" - # 116

Perhaps I should be firmer, and not allow popular, and minority interests to knock me off my course. However, I crave public approval, and will therefore respond to comments and go off in search of a few Workman's cottages around about Richmond. It's going to be a bit of a "cute gardens" and "divine doors and windows" trip, but we will enjoy it; I promise.
For me, again, this is another benefit from the City Daily Photo fever. It drives you out and forces you to look about and notice and discover things that you've overlooked before. Secondly, people from all over get great enjoyment from seeing different things from around the world.

Tuesday 22 May 2007

Old Palace Lane - # 115

On the other side of the lane, opposite the wall of the Old Palace we have a line of tiny old workman's cottages, dazzling white, with nicely kept gardens to enjoy as we walk down from The Green to the river at the bottom end. Behind them is the railway embankment which takes the 1840s technology monster across the Thames towards Windsor and Reading. Queen Victoria is said to have loved railway trains and I imagine her looking out from this line as the royal train took her to Windsor.

Monday 21 May 2007

Even the Normans loved Richmond - # 114

The Normans conquered England in 1066, and very quickly built a royal summer palace in Richmond (a nice "out of town" riverside retreat in those days). The palace stood there from the early 1100s until it burnt down more than 500 years later in the early 1600s! The house was greatly enjoyed by Henry V111 and Elizabeth 1 who died there. Here is part of the old wall alongside Old Palace Lane.

Sunday 20 May 2007

Thank you, kindly, dear Readers! - # 113

The Mugs and the Wm. Curley doorway provoked a lot of very kind comments. I am quite touched, and so feel moved to thank all of you.

Please chose a Wm. Curley masterpiece for yourself. You will not regret it.

For those of you who care, I'll get back to the "Mug Theme" next week end. A great deal of research is watch out!

Saturday 19 May 2007

Responding to pressure from the People - # 112

Last week a number of readers expressed serious interest in, and great appreciation of my household arrangements. Therefore I felt it only fair to reveal the details of MY OTHER MUG!!!!!

Friday 18 May 2007

Something to cheer you up (if you need it) - # 111

I cannot resist posting this delightful little window decoration. The occupyer of this small basement apartment in one of my "Great Houses" obviously had the passers-by in mind.

Thursday 17 May 2007

Don't let things get out of hand! - # 110

Here's a quick look inside the shop of Mr. William Curley, prize winning and highly acclaimed Master Chocolatier. Hand made masterpieces are on sale here, in Paved Court, near The Green.

Wednesday 16 May 2007

Dive throughs and back ways of Richmond 4 - # 109

Through Union Court to Waterloo Place to reach the Quadrant. This is very convenient for those having a house in the delightful Vineyard area on the hillside above the town. Nip down Vineyard Passage, across Paradise Rd., into Union Court.
Exit Union Court through the tunnel-like alley - (the photographic challenge for me in Union Court was to get an expressive tunnel shot that gave a good focus and exposure of Waterloo Place right at the very end) - and hit Waterloo Place.
These cottages - built sometime between 1710 and 1830; I haven't done the research, so I'm making an educated guess looking at the window style, and brick work - are a fine example of the working men's homes that have somehow survived in the very centre of the town. I love this little dive through. (Oops - I've just noticed my tripod in the corner! ;-) ).

Tuesday 15 May 2007

Clean, simple, stylish, uncluttered, straightforward - # 108

.....those charged with re-newing London's ancient transport infrastructure whilst keeping "the Centre of the Universe" moving 24 hours a day without a hitch might say "Yeah, tell me about it!". Government created a Public+Private Partnership company to bring investors' capital and the world's finest engineering and management expertise into this massive and difficult task. The latest progress report from Transport for London says that poor performance "completely undermines....our confidence in Metronet's management". This is a company made up of the finest names in North American, German, French, and British engineering. The problems are such that these powerful and respected companies now face significant damage to their names and reputation.

For me there's a lesson..........when things go wrong, be circumspect and humble before you jump into eager criticism. Transport and political economy freaks can start their search here:

Monday 14 May 2007

A marriage of technology and elegant style - # 107

Daily streams of regular commuters and Saturday trippers pass through Richmond station. The main railway reached Richmond in the late 1840s/early 1850. The Underground railway(shown here) arrived about 1870. When I look at the great railway stations and bridges I admire the beautiful architecture and decoration. The Victorians were proud of their technological advance and combined it with the best that art could offer for our enjoyment. Where stations have been fully restored, the visual effect is stunning. In Richmond too much old paint hides some of the past glory, and the 1930s rebuild of the main line railway station is no longer a visual delight.

I think that this photo would be better if the line of passengers was in clear focus - but at least the art is clear, which is what I wanted to show.

Sunday 13 May 2007

Ambrosia served here - # 106

Ambrosia: the food of the gods. My wife and children tell me that I have godlike qualities. They use phrases like "Oh dear father, do not punish my minor foolishness by calling down thunder from the heavens", and "Oh dear husband, only you could introduce issues of cosmic complexity into the simple matter of weekly shopping". So, I know that they recognise my unique godly power.

This allows me my one ambrosial indulgence: two of the finest jam doughnuts in the universe purchased every Saturday at 07.30 hours from the finest local bakery on this minor planet only 800 meters from my divine abode.
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Saturday 12 May 2007

Innovative and positive business solutions for difficult seasonal problems - # 105

The week end's coming up, so there's an opportunity to invite my readers to enjoy a virtual pint of Young's bitter with me in the White Cross. Young's is a very old, family owned, London brewery with a fine reputation. The woolly ram is company's ancient sign.

But first, look closely at the enlarged photo, and notice how high the door is. The river often floods over the bank at high tide. Instead of deciding that this would ruin business, the builders decided to raise the doorway. The pub is well worth a visit. (I'm sorry about the building work on the'll find much better photos elsewhere).

Friday 11 May 2007

My wisteria is bigger than your wisteria - # 104

Further along The Green we come to this magnificent set of doors and windows. The boxes containing the small bushes are pure real lead water butts, probably decorated with the owner's coat of arms and at least 300 years old. They must have cost a small fortune even in those days. I admire the elegant simplicity of the thin caste iron railings leading up the steps. Look at the trunk of the wisteria - it's very thick. The wealth behind this house undoubtedly came from great success in the new colonies trading sugar, tea and coffee, financing merchant shipping expeditions and farming estates in England and Ireland, and investing/speculating through the new financial system that had arisen in the City of London. I'm guessing the house was built in the early 1700s. The unpleasantness of the Civil War was 40 years behind, the country was stable, and a strong civic ethic was emerging.

Thursday 10 May 2007

Doors and windows 2 - # 103

City Daily Photo encourages us to look harder at what's around us. Please look closer at the doorways and window style on these houses, built in the early 1700s. Each door has a unique glasswork fanlight. Throughout the whole town not one door fanlight is the same. Notice also the two little white badges on the wall in the very centre. Those are 18th Century "Fire Insurance Certificates". Lloyds of London was a new money market brokerage phenomenon enabling people to insure. The newly created insurance companies gave you a plate showing their badge - a Sun, an Elephant etc - to make it clear to the fire brigade that the house was protected by that company and that the firemen would be paid for their efforts to put out the fire.

Wednesday 9 May 2007

Dive throughs and back ways of Richmond 3 - # 101

These two alleys lead off George St towards The Green. These two are highly convenient "dive throughs" and apart from each offering a cosy pub they host enjoyable little speciality shops.

The photographic challenge for me was to give the attractive Green a good exposure and reasonable focus, and at the same time show off the much darker alley scene in good exposure and focus. The shots please me because they show the variety of shop signs and a good mix of people looking interested and busily moving. This was taken on a bright late March day, so the trees are still bare. Although George St is very much late 1890s, these alleys and much of The Green are early 1700s.

Tuesday 8 May 2007

Union Flag…..Old Time….Waiting for a clown to turn the wheel - # 101

First - my warmest thanks to all who were kind enough to leave a comment on my 100th Post.

Now...........The Scottish National Party recently gained 47 seats in the Scottish Assembly and are now negotiating with the minority parties to form a Scottish Executive. Labour has 46 seats so the SNP needs help from other minorities.

The Scot Nats are lead by a highly intelligent, adroit, charismatic politician, Alex Salmond, who seems to think that being ruled from Brussels by the EU (dominated by a big France and a big Germany – not to mention the other big countries) is better than being ruled from London, albeit enjoying extensive devolved power to Scotland.

It appears that he wants to break up the United Kingdom and make Scotland into a tiny kind of independent Switzerland.

The logic behind this, and the implications baffle me. It’s amazing that in this “globalised” world tribalism still has a powerful command of the emotions. Or perhaps we should be learning a lesson.

Perhaps none of this matters. Who cares? But I’m uncomfortable with the motives and concepts that lurk beneath all this. It’s one thing to press for devolved regional decision-making, but using the “tribal instinct” to promote it is not appropriate. “Nationalism” in 21st century democratic modern Britain has nasty connotations for me. I admire Scotland far too much to suffer the sight of it dragged erroneously down the wrong road. For those interested there’s plenty of detail in the various BBC analysis web pages.

Monday 7 May 2007

Celebrating 100 Posts - # 100

100 days of posting a comment and a photo is something to celebrate. I've discovered how hard it is and how enjoyable. I hope my "lookers and lurkers" have also enjoyed it.

Without doubt, Eric in Paris must be thanked for launching his concept. I discovered it via a strange blue mutant humanoid who inhabits the cellars of Dubai International airport (DXB). Bluey's excellent work lead me to see Eric's fine Paris shots, and Curly's fine seascapes around Tyneside - I was hooked.

Thereafter I needed technical help from Ham in London, and Denton in Ohio, and Gerald in Hyde. Isabella in Naples, Florida goaded me and supported my efforts (as she so generously does with new-comers), and dear Jing in Shanghai brought her special brand of encouragement, and also Mandi in Tel Aviv who lurks and demands to see deer.

Thereafter, came Edwin, KL (a master of his craft), and the fine team of Dsole in Madrid, and I have to stop, saying THANK YOU to all my visitors and inspirers. Please have a cup of tea and a cake with me.

Sunday 6 May 2007

A horse box, a Jaguar and a buttercup meadow - # 99

I have in mind those "nostalgia images" that show an old split-windscreen-1940s-style
Dodge pick-up, rusty but serviceable, beside a decaying barn out in the flatlands of Kansas. Why do those 1940s American pick-ups say so much to our imaginations? (Or is it just my imagination? I don't think so.)

So, I'm asking: What does a 1970 Jaguar standing in tatty elegance beside a private horse trailer in a yard with a cute little buttercup meadow behind do to the American imagination?

I suspect it says that we all harbour dreams about an idealised Past that probably never existed. But whatever you think, you cannot deny that the styling of the Jaguar has a timeless elegance.

Saturday 5 May 2007

Motorcycle Michael - # 98

Showing my age with this title, I'm afraid. Have a good weekend with your friends!

Friday 4 May 2007

Dive throughs and back ways of Richmond 2 - # 97

Leaving Church Court (yesterday's Post) we can go straight down to George St., the main shopping area.

This cut-through gives a nice view of the church as you look up from George St. I chose this shot because I liked the way the girls gave a kind of forward surge to the scene. In this alley there is a good independent book shop, surviving in spite of modern commercial pressures, a good little cafe - the Alambra (yes, they spell it like that!) - and the Angel and Crown pub, which looks quite splendid in its late 1890s decor. Noon day sun floods the alley, so it's good for sitting outside for a short time. It's worth clicking on the picture to enlarge it.

Thursday 3 May 2007

Dive throughs and back ways of Richmond 1 - # 96

Richmond is the perfect small town. There are numerous quick short cuts from one sector to the next, allowing the pedestrian to move rapidly without getting caught in the noise and chaos of the heavy motor traffic, and often allowing quick and convenient transfers between bus routes. I wanted to feature these because they provide delightful little vistas, they are rich in small shop signs and architectural features, and they set a challenge to the photographer because of the slabs of light and shade that make good exposures tricky, but interesting. Moving off Hill Rise we can dive through to the church via Ormond Rd and discover Church Court. We'll continue tomorrow.

Wednesday 2 May 2007

Cows in a meadow - # 95

The view from the terrace on Richmond Hill down onto these water meadows and the river beyond is protected by act of Parliament. The cows are on the meadow from the end of April until the end of September. The small dairy closed down some years ago (a victim of modern economics), but the cows were considered so important that money was raised into a Trust to make sure that the cows will always be seen grazing on Petersham Meadows. Click on the Arcadia link on the right to see the banner photo featuring "the View".

Tuesday 1 May 2007

Push off, Matey!! - # 94

Caught in the act! A male Muscovy duck, in the Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park, tries to approach a lady. But her boyfriend arrives and sees him off. The ripples indicate some high powered paddling beneath the surface!