28 February 2012

Stopping the toads

A temporary fence has been constructed along the section of Church Road that runs from Latchmere Lane to Ham Gate Avenue.

The steel mesh and wooden stakes are probably as discreet as they could be but there is nothing that can disguise the size of the fence and the visual impact is large and negative.

The good news is that it is temporary and it is there for a good reason, as the notice explains.

The fence is there to stop toads from crossing the road where the warning sign to drivers is insufficient to protect them.

Instead they get stuck near the fence where volunteers find them and carry them across the road to safety.

My simple solution would be just to close that section of road to traffic. Permanently.

26 February 2012

Red paint on white wall

It has been about a year since the closure of Latchmere Prison was announced and six months since it closed and yet there is still no clue as to what is going to happen to the site.

When the changes do come I hope that they keep the wall that runs along Church Road and then slides down Latchmere Lane. I suspect they will lose this graffiti though.

24 February 2012

Glen Cottage looking tired

I love Glen Cottage in River Lane because it oozes charm and that helps to mask its weaknesses. These start to become apparent if you stop and take a closer look. Time has not always been kind to the cottage and it now looks to be in the need for a little Tender Loving Care.

22 February 2012

Montrose House and gate

It is possible to argue that Montrose House is not that special when compared to the other grand houses locally, especially in nearby Sudbrook Lane and, a little further south, the cluster around Ham Common.

On the other hand, it is equally possible to argue that it is made that little bit more special through its dominant position on the tight bend on Petersham Road (which means that you have to go past it slowly) and through its famous former owner.

Whatever the merits of these two arguments it is still a building that makes me pause as I pass and from time to time I take a photograph like this one as I do so.

20 February 2012

Above the Gate House

It would appear to be over three years since I last posted any sort of picture of the gate house in Petersham, despite having a painting of it in my dining room. Two cameras later I am able to get a good close-up of the crest above the arch that lifts the house from the ordinary to the special.

18 February 2012

Working on Douglas House

Douglas House, now part of the German School, is covered with scaffolding from head to toe which suggests that a lot of work is being done. It will be interesting to see how different it looks, if at all, once the deed is done.

15 February 2012

Long avenue to Petersham

I much prefer the more unkempt paths that meander through Ham Lands but the formal Ham Avenues are preferable to the roads any time. This long avenue stretches from Ham House (its gardens are behind the neat wall on the left), past Ham Polo, past the German School and on to Petersham.

13 February 2012

Prying on the Manor

Ham Manor hides itself well but in Winter it is possible to clamber through the rough alongside Melancholy Walk and take a peek through the rear fence and past the bare trees.

12 February 2012

Improving Ham Village Green

I am sure that more could be mad of Ham Village Green given a little determination and some effort. The small garden in the nearby Ham Library shows what determination and effort can achieve and Ham Village Green provides a larger canvass on which to experiment with benches and plants.

Some things have been tried, which I welcome. The corner by the Ashburnham Road bus stop has seen the arrival of some young trees and a strange assortment of rocks and logs. The intention appears to be to provide a space for your children to scramble while their mothers and fathers sit to keep watch over them.

10 February 2012

Winter Wonderland

The second fall of snow the year was lighter than the first and disappeared even more quickly so it was only the early birds that saw it briefly cloak Ham Lands down by Royal Park Gate in white.

The trees resented the snow and were shaking it off as I walked through them and it almost fooled me in to thinking that it was still snowing.

8 February 2012

Roof and spire at St Richards

I hardly ever go in to a church and I find the architecture of most of them bland and unimaginative but that cannot be said of St Richards. I have no idea what the interior looks like, nor am I curious enough to find out, whereas the exterior view is a different story with its unusual roof, glass panels and prominent spire.

5 February 2012

A little snow on the Common

The first snow of the Winter fell overnight bringing chaos to transport systems and glee to small children who were quick build snowmen, slide, throw snowballs and make tracks in the virgin snow. By mid-afternoon the morning's dreams were already turning to slush.

4 February 2012

Simply a nice house

Sudbrook Lane could lay claim to being the most prestigious road locally thanks to houses like this, which is fairly typical for the road. The Georgian proportions and symmetry combined with the fresh white finish make this a bold and assertive house and also a good backdrop for the vines, trees and bushes in front of it.

Sudbrook Lane's only shame is that it allowed Dickens Close to be tagged on to the end of it. The modern mock Georgian houses there have few redeeming features and fit uncomfortably next to their genuine neighbours.

1 February 2012

Vertical windows

I was somewhat cruel about the rear of this house with its scatter-gun approach to roof windows but the face it presents to the Sudbrook Lane is an entirely different matter and I have nothing but praise for the tall vertical windows framed with a fresh and modern grey.