31 December 2010

Faded memories

This was a surprise! Walking along Maguire Drive my eye was caught by a small sign on a fence in one of the front gardens. That made me pause and take a longer look at the contents of the garden which included the heavily faded sign for the much-missed Crooked Billet pub in Ham Street.

I went to the pub a couple of times when I lived down south (Kings Road) and went looking for it again when I moved to Ham in '96. I got horribly confused before realising that the pub had been replaced by houses. It's good to have this sign to remember it by.

26 December 2010

Ham Farm Road under snow

Several of the previous pictures from the latest snowfall have been of unattractive roads, like Church Road and New Road, that were transformed very much for the better by the snow so let's end the series by looking at how the snow changed a road that already was pretty.

Ham Farm Road is blessed with Ham Common Woods on one side and an unusual collection of family homes on the other. The road curls gently towards Parkleys so that there is always a sense of mystery as each bend is negotiated.

Add snow to the scene and the mystery and delight deepen. Only Aslan is missing from this near-perfect view.

25 December 2010

Hidden cars

New Road benefited greatly from the recent snow. Previously I have mostly taken close-ups of individual cottages as the panoramic shots were ruined by the solid line of cars parked along one side but the snow came to the rescue by masking the unnatural colours and shapes allowing the eye to focus on the pretty cottages instead.

24 December 2010

Church Road looking better

Church Road can be ugly. The dull straight grey of the road and the stupidly bright orange path that runs alongside it for part of the way carve brutal lines through the woods on either side and detract from their beauty.

Now the snow has come to the rescue and hidden the unpleasantness and, for just a few days, Church Road looks like somewhere that you might want to walk down.

23 December 2010

White avenue, dark trees

Another look at Ham Common transformed by the recent snow. Here we are looking down the avenue of trees towards Ham House. Only the bright red jacket in the middle of the picture shows you that this is not a black and white photograph.

20 December 2010

All is white

Ham Common is the natural place to go to when the snow settles deep and crisp and even because the depth makes the walking an exciting challenge, the crispness adds a satisfying crunch to each step and the evenness irons out the few distinguishing marks, such as paths, to conjure a pleasing uniformity.

19 December 2010

Snowy trees

The snow returned stronger and deeper to the delight of children and toboggan sellers, if not of those who had to try to get somewhere such as Christmas shopping. This times the flakes fell thick and soft painting a white sheen on all in their path as they tumbled earthwards.

18 December 2010

Colourful cottages

I'm not a fan of Petersham. It has no heart, an ill-defined boundary and gets claimed as a posh address by people who clearly live in Ham but don't want to admit it. You know who they are. But there is some real character in the Petersham Conservation Area, which I take as the boundaries of Petersham.

I love the distinctive cottages with their wooden porches that form a disorderly line along Petersham Road. Some look tired and worn, in a well loved way, but a few are fresh and frisky, like these three painted in the colours of Bassetts Liquorice Allsorts.

14 December 2010

the bamboo collection

The Palm Centre in Ham Street is a regular port of call on one of my aimless wanderings (they are the best kind of wanderings) because its central location means I am often nearby and its wonderful collection of plants, pots and other garden ephemera make it unusual and interesting.

Even on a cold grey December day there is something to warm the soul and recharge emotional batteries. This time my eye was caught by a Chinese box, large regimented flow pots and lines of plants sheltering in greenhouses, but it was this sign that I've chosen as the memento for that particular visit.

10 December 2010

Misty morning

The snow came in a furious rush demanding our attention but it slipped slowly away as if ashamed of the trouble that it brought with it, rather like the hazy morning after a wild party.

But the early the bird catches the worm and a prompt walk in to Kingston (to get there before the maddening Christmas hordes) allowed me to capture the last of the snow as it tried to escape unnoticed, hidden by the morning mist.

5 December 2010

Night snow

This year the snow was unkind to me by arriving on a Monday and leaving on a Friday giving me no opportunity to wade through it in daylight. The only chance I had to see it at all was to get off the bus one stop early and walk carefully along an Upper Ham Road devoid of grit which made fun of my leather soled brogues.

The street lights delighted in the snow as it allowed them to show off just how yellow they can be when they want to. The whole experience was rather surreal.

2 December 2010

Standing on thin ice

Winter came early but gently to Ham. Days before the snow blew in to close our schools and make travelling to work miserable, Jack Frost wandered across Ham Common and turned most of the pond to ice.

Some birds coped with the change better than others; the three remaining swans waddled ungracefully from one patch of water to another but the gulls just stood on the new ice without a care in the world.

27 November 2010

Little House on Ham Common

Ham Common (i.e. the road that circles Ham Common the, er, common) has several seriously attractive buildings, such as Gordon House and Avenue Lodge, but even in this exulted company Little House is a little special.

It's location helps as it sits on the corner of New Road which means that it has the opportunity to show off in two directions, unlike most of its competitors that only show one side of themselves to the public and then usually cowered behind a tall bleak wall.

Little House had some modesty itself until recently with a hedge hiding some of the wall, and with it, the name of the house itself but the gardeners have been kind and have sacrificed some of the hedge to reveal more of the sumptuous wall, the gate posts and the garden within.

21 November 2010

Peering underground

Just as you veer off Ham Farm Road towards Church Road and pass the entrance to Beechrow there are a couple of square metal covers and it has always been a mystery to me what secrets they kept. Until now when I had the good fortune to be passing when work was being done there.

And the revealed secrets were even more mysterious than I imagined. I thought that the covers gave little more than access to some pipes or cables and something to control them, such as a wheel handle. What I discovered instead was a large room complete with machinery that looks more likely to be to do with managing water than electricity.

18 November 2010


This pleasing collection of lines, shapes and colours can be found in Maguire Drive. Painting your front gate bright pink is certainly unusual but it is also eye-catching without being too blatant. I like it.

13 November 2010

Ham Village Green

I really don't like this photo.The composition just does not work; you cannot see enough of the play area (that's the rocks!), a tree grows out of the sign and the greyness overwhelms. That's why I did not post it when I took it last month.

Today the weather was a little brighter, I had some free time and I was in that part of Ham so I leaped at the opportunity to take a better one but time has been cruel to me, and to Ham Village Green and the bright colourful sign has gone already. All there is to remember it by are two brown circles in the grass where the posts used to be and this picture.

11 November 2010

GY59 VUN on the pavement

This White Van Man earned his place in the record of bad parkers by driving past me as I walked along Craig Road and then parking on the pavement just in front of me when there was plenty of space on either side of the road.

8 November 2010

Perking up Ham Pond

Ham Pond has had a minor face-lift that should help the wildlife that has its home there. The island (if you can call something that small an island) has been enlarged, presumably to make it a more attractive nesting spot. The swans were there a couple of years ago but have been closer to the bank (and to dogs) since then.

The low rustic fence has been repaired and extended to remind children of all ages that they should keep away from the water. Sadly the dogs will take no notice and some owners are still stupid enough to allow their dogs in to the water even when the birds are breeding. I'd ban dogs from the whole of Ham Common!

7 November 2010


Every so often I like to post a photograph that reminds me of some of the best things about living in Ham and the thing I love the most is the large areas of natural beauty. A fine example of this is these trees in Ham Common Woods which are making the most of the bright Autumn sunlight.

6 November 2010


High claims were made two years ago for the importance of the grasslands here when St Andrews Church needed an excuse to remove the trees between it and Upper Ham Road but this was never a convincing argument and it is even less believable now that heavy vehicles have wrecked considerable damage across the area as part of the regular "maintenance".

3 November 2010

Oak Lodge

Sometimes the wait is worth it.

Back in January I finally gave up hope of getting this picture because there was always at least one car parked there to spoil it and then I reluctantly posted a picture of just part of the house.

And now, after walking past the house many many times I eventually managed to catch it unaware with the cars away and I can rest happy with another mission accomplished.

2 November 2010

Orange path

The works to the footpath on Riverside Drive are now complete and I am not impressed. Richmond has a thing for these ugly bright paths that already blight Richmond Park and Church Road and now this one forms a harsh boundary to the verdant Ham Lands. And to make matters even worse, this surface is difficult for anything with small wheels, e.g. kids' scooters or buggies, and hurts like hell if you fall over on it.

31 October 2010

White pumpkins

The icons of Halloween are many and varied encompassing, ghosts, ghouls, witches, vampires, zombies, bats and spiders, i.e. almost every baddie from a cheap horror film. Also in this list, and somewhat at odds with the rest of it, is the pumpkin. We expect our pumpkins to be bright orange but they can be white too. Here we see a neat row of them defending a high wall in Ham Street against the impending onslaught of monsters.

30 October 2010

Craig Road cottages

In the middle of Craig Road there are a couple of charming houses arranged side-on to the road which makes them a little more secluded and gives them a little bit more space in which to play at being pretty cottages. The one nearest the road has recently been tastefully extended; you can see the join, but only just.

27 October 2010

Dying red

Autumn colours come and go so quickly, like a Ramones song, that you have to be lucky to catch them at their best or, possibly, even luckier to catch them as they start to retreat in preparation for the onslaught of the Winter that seems determined to arrive early this year.

25 October 2010

Patient cat

I love this cat. It sits patiently and stone still on its porch in Craig Road while watching something it wants very closely and waiting for the opportunity to pounce.

24 October 2010

St Richards Court

The missing apostrophe grates a little but does not lessen the charm of the sign where the clarity of the text stands fresh and clear against the worn white background which, in turn, stands proudly aloof from the dark and dingy brick.

23 October 2010


Wendy's Workshop is normally the brightest and jolliest spot on Ham Parade but now it carries a stark warning that Halloween is on it's way, which means that bats and ghosts will come out to play.

21 October 2010

Black fence with red leaves

The crisp black fence looks good in it's own right but the leaves that have squeezed their way through cheekily steal the show by providing some unexpected colour and they relegate the snubbed fence to a mere backdrop. But the fence will have the last laugh as the Autumn colours fade in to Winter death.

19 October 2010

To Let By

The (relatively) new flats on the corner of Croft Way and Riverside Drive have intrigued me for over three years. They are in a promising location (close to shops and the 371 bus) with enviable uninterrupted views across Ham Lands, yet they never seem to have hit the property market. But somebody has bought them as they are occupied, apparently on a rental basis judging by the crowd of To Let and Let By signs.

16 October 2010

Red cascade

Autumnal colours burst alive in some unexpected places. Deep in Craig Road, red ivy cascades down the side of a house and then scrambles gleefully over the fence to escape.

15 October 2010

Major works

I have been watching the tinkering on the corner of Lock Road and Back Lane for several months, always with the expectation that the work being done is about to finish, but now it has been revealed that the tinkering was merely the prelude to a much grander scheme that is transforming a few dilapidated offices in to a three bedroom house.

The plans were first hatched over three years ago so this is a dream that somebody has waited a long time for. I'm looking forward to the finished result.

14 October 2010

Langham ivy (2010)

I know that I took a similar picture almost exactly a year ago but the mahogany Autumn ivy on Langham House makes such a bold and proud statement that it is worth a closer look.

12 October 2010

Chic O'Pick

It has taken a while to refit the shop on Upper Ham Road but Chic O'Pick has now arrived. I was a little bemused just before it opened as all we had was the new name and the discrete windows which suggested, to my perverted mind, a house of ill repute.

But my suspicions were unfounded and Chic O'Pick in a delightfully upmarket shop selling ladies outfits and accessories thus filling the gap formed when a similar shop in the opposite corner of the parade closed a few years ago.

10 October 2010


A long overdue picture of a garage captured because the corner is a serendipitous collection of colours and shapes as the Autumnal ivy collides interestingly with the rough construction.

7 October 2010

Small Tortoiseshell butterfly

I took this picture just because Petersham Lodge Wood looks good at this time of year and I was enjoying my short detour through it on my way to nowhere in particular. It was only when looking at the photograph later that I noticed the Small Tortoiseshell butterfly adding just a few flecks of subtle colour to a montage of Autumnal greens.

5 October 2010

Flowers and glass

I am not a fan of the cafeification of Petersham Nurseries but I appreciate that other people do as it is always seems to be busy when I wander around. And I do wander around often because there are still flowers and greenhouses there to enjoy.

3 October 2010


The unnecessary and unwanted (by me at least) works on the footpaths converging by Teddington Footbridge continue recklessly. More of the paths are being covered in too-perfect tarmac and restrained by inappropriate fences. It's a blight on the natural beauty that surrounds it.

2 October 2010

Flowers at Ham House

Ham House can look a little stark at the back as the large plants keep their distance but the rows of plants in their orderly pots add a little interest and a few specks of colour.

1 October 2010

Cycle path

At a risk of repeating myself, one of my acknowledged faults, the thing I like most about living in Ham is the way that paths flow effortlessly through it allowing you to wander and explore. Some of these paths squeeze between terraces of dark brick houses while others, like this one, cavort delightfully through open spaces.

25 September 2010


Today was The Great River Race, the annual trek up the river from Docklands to Ham which brings with it all the people and paraphernalia needed to support the event. As part of this the recreation ground by the Ham Street car park gives way to cars and boat trailers.

22 September 2010


This shop has been empty since last December when Wine Rack closed down and now it is finally coming alive again, though a charity shop is probably not what I would have wished for. But let's give it a chance to prove itself before making judgements.

17 September 2010

Coloured glass

You have to walk around Ham slowly with your eyes wide open to spot its subtle treasures, like this coloured glass that makes a porch extension just a little special.

14 September 2010

Changes in Upper Ham Road

I have mentioned before that these shops off Ham Common tend to change use fairly regularly and now some hefty refurbishment is being done. I was planning to wait for the work to complete before posting a picture but it has looked much like this for the last month or so and I've given up waiting. You will just have to guess what the finished result will look like and wait a little longer to see if you are right.

11 September 2010


School bike sheds are a part of British folklore, it's where children are expected to have their first kiss and their first (and, hopefully, last) cigarette. But those bike sheds are nothing like the funky new one that now graces the furthest reaches of the playing fields behind the German School. It's just a shame that you have to search so hard to find it.

10 September 2010

Is it a shed?

I last visited Petersham Nurseries in May and since then the tables and chairs for the tea drinkers and the cake eaters have spread even further like a cancer consuming more of the space that used to be left to plants, pots and paraphernalia.

Halting this progress, for the moment, is a fence that hides the building works that are still underway. A new building has risen from the rubble but has yet to declare its purpose.

9 September 2010

LB55 AVX mounts the pavement

I've eased off the bad parking photos in recent months partially because there are just so many examples along Ham Parade every Saturday that it hardly seems worth bringing to attention but I do like dipping back in to the subject from time to time just to remind myself of the extent of the problem and LB55 AVX provided a good excuse for me to do this by managing to put both wheels firmly on the pavement. As always it is not the technical skills, or lack thereof, of the driver that concerns me, it's the selfish attitude which says that it is OK to block the pavement in this way.