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 I got horribly confused before realising that the pub had been replaced by houses.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.