28 December 2012

Working on Dryden Court

There always seems to be something going on at Parkleys, which is no great surprise given how many blocks there are, how old they and how well the development is maintained. The latest work requires Dryden Court to be covered by a flat grey sheet that is held there by an impressive amount of scaffolding.

27 December 2012

Exotic plants in a secret corner

Beaufort Court is arranged in a flat V with the two sides following Beaufort Road and Hardwicke Road. Two of the three points are open to pedestrians and cars but the end that should let you escape to Riverside Drive has been closed (regrettably).

At the end of the road is a mini-roundabout to send you back the way that you came. This roundabout is now home to a small collection of exotic plants that look quite impressive even in early Winter.

25 December 2012

A line of trees

Not that long ago (well, it seems like not long ago to me) this was part of the BAe site and there was a tall fence just the other side of the line of trees. When the factories and offices were knocked down and replaced by houses then the fences came down and this part of Ham Lands became accessible to walkers.

24 December 2012

Coloured sky

Walking along Dukes Avenue and looking down Northweald Lane I was struck by the contrasts and shapes made by the failing light, the blackness of the roof-line, lamps and trees, and the vapour trail disturbing the orderly stripes.

23 December 2012

Orange fruit

Natural Science and I never got on that well, which is my excuse for not knowing what this fruit is. What I do know is that in a gloomy month the bright orange and the crisp green bring some very welcome colour and the dark brick wall behind them is the ideal backdrop.

16 December 2012

Standing on the ice

The arrival of a thin layer of ice on Ham Pond split the birds in to two camps. Some, like the ducks, fought for space to swim on the remaining water whereas the seagulls preferred to stand on the ice.

15 December 2012


Winter came hard and fast this year with a sudden blast of cold in early December that gave the ground its first sprinkling of white. At the moment the frost is a pretty novelty but there is always the risk that it lingers too long and becomes a pain instead. Not yet though.

9 December 2012

R 614 KGG goes the wrong way

It is hard to pretend that the No Entry sign is not obvious so I assume that R 416 KGG deliberately drove the wrong way in to New Road to secure a parking space, when there was plenty of space to park in on Ham Common.

5 December 2012

Building above the garage

I do not like cul-de-sacs as the only way out of them is to back the way that you came in. Most of Ham avoids this problem by either avoiding cul-de-sacs altogether or by adding footpaths that allow pedestrians to pass through.

Unfortunately Church Road ignores local convention and has a number of these unfriendly roads. I am probably the main loser here as I go in to them periodically just to see if anything interesting is happening. That is how I discovered this extension being built over a garage in Garthside.

But none of that explains why I took the photo. What attracted me was the unusual mix of shapes and colours, such as the blue and orange plastic.

2 December 2012

Bold tree in Church Road

There is a much-used footpath that runs from Ham Farm Road, past the end of Beechrow, and through to Church Road. Emerging from the leafy tunnel on to Church Road is a large but friendly tree towering above you making sure that you know that trees are the masters there and that people and houses are small, temporary and insignificant things.

29 November 2012

Long view across the Common

I think that Ham Common looks at its best from the south-east corner, opposite the Hand and Flower, where its size can be appreciated and there is no sign of traffic to blight the view.

The line of trees on the left follows the road towards Ham Street and feels rather grander than the double line of trees on the right that marks the line towards Ham House. This has suffered a bit over the years and it will take quite a few more years let before the new trees fill the gaps and look anything like as impressive as their southerly neighbours.

24 November 2012

Early Christmas Tree

It is still November and over a month to Christmas yet the New Inn on Ham Common has already got its tree up and decked with lights. It is attractive and jolly. It is also far too early.

22 November 2012

Alone on the towpath by Teddington Lock

It is rare to see the towpath just north of Teddington Lock this quiet, which is why I took a picture of it. There is something terribly inviting about the way that the path disappears among the trees in the distance with the river following it dutifully.

18 November 2012

Ham House with statue

Once again I am drawn to the back of Ham House and its repetitive and symmetric beauty. The picture is taken from just inside The Wilderness to include one of the statues that stand either side of the main path. Between the status and the house are The Plats, a series of neat regular lawns that echo the regiment of windows beyond.

15 November 2012

The Cherry Garden at Ham House

The Cherry Garden at Ham House has gone through some changes recently with the replanting of the lavender and hosting part of the Garden of Reason. Now it is more or less back to its charming best.

11 November 2012

Besides The Copse

Hardly the first picture that I have taken of this field, and you can see why. The field stretches out before you and only the neat trim of the hedge in the distance suggests that this anything other than a wilderness.

Melancholy Walk runs along the right of the picture, hidden by trees. To the left is The Copse.

7 November 2012

Home Office Property

The future of the former Latchmere Prison site is still uncertain (I guess that it will be housing but there are questions over the type and the number) and for the moment it still belongs to the Ministry of Justice, which has taken over the responsibility for prisons from the Home Office. So, for the moment, the sign stays.

1 November 2012

Broken letters

Normally I take pictures of shops that have got new signs but this time here is one of a shop that needs to get one. The New Mandarin's sign was fine in 2007 and since then the years have been unkind to it and some of the letters have lost some of their strokes, if not their meaning.

28 October 2012

Glencorse goes blue

This is such a subtle change that I did not notice it at first. I took a photo of Glencorse back in March 2007 (not long after I started this blog) when the shop sign was green. Now it has turned a rather nice blue and the lettering has grown in size to better fill the space available to it. I approve.

24 October 2012

Monkey puzzle

Martingales Close is hardly my favourite place in Ham. It breaks the local convention by being a no-through-road to pedestrians and the uniformity in the housing makes the walk in and out again rather dull.

The one bright point is this large monkey puzzle tree that commands an open spot as the road splits in to two making a rough "T" shape.

21 October 2012

Ormeley Lodge

Ormeley Lodge is one of the most significant buildings in Ham and walk past it regularly to catch it in its different moods and to see if any changes have been made, such as timing the front hedge.

More often than not I pass without taking a photograph but occasional something about it makes me pause to take another one. This time I was attracted by the clear autumnal light and the luscious greenery around the downstairs windows.

17 October 2012

Autumnal reds

Each year I decide not to show any more pictures of vivid Autumn colours and each year I find some that make me change my mind. These impressively red leaves are well hidden in the access track that runs off Dukes Avenue and behind Ham Parade.

13 October 2012

Closing down

I live close to Ham Parade and I do as much shopping there as possible. Mostly this is in Rowleys (bread), Ham Pantry (cheese) and Ham Fruiterers (er, fruit) and these all get visited several times a week.

Giftbox is another favourite and I have bought all my occasion cards, and much else, from there over the last fifteen years or so.

Now it is closing, and that's a great shame.

9 October 2012

Something to worry about?

I am always worried when I see signs of major works in one of Ham's wild areas and this has got me worried. This is just outside Ham Gate, opposite Park Gate House, and until recently there was a clutch of trees around the almost hidden pond.

On the left of the picture you can see the path that takes you right in to the woods, then along the border with the golf club and finally alongside Ormeley Lodge before returning you to Ham Gate Avenue about 300m away.

I fear that this could become a car park but any building work here, even if it is just benches and tables, is to be regretted.

6 October 2012

South Lodge

South Lodge is one of the grander grand houses on Ham Common. It's days as a hunting lodge are long gone and now it survives as a collection of flats, though it goes out of its way to hide the fact.

3 October 2012

A quiet corner in Ashburnham Road

Not many people walk in to the corner of Ashburnham Road as most of us most of the time take the short-cut past St Richard's Church and it is only because I normally walk the other way that I went in to the corner this time. It was the right choice.

The hedge to the left effectively separates the corner from the road despite being flimsy and short. That is enough to give the corner a distinctive character when the rest of the Wates Estate has open gardens. The trees and flowers are a nice final flourish.

30 September 2012

Crazy paving

The various works that have been done to Riverside Drive in recent years have produced unusual pavements.

On the Ham Lands side of the road is the fine orange grit that has blighted other parts of Ham, such as the path along Church Road. On the other side the stretch between Croft Way and Hardwicke Road has got a chess board look that is so vivid that you can see if clearly from the satellite photos in Apple Maps.

26 September 2012


I do not normally take close-up pictures of plants or animals as I prefer to see them in situ. For example, I am interested in the ducks on Ham Pond because they are on Ham Pond and not because they are ducks. This butterfly is a rare exception to my golden rule.

I was walking randomly though Ham Lands (randomly is always the best way to walk) somewhere near Teddington Lock when I noticed a lot of butterflies and wanted to capture the mood they brought. They would disappear in a landscape photo and they do not flock so the only way to capture this Meadow Brown was in a close-up.

22 September 2012

Barge Lock at Teddington

The Barge Lock at Teddington never fails to impress due to its sheer size. This is the familiar view from the upstream gate looking downstream towards Richmond. The gates are about to be repaired and it will be interesting to see what changes that brings to the Lock. And that is a good excuse to keep walking past in the coming weeks.

19 September 2012

Plant pots and baskets at Teddington Lock

It is not just the garden at Teddington Lock that is pretty, the keepers brighten up their office too with pot plants, hanging baskets and a window box.

15 September 2012

Garden on Teddington Lock

I've taken pictures of the little garden on Teddington Lock before and I am sure that I will do so again simply because it is so colourful, even in late Summer.

11 September 2012

Flooded path

There was a time when I knew the times of the high-tides and made a point of heading for the towpath downstream (east) of Ham House to see the highest tides rise and fall. I've spent some time stranded on benches and loved every minute of it.

But that was then and now the tides are a matter of chance, so I was caught unaware by a recent high tide that completely covered the path for several metres. The normal edge of the towpath is the line of vegetation that cuts through the middle of the picture.

A few people got past by crossing on a wobbly fallen tree while the majority, myself included, waded through in bare feet. It was fun.

9 September 2012

The sun sets on Ham Common Woods

The section of Ham Common Woods immediately to the east of Upper Ham Road has fewer trees than it used to (they were scandalously cleared to make the church more visible) but it still presents an impressively natural panorama.

This is the view from Ham Farm Road looking north towards Church Road with the busy Upper Ham Road just off to the left.

6 September 2012

Cross at St Andrews

Generally I find St Andrews Church to be a dull building in a dark location so it is not featured here very often. The cross at the front is an exception to the dullness and it also manages to rise above the darkness to bask in the sun. That, and the lichen, make it worth taking a photograph of.

4 September 2012

Pumping Station

I know this sign is grubby and stuck to a manhole cover but that is why I like it.

A lot of my pictures are taken away from the usual eye-line and this is a case in point. The obvious thing to do when taking the path from Ham Farm Road to Church Road is to look at the trees and the things flying through them but if you look down at the ground at the Ham Farm Road end you will see the manhole covers that give notice of the pumping station beneath.

3 September 2012

Two ivies on Upper Ham Road

The near twins Ivy House and Ivy Cottage on Upper Ham Road are both cocooned in ivy but they can be told apart by the size of their leafs and the general tidiness of their trim. On the left is a teenage girl who cares desperately about her appearance whereas hew twin brother on the right has let his hair grow long and wild. He will go bald soon.

1 September 2012

Fixing Morgans

Morgans was completed just four years ago and is now having some substantial looking repairs done to it. There are few clues as to what that work is, e.g. no signs of new tiles, windows or paint, but the scaffolding that circles the rendered section of the block has been there for several months now which suggests that it is a big job.

27 August 2012

The growing island

The little island in Ham Pond was enlarged a couple of years ago and now it has been enlarged again. It has also been planted and covered in mesh to give the plantings a chance to grow..

Like last time, I suspect that this is an attempt to encourage birds, particularly the swans (now gone), to nest away from the edge where they can be got at by dogs.

Generally I approve but I would have liked a little bit more thought given to all the needs of all of the wildlife. The enlarged island has consumed the rock that the turtle loved to sun itself on and once the mesh has been removed there will be no posts, other than around the edge where the people and the dogs are, for birds to perch on.

25 August 2012

New railings at Pond House

I've been following the works on Pond House in the south-west corner of Ham Common for quite a while and I will feel a touch relief when it is finally finished. I have other local projects I need to keep an eye on.

In the weeks since I last took a picture of the works in progress the house has gained some attractive railings. Let's hope that there will soon be a pretty garden to look at through them.

21 August 2012

One of our walls was missing

All the previous pictures that I have taken of this have been taken from the side of the house through the large gate so it was something of a shock to walk past and find the high brick wall gone.

While the wall's disappearance gives a better view of the house it is too high a cost to pay. High brick walls define that part of Ham and are found surrounding Beaufort Lodge, Ham Manor, Ham House and others.

Losing the wall here is a big mistake and I am astonished that somebody thought of it and that somebody else allowed it.

Update: According to a comment posted below the wall is being rebuilt. I hope that is true and I'll be back there soon to check.

Further update: As the second comment below says, the wall has been rebuilt.

It was good to be able to see the full-frontal view of the house when the old wall had been taken down but it is better that it is back and it will be even better once the wall has weathered a little and starts to look as dark as its much old neighbours.

18 August 2012

Royal Oak

One of the purposes of this blog is to record things before they disappear so that not all of the many incremental changes in Ham go passed unnoticed and we forget and regret what we used to have.

So with the Royal Oak looking unlikely to reopen as a pub I wanted to capture the pub sign that is unlikely to still be there if/when it becomes a house.

16 August 2012

Small meadow

This little patch of ground caught my eye several times as I went past on the bus and even though it is quite of the way for one of my walks (I tend to avoid main roads) I made a special effort to go there just to take this picture.

These flowers are busy brightening up the small space between The Dysart and the footpath that takes you around the churchyard. What the space lacks in size it makes up for in colour. It is all very jolly and a much needed reminder that Summers are meant to have flowers.

14 August 2012

Olympic buses

One of the signs (literally) of the Olympics has been the notices of disruption on all the 371 and 65 bus stops, i.e. all the bust stops in Ham. Between the warning and the bus stop name is narrow strip of distinctive Olympic Pink that temporarily replaces the TfL red, a hint of which can be seen at the edge.

12 August 2012

Olympic Rings

The route the Olympic Flame took through Ham and Petersham is decked with all sort of bunting most of which uses elements of the Union Flag. This is all very patriotic and jolly but not specific to the Olympics. Which is why I love these hoops on a cottage on the Petersham Road so much. They are simple, imaginative, relevant and just so very right. Well done!

1 August 2012

The Theatre of Flora

You do not get much of a feel for what The Theatre of Flora is about from this picture as it is a sound installation. This work by Kathleen Herbert’s explores connections between the current financial climate and the 17th century Dutch speculation in tulip bulbs through fragments of speech that bounce around the garden from the speakers.

What you do get a feel for is how pretty this section of the garden looks with its tall grasses, central floral display and protecting brick wall around it.

28 July 2012

The Olympic Torch comes to Ham

The Olympic Torch passed through Ham twice. The familiar relay of runners came up the Richmond Road the Tuesday before the Opening Ceremony but the major event was on the opening day itself when the torch was carried on the Royal Barge Gloriana down the river to London.

There were good crowds out along the route on both banks particularly around Teddington Lock where the large flotilla had to pause a while while being lowered down to the next stretch of the river.

26 July 2012

Pots on the terrace

I have noticed that every time that I go to Ham House (and that is quite often) that I take a lot of photographs of the back of the house and of the terrace that stretches lazily in front of it. That is probably because it is as pretty as this picture.

21 July 2012

Banquet of Sound at Ham House

The Garden of Reason continues at Ham House throughout the Summer and, thanks to being a member of both the National Trust and the Art Fund, I can pop-in as often as I like. On my most recent visit I was able to get a decent look at Banquet of Sound, by Tom Dale, without the distraction of brightly coloured people in the background.