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Monday, July 31, 2006

Isn't begging a problem?



I'll come clean - these guys aren't begging but carring out a traffic survey.

I'm on holiday for the next two weeks, posts continuing by magic, but I will not be able to answer comments.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lets do Bridges!



One good bridge deserves another, here is one you don't see that often - Hammersmith Bridge. The first suspension bridge across the Thames, it has been through quite a lot lately, including being blown up by terrorists.

I'm on holiday for the next two weeks, posts continuing by magic, but I will not be able to answer comments.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Millennium Bridge



A slightly different angle on the wobbly bridge. If you don't know about the wobbles, read about them here

I'm on holiday for the next two weeks, posts continuing by magic, but I will not be able to answer comments.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 4

Friday, July 28, 2006

Petanque, anyone?



If you were a frenchman at a loose end for a game of boules in London, where would you go? Not here at the Hays Galleria on the Southbank, where there is a boules court, but the local office workers who play enthusiastically, even if they don't know the rules
. A frenchman would probably weep.

I'm on holiday for the next two weeks, posts continuing by magic, but I will not be able to answer comments.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 5

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Tooting Bec Lido



It's been so hot, Miss Ham trecked off to Tooting Bec Lido with a friend and spent the day lounging by and swimming in the water. This Lido has a history going back to 1906, and is possibly the largest in Europe.

"Take some photos" I asked, This one is my favorite. A more conventioal view is here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 6

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside



If you live in Paris, you have to have your beach created for you. In London, you have your beach ready made. If you were a cynic, you'd point out that there is nobody on the London beach because it is filthy, also you are liable to be drowned if you hang around for too long (High tide on the Thames comes right up to the platform of the pier!). To say it that way loses the essence of the seaside - sand by the water - you old cynic you.

posted by Ham at 01:03 -- Comments here: 6

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

All about sponsorship



Am I the only one who thinks that occasionally sponsorship goes a little too far? This art exhibit, sponsored by the car maker was on show in covent garden. Its entitled "All about me" and consists of polaroids of the artist stuck on the car. I bet he had a good laugh.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 6

Monday, July 24, 2006

Southbank Buskers



It's quite normal to find recently qualified music students busking, these two were good. So I asked what the piece they were playing was. It was a klezmer violin piece. Which they played on flute and banjo. OK.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 5

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Music in the Park



Here's an event that really shows what London is about. True, it is a vast metropolis but within that each distruct finds ther own identity. I am fortunate to live in one of those areas where the mix works.

Today Mrs Ham and I walked down to join in Music in the Park". This is real community event that has been happening for six years. Organised by the community (actually, our local libraian!) the day passes in good humour with some excellent music. The headline act was the Mbawula South African Township Band with a Soweto choir - ably assisted by the Zulu Choir from Wanstead High School, the local school.

The building you can see has a history, I think I'll return to that another day.

A local event, for local people.

posted by Ham at 00:51 -- Comments here: 4

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Watch this space



If you are ever around the Southbank at lunchtimes, it is always worth checking out if there is a free show. This one is part of the "Watch This Space" series and is called The Caravan of Desires, and was a fun way to spend lunchtime. Another photo here

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 5

Friday, July 21, 2006

Half Moon Theatre



This is the entrance to the Half Moon Young People's Theatre. Based in a deprived part of the East End it makes theatre fun for kids, staging productions for ages two to teen. They emphasise reaching out children who would normally be exluded, by ethnicity or disability.

But please take a look at the stone carving. This building was put up in 1863 and thankfully escaped damage in the war. The only other place I've seen carving more ornate was at the Sikh Gurdwara.

posted by Ham at 01:13 -- Comments here: 1

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Feelin' Hot Hot HOT!



It's been the hottest July day here in London, and everyone is looking to keep cool. This picture was taken at the fountains in Somerset House. They are not that well known, as the courtyard is hidden from the road. The building itself iswell worth a visit another day.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 11

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Foley Street Studios



As you travel around London, you will see quite a few structures similar to this, with staircase down. They used to be public toilets, but were sold off some years back, and became all sorts of enterprises. This on Foley Street was a film or tape studio for a while, they put the taller structure inside the old. My favourite example, though, was the one that turned into an upright tanning shop. Their slogan? Tanning at your conveniene.

posted by Ham at 00:31 -- Comments here: 3

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tom Cards



When I posted pictures of phone boxes two days ago, Eric wanted to know what they had to do with swingers. Open up any box in London and you fnd these prostitues adverts - "Tom Cards". As fast as they get taken down, new ones go back up.

I used to wonder how the ... service staff? ... managed their own safety. One day, a strange tourist aksed me to call one of the numbers and help him arrange .... a massage. In the spirit of adventure, I did so, and had a chat with the girl on the other end. Seems that this bloke had phoned before, becaue they didn't like the sound of him they turned him down.

posted by Ham at 00:26 -- Comments here: 13

Monday, July 17, 2006

Put that in your pipe...



Let's start the week in a tobacconists, of all places. You can find G. Smith & Sons at 74 Charing Cross Road, where it has been since 1869. Apart from the selection of pipes and this cheerful chappie taking a pinch of snuff, it is also noteable for having been the very first shop in Charing Cross Road.

Who remembers Bob Newhart's Introducing Tobacco to Civilisation?

Government Health Warning: Reading a blog about tobacco will not damage your health.

posted by Ham at 00:22 -- Comments here: 5

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A classic London sight



We are so used to the phone box in London, we pass it by without a thought. It is a perfect example of functional design, and all attempts to find a more up to date replacement have failed. Made me laugh when they discovered that traffic noise stopped them from using a plain hood.

posted by Ham at 01:24 -- Comments here: 11

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bow Street Magistrates Court is closing down



The origin of the Bow Street Runners (the forerunner of the police force) is truly fascinating. Let me start you - did you know that the man who started the force was blind? This article tells you about some of that, and Wikipedia gives you up to date background of the court.

Checkout the famous names that have through the door. Even if you don't know the Kray twins, you will probably have heard of Cassanova (and many others).

Another gem about the Police station is that Queen Victoria objected to the blue police light, as it reminded her of the room that her husband, Albert died in. So they changed it to white.

Thanks to ems for reminding me that the Court is closing today, to be turned into a hotel.

posted by Ham at 00:09 -- Comments here: 6

Friday, July 14, 2006

Let them eat cake!



Those famous words, often attributed to Marie Antoinette as her response to the peasants problem - "they have no bread" is a suitable way to say Happy Bastille Day to our French friends from across the channel (of which there are now quite a lot - more than you might think!).

And here is London's answer to that question - Konditor and Cook. They are a small chain of shops who make "fabulous cakes - the sort you'd make yourself if only you had the time, energy or inclination..

For those revisionists that are interested, the provenance of the "Let them eat cake" phrase is here, on the Straight Dope which is a site worth a browse.

posted by Ham at 01:01 -- Comments here: 5

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A load of Pollocks? No.


Pollocks Toy Museum has sat in its little cornerfor ever, and is run by the grandson of the founder. It has a fasinating collection and a wonderful line in proscenium toy theatres like these.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 6

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Ducking and diving




I would like to say to the people of Mumbai, our thoughts are with you.

Be shown around london by a duck! no, really! These people had the brilliant idea of converting a WWII military amphibious Duck to carry tourists around London. I've never been on it but it looks really cool. Just seeing it drive off the road into the Thames is great. Hmmm just a thought - could it be a tentacle of the Empire of the Scaryduck?

posted by Ham at 01:01 -- Comments here: 8

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Wind Cries Mary in D Minor



In Brook Street you can find one of my favourite bits of London trivia - the Blue Plaque for Jimmy Hendrix and Handel, next door to each other. Well, they were both into big hair.

posted by Ham at 01:14 -- Comments here: 6

Monday, July 10, 2006

London's Elephant's - No.7 1/2 in the series



I can't get away from the feeling that I'm cheating a bit here. After all, they are nowhere you can go and visit, but I liked them so much I thought they had to join the party. I'll compromise and post this as an extra to the series, hence the "7 1/2".

They were on sale at the Hampton Court Flower Show (see yesterday), and they appear to be having a wonderful time splashing about. I didn't dare ask how much they were.

Click for No 1 in the series.
Click for No 2 in the series.
Click for No 3 in the series.
Click for No 4 in the series.
Click for No 5 in the series.
Click for No 6 in the series.
Click for No 7 in the series.

posted by Ham at 00:44 -- Comments here: 4

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Worldwide Web Garden



I went to the Hampton Court Flower Show today. There was only ever one picture for the blog - this is the Worldwide Web Garden",

"The inspiration for the garden came from a growing awareness and acceptance of our reliance on the worldwide web for the exchange of knowledge and communication on a global basis" It won a bronze medal.

Anyone who is interested can see the rest of my photos on this link. There are a lot of them.

posted by Ham at 00:28 -- Comments here: 8

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Let me show you my London



In contrast to yesterday's somber mood, today I'd like to show you some of the glory of London. Crossing Waterloo Bridge on my way to work, I just had to stop and take this picture for you.

It doesn't matter which bridge I use, what the weather is like, how busy I am; I always look around me, and feel lucky.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 9

Friday, July 07, 2006

Today is July 7th



A year ago today four total non-entities stepped onto London trains and buses and changed the face of my city, forever. Fifty two people and four murderers were killed, 700 injured. For all that the IRA were misguided, possibly psycopathic, fanatics it was never that difficult to step inside their heads as it is to understand the mindset of these British misfits.

Was it their idea of the virgins waiting for them that turned them on? The posthumous glory? Who knows. I refuse to call them muslims; that description no more defines their actions than does our common humanity.

Think instead of those left with the memories, those who lived through a small piece of hell on earth. In absolute terms the Somme and all that stood for may have been a lower circle of hell, but that does not diminish one iota the significance of the pain imposed randomly on people like you and I.

Rachel who lived through an underground bomb is an eloquent writer. Please take the time to read her work, visit her archives - read and learn. We cannot ignore and we must not forget. Not just London a year ago, but Madrid, Bali, New York: all those places where innocent people died because some murderers decided their cause was just.

This photo recalls the bombing of the Baltic Exchange by the IRA in 1992. Only (huh, "only") three people were murdered and the historic Baltic Exchange destroyed. Out of its ashes, the Gherkin, one of my favourite London buildings, has risen. Their names are carved into the granite wall, without any explanation. Let us not forget.


Rachel is calling for signatures on a petition for a public enquiry into the events of 7th July, to help avoid others having to go through what she has done. Please sign it, thank you.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 19

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sleuth Day in the Daily Photo world!



If you are into murder mysteries, the best place in Europe is here, in Murder One, the biggest specialist crime bookshop.

Today, the wonderful world of the Daily Photo brings you the first international quiz.

Your mission, should you accept it, is to discover the two Daily Photo sites that have a linked post today. Entries by email to londondailyphoto (at) gmail.com, progress can be tracked in my comments box, the first three winning entries will get a postcard from both of the sites. There are clues in each of the two sites text on the post, and here are some more clues:

They are a world apart.

One is not in Old North Scotland, the other isn't that far away.

A celt sewn lump of coal marks one end, the other has a recent connection with ancient games.

Is it Art, or is it Paul? (a little more cryptic, those last ones)

(More clues will appear through the day)

Good luck, and good hunting.

Mark, sorry, Barcelona and
Barcelona is not the answer (nor are San Diego and
San Diego

12:40 - Chris, Carment, Kathrine, you are the winners! The two sites are Newcastle and Sydney, who both have the same design of bridge. The story of the two bridges is fascinating, I recommend you have a look.

Decipering the cryptic clues:
One is not in Old North Scotland - sydney is in New South Wales, the other isn't that far away, Newcastle is near Scotland.

A celt sewn lump of coal marks one end, the other has a recent connection with ancient games. A Celt sewn = Newcastle, famous for its coal, Sydney held the Olympics

Is it Art, or is it Paul? Sorry about these - Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Bridge over Troubled Waters.

Thanks all for taking part, the winners will gettheir postcards for Sally Sydney and Chris Newcastle.

posted by Ham at 00:03 -- Comments here: 11

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

These guys should be band!



Well, that's what they are, trouble is the council wants them banned (together with all buskers) from the South Bank.

I heard their accomplished playing of some jazz standards (A Train, Sweet Georgia Brown ec) from my desk and wandered out to take a closer look, and their picture. They don't have a website, so I'll pass on their message - "Keep Music Live!"

A little later, they were moved on.

Quiz arrives this time tomorrow,.

posted by Ham at 00:26 -- Comments here: 12

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Eagle Has Landed



Following the friendly example of Eric, I'd like to wish all my American readers a very happy 4th of July.

This memorial is in Grosvenor Square, just outside the US Embassy and commemorates the 244 American (and 16 British) airmen who died fighting in the Eagle Squadrons before the USA joined WWII.

(detective quiz coming up on Thursday)

posted by Ham at 00:06 -- Comments here: 4

Monday, July 03, 2006

London's Mounted Policemen



Today I thought I'd show you some of London's cycling policemen. I took this shot at Friday's Critical Mass, which was well attended after the recent victory in court made it clear that the ride was legal.

These guys do a great job and are excellent ambassadors for the Police service. Maybe it's the cycling that does it, by keeping them more in touch with reality. Whatever, they are welcome on the streets of London and much more versatile at a chase than a car. Also, for those that might feel cyclists are too lawless, these guys often give out tickets to cyclists who jump red lights and ride on the pavements AND they can catch any who don't stop. And they DO have flashing blue lights and a siren!

Speaking of police and detectives (almost a smooth segue) I'll be hosting a small sleuthing quiz for a couple of daily photo bloggers on Thursday - more details to follow.

posted by Ham at 00:10 -- Comments here: 10

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Claridges Hotel



If you stay in Claridges Hotel (one of the poshest) you can get a cheerful dorman to call a cab for you, while you chat.

posted by Ham at 00:30 -- Comments here: 6

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Theme - Supermarkets around the world: Waitrose



Waitrose is my favorite supermarket by a long way. Why? Well, what you see in the picture is a hand scanner. If you have an account card, you can use these: you just take the stuff off the shelves, scan it and put it into your bag. Pay with a card in a machine on the way out. That's it.

That would be pretty persuasive for me, but on top of that Waitrose is an ethical supermarket, the only one apart from the Coop. They make available local produce, organic and fair trade food. The quality of their food is superlative and they have a great range of ingredients. They have product tastings like Champagne and strawberry ice cream and great prepared meals.

I'm going to shut up abut them now, after all they don't pay me. Oh. Actually they do - I get cash back using the account card.

In a nutshell, I'm not saying there are no problems but Waitrose is the closest you'll get to an old style shop; it is the best of British retailling.

Twentyfive Daily Photo Bloggers around the world are posting a Supermarket theme picture today; select a number to visit another:1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6 -7 -8 -9 -10 -11 -12 -13 -14 -15 -16 -17 -18 -19 -20 -21 -22 -23 -24 -25

posted by Ham at 00:44 -- Comments here: 32

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Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile






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