Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Light up for Christmas

I interrupt the walk one more time to bring you my view of the Oxford Street lights as
I ride through in the morning. They are rather good this year, and getting me in the mood for Christmas already.

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

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ye Old Leather Bottle

As you continue on the walk, through Frank's Park (a piece of woodland once the grounds of a large house, preserved and donated to the council by the widow of Farnk Beadle) you come across this unprepossessing pub. At first glance it looks like another faux-named modern monstrosity, but actually dates from 1643 when this would have been part of a main London-Dover thoroughfare. There seems to be quite a few "Leather Bottles" along this route.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Monday, November 28, 2011

Autumn Colours

Back on my Green Chain Walk, I was lucky last week to find the last days of autumn. This last week with the onset of the cold nights, the leaves have dropped like - well, like autumn leaves.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Theatre in the Round

We interrupt this walk to bring you news of a show - La Soiree at London's Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, the building where trains used to turn around. I went last year and was blown away by the talent, energy and sense of fun this adult circus delivers. Based on the performance I saw, while still able to entertain with things no human ought to be able to do, this show is a little less edgy than the one on the South Bank last year, so you could probably take your granny. Having said that, I suspect it varies from day to day, so probably best not take your kids. Last year I got to take photos as at special press session, so I can bring you a flavour of the show with some images here, here and here.

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

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Walking Through the Churchyard

While you are there, it is worth a detour through the churchyard. There are gravestones legible from the 18th century, and the thing that struck me was the number of younger deaths, below 30, and then there are those in 80's and 90's. It seems as if you were able to survive past your 40thbirthday, the chances were you might live to a ripe old age.

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

Friday, November 25, 2011

Yew won't guess how old

The first thing you meet on this walk is St Johns the Baptist church in Erith, it's been a place of Christian worship for a thousand years, apparently, and this beautiful yew tree is eight hundred years old.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Thursday, November 24, 2011


The walk I did was part of the Green Chain, walks 2 & 3. I found this waymarker at the start, and thought that they might continue throughout, but the rest are just signposts.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Peering into the past

Walking in London is as varied as you want to make it, Erith is not the first place you'd think of to start from. As we move along, I'll tell you more about the walk itself, for the moment another image.

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

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Industrial Thames

We start this walk along the Thames, with scenes of industry that have largely vanished, certainly from the more central London end of things. At one time the whole river would have been a hive of activity.

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

Monday, November 21, 2011

Estuary English

This week, I'm going to take you alongside a walk with me in South London. Well I went there, no reason you shouldn't. It will be time of discovery, showing some of the variety of images you can find in London. We've started this walk in Erith (two "F"s), and avid Londonophiles may guess where I am headed, come along with me on the walk.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Underground, Overground

Wombling free. Well they couldn't charge for the Wombles, could they? I can't ever see the latest addition to the transport armoury without thinking of the Wombles. It's a sad place to be.

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

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Killing Fields

There was a candlelit vigil held underneath the scene of the Bow flyover, the scene of two cyclist deaths in less than a month.

It starts with some small words ...we've looked at the roundabout and making it safer might hold motorists up for a few seconds... and ends with people dying.

The odd thing is, it isn't just cyclists being massacred, it's pedestrians too. Isn't it time we started saying: No, it is NOT acceptable to kill people for our own convenience? Because that is what it is, really. It doesn't need much, just to tip the balance in favour of vulnerable road users, rather than the car.

A very local Diamond Geezer's account of events is here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ordinary Londoners - No 22 In the series

Danny Bent, ordinary Londoner. Yesterday, I told you how he is now trying to raise £1,000,000 for charity. Today, A bit of his background.

He's a teacher, who decided to volunteer to teach in India. He told his class he was going and one child asked how he was going to get there; he remembered teaching them about the need to choose "Green" options, and heard himself say he was going to cycle there. Which he then did, raising pots of money for Action Aid along the way. I came across his story in his book "You've gone too far this time, sir", which is an incredibly inspiring read.

As I've said before, there is no such thing as an ordinary Londoner, everyone has a story, everyone is special and you set your mind to something it is astonishing what you can achieve. If reading his book makes you think, I'd like to do something different, then why not be inspired and join him?

The ordinary Londoner series is here.


posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Remember Other People

I hardly know where to start here, because this is an extraordinary story. I know! I'm going to have to split it over more than one day. This is Danny Bent, who has had the idea of combining with others to raise £1,000,000 for children with AIDS, just because. It's not his day job, it's just something he wants to do. why not visit and see what you could do to challenge yourself A nice, seamless link here to my million page game.....

Thank you everyone for joining in my little bit of fun, I am pleased to announce that SteveA was the closest with 999,999, so a book to him and one at random from all the rest........Christina.

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

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Remember the Stories

Remembrance Day sees many ceremonies in many places, with wreath laying at the heart. This is in Trinity Square Gardens by the Tower of London, where the memorial commemorates the 40,000 merchant navy seamen, not soldiers. They died keeping Britain's supplies running and for them the sea is their resting place. Take a moment if you visit to read some of the stories, they can be very poignant.

It looks like today is the day the 1,000,000 number turns up (see in the left margin). Remember, all you have to do to win is to take the screenshot nearest 1,000,000 and send it to me, the chances of getting exactly 1,000,000 are probably small so it's worth trying anywhere near. I may even give another prize to the furthest geographical visitor, or in fact for any other reason that takes my fancy. Have a go, why don't you? (Competition is now over - winners will be announced tomorrow)

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Remember the people

All the focus of the Remembrance Parades is for the soldiers who died in conflict, which is as it should be, but we should not forget the people who died, too. This memorial is unusual in that it is for the tens of thousands people of the East End who died in the bombing in WWII. You can find this quite near Tower Bridge, at Hermitage Garden.

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

Monday, November 14, 2011


This week there will be a mini-theme of remembrance, I'm starting off with where I was at 11:00 on Sunday - just by Bow Flyover. This (top) is where, on Friday afternoon, a 30 year old woman died under the wheels of a lorry. The second (bottom) is where three weeks ago 58 year old father of three died, under the wheels of a lorry. TfL have said sorry, so that's OK then. It appears that it is all too difficult to make things safer for pedestrians and cyclists at this roundabout because it might hold traffic up for a few seconds.

This is what happens when you have a mayor in thrall to big business and the charms of the consumerist society. Remember .... remember.

In case you are wondering, the bottom shot does include two numpties who found themselves incapable of driving around the roundabout without running into each other. One of the parties is more at fault, but I'm just glad there wasn't a cyclist involved....

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Lord Mayor's Parade

Saturday was the day of the annual Lord Mayor's Parade, with that particular blend of familiarity combined with pomp & circumstance that we do so well. Unfortunately I was unable to go this year, so the photo is from last year.

The counter for the 1,000,000 give-away is creeping up, see the left margin for more info.

posted by Ham at 06:49 -- Comments here: 1

Saturday, November 12, 2011

St Helens Undershaft

The space at St Helen's Undershaft, between Lloyds of London and the Gherkin, has been turned into a mini sculpture park. The idea is to provide interest for people, this piece is called "Screen with Folded Arms", you wouldn't have guessed.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Friday, November 11, 2011

Festubert 1915, Loos, Somme 1916 1918 Flers Courcelette

Those names of the battlefields on which so many died in WW1 are inscribed at the bottom of this memorial, dedicated to the dead of the Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles regiment - 1,240 of them. The regiment included those from Audit, the Post Office, Whitehall. They stepped out of their comfortable jobs and risked their lives - Henry Moore the sculptor served in this regiment.

The memorial itself, based in Somerset House, was designed by Lutyens, and is notable for the flags which are carved and painted.

On today, 11/11/11, the guns of the first war fell silent so many years ago. We would do well to remember those fallen, and consider the other soldiers who didn't ask to die in the second war and so many other conflicts.

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

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hammersmith Bridge

Hammersmith Bridge is another of the legacies of Joseph Bazalgette, who as the creator of London's sewers probably did more to shape modern London than any other. It is still good to look at.

Hope you've al noticed the little give-away competition on the left hand side.

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

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lingua Franker

Some select cash machines in London offer to enliven your cash withdrawing experience by selecting Cockney as the language. Cockney rhyming slang was the patois of street traders who wanted to talk without customers understanding. The rhyming word was not normally spoken, so this machine would be for sausage, not sausage and mash (= cash) making it far more difficult to understand. Still, you can find this one, if you want, outside Bow Road station.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

London to Brighton - The London End

It's really worth taking a moment to look at the cars that take part in this rally: all built before 1905, they are the first horseless carriages. Lots are like this one looks as if the horse has just wandered off. Cars come from all over the world to join in this rally, I think everyone loves them, whatever you may think of modern transport issues. Long may it continue.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Monday, November 07, 2011

London to Brighton - The End of the Road

Sunday was the London to Brighton Veteran car run, for cars built before 1905. I and a group of others rode along on our bikes, and it was great fun - rather like a 50 mile street party. I would definitely recommend anyone living near the route goes along one year to experience it, if you want a short video of what it's like on the cars, that's here, a rather edited version of the cycle ride, here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Remeber, Remeber Remember, Remember....

The fifth of November, with gunpowder, treason & plot. As skies light up across London, the treason of Guy Fawkes is well remembered for trying to blow up Parliament. What is less well remembered is the reason for it - it really was no fun being a Catholic in England back then (in the late 16th Century). For many years bonfire night was celebrated by burning an effigy of the Pope, not certain when that turned into the more politically correct guy.

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

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Ham's Backside

I couldn't possibly leave without this shot, could I? The wordplay possibilities have not been exhausted, but everything should have limits. The obligatory Ham Street photo is here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Friday, November 04, 2011

Ham's Got a Garden

Ham's got the lot, as you might expect. The garden has been reconstructed in the style of the period, as although the house has been occupied for the last 400 years and has some amazing original features, the garden tends to be something that changes with the years and seasons. The other excellent feature of the house is how they have made it interesting for children, too. When I was there (last Saturday) children were having a whale of a time looking for pumpkins.

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

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Ham's Fantastic Staircase

As promised, here is a shot of the interior of Ham House, showing the fantastic carved staircase. Chuckeroon over at Richmond Daily Photo is one of the dedicated volunteers who help keep the building open and make it come alive with their enthusiasm. If you haven't ever visited a National Trust property, you may not realise just how a building like this acquires its legions. What surprised me at Ham House was the number of young volunteers as well as more advanced years.

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

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ham House

Yes, it really is Ham House. And yes, it is one of the very grandest houses in London, not just in London but throughout Europe. The amazing thing is it has taken this long for me to get here. It really is worth visiting more detail over the next few days, and I'll introduce you to one of the natives, too.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

November Theme Day - Fences

The theme for this months in the worldwide City Daily Photo is Fences. Time was, when you would find fences in all the markets in London, selling stolen goods. Then, it became more confined to the "Market Ouvert" in Bermondsey Market - a strange anomaly where anything sold between sunrise and sunset could not be questioned as stolen. You can imagine how that might have been exploited, but that ancient loophole was closed in 1995. I should point out that this market trader is NOT a fence, and this stall is in Greenwich Market full of desirable stuff.

If you want to see how others have interpreted the theme, Click here to view thumbnails for all participants. You may find a few more of the border marking-type fences.

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

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