Sunday, September 30, 2012

An Oasis of Calm

The courtyard of the Priory of St John Clerkenwell is well worth a visit. Sit and contemplate the monks who trod this ground, alongside the knights preparing to go on Crusade. Gives you something to think about.

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

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Art In Action

Graffiti being graffed.

posted by Ham at 09:30 -- Comments here: 2

Friday, September 28, 2012

Strike a Light

These arms are for the Chandlers Livery Company, the candlemakers, their motto "Truth is Light". Above the arms you can see the beehive motif, beeswax was used for the best (and most expensive candles), the poor had to make do with tallow, which was animal fat.

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

City Cars

Today I had my first sighting of the Renault Twizzy, I was quite taken with it. Reading more it is clear that there are problems to address, but even so I think it is the shape of things to come. It will take more than this to persuade me off my bike, though.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Sprouting Seat

Can be found in St John's Square, Clerkenwell.

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mansion Blocks

Mansion Blocks were purpose built at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century, intended for the upper middle classes they make for pleasant living conditions. If you want to live in this one, Cardinal Mansions in Westminster, you'd have to pay £1.2M to live in the basement - sorry, lower ground floor, £1.9M to live on teh Ground Floor and £3.4M to live on the top floor.

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

Monday, September 24, 2012

Not Quite PC

I love London't Victorian cemeteries and the way they open a window into a different time. I can't imagine anyone responding kindly to being called "Jolly Jumbo" these days, dying at 52 might well have been linked. His wife, if that's who she was (sister?) as she is listed as being the wife of Sol Goodman by contrast lived to the grand old age of 89. The monument places them firmly in the upper middle class, through its size and prominence. Plus I rather like the photograph.

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Here kitty kitty...

A small detail of the gate above the entrance to the churchyard of St John Zachary in Gresham Street, City of London. Probably explained as the land belongs to the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

posted by Ham at 00:48 -- Comments here: 0

Saturday, September 22, 2012

St Lukes and Christ Church, Chelsea

This fine looking church was built at the start of the 19th Century in the Gothic style, in fact it was one of the very first of this type.

posted by Ham at 00:11 -- Comments here: 2

Friday, September 21, 2012

Now is the time to drink!

Which is the translation of the phrase "Nunc est bibendum" from which the Michelin Man got his name. The building in the Fulham Road was built in 1911, and has seen many changes in its fortunes. Rebuilt in the late 80's it now houses the excellent Conran Restaurant.

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

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Blue Sky Thinking

This enigmatic sculpture can be found in South Carriage Drive in Hyde Park, see it in context with Google Street View here.

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

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Roll Up, Roll Up!

Anything from the top shelf! The ride yesterday is part of a very self conscious effort to turn the corner of green by the London Eye into a mini Colney Island. The cost of the rides is a little off putting (a couple of minutes on the high roundabout costs £7) and your chance of winning anything at this stall is as likely as at any fair, but I have to confess the cooking at the food stalls really smelled good.

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

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Round and About

This vertiginous ride can be found up near the London Eye at the moment, I'm told the views from the top are fantastic.

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

Monday, September 17, 2012

Smarten Up Your Act

The problem for Leyton was that they expected the world to show up on their doorstep, (at Leyton Station) from where the route to the stadium took you through a shopping centre where all the smaller shops had shut up. So, what to do? The answer was to brick them up and paint cheerful shop frontages over them. Crafty, eh?

posted by Ham at 00:16 -- Comments here: 0

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wheelchair Tennis

Bringing the shots from the Paraalympics to an end is this from wheelchair tennis. Again, it shouldn't be possible. The rules are as normal tennis, except that the ball is allowed to bounce twice. It doesn't take long before you almost forget about their disability and concentrate instead on the entertaining sport. Anyone that feels at all sniffy about the quality of the sport at the Paralympics, that only means you haven't seen it.

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

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Shape of Dreams

I was most taken with the visual impact of the Basketball Arena, all the more so since it is a temporary structure. They're not quite sure what they are going to do with it next, though. You can see a time lapse video of its construction here and a less mucked around with image here.

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

Friday, September 14, 2012

Slam Dunk!

Still rolling with the Paralympic photos, the wheelchair basketball was a thing to behold. The team players are graded according to mobility and given a handicap value, there is a maximum value any team can field at one time. These guys roll and shoot, mostly with stunning accuracy, and play the game with 100% commitment. If you thought disabled sports would not be as engaging and thrilling, think again.

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

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Keep it Quiet!

Several of the parlympic games and events had to be played in silence, where the players are blind and rely on their hearing to locate the ball. The organisers achieved this very effectively by these video hushes - where the severe instruction was made acceptable by a smile at the end. It worked.

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New World Records

The world records in the Paralympics were tumbling like ninepins, 251 in all. Everybody has a theory as to why this was, I think it has more to do with the relatively recent understanding by disabled people that they can compete, and the way many more people are now participating. Add to that the power of the crowds and wonderful things happen to human performance; mostly these athletes get to perform in front of a handful of people - here there were thousands. And that's another record for which London can be proud - 2,700,000 people visited the Paralympics.

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

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Murderball Action

This image is from the Wheelchair Rugby, one of the most full-on contact sports you will ever see. The player's chairs have different designs, too. Attackers have round bases, like most, defenders have very square shopping-trolley style (like the right hand player) used for blocking in attackers.

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

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Flame Burns Bright

The Olympics, Paralympics are over; probably the most exciting event London will stage in my lifetime. Inspirational is the single word I'd choose to describe it, and I feel a little sad now it's over.

So, for today, as we hand over the torch to Rio in 2016 my image is of the Olympic cauldron burning bright.

(and no, I'm not finished with the images from the games by a long way....)

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

Sunday, September 09, 2012

He shoots... he scores!!!!

Blind five-a-side footbal is different from teh normal game. This game is played with blind footballers and a ref that CAN see, as opposed to the normal game.

Actually the difference is that in the blind version, the goalie is sighted, there is no offside and there are unlimited substitutions. In addition, a player coming in to tackle must shout "Voy!" (spanish, I'm coming). That's it. This game should be impossible, with only the gaolie, a guide down the far end and the coach to shout instructions and a ball with a bell, you should not be able to run, tackle and shoot.

If you ever get a chance, go to watch a game, it is an education.

This is TEam GB playing off against Turkey for 7th place, GB won.

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

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Paralympic Cycling

The Velodrome has probably the best reputation of all the venues for the atmosphere. Only 6,000 in there, but all sat close to the track and able to raise the roof. The atmosphere in there was fantastic, really very special. And the athletes? Guys like this, riding with one leg only, complete the 500m time trial at a speed averaging over 50 kph. To read more about the venue experience, I'd direct you again to Diamond Geezer

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

Friday, September 07, 2012


One of the different games for the Paralympics is Goalball. Played by by the blind or those losing their sight, there are three on each team. The object is for one team to roll the ball with a bell inside into the other goal. This is Team GB defending against Brasil, a hard fought match won by GB. And if you think this is incredible, you should see a penalty being taken. And saved.

Diamond Geezer covered Goalball yesterday if you want to read more, a few more photos showing a play are here.

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

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Bladeruner

I was at the Olympic Stadium again on Wednesday evening and I saw Oscar Pistorius and the South African team win gold and set a new World Record in the 4 x 100 relay. It was a thrilling action packed race (several teams ended up disqualified), a monument to his addage: "You're not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have." I think I will forgive his South African turn of phrase.

Two more shots (actually, off the big screen at the Stadium) are here.

posted by Ham at 00:55 -- Comments here: 1

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

The Golden Girl

This image of is of Jessica Long, just after she had won Gold in her 100m Butterfly race and just before she pulled on those prostheses and walked away. Want to know what she looks like out of the pool? This is she.

For the record, her time was 1'10". Which, for those interested, was the time for the able bodied women's world record back around 1960. Isn't that simply fantastic?

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

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

This is NOT a Freak Show

The unique aspect of the swimming is that, whereas with all other Olympic sports, the athletes appear to compete together with their mechanical and cosmetic aids such as those running blades, wheelchairs, you name it; in swimming they appear, then divest themselves of all those things that help them cope on land.

So they line up, the shriveled, the lame, the amputees - not that long ago that would only have happened in a freak show. Disability was something to hide away, something families were ashamed about. But here they are, Olympic athletes whose dedication is second to none ready to compete in front of us. This takes the phrase "differently able", wrenches it from the hands of the politically correct and shows us all what it truly means.

Spasticus Autisticus, the shout from thirty years back, echoes down the years; sung in the opening ceremony (on C4 here, starts at 8 mins in, an excellent piece on the song here and a warning here)

Tomorrow I will share my favourite image from the games on the same theme.

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

Monday, September 03, 2012

Me and the Olympic Torch

We interrupt this Olympic coverage to bring you a picture of me and the (an?) Olympic torch. This was the free kicker at the BP exhibition a few weeks back (I've just managed to collect it), please try to ignore the VERY strange background that has been photoshopped in, but me and the torch are real.

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

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Olympic Park at Night

I've got more to say about he swimming, but I was back at the games today, and going to be tomorrow again (I said I had loads of tickets, didn't I?) so in the interest of speed I'll leave you with a picture of the park at night, which is quite jolly.

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

Saturday, September 01, 2012

A Golden Moment

This is the very moment when Jonathan Fox won his gold medal for the 100m backstroke (you can see the light indicating his win). And, I have to tell you, that the noise, atmosphere and sheer exhilaration of being in that Aquatic Centre was a once in a lifetime experience. Nothing you see on the TV can match being there. If any of you have ever been to rugby at Twickenham or Arms Park (as was) you have some idea.

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

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