Ham House At Ham

How confusing to live at a village named Ham, as Tamara noted when we were on the road up to Ham House – a National Trust property not far from Richmond.

Petersham Common

Most of the way uphill on the road named Richmond Hill there is a wooden board with information about Petersham Common. The board is just past an unoccupied building named Wick House. At one time is was used to house nurses who worked at the nearby Royal Star and Garter Home.

The ground behind the road backs onto Petersham Common and slopes away steeply. That slope is probably what accounts for the large straggling vertical crack down the side of the building. It’s empty and I don’t think the building is recoverable.

The Star & Garter Home in Richmond is just outside Richmond Park a few hundred yards further up the hill. It was built to care for severely disabled soldiers from the First World War. It is now being converted to flats, and the Star and Garter Home and its residents have moved three locations around the country.

Petersham Common is 16 acres (about six and a half hectares) of deciduous woodland managed as a public open space for nature.

It was originally part of the Ham House Estate, and the land was donated for public use in 1900 by the ninth Earl of Dysart. The freehold of the Common passed to Richmond Council and the Petersham Common Conservators were established to manage the Common.

One morning when we were staying in Richmond, I read the notice and continued uphill to near the entrance to Richmond Park and found the way into the Common.

And this is the Star & Garter Home on the little roundabout just opposite the gates into Richmond Park. As you can see, I photographed it from within the park.

Star & Garter Home at Richmond

What Is He Thinking?

They get the insects that he doesn’t want.

What is he thinking as he looks behind him. How cognisant is he of the relationship with the jackdaws. Is he a willing partner, with both species knowing that they are working together? Or is he resigned to those bloody birds always sitting on his back and pecking away?

More than any of this, how much consciousness is an animal capable of? We humans anthropomorphosise animals. Do we do it because we are pattern finders, even when there is no pattern except as we construct it? Or do we see what is plainly there? Of course, we have an axe to grind – on the one hand we adore some animals and try to eradicate others. And we eat some of them. How can we have a clear head in what we purport to see?

Richmond Park, Fallow Deer and Jackdaws – Nikon D500 With 70-30mm Lens