diamond geezer

 Sunday, October 29, 2017

2 Hammersmith/Fulham
The Herbert Commission's proposal to combine Hammersmith with Fulham went through on the nod, the greatest debate being what to call the combination (Hammersmith won initially, with "and Fulham" added in 1979). For today's post I've visited six public open spaces across the borough, sat down on a bench and watched comings and goings for ten minutes or so. Here's what I saw...

Six Hammersmith & Fulham benches

1) Wormwood Scrubs, behind Hammersmith Hospital



A cardboard box carefully opened up and spread across the bench, either to cover up guano or because it's easier to sleep on overnight
An NHS employee striding out across the Scrubs with a cavernous leather handbag, catching up on what happened on social media while she was on shift
Scattered oak leaves, a few logs and scrubby undergrowth
A jogger in a Redhill Triathlon t-shirt, puffing at walking pace down the cycle lane
Two hospital orderlies in blue trousers sat on an adjacent bench, far enough away from the wards to have a sneaky fag
An old lady walking slowly across the grass, then waiting patiently while her poodle squats
A long promenade of streetlamps along the back of the high prison wall
A driver waiting patiently for a space to appear in the car park, thus far unlucky
A crow sat on the crossbar of some rugby posts, cunningly transformed into a football goal by means of a net, while at the other end of the pitch three lads have a just-quorate kickabout
Spotlights on poles above fenced-off generators, to provide evening illumination for the Kensington Dragons

2) Japanese Garden, Hammersmith Park



Two lads using the garden for outdoor boxing practice, sparring back and fro with nifty footwork and a good deal of glove-waving, their Leone kitbag drooping over the edge of a nearby rock
A temporary orange lift rising up the side of a curved wall that was once BBC Television Centre, now entirely sheeted and scaffolded
A bespectacled bloke leaning against a thin tree and reading the first few pages of a magazine
A pair of office workers necking a liquid lunch, she from a bottle, he from a can
A gaggle of boys making the most of half term by repeatedly running up and down a big green artificial mound
A man who's just bought a strimmer from the kind of shop that part-wraps tools in brand-free plastics bags
A Japanese youth in the Japanese Garden with a big Japanese camera hunting for autumnal inspiration, eventually crouching to snap some leaves
A morose boy in a black anorak walking several steps behind his cigarette-puffing Dad
A fashionably well-wrapped threesome catching up on office gossip beside the cascades
Paul from Iceland, staff name badge prominently on display, with a red Cex bag strung across his back

3) Shepherd's Bush Green



A council operative sweeping up more than a trucksworth of fallen leaves into umpteen green Serco bags
A smart young lady in a white hoodie clutching a Little Miss Sunshine mug, while her flatcapped partner lights up
Last year's plastic poppy wreaths at the foot of the war memorial, because the Mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham never forgets
An entire family trying to dash towards the pedestrian crossing before the lights change, partially thwarted by a Deliveroo cyclist weaving along the pavement
A stooped woman in a (probably fake) fur hat, with a Co-Op bag for life slung over her walking frame
A man chomping down on a long pastry tube filled with meat, with a second Greggs treat ready in a brown bag for when that's gone
The honk of a truck's horn sending a squadron of pigeons swooping overhead, excitedly photographed by a conveniently-positioned Chinese lady
A tattooed couple tugging suitcases, one with bright red hair, the other with a red woolly hat
A fluffy bunny dangling from the inside of a pram, inhabitant unseen, while mum checks her phone
Two happy headscarved girls vaping on the war memorial steps in a cloud of raspberry

4) Parsons Green



A carpet of dry brown leaves scattered across the grass, repeatedly pecked by pigeons
The church which stands on the site where the eponymous parsonage used to be, Alpha Course banner prominently displayed
A traffic warden standing beside a tatty-looking car, arguing with two gesturing men
An Alsatian in a golden neckchain, patiently padding alongside its owner
A grey-haired lady in a brimmed hat, tassels dangling, gliding past serenely on a silver scooter
Some double-width child-shoving contraption consisting of a pushchair facing forwards and a pram facing backwards
An elderly couple returning from the shops, she with minimal Little Waitrose comestibles in a carrier bag, he with a handful of wrapped flowers
A young gentleman with smarmed-back blond hair braying "I'm happy to look into that" into his smartphone
A sweaty jogger bouncing inefficiently along the pavement with a rucksack on his back
A wife being tugged across the grass by a leapy poodle, while hubby concentrates on his daughter's antics aboard a pink scooter

5) Eel Brook Common



Two ladies returning, fully stocked, from Whole Foods
A gaggle of dog owners meeting beneath the trees for a chat while their charges frolic
A lady in a pristine winter coat holding two pints of semi-skimmed in one hand and her twitching daughter in the other
A smiling mother with a baby strung to her front within some kind of grey mesh
A wall of trailers and caravans around a bright white big top belonging to the Moscow State Circus
A circus artiste, hair dyed off-red, having a chat with a fellow performer before stepping inside a tent attached to the front of a caravan, then scrubbing down what passes as the window
Mum using a box of Krispy Kreme Hallowe'en doughnuts to lure her young boys to the children's playground
Dad hurling a rugby ball to his daughter, daughter hurling it back, and repeat
A small bored boy strapped into a pushchair, briefly delighted to have someone else at his height to stare at
A tiny dog snaffling fruitlessly at my feet while the owner, in a flap-eared hat, mopes elsewhere

6) Imperial Park, Thames Embankment



Two businesspersons walking slowly up from the pontoon past a string of motor yachts, one emblazoned in Union Jack colours
A lunchtime jogger following another lunchtime jogger, only one of whom returns (somewhat tireder) a few minutes later
A young couple embracing on the garden terrace, she stood, he sat, to reach ideal snogging height
A baseball-capped lady emptying (nasally) into a handkerchief
The autumn sun streaming onto a cliff-face of south facing balconies, each well equipped with tables and/or chairs, but with absolutely no residents at home to enjoy them
A man ambling into the Touch Garden clutching a bottle of expensive flavoured water and a plastic tub of what looks like mostly lentils
An old lady in a brown jacket pushing her husband along the Thames Path, at least as far as the steep ramp by the stepped waterfall where her daughter takes over
Two greyhounds whose somewhat fey names have been embossed onto their leather collars
A yellow-coated security guard standing watching activities further along the boardwalk with keen intent
Large aeroplane, inbound


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