Wednesday, December 23

Upper Pen Pond

Katie and I go for a stroll in Richmond Park and I take my camera.  Good day for pictures, too, since the snow dusting.  The Upper Pen Pond, pictured, frozen.  Flints from the Mesolithic period found here, which is pretty cool all things considered.  I can see the sabre tooths and wooly mamoths roaming about.  The origin of the Upper Pond may be a smaller 1636 pond (Lower Pen Pond was maybe the main gravel pit in the park -  there being several such pits - some now ponds). Both Pen Ponds possibly assumed their present form at the end of 17th century, when known as "The Canals" though who knows whay? The ponds drained in the Second World War because they formed a landmark for the Luftwaffe. Water pumped from Pen Ponds feeds the Main Stream in the Isabella Plantation.

All this about the pond makes me investigate the park. During King Edward's (1272-1307) reign this area known as the 'Manor of Sheen' and we, of course, East Sheen.  The name chaged to Richmond during Henry VII.  In 1625 Charles I brought his court to Richmond Palace to escape the plague and turned it into a park for red and fallow deer which he and his compatriots hunted for sport. The King's decision, in 1637, to enclose the land was most unpopular with the locals, but Charles did allow pedestrians the right of way, God bless.  The walls remain BTW and paralleled by the toe path, which I often run.  Today Richmond Park the smallest National Park in the UK but the biggest park in London. Weird factoid: All houses backing on to the park pay a feudal fee known as "Richmond Park Freebord" ranging from £2 to £200 per annum. Go figure.

Katie catches me up on her business, The Op-Ed Project, which is going great guns and employing a number of staff and over 60 volunteers.  More to come.  

Madeleine: "Can I have a Jammie Dodger?"
Me: "What do you think I am going to say?"
Madeleine: "No, like you always do."
Madeleine: "But it is the holidays. And you said we can have anything for the holidays."
Madeleine: "Seriously, Dad. You said you can never say 'no' to me."
Me: "Ok, have a Jammie Dodger."