A Personal Vision of Richmond Park and Beyond

by Philip Hall

Richmond Park is not far away from us. It’s easy to reach it and to walk in it. We enter by the Kingston Gate and from there walk to the Ham Gate. At the Ham gate there is a small pond.

The light in England goes through contortions to get through layers of clouds. The quality of the light is always refracting through, changing.

When I begin my walk I am usually concentrating on my breathing and trying to ignore the pain of muscles warming up. I used to laugh at people who used a stick, but then I found, somehow, that a using stick gives me lots of extra power and balance.

Isabella Plantation has some beautiful flowers,

It is not as if I only walked a few times through Richmond Park. Sometimes I walked through it for a whole month, through the summer. In spring. In autumn. In winter.

You walk through and it’s hard to take it all in. The place is full of so many different plants and trees. I spend some time wondering about their names.

It’s England, so it will rain. Often unexpectedly.

Sometimes, the Park feels vast.

We like to picnic in it. To celebrate birthdays. Here we are celebrating my wife Teresa. It’s her treat. We miss John.

Every now and then we walk parts of the North Downs Way

This is at the very beginning of the way near Winchester. It’s the river Itchen.

In summer I always arrange to go to the pub with Anthony. Last year he was very fit. He left his job as an administrator in a college and went to work lugging bags of cement in a construction company.

Oh yes, there are lots of deer in Richmond Park. Sometimes they appear in a tableau.

Sometimes you meet them unexpectedly. Lower your eyes.

Phil Hall is a college lecturer. He is a committed socialist and humanitarian. Phil was born in South Africa where his parents were in the ANC. There, his mother was imprisoned and his father was the first journalist from a national paper to be banned. Phil grew up in East Africa and settled in Kingston-upon-Thames. He has also lived and worked in the Ukraine, Spain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Phil has blogged for the Guardian, the Morning Star and several other publications and he has written stories for The London Magazine. He started Ars Notoria in May 2020.

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