1 January 2011
We stayed up to watch the clock get to midnight. We heard
the fireworks and I am glad they chose ones that go up into the sky, so everyone
can enjoy them. After about 20 minutes, everything went quiet and we all went to
Brown Teddy can't wait to start his New Year diary
notebook. He is going to be practising his handwriting, making notes of good
ideas and plans, and making a list of things he would like to make.
I thought all the snow had gone but this black heap was
still in the car park of Nugent shopping centre. The rain trickling through it seems to have turned
the snow to
solid ice. We walked along to the River Cray, where we saw the first signs of
spring. Are they catkins or is it a Worm Tree?
The circular boating pond was empty and this sad umbrella
the only colour around. The River Cray's first weir was in full flow and making
a lot of noise.
We took a walk along the River Cray near the viaduct at St
Mary Cray, where there is a long straight length that flows over concrete, with lots of
small weirs to help it go downhill. There are always interesting things in the
water. Here is a mobile phone, a saucer and a pair of scissors underwater.
The snow was hanging on where it had been left in big heaps in
the car park. It was quite cold when the sun went in, and I was glad to get home
and have some of the chocolate birthday cake!
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These bluebell shoots are right outside my kitchen door and I will be
watching them very closely for signs of buds. We don't always clear up the dead
leaves, because the blackbirds like to turn them over for the worms and insects
that are hiding underneath.
These pigeons in Orpington Walnuts shopping area are just
the right shape to fit together in a circle with no gaps, so there was
absolutely no chance of seeing what they were eating. The fastest eater wins!
This hole at the edge of Orpington Priory pond has been
getting a little bigger every year for quite a long time. It must be rain and
feet that are wearing out the edges, because they are in the places that people
stand to throw the bread. The stone pond edge is now a harbour wall!
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I have been waiting for this parcel for days now. This
little camera is just my size and as soon as the other bits we need come in the
post, I will be looking for things to photograph. I chose this one because it
doesn't blur the pictures or movies if my hands shake the camera! I can't wait
for sunny days and the garden to start growing again.
I am glad to say we did not lose any fish in the cold
weather. I think they slow right down when it is icy, lounging on the mud at the
bottom and dreaming their way through
the long cold days. A photo in winter is the only way to count fish in a pond.
I have read the new camera manual but it has been too wet
and windy to go out taking photos. This is my first indoor picture
worth keeping. These lights will stay up until the days get sunnier. I might have this
as my desktop wallpaper during the grey days.
We walked by Priory pond for some fresh air. These
are three frames from a short movie. The ducks were finding something to
eat underwater by the pond outlet grille, where the leaves all pile up.
This is where the River Cray starts its
journey underground before coming out further down the road. It was a
cold day for people and Teds but the ducks don't seem to get cold.
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There is plenty of undergrowth round my garden, so
I am glad the robin is finding lots of insects to eat. I think the
robins are deciding now where to build their nests, so I am going to move
the sawn-off tree stump (with a big side hole) down to the bush at the bottom of the
garden, and put some wood over the hole in the top to keep it dry.
These boxes have very small holes for bluetits. One
is plywood with some shed roofing material. It should really be a bit
deeper to keep the babies safe from magpies and squirrels. The second
one is deep enough and was made from leftover floorboards. There is a
third bluetit box at the end of the garden. The fourth one is a robin
box with a bigger hole behind a thick yew bush near the compost bins. I
am sure the birds love these boxes, but I prefer my warm bedroom with my
books and comfortable bean bag.
At last, some flowers in the garden. January is
very early for crocus, but after two months of freezing snow they have
decided that winter is over. A very kind friend called Margaret gave us
this blue iris when she moved house. The flowers do not last very long, but
they keep coming one after the other. The yellow winter jasmines were
looking very soggy after all that snow, but this close-up
of a good one is what they looked like when they were all fresh and new
(before the freeze-up!).
These bracket fungus growing up a tree look just
like little steps. I think Dino would enjoy climbing up this – or
perhaps he already did, looking at the broken one!
These seagulls in Priory Gardens seem to be already
full of bread, but they are keeping a watchful eye on the pond just in
case more arrives.
Here is the bluetit nestbox at the end of the
garden, with some green Christmas garland over it to hide the hole and
keep the sun off. The next picture is the robin nestbox behind a thick
yew bush in the very bottom corner of the garden and you can just see a
few bits of grass sticking out from last year. Its roof is exactly the
same green stuff that is on top of our shed!
Sometime we see a white egret standing in the
river, but he flies away when he sees people. He must be eating very
tiny fish because the river is very shallow, and I think he must be
getting more food somewhere else.
This is the village sign in St Mary Cray. The
animal is a bear, from the days when people used to bring bears as a
novelty, but I am glad the bears are not there now. I prefer wild bears
to stay in their wild woods where they can live properly.
This is our blackbird sitting in the cotoneaster
bush outside the kitchen window. Most of the berries have been eaten,
but I am glad to say that there are still some left. I think it would be
a good idea to plant more berry bushes in my garden.
This looks like a very good idea for getting
children to school safely. I think I would prefer the real bus when it
was raining or a cold wind blowing.
This playground is near the Cray River. The sea
serpent look very friendly. The blue ground is meant to be sea, with
white sharks and fish shapes.
This is the big weir on the River Cray where
the river leaves a small lake. Lots of branches got broken during the
heavy snow and here they are all washed down to the same place. The
river is not deep enough for them to be washed further along. I think
this is a two pence piece in the river. When this turns green, no-one
will be able to see what it is and it will stay there forever.
More lovely mossy patterns, I think this is a
red sandstone cliff, with trees on top and down the cliff side, with a
greyish sea at the bottom full of green floating seaweed.
These fish in my pond are much happier now that the
sun is warming them, they did not really like all that snow we had. The
spotty fish are my favourites because they have so many colours, they
look more dressed up than the others.
You can just see the tail of the bluetit as it is
going into the nestbox. They really like this one because it has bushes
around it and the inside is quite deep, with the hole near the top. When
they are nesting here, we can't really do a lot of weeding round that
bit of path!
The man in the picture has not only dug up the soil
but he seems to have put some of it into the bag! I am glad I had my
walk in the morning because by afternoon the rain settled in. Time to
get the picture books out!
Day out to Maidstone. I like to go
somewhere whenever it is a sunny day.
I like to look for especially good shop
windows. These birds make the shoppers feel like holidays are coming
soon, so they might want to go in and buy the clothes. This ice cream
stall in the shopping mall is my favourite so far, the colours of the
neon lights were a lot brighter than the photo. Everyone was buying ice
Here is the River Medway reaching right to the top
of the river edge. I was looking down from the big bridge so I didn't
mind if the water was rising. I think someone opens some lock gates if
the river gets too high. This new building on the riverside reminds me of
all the little paint tester pots, for when you can't decide which shade of green to
use. I think it looks a lot better than just one green, and maybe the
person who planned it wears stripy jumpers just like that!
This is the underpass by the River Medway. I would
like some tiled pictures like these on my bathroom walls but I don't
think there is enough room. I would have just the sheep and then some
green tiles near their feet for their grass.
We parked our car in Mote Park and after shopping we
had our sandwiches. In the distance is the playground and I thought I
would test the zoom on the camera. These slides look really interesting
but I can't work out how you get to the top.
This might be rather sad if someone lost their
balloons, or maybe they let the balloons go at a birthday party. The
garden centre was full of spring flowers, and I really like these straw
panda plant holders. I think they might go green after a summer spent
out in the garden in the rain!
This is where the two parts of the River Cray meet
again. The top part is more natural looking, and the lower part is an
artificial channel to take any extra water. Here the top part is flowing
down to join the channel. The waterfall makes a lot of noise. I am wondering what this
looked like in all the winter snow!
This is near the duck pond part of the top river. I
like these old benches with wings on the side. I don't think the benches
are very old, but the pattern has probably been copied for a long time.
Just below the wall the water falls over an edge. I like the River Cray because the water is so clear,
but there are only stones to look at, it is too shallow for fishes.
Here are some more trees that were weighed down
with ivy, and broke under all the winter snow. It won't be very long
before the Parks people come and tidy it. They often leave tree trunks
to encourage the insects and birds, but they always make sure all the
trees are safe, with no broken bits that could fall on someone. This
robin was singing very loudly on one of the branches that were not
The gardeners in Priory Gardens have been
distributing the rotted compost and I saw the tractor leaving heaps of
it around the edges where the bushes are. The park blackbirds will just
love rummaging through this! The tractor had to go over the grass but I
think these tread marks will wear down quite soon when it rains. The
gardeners have big enclosure surround by trees where they put all the
old leaves and prunings, so nothing is wasted.
This is the Priory pond fountain and I hope the
birds are not standing on it when it gets turned on! These twigs are
near the weir between the two ponds. It is not a nest, so it must have
grown like that. It might be a good place for ducklings to hide
I am very glad that the boating pond is now full of
water. The blue colour is from the pond lining, so even on a grey day it
looks like blue sky! The daffodils by the pond are always the first ones
out in our area, probably because they are in the open and get warmed by
This monkey puzzle tree is growing in the
allotments. It has sharp scales all over and was named because someone a
long time ago said a monkey would be puzzled as to how to climb it. This
cut down tree is not giving up and has decided to carry on regardless.
Lots of small branches will make it more like a hedge, so I think it
will only be trimmed in future and not cut right down again.
I saw this magpie tugging at lumps of mud on the
bank of the River Cray. He flew off with a lump and I was quick enough
to get this photo before he flew off. I am sure the magpie is making a
nest with it. This squirrel was feeding on half a bun that someone had
thrown down. It's the first time I have seen them eating bread.
I got up really early to see what the sky was like
just at dawn, but this pigeon was up before me. As they sleep out in the
trees, they get going as soon as it's light and don't wait for curtains
to be opened like us! This fence looks as if it is on fire with smoke
rising, but it is steam from the damp wood as the sun is shining on it.
At the top of the fence the steam was rising in straight lines for the
first few inches.
Well, I am glad it was not looking down at my feet when we came across
this mini obstacle course. I hope the cyclists are looking out as well
and manage to zigzag safely round it all.
Back home, we decided to empty the compost bins,
which have been left for over a year now. It's very good stuff coming
out and we are going to leave little heaps of it round the garden,
especially in the places where the ground is hard and dry. We will then
dig it in later.
This is the remains of my supply of bamboo canes.
Some years ago we had lots of bamboo clumps growing. They got too big,
so we dug them out and we kept all the canes. I bought these daffodils
and primroses from Martin's stall at the boot fair. They are all in pots
at the moment, but I will put them in big buckets and later on plant
them around the garden.
Here are the bags of soil from the compost bins. We
left some under some bushes, but this frog got a handful on his head. I
thought it was a lump of mud until he moved. You can see our robin is
very interested in all that lovely soil and is looking forward to
finding lots of dinners in it.
I have bought a new apple tree. It's called Russet
and is Brown Teddy's favourite. If we dig a really big deep hole, with
lots of good compost and Growmore granules, it can grow as fast as
Here is the frogspawn that has turned into a mass
of tadpoles. When the frogs were laying the spawn, it was rather wet and
cold so I did not get out in time to film them or take pictures. You can
see the netting has sunk down, but this and the extra lot of weed seem
to have given the tadpoles some extra protection from hungry fish.
I just got this picture in time. You can almost
hear the starlings squawking and squealing, and the whirring wings. They
like to stay altogether because it is safer with everyone watching for
danger. This is one of the grass verges on the way to the shops.
I went down to the kitchen really early for a cup
of water and looked out
to see this. It seems five airplanes have gone exactly the same way.
These trails disappear quite quickly so the planes must have flown over
in a short time. It's amazing what you see before it's time to get up!
Sometimes the goldfish all splash about in a
corner. Once a few start, they all join in and there's a lot of noise.
The idea is to lay eggs, and some of them must be, because occasionally
we see very small new goldfish in late summer, but not many. Baby
goldfish start off black and very tiny, so you don't really see them
until they are a year old.
Dino first pointed out this log some time ago, and
he decided it was a Logosaurus dinosaur. Well, now we have another one
on the left, which looks like the tail of a giant fish – my goldfish do
that, flapping their tails out the water while resting. Dino informs me
that it's another dinosaur trying to look like a harmless fish so it can
jump on anything passing by that looks like dinner. I am going to watch
that dark spot that looks like an eye and if it blinks, then I think
Dino might be right. But if I see a duck sitting on top, then I know
it's something else!
These are the insides of my tulip flowers. When I
look inside, I pretend I am in a hot air balloon looking up at the
flames from the burner and the red or yellow balloon. Maybe if I then look the other
way, I will see the ground and all the fields hundreds of metres below!
Here is our robin after a bath. He was preening his
wet feathers and singing at the same time, but he had to stop singing
with each preen. It was a very quiet contented warbly song from a very
clean bird living happily in a pleasant garden with two compost bins
full of dinners, not to mention a choice of several luxurious nestboxes
and his very own lawn full of worms!
We went to the garden centre to get some growbags
for our sunflower seeds. Just look at all these lovely ornaments –
birds, dragonflies, flowers and balls, on all sticks and some of them on
springs so they wobble. It was as good as a Christmas tree full of
decorations! I really like these giant teacups with pansies in, they
look so much better than pots if they are in a porch or on a windowsill.
Later on I went through Priory Park towards the
shops. All the birds seems to be either resting or preening. I think it
was inbetween the "bread rush hours" and they had either eaten all the
bread, or were waiting for the next lot of people to come by.
This is my kind of shop!
What a long job it was digging all the weeds out of
the lawn. Sometimes you have to wait for the weed to grow big enough to
get hold of, and then you can get it out before it flowers. It was my
idea to rake the grass so that the weed leaves were all sticking up
higher than the grass. Just walking about on the lawn brings worms to
the surface with the vibration and our robin knows it is worth hanging
around, preferably somewhere behind the person working. He has a nest
somewhere near and I think it is the birdbox on the fence behind the
Here is the last daffodil. I have deadheaded all
the others, so the goodness goes back into the bulb and not into seeds.
I will leave this last one a day or two more, as it will be a whole year
before I see them again.
Time for the sunflower seeds to go in. These are
called "Russian Giant" so I will definitely need some help measuring
them when they are fully grown. The sunflower in the second picture is a
Here are two of our goldfish friends resting in the
weeds, enjoying the very warm sunny day. This is the oxygenating weed so
they are really enjoying the bubbles that come off the plants.
Blue Parrot is delighted with the parrot tulips,
which have streaky feathery patterns on the petals. The flowers don't
last long, so a good photo is a must.
Brown Teddy is inspecting the newly-planted Russet
apple tree. Russet apples are his favourite. There are lots of flower
buds and I hope the roots are growing really fast. We dug a good big
hole and filled it with extra good soil and plant food granules. A few
small bluebell bulbs went down the hole as well. We put some big pebbles
and flints around the bottom of the tree to keep the soil from drying
out. I will soak it every two weeks this year and next year it will be
able to survive on just the normal amount of rain. Brown Teddy decided
to check all the other tree ties. This one is holding the big rose arch
onto some wooden posts that hold it up. That means that we can replace
the arch really easily if it gets too rusty.
I like to keep spreading my bluebell bulbs around
the garden. If you accidentally smash or cut up a bluebell bulb while
digging, you can plant the pieces and they will all grow again. Most of
my bluebells are Spanish bluebells with large flowers and some are pink
or white. A few of them are smaller and dark blue and they arch over, so
I think they are the English bluebell.
The seedlings look like grass so you have to be
very careful not to pull them up by mistake. I have finally worked
out what the difference is – bluebell seedlings stay as one thin roundish green stalk as they grow, but grass seedlings grow into a few
flat blades altogether in a bunch.
I think the person who invented solar water heating
got the idea from leaving their garden hose on the lawn. If you run the
water, it runs cold, then hot, then cold again, because half of it is in
the shade. If I left the whole hose in the sun, I would have enough for
a really big hot bath, just the thing after an afternoon tidying the
I thought the robins were using this nestbox, until
I noticed that they have built their nest of moss above it, on the fence
rail. I have not seen any robins sitting on the nest, because if I went
too close, it might frighten them away. I think they are a lot safer up
in the leaves where they can't be seen.
This thrush has been singing every day for weeks
now. Sometimes he sings nearly all day. Thrushes like to eat snails, and
they are very welcome to all the snails in my garden that they want.
Look at all these lovely Easter presents from our
friends. The green one is a little bag of sweets from our Fruit and Veg
man Alf. There is one from Auntie Billy with a lemon shaped soap which
smells a bit lemony as well as a bit soapy. The little box has a knitted
chick and some tiny chocolate eggs.
Blue Parrot is going to look after the baby chick,
as he is the best qualified. Dino is going to test the chocolate eggs
for chocolateyness as he is the best qualified, so he says. I think it
will have to be a chocolatey-smell test, Dino, as the eggs are smaller
Brown Teddy is keeping all the sweets inside the
folded paper box. I don't think the box will stay full for very long,
though. The chick is sitting on the computer shelf, as that is the
warmest place. He was delighted when Brown Teddy Googled some chick
pictures for him.
This very young blackbird has found a
good hiding place under netting on the edge of the pond. While he was waiting to be
fed, he found some tasty titbits in the water. Eventually he flew out
and the daddy blackbird brought him some bread. I don't think he
realises that he will eventually have to find his own dinners.
I finished tidying my bedroom just in time to see the Royal Wedding of
Catherine and William. Watching it on television means that I can be
everywhere at once, because of all the cameras. Thank you, Wills and
Kate, for letting us all share your special day!
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