1 May 2011
Here are some visiting starlings having a bath.
When the sparrows came down afterwards, the water was quite a bit
shallower. In the past I have seen ten starlings crowded into this bath
and that was a very noisy time indeed!
Here is the view in the boot sale field
at Pedham. It's right out in the countryside just past Swanley and there
is plenty of room for hundreds of cars. The rows of stalls are further
up on the right. Although it was sunny, it was very windy, which meant
that we only went round once instead of twice. There was a lot of dust
blowing and we were glad to get back into the car and out of the gusty
Later on we went up to the May Fayre at Petts Wood.
Outside the Memorial Gardens was an art exhibition, which was a very
good place because it is in the shade and you can admire the paintings
properly. Inside there were lots of stalls everywhere under tents and
Bric-a-brac and plant stalls were everywhere. There
was a stall selling very colourful countryside flower paintings. You can
see that the artist really enjoyed painting them.
I like the RNLI stall with its model lifeboat
collecting box that makes you want to put money in! There was a stall
encouraging people to buy boxes of fresh vegetables direct from the
farm. I like my vegetables fresh and not wilting. If they wilt a little
bit, we chop them up and put them in the tomato soup!
I was really looking forward to seeing the reptile
stall again. These huge snakes are called Amber the Yellow Belly Python
and Jasper the Royal Python, and children were allowed to hold them for
a while. Calleigh the Californian King Snake was being admired by some children on the other
side of the tent.
This is Nutty,
the Leopard Gecko, sitting on the arm of Jane from Reptile Events who
have given him a new home. He is a bit smaller than an adult's hand and
did not seem to mind the crowds at all. Nutty and his friends visit
schools and clubs to tell people how to look after reptiles properly, so
he is used to being a celebrity.
Nutty has nearly finished working on his website
and I am looking forward to seeing lots more pictures of his friends in
action. I think he is probably checking all the photos to make sure
everyone is looking their smartest. Update: here is their
well done, Nutty, nice to see all your friends.
More wildlife on the Orpington Beekeepers stall.
These bees are in a sealed glass case, so we were quite safe! The
treasure hunt map looks a bit like the beehive as well! I hope the
person who won this raffled BMX bike is the right size to ride it!
There were so many families with children queuing
up to see inside the fire engine that I had to take a picture from the
other side. In the car park there was a funfair with rides, stalls,
trampolines and bungee jumping.
I really liked these classic cars, although I think
they would give a bit of a bumpy ride. When I showed Dino the photo of
the red one, he said that was his favourite as he could get the wind in
his face. I think I have had enough of the wind which has been blowing
hard in our faces all day!
The bit I liked best was the chrome enamelled
badges on the front grilles. In later years when there were more cars
about, people used to put plastic stickers inside their car windows
instead, to show where they had travelled to. The last picture is a
water gauge on the front of the bonnet above the grille saying
This little red car in the funfair might be all
right for the small children, but the big red open-top one is definitely
my kind of vehicle. I can just see me, Brown Teddy, Dino and Blue Parrot
in this, with a large picnic box and tartan blanket in the boot, going
along a sunny country lane towards the seaside, preferably Hastings! It
would be a very windy drive, though, even with the folding roof up, so
it would have to be a very hot day. It is so low down, it would be
difficult to get out of after a very long drive, so you would have to
make a lot of stops along the way to stretch your legs.
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We went on a day out to Tunbridge Wells.
This shop window had lots of these 3D sceneries but
I liked this one best, and the artists have worked really hard. I always
have a look in this fruit and veg shop for our beetroot for the juicer.
I would really like to see a 3D scenery full of fruits like these.
I was surprised to see this tuktuk outside the
shops, which is normally found in places like India. It looks a lot of
fun but I don't think it would survive very well amongst the big lorries
I noticed another plaque on the railway bridge.
There is a picture of the first plaque on my Diary entry for 4 June
These are pretending animals because the lion has a fish's tail and the
dragon has bat's wings. I like the mottos "Onward" and "Invicta", which
means unconquered and I am sure the dragon always wins. If you are not
attacking the town, then I don't think you need to worry about facing
I thought at first this was a decoration on a very
old building, but it is a wall tie to prevent the wall from sagging.
Looks like the road has been pinned down as well!
Blue Parrot stayed at home today with his story
books, so I thought he might like to see these ceramic parrots. Dino
likes something more animated and with bigger claws, so this pub sign
will keep him happy. I think it must be an eagle, because eagles are the
king of the birds and this one has a crown.
I am so glad this lovely mosaic has been kept by
the shop, it is really very well done. The swirly pattern would look
good in a bathroom.
Well, I really like the name on the second shop, of
course. I don't know who Bod is but as it is a clothes shop, it must be
someone very smartly dressed.
This is a menswear shop and it seems that Tunbridge
Wellians quite like Rupert Bear scarves, but probably not worn with one
of the expensive suits.
I have seen lots of beautiful shop displays here,
but this daffodil handbag is one of the best so far. The daffodils are
nylon ones of course and I don't think there are any bags like that
actually for sale inside!
I wonder if anyone uses this bike park to sit on
when all the other seats are occupied? Maybe people hang their shopping
bags over the handlebars while they have a rest.
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The coots in Priory Gardens have finished building
their nest. I am looking forward to seeing the chicks in a few weeks'
time. You always know where they are on the pond because they are so
This fish windsock is at Pedham Boot Fair. It was
very windy, so we went round the stalls quite quickly. The cone seems to
have tied some wings on itself in an effort to fly, but unfortunately it
couldn't run fast enough to take off!
This sparrow is waiting outside my kitchen window
for some bits of bread to take back to the nest. We gave in eventually,
because this one had hurt his foot and was hopping a bit one-sided. By
the time his chicks were out of the nest, I think his foot was better.
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Dino has made a good job of tidying the
toy/stationery cupboard. He knows that when you rearrange a cupboard,
you can find things you didn't know you had. He put these dinosaurs to
guard my favourite red ink bottle. The green top bottle has turquoise
blue ink in it, so that one is being guarded by a bluish dinosaur.
We took a walk to the garden centre. These
chicken-shaped hanging baskets look good with pansies, but I suppose one
could have chickweed instead!
When Dino saw this photo, he insisted that these
turves were chocolate rolls with mint-flavoured cream inside. If I had
thought of that at the time, I would have got really hungry! I like
these strawberry planters but just think if you filled them with sweets
instead at Christmas, everyone could help themselves.
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We went to the May Fayre at Pratts Bottom, which is
just on the edge of Orpington.
The cadets were playing really well and we all
enjoyed their traditional marching music. This human fruit machine was a
lot of fun. Someone rings a bell and the people bring up the
fruit-machine pictures on big cards at random. I think you have to get
three pictures the same to win.
This tea/coffee sign is made up an opened-out
cardboard box. I like the big smile. All these lovely cakes made it
almost impossible to choose which ones to have. The jams and marmalades
were all lovely colours as well.
This eagle was visiting with his keeper from Eagle
Heights Bird of Prey Centre in Eynsford (www.eagleheights.co.uk)
where he lives with his friends. He must be very heavy and I don't know
how the keeper managed to keep his arm up! His wings are huge.
The children all enjoyed the Punch and Judy show.
Mr Punch is not very well behaved at times, and the audience did not
take any pity on him for getting into so much trouble, seeing as it was
his own fault every time. I don't think Mr Punch is a quick learner!
There were more tables in the village hall. This
wonderful model railway looked so real, and it has two stop/go buttons
so that children could operate each of the trains that were going round
the tracks in opposite directions.
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This is near the River Cray. This seed-fluff from
the trees looks like another lot of snow, or maybe the results of some
sheep shearing. I wonder if the birds use it to line their nests? We
love to look over this wall at the weir below and Brown Teddy noticed
the ladder down to the river. The gate at the top of it is locked.
Sometimes the weir is blocked up with branches and twigs that wash down,
so I think the river keeper uses this ladder to go down and sort it out.
Further along there was a lot of noise going on.
This is one of the park keepers strimming the undergrowth and you can
see the misty-looking cloud of sap and broken bits flying out in front
of him. I am glad to say he was wearing big protective goggles, as the
strimmer was very noisy and powerful.
I have always wondered how road markings get to be
so neat and accurate. These ones are brand new and I think the man has a
diagram that he has to follow, with the measurements marked on it.
The hot weather has evaporated a lot of water from
my pond, so it was time to put the hose in. The fish really like to swim
through the spray, and they keep going round to have another go. They
always like any disturbance because they know there is the chance of
finding flies washed into the water.
These little fruits are Conference pears. There are
a lot on the tree this year, even though the tree is still quite small.
I shall be watching them closely.
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Day out to Stockwood Park, Luton, to visit the
Radio Amateurs Car Boot rally. Dino loves going through the tunnel at
Dartford under the River Thames. When we enter the tunnel we are in
Kent, and when we come out we are in Essex. It takes about an hour and
half to get to Luton, and here is a map of our destination Stockwood
The radio boot fair is full of things we don't recognise, but I know
this is a very old telephone, and you can see the two round bells which
look as if they make a lot of noise. It doesn't look like it came from a
home. The middle picture I am told is lots of valves that were used in
radios. There are always lots of very old radio sets around, and I like
this round wooden one.
We are always back at the car before everyone else.
Blue parrot likes seeds and this linseed bread is his favourite. After
lunch we visited the Discovery Centre. This game lets you put a coin in
the top and it makes musical noises as it does down.
This is part of the museum of rural life. Here I am in a very big
chariot, it must have taken a lot of horses to pull it. Dino was
delighted with the mechanical rake, they look just like dinosaur teeth!
This little model shows a horse-drawn farmer's cart
from a long time ago.
The best bit of the museum is the prehistory
section. This is a model of a plesiosaur, but you can see a
tyrannosaurus picture in the background. Brown Teddy thought this woolly
mammoth was very smart in his long brown fur coat.
Dino would have liked to stay here all day. I think
tomorrow he will be searching through the stones in our garden to see if
there are any stone axes there. We often find broken flints with sharp
edges and I sometimes keep one handy for cutting plants or scraping
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I was amazed to see these golden ornaments, they must have belonged to a
very rich person. The wall of coins is the Shillington Hoard, which is
127 gold coins and 18 silver coins from about 2,000 years ago. I think
that is rather a good name, as shillings were used as English money
until about 35 years ago.
This display shows a photo of how a roundhouse is built, and inside the
museum was a section of a roundhouse with thatched roof. It would make a
wonderful garden playhouse, if it was not made too big, just the place
for our picnics and storybooks, listening to the rain outside.
Inside the roundhouse, two mirrors in a corner
showed how a fireplace might have looked. I think the roundhouses must
have been rather draughty and people were very glad to sit round the
fire. There was a very old copper hand mirror on display in the cabinet,
but it was greenish and corroded. Someone has made a modern shiny copy
that people can pick up and look into. Not many people would have known
what their own faces looked like in those days, as a copper mirror would
have been only for very rich people.
This is the Mossman Collection museum, within the grounds of the
Discovery Centre. These cases show childhood toys from the past and here
is Noah's Ark with wooden animals. The next cabinet has lots of rolls of
old bus tickets. The bus conductor had a machine that pulled one off the
roll and punched holes in it so that it could only be used once.
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I thought it would be fun to have a picture of a
modern camera taking a picture of the ancient cameras. Was anyone taking
a picture of me taking that picture, though?!
The museum is mainly for transport, and they have lots of very old
bicycles, right from when they were first invented. This old bike was
called a velocipede which means "fast feet". You sat on it and then ran
with your own feet, there are no pedals or chain, and I cannot see any
brakes anywhere! The first bikes were called boneshakers because the
wheels were very hard. Here is a steam engine surrounded by old
carriages. It's a shame we cannot see it working and going round the
park, but I think it would dent the grass if it did!
These carriages have beautiful lettering all
painted by hand. This one is an early form of bus, when they were still
pulled by horses. It would have been very chilly sitting on the top
deck. I don't think the Royal Mail is going to deliver my letters in one
of these any more, but the postman's bike with its big flat front basket
is still the same red colour.
You can get really close up and see how beautifully the carriages are
painted. This is another Royal Mail wagon. This coat of arms belongs to
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It was nice to get out in the fresh air again and look round the
Discovery Centre gardens. This needlework tree and the quilt must have
taken ages to make, and I think they would have to be taken indoors
during the winter, so that they don't get spoilt.
Here is Dino talking to one of the lions, and they
are discussing the best way to keep order in the gardens. The lion said
the occasional growl usually reminds people who is in charge, and Dino
said smiling but showing all the teeth was a very good method as well.
This is all theoretical, as all the visitors I have seen have always
been very well behaved.
This is the bees display. You can lift a flap and look through the
hexagonal window to see the real bees. This view is from the back, and
the wooden box on the left is full of bees. I like this bee seat and
next time I am going to have my picture taken sitting in it. The bee
skep looks like a very cosy home for the bees over the cold winter.
This spider web and giant fly display are
interesting but I think some people might not want to stay here too
long. At least they can sit with their back to them if they don't like
spiders. This broken window in one of the garden's long greenhouses
looks exactly the same! I think this must be toughened glass, as
ordinary glass would have fallen out in triangle shapes.
I always visit the chickens in the Wartime Dig For Victory gardens. I
was really pleased to see they have a spacious new home with lots of air
and light, and loads of straw to scratch around in. There is corrugated
plastic around the bottom which not only keeps the wind out but stops
little children poking their fingers in.
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This is a fun compost bin and I think this
centipede's relatives live in my garden somewhere, although mine are all
orange or brown. Dino's smile was even bigger when he found these rocks
looking like big pieces of chocolate.
Parrots like sitting on twigs, and this iron seat made of twig shapes is
just right for Blue Parrot. I think he would rather sit on top of the
back rest than on the seat part. It was a pity this bird bath was not
full of water, only a little puddle from the recent rain. Maybe it was
just as well, as Blue Parrot would have been splashing around in it all
On the way home we saw an old Routemaster bus that looks as if it should
have been in the museum. When we go over the QE2 Bridge at the Dartford
Crossing, then I know we are nearly home. QE2 stands for Queen Elizabeth
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We visited Coolings Garden Centre in Pratts Bottom.
Plants always seem to fall over in garden centres, especially tall
shrubs whose pots are a bit dry, and I was really pleased to see this
very simple invention to prevent that happening. I think the inventor
must have made his prototypes with wire coat hangers. This stack of pots
is ideal for the small garden but it would be better to bury the pots
inside each other a bit more for safety. You could have a pyramid of
trailing strawberry plants without having to buy a special container.
There was a corner especially for shady plants and
this dragon was hiding in the shrubs. There were two more dragons at
Polhill where we went later on, and I hope people buy them in pairs so
that they can remain friends and have someone to talk to. They would
look good painted all shades of green and brown. They are just the right
size for us Teddies to sit on their backs between their wings and wait
for them to fly round the garden!
More animals at the garden centre – a ceramic gecko
and a metal giraffe outside the cafe. I spotted a tiny solar panel near
the giraffe's right ear so I think maybe the eyes light up the dark.
When it gets dark, I will be at home in bed, unfortunately!
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We went on to Polhill Garden Centre. I always visit
the fish when we go there. If you look over the top of the tanks, they
all come up expecting to be fed.
One of the tanks has really huge koi fish in it and
you can also view them from halfway up the steps that lead to the higher
level of the shop.
We bought twelve very tiny fish for our new little
aquarium at home. They are safe in the sealed bag, and we had to hold
them up in the air on the car journey home so that they didn't get
bumped as the car went along. The tank was all ready for them and we
floated the bags in the water so that the water inside the bags got to
the same temperature as the tank.
This is Dino's favourite part of the garden centre,
the cake table in the farm shop. He prefers the fruit and nut cakes, so
he can exercise his jaws on all the lumps and hard nutty bits. I
reminded him that you can get trees that have things to eat on them
every year, so Dino went and found one - a lollipop sweet tree at the
other end of the shop!
My favourite big stripey pot got bumped and had a
big crack. I did not want to throw it away, so we tied lots of green
garden wire round it. The best thing for a stripey pot is stripey
This is the drip system hose which has been in the
bike box all winter. The main hose part is quite stiff and it would be
better if it was softer so that the coils stayed where I put them. We
will attach it to the hose that comes from the rainwater butts, and put
the dripping ends on the buckets of sunflowers. They dry out really
quickly once they get big. Buckets with holes drilled in are cheaper
than big pots, if you have lots of sunflowers.
I saw this in a bathroom shop in Orpington. Someone
painted it for the Royal Wedding earlier this month. You could have a
good soak whilst leaning on the high back. You would definitely have to
have a Union Jack towel to go with it, or three separate towels in red,
white and blue.
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Someone bought these stacking pots for me. There are four pots in each
level and they all fit together and make a tower. You have to knock the
holes out of the underneath. Dino thought the hole bits looked like
chocolate buttons but I am glad to say he didn't try to eat them. But he
did spend quite a long time looking at them!
These are Brown Teddy's seed packets, pansies and coleus. They should
come up really quickly now the weather is warm most of the time. We have
put the sunflowers into the big pots, but the sun was so hot on them
that they were wilting all the time. We had to cover them with sheets
and spray them wet, until the roots grew a bit more.
Auntie Freda sent us this lovely little plaque. I am glad gardens are a
"job forever" because that means you can keep changing it around,
especially when the pots can be filled with different plants every year.
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My pot tower is coming on really well with petunias and geraniums. These
wild strawberries are growing very fast and the birds are eating some of
them. I might have to clear some of these plants, as they are getting
everywhere but I will always leave some for the birds.
Here I am helping with sharpening some shears on the bench grinder. You
can see the orange sparks flying out, which is why we are all wearing
goggles and glasses. I helped to tighten the nut with my "bone spanner"
from my bike box. It is called a bone spanner because there are blobs at
each end, each with five different sized nut holes.
I had one pot left over and one packet of poppy seeds. Poppies don't
mind where they go, and I thought they would grow well if the seeds went
down the gaps between the stones. I put the pot in a sunny corner. The
soil will stay damp underneath the stones, and the stones will hold the
warmth from the sun. Here are the little seedlings coming up.
This sunflower is doing very well, probably because
it is planted in a corner of the lawn right outside the kitchen window
next to the garden hose, where it gets all the spilt water and run-off
from other flower pots. The second sunflower is on the corner of the
fishpond. It is a lot smaller, and the snails don't seem to be bothering
it. I have put a cut-up milk carton at the base with a copper strip
around it, which the snails don't like to go over.
I filled this pot with climbing nasturtium seeds.
They seem to have climbed down and across the ground. I moved the pot
nearer the shrubs and now the nasturtiums are making their way upwards
again. I am going to have lots of these round the pond next year, so
that they cover the wire fencing.
This is my first Russet apple on my new tree, and I
am very glad the tree is doing so well, because it did not have a lot of
roots when we took it out of the pot. It has had a lot of water and is
in the sun. I can't wait for it to grow into a really big tree!
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This field of poppies is near Tripes Farm in Orpington. Some years there
are no poppies though.
At last I have solved the problem of splashing
carrot and beetroot juice. The top of a plastic milk carton makes a very
good funnel, much better than getting the splashes and spots off the
tiles, cupboards and clothes.
I think someone couldn't decide which sign to use,
so they put them all up.
This is a our resident female blackbird. When we open the kitchen
window, the blackbird often runs up the lawn to see if there are any
bits of bread to eat. If we throw a bit of bread, we dip it in water so
that it is soft like a worm, then the bird can break it up if it wants.
The bird is very good because it does not hang around for free meals all
the time, which is just as well as it should really be eating worms.
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Someone cleared out the loft and they threw out
rainbow wires. I rescued a few so that we could play
weaving games with some of the bits. But I'm not going to keep them
forever, or my bedroom will look like the loft!
This is one of the small bridges over the River
Cray. The pictures look peaceful but there is a lot of traffic noise on
the other side of the river. The water is shallow all the way. There
must be some tiddlers and shrimps in there because I sometimes see a
small white heron standing in the water.
I bought this plant for 50p from a garden centre
bargain shelf, because it was very small, broken and dried out. It is
now healthy and huge. I kept it in the best sunny place and put in lots
of plant food granules. The petunia tower is looking good as well. Next
year I will fill it with pansies.
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This coot's nest is at the edge of Priory Pond near
the noisy main road. You can get a good view of the nest from the
roadside path. When I got home our parcel of bottles of ink had arrived.
It was very well packed.
The polystyrene chips kept Dino occupied a long
time, and he is only allowed to play with them if he does not try to eat
any. He will be popping the bubble wrap later, that is if I don't use
it for wrapping up some of the things in my treasure box.
These sunflower pots are a bit dry. The watering
hoses are not dripping as fast as they should and I think
maybe some of the nozzles are blocked. These old leaves are cut from the water lilies in the pond. They are very slippery so we leave them
to dry on the
grass, out of the way until someone collects them up for the compost bin.
The Russet apples are now turning their proper
colour which is browny green. We have a new copper dish on the birdbath,
to replace the broken concrete one. It is easier to clean because it is
smoother and it doesn't weigh much, so the birds get clean water more
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Here is Blue Parrot with his best sunflower. He
likes it because it has curled its petals up like a parrot's wings. I am
glad to say that it opened out later on. I like to
watch the bees in action on the sunflowers and I take lots of photos so that in winter
I can look back, and look forward to next year's plants. I have already
bought some sunflower seeds, so I don't have to wait for them to come
into the shops next year.
The big day has arrived for the bathroom to be
replaced. The men have laid this cloth path through the house, and taken
the whole bathroom away. This tap and bucket is all that's left to wash
Brown Teddy likes this fluffy insulation material.
The builder put some chickenwire under the floorboards and packed the
insulation on top of that.
Dino was a bit worried about the dark holes, until he
realised that it was very shallow and there were only pipes, bits of
rubble and dust down there. All the same we will be very glad when the
boards are put back.
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This is my favourite sunflower photo this year. We
mixed the seeds from several packets, and I think this seed came out of the red
sunflowers packet. It looks even hotter than the normal yellow ones,
although it is not so tall. The nasturtiums are growing in a big old vase
and have climbed up a very tall bush that is leaning on the fence. Next year I will plant them
straight in the ground at the bottom of the bush so they can climb even
This is Tripes Farm boot fair. I love being in the
fresh air and countryside, and finding bargains as well. I found these
lovely Teddy Christmas tree ornaments. I had to carry the box very
carefully back to the car, and when I got home I wrapped them in tissue
so that they don't get scratched.
This is a very heavy downpour in my garden. I
really like watching it and hearing all the sounds of the water. When
the gutters overflow, that adds to the watery sounds. Everything gets
washed clean and the plants all get watered. I don't think I would like
it so much if I was only halfway home when it started, though. The fish
are happy as well, because flies and insects get washed into the pond
and the fish get some extra snacks!
I always have a last look out of the bedroom window
before I go to bed. These grey clouds are covering the sky ready for
night time, just like the blanket on my bed. When the sun is low like
this, it shines on my bedroom curtains, and by the time the glow is
gone, I am ready to fall asleep.
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This road mending machine is as big as a dinosaur,
but I am glad they are taking good care of our roads and not letting
them get holey. When it is working, I am sure the teacups are rattling
in the houses along the street.
We went for a walk through Priory Park. This
is the Party In The Priory enclosure, with games for children and 20
different youth bands playing in the evening over a long weekend. There
were not many people there during the day, but I think it was probably
more crowded for the evening performances.
In the evening I saw this lovely double rainbow
over my back garden. The other end of the rainbow was over my
neighbour's roof, but I couldn't get a photo of both ends at once.
When we park for the boot sales, there are some
wild growing apple trees on a scrubby verge nearby. I though I would
compare them with the Spartan tree in my garden. The wild ones get no
care, feeding, watering or pruning, and they are doing almost as well as
my one that gets all the attention! The wild growing ones are big apples
and not crab apples. Beyond my Spartan you can just see some goldfish in
the pond. The netting is against herons but it does a very good job of
catching any falling apples.
Pedham Boot Fair is just past Swanley and it is a very
pleasant outing on a sunny day. I like the big sky and the fresh air. I like to
look at the books, but even when I don't buy anything, I walk around and wonder
why people buy things and then want to get rid of them. I think it is so that
can get their money back to buy more things!
In the evening I enjoyed watching the Edinburgh Military
Tattoo – from the comfort of my armchair, of course. When I went to bed, I could
still imagine the sound of the massed bands and the bagpipes, and I just had to
have my tartan blanket on the bed.
Here is our robin sitting in the hawthorn tree. While we
were gardening, he was watching us and singing his warbly song. He is so glad
that he has lots of gardeners on the ground, moving pots and digging plants, so
that he can come in afterwards and clean up all the worms and insects. We have
provided several nest boxes, so I hope he will stay with us.
Here are some of the results of the all the gardening that
our robin was so pleased to watch from his perch. These are Coleus and Field
Poppy, and I think it is time for me and Brown Teddy to get our paints out and
copy these photos. These really brilliant coloured plants make very good
paintings, because you don't have to mix the paints and it stays bright and not
muddy coloured. Dino and Blue Parrot will be having the crayons, as they get a
bit splashy with the paints.
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We went on an outing to Greenwich Park. This is the Roman
ruins, and all you can see is a tiny piece of brickwork in the middle of the
grass. The archaeologists found a lot more when they excavated it, but they
always put the soil and grass back. There was a lot of information on the notice
board, so we took pictures of all of it, so we can read it more slowly at home.
Brown Teddy is going to make a painting just like the one on the board, and he
is going to draw a Roman house for each of us.
In the middle of the park are some drinking fountains, and
behind the smaller one are these basins for dog drinks. Unfortunately none of
the drinking fountains was working. The dogs will just have to wait until it
rains and fills them up. I think this must be a park warden's hut and I am
wondering what he keeps in there, probably his sandwiches and biscuit tin, and
some welly boots for muddy days.
We went to the Royal Observatory buildings and I
enjoyed looking at all the sea clocks. Their proper name is marine
chronometers. There were loads of them, all in wooden boxes and polished
shiny brass cases. Behind the shelves is the conservation laboratory
where they clean and restore the clocks. This lens was in the astronomy
museum next door. I liked the wind vane on top of the astronomy
building, and so does the starling sitting on top of the mast.
Here we all are standing on the Meridian Line. The
first two are a brass line just below the Meridian Courtyard. Brown
Teddy and I stood on the granite line on the roadway behind the
astronomy buildings. Don't go to Greenwich Park without your camera!
We went down the hill to the Queen's House. This
marble ball looks just like a sugared almond, or maybe a stripey planet
that has escaped from the planetarium! Inside the Queen's House is an
exact model of the House and I am sure any children coming through would
love to have one like that at home. I wish someone would make little
models of these so that visitors can buy one to take home.
Here is the Great Hall in the Queen's House made in
1635. I just love this marble floor and I am sure the Queen's visitors
would have been very impressed. I have made my photograph into a black
and white picture that you can download and colour in. I coloured it in
on the computer, but you could also print it and use real crayons or
Some of the paintings are of kings and queens, but most of them are
about ships and the sea. I really like this painting of a boat being
built by the seaside on a warm sunny day. This picture of a fire on a
ship has been painted really well, with streaky white and yellow paint
dragged through the brown and grey to look like flames. You can almost
smell the smoke.
This is the Tulip Staircase. All the iron
bannisters are in the shape of tulip plants and it leads up to the upper
galleries. The circle in the middle is the cupola skylight. This dinner
plate was used by boys when there was a Naval Training College in the
Queen's House. It looks just like the skylight. I wonder what the boys
thought of their dinners and whether they had enough put on their
plates? I think they got more for dinner than they would have had at
home and they would have eaten it all, whether they liked it or not.
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This is the water feature outside the National
Maritime Museum. The channel runs downhill and the water goes over lots
of little steps. There is another channel coming from the opposite
direction, and they meet in the middle, with the water disappearing down
a grille. It is very clean and refreshing. It goes without saying that I
would like one all round my garden!
Behind Devonport House next to the museum is a
small cemetery and someone has had the good idea of keeping beehives
there. I am wondering who gets to eat all the honey. Here is the Cutty
Sark clipper ship being repaired after a fire that happened a few years
ago. I saw a man painting where all the gold is at the back of the ship.
I am definitely coming back next year to see it all finished. There is a
big fence all round, but they have left some small holes for people to
Just past the Cutty Sark is a building with steps
going down to the river tunnel. It is very long and dips down in the
middle and on the other side we sat in a small park and watched the
boats going up and down the Thames. It was an interesting walk with lots
of echoing sounds, but Brown Teddy and I are not great fans of being in
tunnels, so we were glad when we came back and reached the top of the
stairs again. I prefer to be able to see the sun, sky and trees.
We had a walk up and down the riverfront and went
down on the shore to see if there was anything interesting washed up. It
was all just smooth stones and bits of old brick. On the way back, we
had a look round Greenwich town shops. I found this Rupert Bear model in
a shop selling nautical souvenirs. I think the ladies in swimming
costumes are a bit out of place, as the shore of the river is not as
nice as a seaside beach at all.
Before we left the park, we visited the Deer
Enclosure. A long time ago, there used to be deer wandering all through
the park, but now they live in this corner all by themselves. They have
lots of trees to sit under and the keeper feeds them and looks after
them. I think they have got used to people watching them through the
Brown Teddy always reads the signs. This one is to
stop people interfering with the trees to get the conkers and fruits -
no picking, no climbing, no throwing things and no beating with sticks.
There are always park wardens walking around somewhere to make sure the
rules are kept to.
These steps go up to One Tree Hill, where we
admired the view over Greenwich. Greenwich Park is quite big so I was
glad to get back to the car for a snack and a rest, and let someone else
drive us home.
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