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Diary 2011 May to August


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1 May 2011

Starlings having a bath
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!

2 May

Pedham field view
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 wind.

Later on we went up to the May Fayre at Petts Wood.

Petts Wood May Fayre - art exhibition paintings  Petts Wood May Fayre - RNLI stall
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 canopies.

Petts Wood May Fayre - bric-a-brac and plant stall  Petts Wood May Fayre - paintings stall
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.

Petts Wood May Fayre - RNLI stall with lifeboat collection box  Petts Wood May Fayre - vegetable box stall
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!

Petts Wood May Fayre - Reptile Events, Amber the Yellow Belly Python  Petts Wood May Fayre - Reptile Events stall, Jasper the King Python
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.

Petts Wood May Fayre - Reptile Events - Jane with Nutty the Leopard Gecko  Petts Wood May Fayre - Reptile Events stall - closeup of Nutty the Leopard Gecko
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 website: well done, Nutty, nice to see all your friends.

Petts Wood May Fayre - bees in glass case  Petts Wood May Fayre - treasure hunt stall  Petts Wood May Fayre - BMX bike raffle
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!

Petts Wood May Fayre - fire engine  Petts Wood May Fayre - funfair and bungee jumping
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.

Petts Wood May Fayre - classic cars 1  Petts Wood May Fayre - classic cars 2
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!

Petts Wood May Fayre - classic car badges 1  Petts Wood May Fayre - classic car badges 2  Petts Wood May Fayre - classic cars water gauge
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 "Cool/Normal/Boil".

Petts Wood May Fayre - funfair car  Petts Wood May Fayre - classic car - red open top
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.


6 May

We went on a day out to Tunbridge Wells.

3D art in shop window, Tunbridge Wells  Fruit and veg shop, 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.

tuktuk, Tunbridge Wells  Wall plaque on railway bridge, Tunbridge Wells
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 and buses.

I noticed another plaque on the railway bridge. There is a picture of the first plaque on my Diary entry for 4 June here. 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 these creatures.

Wall tie stud, Tunbridge Wells  Road studs, Tunbridge Wells
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!

Ceramic parrots, Tunbridge Wells  Greene King pub sign eagle, Tunbridge Wells
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.

Shop door mosaic, Tunbridge Wells  Bod & Ted shop sign, Tunbridge Wells
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.

 Rupert Bear scarf, Tunbridge Wells  Daffodil handbag, Tunbridge Wells
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!

 Bike park, Tunbridge Wells
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.


7 May

Coots on nest, Priory Gardens
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 noisy.

8 May

Fish windsock, Pedham  Traffic cone, Pedham
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!

9 May

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.


12 May

Ink bottles and toy dinosaurs
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.

13 May

Chicken-shaped basket with flowers
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!

Turf rolls  Strawberry pots
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.


14 May

We went to the May Fayre at Pratts Bottom, which is just on the edge of Orpington.

Cadets band, Pratts Bottom May Fayre  Human fruit machine, Pratts Bottom May Fayre
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.

 Sign, Pratts Bottom May Fayre  Cakes, Pratts Bottom May Fayre  Preserves, Pratts Bottom May Fayre
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.

Eagle visiting from Eagle Heights 1, Pratts Bottom May Fayre  Eagle visiting from Eagle Heights 1, Pratts Bottom May Fayre  Eagle visiting from Eagle Heights 1, Pratts Bottom May Fayre
This eagle was visiting with his keeper from Eagle Heights Bird of Prey Centre in Eynsford ( 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.

Punch and Judy, Pratts Bottom May Fayre  Mr Punch with Crocodile, Pratts Bottom May Fayre
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!

Model trains 1, Pratts Bottom May Fayre  Model trains 2, Pratts Bottom May Fayre
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.


19 May

Yellow Teddy with tree seed fluff, River Cray  Brown Teddy, River Cray
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.

Park strimming, River Cray  New road markings
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.

Hose spray filling up pond  Developing fruits Conference pear
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.


22 May

Dino Dartford tunnel  Stockwood Park map, Luton 
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 Park.

Old telephone Boxes of valves Old 1930's radio 
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.

Blue Parrot with linseed bread  Yellow Teddy with coin game
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.

Yellow Teddy in big blue chariot Dino admiring the teeth on a mechanical rake  
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!

Yellow Teddy with model of horse-drawn farmer's cart 
This little model shows a horse-drawn farmer's cart from a long time ago.

Teddy with model of plesiosaur    Brown Teddy with model of woolly mammoth
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 with stone axes
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 boots.


Gold grave goods ornaments  Shillington Hoard gold and silver coins
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.

Roundhouse reconstruction  Reconstruction of part of roundhouse inside the museum 
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.

Mirrored corner showing a fireplace  Yellow Teddy with reconstruction of polished copper mirror
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.

Yellow Teddy with Noah's Ark old wooden toys display 
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.


Modern digital camera taking a picture of very old cameras in museum
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?!

Boneshaker bicycle  Steam traction engine
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!

Old horse-drawn omnibus carriage  Old Royal Mail carriage
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.

Yellow Teddy with painted coat of arms on old royal Mail carriage
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 Queen Elizabeth.


Yellow Teddy with needlework tree hanging  Quilt hanging on garden wall  Dino having a talk with the stone lion
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.

Hexagonal window for viewing the bees  Bee seat  Bee skep
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.

Giant model of spider web and fly  Broken glass pane in greenhouse
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.

Dig For Victory chickens new cage  Yellow Teddy with the Dig For Victory chickens
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.


Smiling centipede sculpture on compost bins  Dino finds chocolate-shaped rocks at Stockwood Park
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.

Blue Parrot with twig-effect iron seat  Blue Parrot with birdbath 
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 afternoon.

Green Routemaster bus  Yellow Teddy going over the QE2 Bridge at Dartford Crossing
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 the Second.


25 May

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!


 Koi fish tanks at Polhill  Yellow Teddy with koi fish
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.

Pohilll big koi 
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.

Cakes in Polhill farm shop  Sweet lollipop tree in Polhill farm shop
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!

27 May

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 petunias.

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.


1 June

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!

3 June

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.

4 June

Plaque: A garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever
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.


7 June

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.

11 June

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!


12 June

This field of poppies is near Tripes Farm in Orpington. Some years there are no poppies though.

14 June

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.

Too many road signs
I think someone couldn't decide which sign to use, so they put them all up.

26 June

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.


3 July

Yellow Teddy with coloured wire  Coloured wire
Someone cleared out the loft and they threw out these lovely 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!

4 July

River Cray bridge  River Cray
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.

6 July

  Yellow Teddy petunia tower
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.


15 July

Coot nest Priory Pond  Yellow Teddy box of ink bottles
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.

Dino polystyrene chips  Dino polystyrene chips and ink
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.

Sunflowers  Watering system
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.

Russet apple  Copper dish on birdbath
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 often.


18 July

 Blue Parrot and his sunflower  Sunflower
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.

 Builders cloth path  Bathroom standpipe
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 in.

Brown Teddy with insulation material  Dino looking at holes in floorboards
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.


30 July

Red and yellow sunflower  Nasturtiums
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 better.

7 August

Tripes Farm boot fair  Yellow Teddy with teddy christmas ornaments
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.

11 August

Heavy rain on pond
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!

14 August

Stormy sunset
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.


20 August

Road mending machine
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.

27 August

Party in the Priory bouncy castle  Party in the Priory music stage
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.

Double rainbow
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.

28 August

Wild growing apple tree  Spartan apple tree
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.

29 August

Pedham Place boot fair  Pedham Place boot fair bouncy castle
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!

Yellow Teddy watching Edinburgh Military Tattoo
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.

30 August

Robin in hawthorn tree
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.

Coleus leaves  Field poppy
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.


31 August

Greenwich Park Roman remains  Greenwich Park - Brown Teddy reading noticeboard
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.

Greenwich Park - drinking fountain dog water basins  Greenwich Park - warden's hut
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.

Greenwich Park - marine chronometers in Observatory  Greenwich Park - Astronomy museum lens  Greenwich Park - South Building ship weather vane with starling
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.

Greenwich Park - Meridian Line below courtyard 1  Greenwich Park - Meridian Line below courtyard 2  Greenwich Park - Yellow Teddy on granite Meridian Line  Greenwich Park - Brown Teddy on granite Meridian Line
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!

Greenwich Park - marble ball at Queen's House  Greenwich Park - model of Queen's House
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.

Greenwich Park - Queen's House Great Hall  Floor pattern of Queen's House Great Hall Greenwich  coloured-in floor pattern of Queen's House Great Hall Greenwich
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 paints.

 Greenwich Park - Queen's House painting of boat building  Greenwich Park - Queen's House painting fire on a ship
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.

Greenwich Park - Queen's House Tulip Staircase  Greenwich Park - Queen's House enamel dinner plate
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.


Greenwich Park - Yellow Teddy by water feature outside National Maritime Museum  Greenwich Park - Water feature outside National Maritime Museum
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!

Greenwich Park - Devonport House beehives  Greenwich - Cutty Sark under repair
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 look through.

Greenwich - foot tunnel under river  Greenwich - stairs to foot tunnel under river
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.

Greenwich - Yellow Teddy on river front  Greenwich - Rupert Bear toy in shop window
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.

Greenwich Park - deer enclosure
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 fences.

Greenwich Park - Brown Teddy reading park notice board  Greenwich Park - Steps leading up to One Tree Hill
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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