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Diary 2012 August


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1 August 2012

Crowd of goldfish
My goldfish are enjoying some pieces of bread, and sometimes their heads come out of the water when they all crowd in one place. After the initial rush, they all go off and chew on the bits. They don't have bread all the time. Unlike us, they never seem to eat more than they need so extra pieces of food get ignored if too much is thrown in.

2 August

Duck with seven ducklings
I am glad to say that there are still all seven ducklings present in this family.


4 August

Meadow Brown butterfly
This butterfly landed on a friend's doorway as we were taking some family pictures, so we quickly turned the camera on him. He did not stay long. It is a Meadow Brown and we found his name from this website

Anglo-Saxon replica items  Anglo-Saxon warrior
We went past the Priory buildings in the park and noticed an exhibition. It was Anglo-Saxons and all their possessions, swords, shields and armour. They are all reproductions of things that the archaelogists have found. The warrior was very friendly. It is a Society that likes to re-enact daily life in this country a thousand years ago.

Anglo-Saxon writing materials  Anglo-Saxon textiles
Here are the feathers and horn ink pots used for writing. I liked the textiles table and the woven bag and clothes. There was also a table with lots of foods that were available at the time. There was nothing in packets and tins of course! The Society is called Centingas which means "People of Kent" and they go around the country with their exhibitions and event days. You can see more photos here

5 August

Puddle across road
We had to slow down a lot to drive through the puddle safely, but I enjoyed the big wave and spray at the sides.

6 August

Blackberries  Tufted duck and ducklings
The blackberries by the riverside are well on their way to ripening. This reminds me of traffic lights, but using different colours - green for stop, red for halfway, and black for go! The tufted ducks are doing well. There were lots of other water birds around, so this family felt safer being a bit closer to the side of the pond.


9 August

Spartan apples  Honesty seed head  Water droplet
My Spartan apples are growing very well and I have given up counting them. The honesty plants have made lots of seed and I sometimes throw these pods around the garden so that new ones come up everywhere. This water drop is on a nasturtium leaf and I found out from a recent television programme that the leaves are covered in lots of microscopic hairs that keep the water off the surface. Now I know why droplets roll around and fall off nasturtium leaves.

Yellow Teddy making bread  Yellow Teddy with buns on oven tray
I enjoy making our bread buns. We put baking powder in the mixture so that we can cook it straight away. They are not so light as normal bread but it is quicker than waiting for a yeast dough to rise. The answer is to make the dough a bit wetter than normal so that it can rise easily in the oven.

Goldfish enjoying water hose
The goldfish are enjoying the jet of water from the hose. In hot weather we have to keep a eye on the water level all the time, and put the hose in when it drops down.

11 August

Oak tree seedlings
These are oak tree seedlings on a footpath near the shops. If all these were replanted and spaced out in a big field, you would have a whole new forest. There were a lot more than just the ones in this picture and obviously the squirrels could not eat or bury all the acorns.

13 August

Rainbow  Crows on roof
I always take a photo of any rainbow and this one was a bit brighter in real life than in the photo. These crows were there at exactly the same time and they are not interested at all in rainbows, they only want to find breakfast. They sit on this roof every morning every morning and caw very loudly.


16 August

Crows walking in the road
Here are the crow family again, walking up my road and making a lot of noise. I prefer to see them on the grass in a park where they are safer, though. This was very early in the morning without no-one about. With the damp weather, I think there may have been some worms on the paths and road.

21 August

Caterpillar of Large White butterfly  Caterpillars in bucket
I have a big tub full of nasturtiums and notice lots of these caterpillars. They are very hairy and we thought it better not to touch the hairs so we had to pick off every leaf that they were on and carry them in a bucket to the end of the garden. We put them on a pile of greenery that was waiting to go in the compost heap. I found out later from that they are Large White butterflies.

Young blackbird
This is a young blackbird from about the third brood this year. He is enjoying some bits of bread but I hope he found some of the caterpillars at the end of the garden.

22 August

Robin in Priory Park  Geese in Priory Park
This robin lives in Priory Gardens where there is plenty of room for different robins to have their own territories. These Canada Geese are eating the grass and I have never seen the gardeners having to cut this grass, which is always very short.


24 August

Field of poppies
We went on a day out to Maidstone. This field just past Swanley is full of wild poppies.

Yellow Teddy with model of Maidstone Museum  Model of River Medway
Instead of going round the shops, we spent our time in Maidstone Museum. Here is a model of the very old museum building. They have a built a new entrance and shop part on the right hand side, which is all glass and gold-coloured cladding. The second picture is a model of the River Medway. I am going to make a model of my own river at home.

Decorated pincushions  Painting of fisherman's family having dinner
There is a military exhibit room with uniforms and medals. These ornamental pin cushions were made by the wives of soldiers in the West Kent Regiment, and I don't think they would have been left hidden inside a sewing basket! I like this painting of children waiting for their dinner of a big pie. The bit of blue at the left hand side means they live by the sea, so it must be fish pie. You have to look at all the details very closely to work out what the story is saying. The family are giving thanks for the meal, but the mum with her head in her hands might be thoughtful as well, giving thanks that the daddy fisherman has come home safely from the sea with their dinner. In the top right is a lighthouse so there are dangerous rocks nearby. The little black and white cat at the bottom is looking forward to getting a piece of fish as well.

Yellow Teddy in the dinosaur room  Egyptian fish ornament
The Prehistory section has some big dinosaurs models with growling sound effects and dinosaur murals on the walls. Dino spent ages looking at the photos and is definitely coming with us next time we go there. Another section has some glass cases with small Egyptian items, such as beads and little figures. This fish ornament looks really friendly, just like my own goldfish.

Display of shells  Brown Teddy with footprints display
I enjoyed these shells, but cannot remember all their names! Brown Teddy liked the children's section for identifying wild animals by their footprints. They remind me of our garden with all the bird footprints in the snow.

Models of old buses  Yellow Teddy with Steam Fire Pump
These toy buses are quite large and we could play happily for hours with them, but unfortunately they have to stay in their glass case. This Valiant Steam Fire Pump was really interesting and I hope that it did the job safely, because there are a lot of places where leaks of water or steam could come out! It was made in 1902 for a Kent brewery who had their own private fire brigade and could be wheeled along to wherever it was needed.

Yellow Teddy with display of dolls and clothes  Yellow Teddy with Noah's Ark display
The clothing section had dresses for ladies, children, babies and all these dolls. There is a toy section and my favourite was all these wooden Noah's Ark figures. I wonder if they all fit into the Ark? I am sure many of the children who owned this have tried over the years.

Yellow Teddy with painted bark cloth  Yellow Teddy with Australian wall painting
This is a painted bark cloth curtain from the island of Niue (Savage Island), although from a distance it looks like woven material. The second photo is of an Aboriginal wall painting in Emu Cave at Yuenduma in Australia. It looks to me like Emu footprints.

Maidstone Coat of Arms with iguanodon dinosaur  Model of phoenix bird
Iguanadon dinosaur bones were discovered at Maidstone and so there is an Iguanadon on the Maidstone coat of arms. This dinosaur would have been a lot bigger than the lion and nowadays we think that this dinosaur had his tail held out horizontally to balance his front, and not dragging on the ground. The plaque is outside the Town Hall in the town centre. Down an alley there is another creature, but this is the mythical Phoenix, which was thought to rise renewed from the ashes of a fire.

Shop window of teddies and Union Jacks  Timber-framed building with painted plaster
A very well done shop window, of course! I really like this ornamental front to one of the timber-framed buildings in the town centre. The building seems to be original but I think the decoration may have had some restoration, or it might even be a reproduction. The netting keeps the pigeons off.

Yellow Teddy eating bagel  Noticeboard map of Mote Park
We did not have any of our usual buns for our sandwich bag, but these bagels from the shop were very enjoyable. After lunch we walked round Mote Park.

Steps to lake  Yellow Teddy with rebuilt water outlet
The approach to the lake has been improved by removing some trees and there is a new wide stairway. Further along the waterfall has been completely renovated. It is going to be much better when the plants and trees have grown bigger and the stones have become more weathered and greener.

New bridge at end of lake  Yellow Teddy with water outlet
At the top end there is a new wide bridge, which means no more wet feet crossing the ford bit, and further on the outlet has been refurbished with new rocks. Lots of the paths around the park have been renewed.

Yellow Teddy with molehill  Molehills
There are lots of mole hills dotted about and the shy moles will only come out at night when there is no-one around.

Yellow Teddy looking down path to lake  Lakeside platform
Lots of little paths lead down to the water's edge but this platform is out in the water a bit too much. This second platform is better and you can get a good view of the lake beyond the reeds. There is some chicken-wire on top to stop is being slippery when wet.

Flowers in Swanley
This is Swanley which calls itself Home of Flowers. There are hanging baskets everywhere and they are all very full and well looked after.


27 August

Starlings on roof  White butterfly
I hope these starlings all come to my garden and get in the bird bath all at the same time, and I also hope I am there with my camera ready! I think this is a Large White butterfly that produced all those caterpillars I found a week ago on 21 August.

29 August

Yellow Teddy looking out rainy window
Too wet for us Teds to go out today, so we will stay in and read books. It would be a good idea to tidy up the toy and painting cupboard, I might find something that I forgot was there. You can't tidy cupboards when it is sunny, it is a waste of good weather!

30 August

Ornament on rooftop in Chatham High Street  Chatham bus shelter
This decoration is over a shop at the end of Chatham High Street. It looks a bit like planets. This new bus shelter at the other end of Chatham looks just like the trees, and I am sure the architects who designed it had tree trunks in mind. It blends in with the surroundings very well.

Blue Parrot with park climbing frame  Brown Teddy with lifesaver post
We went on to Rochester and walked along the park by the riverside. Parrot would have liked to fly to the top of this climbing frame, to prove he doesn't need to go up steps. Brown Teddy always reads the signs, this is a lifesaver ring box by the riverside.

Yellow Teddy with noticeboard map of Rochester
We are standing at the top left, to the left of the bridge and just near the bit where there is a jetty in the river. Often I take a photo of noticeboards so that I can read it all at home, and then I know what all the things are in my other photos. If you just walk around without reading them, you might miss something really interesting down a side street or behind another building.

Rochester coat of arms on the bridge  Crown and flowers on the bridge
This is the coat of arms over the Rochester Bridge. The motto is "Publica privatis" which means "From the private, for the public" which refers to Rochester Bridge Trust's looking after the bridge from its own money and not taxes. There is lots of colourful decoration on all the carvings and I especially like this golden crown with the pastel-coloured roses and tulips at the top. The history of the bridge is at

Visitor centre ceiling with clouds  Parrot ceramics  Dinosaur shop in Rochester High Street
I think this cloudy sky in the visitor centre is absolutely wonderful and I want one for my bedroom! Blue Parrot was more interested in this crockery in one of the shops of a Macaw parrot and a kingfisher. We did not have time go in the Dinosaur Shop but we will definitely have a look inside next time. Our Dino will make sure we remember!


Rochester Castle noticeboard
We are always passing the castle but were determined this time to have a look inside. There is a big area of grass and trees around with good views of the river. People have to pay but fortunately Teddies and Parrots do not!

Inside Rochester Castle looking up to the open sky  Brown Teddy inside the castle
The inside of Rochester Castle is now empty but when it was being lived in there were lots of beams with wooden floors. There are lots of handrails and all the windows have wire or plastic coverings, so visitors stay safe. But you still need to watch your step as the stones are very uneven.

Noticeboard - The Constable's Room    Noticeboard - The Great Hall

It is difficult to imagine the castle as it was, and so they have put lots of noticeboards everywhere showing artist impressions of how it would have looked.

Spiral staircase  Yellow Teddy with model of the castle
The winding staircases are very steep and we had to go very carefully up and keep to the outside where the treads are wider. If someone is coming down you have to wait because there is not room for two people. It would not be safe for very small children. In the Chapel there is a model in a big glass case of the castle and grounds as they were centuries ago.

Brown Teddy looking over Rochester from the top of castle  Blue Parrot looking over river from top of castle
We all kept going until we got to the top battlements. The weather was quite windy and there were sudden gusts each time we passed a window or gap. This window did not have any wire or plastic, so it is not a good idea to lean over to look down. Blue Parrot enjoyed the view and the fresh air. You can see all up and down the river and over the whole town.

Noticeboard - Riverside and battlements
Here is the view over the River Medway as it used to be a thousand years ago, before all the towns grew big.

Wide view of river and bridge from top of castle
Here is the view now, with Rochester Bridge and the town of Strood on the other side of the river.

31 August

Blue Parrot eating packed lunch  Dino looking out to sea
We went to Eastbourne on the south coast of Sussex. Blue Parrot is very good a prising the tops off the sandwich boxes. Dino was pleased that the sea was blue and green, and not cold and grey. It was very hot and sunny all day, so you could see a long way into the distance.

Eastbourne Dotto train  Stone sculpture with movable stone balls
We walked down the zigzag paths to the promenade. This is the Dotto Train that takes passengers all along the seafront. It rings its bell at intervals because it is going along the path and not a track or road. This stone sculpture is called Taking A Stone For A Walk. In the dark slots are small balls of stone, the size of golfballs, that you can move to the top of each slope and then let them slide back down.

Model of Lifeboat  Eastbourne Pier
We had a look inside the Royal National Lifeboats Institute museum where there were lots of model boats, propellors, barometer and other equipment. Then we went onto the big pier where there are shops and an amusement arcade. At the far end some fisherman were on their separate part of the pier.

Blue Parrot with pier lion on lamppost  Yellow Teddy admiring dolphin designs
All the lamp posts along the pier have these lion faces on. I think the lions are grimacing when the salt water blows into their mouths! I like these fish ornaments which are all along the pier. This was the best one, the ones on the other side were a bit rusty!

Dino eating snack  Painted bus
Back at the car Dino was ready for another snack. Wholemeal bun with cheese spread is his favourite at the moment. All the buses are very colourful with paintings of cliffs, deckchairs and seagulls.

Sheep near Beachy Head   Dino on Beachy Head looking over Eastbourne town
We went up to Beachy Head. The names comes from the French "beauchef" which means "beautiful headland". Everything was very quiet, no seaside sounds at all, not even any gulls. The sheep like it quiet and were all head downs eating the grass. Dino is looking back down to Eastbourne. The white blob in the sea on the right is the end of Eastbourne Pier.

Lighthouse at Beachy Head
We parked further on to get some pictures of the cliffs and lighthouse. Our car is in that layby below. The lighthouse was built using a cable car to carry the stones and workers, between the top of the cliffs and a temporary iron platform below.

Yellow Teddy at Beachy Head
We walked on further up the cliff path. The path is away from the edge, but it would not be a good idea to leave the path.

Borwn Teddy with cliff edge sign  Belle Tout Lighthouse
Part of the cliff edge here was quite close to the path, so we left the path and walked further down on the grassy bit. We decided that as soon as we had our photographs, we would go back down to the car, using the path further back down the grassy slope. This is the Belle Tout Lighthouse. It was built in 1828 as a wooden building and used until the new one was built in the sea in 1902. It is now a hotel. It had to be moved back from the edge because the cliff was eroding away.

Cliffs at Newhaven
We went further along the coast to Newhaven. The cliffs here are not as big as those at Beachy Head.

Newhaven quayside  Lightouse on Newhaven harbour arm
Newhaven is very industrial. This is where the River Ouse meets the sea. Holiday makers used to come here but now that the jetty and harbour walls are in disrepair, the sandy beach is closed and everything is very quiet. You can still go down to the pebbly beach on the other side of the jetty.

Yellow Teddy with Satnav
We have an oldish Satnav and I like to see the map of the sea on it, as it will soon disappear once we get going on our journey home. This Satnav keeps wishing us a safe journey, but that is always our intention anyway!







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