1 August 2012
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.
I am glad to say that there are still all seven ducklings present in this
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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
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.
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
We had to slow down a lot to drive through the puddle
safely, but I enjoyed the big wave and spray at the sides.
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.
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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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
www.ukbutterflies.co.uk that they
are Large White butterflies.
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.
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.
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We went on a day out to Maidstone. This field just past
Swanley is full of wild poppies.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
This is a painted bark cloth curtain from the island of Niue
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
There are lots of mole hills dotted about and the shy moles will
only come out at night when there is no-one around.
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.
This is Swanley which calls itself Home of Flowers. There
are hanging baskets everywhere and they are all very full and well looked after.
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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
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!
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.
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.
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
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
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!
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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is the view over the River Medway as it used to be a
thousand years ago, before all the towns grew big.
Here is the view now, with Rochester Bridge and the town of
Strood on the other side of the river.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
We went further along the coast to Newhaven. The cliffs
here are not as big as those at Beachy Head.
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.
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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