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Diary 2012 December

 

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1 December

Christmas trees  Lambswool fleeces
The shops have had Christmassy things for the last month, but now it is the first of December, these trees suddenly don't look too early any more. I have found just what I like on a cold day, some snuggly fleeces that we could all lie down on, but I think we might be making our own from fleecy fabric, as it is not so expensive!

2 December

Frost on pond  Frosty leaves
The pond has frozen for the first time this year. There was plenty of clear water around the sides so the fish can come up, but they mostly stay on the very bottom. All my bushes were looking very decorative.

Tyre patterns on frosty grass
It was very cold at the boot sale, as it is on high ground where the winds blow a bit stronger. I like all the tyre patterns in the frosted grass.

Christmas trees  Hewitts orchard
More Christmas trees on the farm, although I think a month in a warm house would not do much for these, unless you put it in the garage to wait a bit longer. The orchard is looking very bare, and I am already looking forward to seeing the blossom when they have their boot fairs again in the spring.

Yellow Teddy with solar light  Yellow Teddy with early primrose
After we had warmed up from our time at the boot fair, I took a quick walk round the garden. My sunflower solar light was very frosty looking and I think it is better like that! This little primrose thinks it is spring already.

Yellow Teddy with frozen birdbath  Yellow Teddy with holly bush
We have to get the ice out of three birdbaths every frozen morning. Sometimes we remember to empty them at night, so there is no hammering at the ice next morning. I would like this variegated holly better if it had some berries. I think there may be one or two hiding under there.

5 December

First snow  Yellow Teddy with some settling snow
We had a fall of snow this morning. It was big lumps coming down fast and we all got very excited. My garden was covered but the snow did not last long as it turned to light rain. Within an hour it was all gone. Good job I took photos!

Pigeon on snowy roof  Robin
This pigeon on the roof looks well fed, you can see the bump in his crop where he has filled himself with bread. My robin was sitting at the top of the tree looking for signs of crumbs being thrown from the kitchen window. I always give him some when everything is frozen.

6 December

Blackbird  Robin  Robin card
Another frosty day, and here is my resident blackbird about to eat the bits of bread. The robin likes to sit on this little pole by the pond to inspect the crumb situation. On my Christmas cards robin paintings are very often red, but the real birds are quite orange, and not red at all.

10 December

Shop decorations  Shopping mall decorations
We went to Bexleyheath for some shopping. I like these giant baubles, the white ones are about a metre across, and the red one has a seat inside for children to sit in.

Icing sugar house  Father Christmas ornaments in Norwegian knits
This lovely house-shaped Christmas cake was my favourite in the cake shop window. I was very surprised to see these Father Christmas character ornaments dressed in Norwegian knitting, but I think it does look a lot better than the usual red coat. This knitting will be very warm, and I definitely want a hat, scarf, gloves and jumper like that!

Christmas countdown clock
Inside the supermarket was a giant Christmas tree with a countdown clock on it. It says "15 sleeps to Christmas" but in my house we call them "wake-ups to Christmas"!

11 December

Frosty shadows  Frosty palm leaf
It was very cold and frosty, and we went through the park on the way to the shops. This piece of sunlight moving across the grass is sweeping away the frost. If the sun suddenly went in, the whole park would be left in green and white stripes. This frosted leaf is from one of the four small palms in the ornamental garden. It is looking very sad and I think the palms were expecting very hot conditions and are wondering why they are in a cold northern park!

Shop window snow  Nativity scene
I like to see all the shop window displays and this one is a bit different, with lights half buried in fluffy plastic snow. I was glad to see a Nativity stable in the bookshop window, as it is sometimes crowded out by the snowmen and reindeer ones.

Dino with box of decorations  Blue Parrot with glass ornaments
Back home we decided it was time for the Christmas tree to go up. Dino got out the heavy box from the top of the wardrobe. We keep the decorations in office document boxes so that they don't all get crushed. Parrot really likes these glass decorations in every colour, he was allowed to choose which ones went where, but he didn't pick them up because they are so easily broken.

Brown Teddy with hooks  Yellow Teddy decorating tree
Sorting out the hanging hooks that have got tangled was Brown Teddy's job, because he is very patient. The best method was to shake it all very hard, so that most of them fall free, and then he only had to untangle the remainder. I always put this stripy ball on first, so that it gets the best place and doesn't end up at the back. Then I put on the glass teddies in their smart shiny green jackets.

Brown Teddy with bear ornaments  Bear ornaments
Brown Teddy likes these other teddy ornaments. They are not really smiling very much, and I think they look more like chocolates than glass decorations. They reflect the lights very well.

12 December

Frosty pond netting  Blackbird on frosty cotoneaster bush
It was another frost day and all the netting round my pond was white instead of black, like a giant spider's web, although I am glad to say that the pond water was not frozen. This blackbird is sitting on the cotoneaster hedge eating the berries. There is a big supply to see him through the winter.

Model village  Christmas light penguins
We took a trip to Ruxley Garden Centre to see all the Christmas things. This snowy model village looks very real because of the photographic background. There were lots of lighting displays and this one of dolphins, seals, penguins and polar bears also had rope lights, with the lights in a chasing sequence, so it looked like running water.

Model village houses lit up
This is the biggest snow village item, and the houses look very warm and cosy. You can tell their lofts are well insulated because the roofs are still covered in snow and it is not melting!

Ruxley ice rink  Ruxley ice rink marshall
Outside there was an ice skating rink. The children had penguins on skis for them to hold on to, and there were also yellow sledges for them to sit while the parents pushed them round. Some people were skating and others were going round the edges holding on to the rail. The best skater was the Ice Rink Marshall and he was very good at skating and showing people how it can be done. His job is to make sure everyone stays safe.

Ruxley reindeer  Ruxley reindeer eating
At the back of the garden centre were Ruxley's three reindeer named Lightning, Bolt and Blossom. They were sitting around, sleeping and eating hay. They have got used to people and it was interesting to see them, but I was not too keen on the stably smell when I got close to them! I think when they have their Wednesday afternoon "flight practice" is when the staff clean out the pen, and it was Wednesday midday when we visited!

Bearded dragon  Stripey bearded dragons
Inside the aquarium centre it was a lot warmer. When I saw these bearded dragons in their warm vivariums, I thought of our friends Nutty the Skink and Bruce the Bearded Dragon. They have a bowl of food, a bowl of water, and lots of logs to climb around on or hide under.

Fish in aquarium  Plastic aquarium plants
I always like to visit the fish section. The bright orange and yellow ones are my favourites, but sometimes the black and white stripy ones can look very smart as well. These plastic aquarium plants are so colourful, it might be worth buying some instead of artificial flowers for the house!

Holly pattern gravy boat  Chocolate umbrellas
I would like to pour my Christmas gravy out of a jug like this, with holly and berries on the side, but it was rather expensive and would only be used one day a year. I preferred these chocolate umbrellas, although it would be shame to unwrap and eat them, unless you refilled the wrappers with something else, so that you could keep them as decorations.

Foam snow covered tree  Christmas trees
This is a real growing tree sprayed with artificial snow, and I hope they wash it all off after Christmas so that the tree can grow in the spring. There were hundreds of Christmas trees of every size and colour, and I really liked the clean piney smell. I think I prefer our artificial tree at home, because you can bend the wire branches around so that it fits the space in the corner without getting knocked by people walking past - very important if you have lots of favourite decorations that must not get broken!

14 December

Yellow Teddy with pop-up card
Here I am giving my card to Auntie Freda. These are my favourite type of cards, where it opens to be three dimensional, and snow is my favourite as well. Fortunately I still have some left in the pack so I might send one to myself!

15 December

Orpington Christmas band
There was a wonderful band in the High Street playing carols and Christmas songs. They were really good and I am sure that they have been practising all year. It was very difficult to get a photo with all the cars whizzing past.

17 December

Let It Snow Christmas card  Shop display snowy tree  Shop display snowflakes
Here is the best card that we have received, and I purposely stuck it on the wall just behind the lights. Everyone seems to want snow, and these two window displays are typical for the shops round here.

18 December

Icicle ornament  Paper lantern ornament  Tinsel with light
These are my favourite decorations. One is a plastic frozen water drop, and there are lots of other icicles of different shapes on my tree. There are four paper lanterns and I hang them up high where they will not get knocked! I think the best is the tinsel when it has lights behind it. I like my tinsel to be really thick and all silver so that the reflected colours stand out.

19 December

Yellow Teddy with tray of LED trees
We got some colour-changing LED Christmas trees, and I made up a little snow scene on a tray. We have these wire trees out every year but this year they are in a lifelike setting. There is a model church at the back, and the cotton wool hides the patterns on the tray.

22 December

Baby in manger display  Wooden robin display
More shop window displays. This baby and manger one is a refreshing change. They have used bits of tinsel pulled off to make the hay, and there are several little sheep around. The robin was in estate agents window, so they could not have anything that hid the details of houses for sale!

Father Christmas smiling  Tree bark
There are always lots of Father Christmases in shopping places, but I have a clue as to how you can identify which ones are the real thing and which might not be. It's all down to the smiling eyes so I think in my high street we may have had a secret visit after all! On the way home through the park, this tree bark reminded me of the Christmas pudding, and when we eat our pudding, I shall think of the tree, but it will taste a lot better of course!

24 December

Yellow Teddy in Christmas hat  Looking under tree
Here I am all ready for Christmas to start. We all received gifts of these marvellous teddy-sized Christmas hats and have been practising wearing them all day. It is very empty-looking underneath the tree, but I think that by tomorrow morning it will look a lot different.

Teddies in bed on Christmas Eve
Dino, Brown Teddy and Blue Parrot have gone to bed with their hats on and there is only me left still up. I will have to get in really quietly under the fleece so that we can all get to sleep as quickly as possible.

25 December

Yellow Teddy viewing presents under tree  Heavy rain on pond
I just can't guess what is in all these, although the very soft ones and the flat rectangular ones might be easier to guess at! It rained very heavily for most of the day, and I am glad that we did not have to go out in it.

Yellow Teddy with Christmas pudding  Yellow and Brown Teddy eating pudding and mince pies
I got the kitchen stuff all organised very early on. This is our favourite Christmas pudding, although we only cooked a third of it, as it was too big to eat in one day. Here we are about to eat our bit of it, with a mince pie, very thick custard and some mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Yellow Teddy watching the Queen  Yellow Teddy with all the presents
Afterwards we listened to the Queen's speech. We all love the Queen in our house, as she loves everybody equally and always thinks the best of everyone. Afterwards we opened our presents, and we continued guessing right up until the last bit of paper was torn off. There were lots of wonderful surprises. The Rupert Annual is our favourite book of the year.

Blue Parrot watching the Edinburgh Tattoo  Brown Teddy watching the Nutcracker Ballet
Later on, Blue Parrot enjoyed watching the new DVD of the Edinburgh Tattoo Display especially the drums parts, and later on Brown Teddy had a good time watching the Nutcracker Ballet. We had not over-eaten at dinner, so we were able to watch the slim ballerinas without feeling too heavy ourselves!

26 December

Dino reading his dinosaur book  Brown Teddy reading his Rupert Bear book
The day after Christmas is always a very good day, because we play with all our new things. It was lots of heavy rain again, and Dino spent quite some time on the beanbag reading his new Dinosaur book. Brown Teddy enjoyed all the adventures in the Rupert Annual.

Blue Parrot deciding on a DVD  Yellow Teddy with the E-Pen
Blue Parrot had a hard time deciding which DVD he wanted to see. I was really surprised and pleased with this present of a Mobile Notes pen, so I can download my scribbles onto the computer.

Yellow Teddy mending computer 1  Yellow Teddy mending computer 2  Yellow Teddy mending computer 3
Unfortunately, the computer's DVD tray was stuck so we had to install a new one. I helped to unscrew the old one and put the new one in. Then we replaced the noisy fan with a quieter one. It is very interesting to look inside and we spent some time vacuuming out all the dust. You can save a lot of money if you can mend your own things.

28 December

On the way to Tonbridge  Tonbridge School Christmas tree in window
We went to Tonbridge. There is usually a very good view over the countryside here but today was very misty and rainy. I was really looking forward to seeing the huge Christmas tree in the big window at Tonbridge School. It must be at least two metres high and I was wishing that we could see it in the dark. You could fit a lot of presents under a tree that big!

Town Lock, Tonbridge
We walked along the riverside path to Town Lock. The river is flowing from left to right and the orange floats prevent boats from going over the weirs. In the distance on the right is the big weir gate. The path is straight, but it looks curved because this is a joined photo.

Town Lock weir gate
This is the weir gate. The river was roaring through very violently, and the water was churning and foaming. It would suck down anything that fell in. The waves were rolling back over themselves and looked as if they were going upstream!

Yellow Teddy at canoe pass  Yellow Teddy with swan
Next to the big weir is this canoe pass. You can see the debris on the grass from where the river level had been much higher quite recently. On a quieter part near the lock gates, this swan came up to see if there was any food going free. Unfortunately there was not, and so he swam off eventually.

Painted Hovis Bread sign  Tollgate marker
In the town there is always something interesting if you look down alleyways. This painted Hovis Bread sign must have been quite smart in the past. It is very old because nowadays they have printed signs on boards rather than painted onto the brick. I also saw this marker on the ground that says "TUDC Site of Tollgate". I looked this up on www.tonbridgehistory.org.uk/history/timeline.htm where it says that in 1868 the Hadlow Road tollgate was removed. I wonder if this sign refers to that?

Tonbridge sports ground under water
The sports ground was half under water. The river level was still falling and this field will be green again quite soon.

Snowy netting material  Model fruits
We went on to Sevenoaks. I would like some of this netting material with the snowy dots on it, so that I can have a snowy window whenever I want. It would be good if these model fruits stayed on display through the New Year, even after the Christmas decorations have gone, while the days are grey and cold.

Wrapped chocolate fruits  Chocolate money
I always like to look in the chocolate shop window. Here are some more fruits, chocolate wrapped ones, and a chocolate money bag (Dino's favourite). I could look at this window for hours, there were so many interesting sweets and chocolate shapes on display. But I might get a bit cold and have to go inside and buy some to warm up a bit!

Ribboned letter board  Pond with bridge
This colourful letter board is meant for letters and cards, but it would be quite good to replace an uninteresting corkboard and you would not need any pins that keep falling out. Just before going home, I checked out the little pond with the bridge. I think any goldfish must have been hiding in the weeds where it is safer.

31 December

Yellow Teddy with wool bag  Dino at treasure shelves
It has been raining all day and it is very gloomy. I was delighted to find the wool bag and some knitting. I tidied all the balls and made sure the needles were all in pairs and fours. I am looking forward to having some leftovers to play with, especially the rainbow wool. Dino thought about tidying the treasure shelves but decided the kitchen cupboards were more interesting instead, in case there were any more hidden Christmas chocolates that had been forgotten.

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