1 January 2012
At midnight I looked out to see when the fireworks would
start. There were a lot more fireworks going off this year than in other years,
and there were people shouting and cheering the New Year in. It took about 20
minutes for it all to go quiet and we all got off to sleep quite quickly after
Today I put the Christmas tree back in its box. It takes a bit of pressing in
while someone tapes round the box, but Dino was very pleased to help. He spent
some time playing nests with the tinsel before we put it into zipper bags.
We went out for a long walk. The weather was very mild and damp. We found a path
that we had not walked down before. In Orpington there are lots of footpaths
that go between the houses and I think this must be the longest. It dips down
and up again, so from the top you can't see how long it is. On the way we
noticed an apple tree that still has fruit on. Some of the ones at the top have
been half pecked away by birds, and I am glad they have a good supply of food
for some time to come.
We came back through Priory Park. The main pond is now
completely dried out, and this squirrel was poking about in the mud. If he
buries his acorns here, he will get a big surprise when he comes back and finds
the pond full again. These geese are making the most of the puddles at the edge
of the path. I think they feel safer when their feet are wet!
When I got home I took down the Christmas cards from the wall but I left
up all the ones with robins or snow on them. This snowy card is my
favourite and I will enjoy looking at it whilst warming myself by the
After lots of gloomy weather, we had a lovely day of warm sunshine, just
right for a walk round Priory park. This fence is made of old railway
sleepers. You can see the nail holes and marks where the railway lines
were attached. The park side gates are made to look the same, using wide
planks. I was wondering why there are four window holes in the gate. I
think it is so that the wind can get through, so the gates don't get
blown off their hinges. We went out of the gate and turned right to go
down a footpath at the side of the park.
I am finding lots of footpaths that I have not walked down before.
Priory park is on the left, and the church grounds are on the right.
This is about halfway, when we turned round to look back. It is straight
all the way. It was very
leafy and muddy, although there is an asphalt path underneath it all.
Some of the path has trees both sides, making it like a tunnel, so the
wind cannot blow the leaves away. When we got back into the park, I
looked around for any winter flowers. The bedding primulas had blue
flowers but not very big. The most colourful thing was this mahonia bush
with the sun shining through the leaves.
Today was a very wet stormy day, with strong gusty
winds. I am very glad to see that Priory ponds are filling up again
quickly. The grass is covered in puddles and it is all flowing down into
the ponds. The rain water from the surrounding countryside will end up
here as well, because this is where the River Cray starts.
Here is one of the puddles doing its best to become
a river. I could watch the rain drops making circles all day, but the
best place to do that is through the kitchen window, not in a stormy wet
park! I like to see the water drops jump back out after they have made
their circles. When in heavy rain hits a path and the jumping bits are
quite big, we have always called them "soldiers" as they look as if they
are marching all over the place!
These fallen branches in Priory overflow pond were all splintered and it
looks as though they were old anyway. At least they came down safely
into the pond mud and not where people are walking. I hope the park
gardeners trim them back a bit, because when the pond is full again, I
would like the island to be safe for the birds, and not with pathways of
branches for other animals to get to the island. The park was full of
broken twigs blowing about, so the birds will have lots of nesting
I was very glad to get home to my warm dry
bedroom and comfortable bean bag! Here is the stormy weather finally
blowing over and the sun coming out, although we did get a bit more rain
We got up really early and went as soon as we could
back to the park to inspect the pond after all the heavy rain. There
were gulls swimming on this growing puddle, but they flew away while we
were getting the camera out. I am really happy about the water coming
back. In the lower pond there is a rock sticking out of the water, and when
that disappears I will know the water is a lot deeper and that the
birds' feet are not touching the mud at the bottom.
The park was full of colourful but soggy leaves
everywhere, but I prefer these sparkly golden oak leaf decorations which were in a curtain shop
window. Next Christmas I will be looking out for some like this to put
round my big mirror at home. If I don't find any I will make some of my
own with gold paper and glitter. I think a piece of twist-tie wire will
make a good vein down the middle.
I got up really early to see what the weather was
doing. I thought this stormy sky would mean a day indoors, but it
cleared up quite quickly.
We went to Sevenoaks. Dino was delighted when I
showed him this photo of the George and Dragon pub sign. The dragon does
not look very well behaved and after being chased by Saint George, maybe
he will think twice before he roars and frightens people next time. No
wonder there is a strong safe castle in the background. I think I would
stay in the very top room of the tower, at least until the dragon had learned
This thatched hut belongs to Sevenoaks Vine Cricket
Club and I am sure there must be biscuit tins, a kettle and mugs inside.
I checked up on the Cricket Club fishpond. There are still some fish in
it, and a lot of them are black so you can't see them. Maybe in summer
the water will be clearer.
This smart-looking seat nearby is engraved to
commemorate the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.
I like the carved crown best.
This shop window snowy display has a fluffy hawk
and squirrel, and two moles peeping through the tissue paper. The moles
remind me of Mote Park in Maidstone, where we are always finding
The poppies on the War Memorial were very brilliant
with the sun shining through them and the paper petals blowing in the
breeze. I was amazed to see this car with leopard patterns all over it.
I hope it does not distract the other motorists on the road from driving
This magpie looks as if he can't decide whether he wants to
have a go on the slide. The second magpie seems to be waiting for his friend to
come down. Or maybe they were just looking for worms. These pigeons in Priory
park have found a pizza that was thrown into the dried-up pond. I went back the
next day and of course the pizza was nowhere to be seen.
This puddle by the path through the Park has dried up but
you can still see where the geese have been walking about looking for
interesting visitors with bread bags. These gulls were on the bridge between the
upper and lower ponds. Normally they are waiting for bread, but this time I
think they were digesting bread. Sometimes people keep throwing bread into the
water, even though the ducks and geese are full.
This robin's favourite singing perch is in my hawthorn
tree. There are still some hawthorn berries left for the blackbirds.
As it was a sunny day, Blue Parrot decided to take
down the last of the Christmas lights. He made a heap of them on the
floor. Fortunately I am very good at untangling and I wrapped them all
up in sets. There is just room in the box if you push it all down a bit.
The sun has brought out the first flowers of the
year and they are a good six weeks early. The shops are beginning to
stock gardening things again. Last year it was chicken baskets and now
it is hedgehogs. How many more animals are there to make baskets of?
Today we went to Greenwich Park to see how the
Cutty Sark clipper ship restoration is getting on. I was delighted to
find that the deck coverings have been taken off and the masts have been
raised. There is still a lot of work going on, and diggers everywhere.
The blue stripe under the ship is a glass enclosure that will have a
museum underneath. The glass makes it look as if the ship is on the sea.
I think maybe the blue is protective film, but hopefully the clear glass
will reflect the blue sky and look similar. I just love it!
Here is the figurehead, called Nannie. When her
left arm is fixed on, she will be reaching out ahead. The gold
decorations look really good against the shiny black.
Went went into the Discover Greenwich Centre. Here
is a model in a glass case, showing a jousting tournament in front of
the palace that used to be on the river front at Greenwich. This is a
joined photo, so the building does not look quite straight!
This is a closeup of the model, showing the King
and his court watching the horses. Two guards in armour are making sure
they stay safe. Behind the model, there is another glass case with real
armour. I don't know how anyone could fight with all that heavy metal
weighing them down. I think only the strongest men would have had that
job, and maybe they were given the biggest and best breakfasts every day
The day started frosty, and there was still some
left in the shadows. In the background is the Greenwich Observatory.
There were lots of squirrels around. I think they don't need to
hibernate because there are so many acorns and nuts around, as well as
visitors feeding them. There were about six squirrels running around
this huge chestnut tree, because there was someone on the other side
offering them peanuts.
This is what I like to see when I look round the
curtains early in the morning. It makes me want to make plans to go out
somewhere, to make up for the greyer days. Although there was some
frost, it soon disappeared and the day was sunny.
I was busy reading my books when I heard a very
loud rushing and sucking sound. It was the drain men clearing out the
pipes for us. They worked really hard and I am glad they all had thick
rubber gloves on! I now feel much better whenever I pull the plug out of
In the afternoon we took a walk to Priory Park. The
pond was entirely frozen and the geese and ducks were standing around on
top of it. A lot of the ice had been broken up and had frozen again.
There were piles of bits of bread by the bridge but a lot of it looked
frozen. When it thaws, the geese can finish it off.
I like the frost on these box hedges, because you can see
all the shapes much better. I just wish it was a proper maze rather than
squares, but the gardeners do a good job of keeping it full of flowers in the
summer. At the moment I think they are in their warm hut in their compound
making plans for the summer flower borders. The hottest place in the park has to
be in the middle of the compost heaps, which can just be seen through a gap
in the hedge. They look about ten feet high, or three metres.
There has been a lot of rain and the park was empty with
just seagulls standing on the muddy puddles in the grass. I realised why when I
saw two of them fighting over a worm. Cold mud is their dinner plate! This
climbing frame looks like the roof of a little cottage and is a good place to
dive into if it rains, but it is only big enough for small children or teddies.
The drips on this tree in the park look just like my white fairy lights, which
are now packed away. It made us want to hurry back home, but we decided to
continue and just walk faster to get warm. By the time we got to the shops, we
were quite hot and full of energy from the exercise.
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There is too much food around for the squirrels to be thinking of hibernating,
especially as we have not had any really cold weather yet. Even when they have
had all the acorns, people are always bringing peanuts. I am glad I can eat my
dinner without being entertainment for young children in buggies!
This is the River Cray. Lots of twigs have caught on the
rock and made a little island, with a sandy patch on one side. The second rock
is a bit left out because all the twigs have been used up by the first rock. I
hope they are not arguing over it. This fir tree in Priory Park is just right
for Teds and Dinos because there are two curved sitting places that are not too
far off the ground. Blue Parrot can have the higher up branch. It is better than
a garden seat because you don't have to keep painting it and the evergreen
leaves keep the rain off.
Cold weather is here. This dusting is all there is at the moment, not enough to
play with. This picture looks like a more much interesting landscape of a fir
tree plantation in deep snow, but as it is only the mossy roof tiles on the
house over the road, I can't play with that either! Warm bedroom is the place to
be for Teds, reading our picture books.
Despite the icy winds, we decided to take a walk in the
sunshine. Fast walking kept us warm. This woolly cloud was the only one in the
sky. I could do with some wool like that to make some feet warmers!
This robin is waiting for the frozen bird bath to be filled
with fresh water. We are emptying the bird baths every night, as it is easier
than hacking out the ice in the morning. Later on I saw three goldfinches with
yellow and red heads on the pond and birdbath, but I was too late to get a
photo. Maybe next time! They come into gardens from the countryside in very cold
or snowy weather.
Priory lower pond was frozen and there
was plenty of frozen bread scattered over the ice. All the geese and ducks have
gone elsewhere, and only the coots remain pecking around. A lot of ducks fly off
to places along the River Cray where it does not freeze. In the dry top pond I
saw this piece of Christmas cake and some crackers. I expected water and ice in
the pond, but not ic-ING and WATER biscuits! The pigeons ate the pizza last
month, and I wonder if they will go for this cake as well.
Fine dusty snow started falling in the evening, and I don't
think we Teds will get to sleep on our beanbag very early, because we will want
to keep looking out of the window to see the snow. I got up at nearly midnight
to see how the garden was getting on. The snow round this airbrick has not
settled, and now I know why the kitchen floor is so cold – the warmth is being
sucked down from the house floors and escaping out the holes! I am glad the
bathroom floor is insulated and a bit warmer to walk on.
About six inches of snow fell overnight, just enough to be interesting. I am
glad we emptied the birdbaths the night before, it only took a broom to clear
them. I just managed to get a picture of this starling flying away after his
bath. I think he will find a warm chimney pot to sit on and preen, so that his
feathers keep him warm and windproof.
I did some wallpaper scraping ready for a new window. I found these old
calculations that someone had scribbled on the wall a very long time ago. There
was even a diagram of the window that was here before we moved in. We have lots
of bluetits in the back garden finding spiders and little meals amongst the bare
twigs, so the snow has not hidden their food supply, which I am very glad about.
There are also lots of berries and seedheads for the other birds.
I was relieved to see that there is still some unfrozen
water in Priory Pond. The rock that I was using to measure the depth has now
become a frozen island, with sea pack-ice all around it!
When I get up early, I always sneak a look out of the
window and take a photo if the sky is interesting. It would have been a great
shame to miss this red dawn.
I took a walk to see how much snow was left. This big
snowball is doing very well, even though the roads and paths are now clear. When
I got back, this blackbird was having a very cold bath in my garden, and I hope
he finds a warm chimney to sit on to get dry before the cold night.
I have been breaking the pond ice every morning but now
that the nights are not so cold, the
sides are staying clear which I am very relieved about. The stones in the middle
of the garden are warming up and melting the snow. All the daffodils
and crocuses that I planted last year are coming up.
I took a walk in Poverest Recreation Ground to see how the
other giant snowballs were doing. They are still quite big but looking a bit
muddy now. It must have taken several people to push them along to gather all
the snow when they were made.
This cable ride with the sliding seat looks very dangerous.
The only game being played here was making more snowballs and this one is inside
the playground, and it's having a rest against the noticeboard.
Further along the park in a shady corner these unfinished snowmen
were quite safe from the warm sun and I hope they last a bit longer. They seem
to have picked up dead leaves as they were rolled along. I think the children
did not have time to finish the heads before they had to go home to tea in a
nice warm kitchen.
In the woods I saw these acorns, so I know the squirrels
still have some food. In my garden there are plenty of berries left on the
cotoneaster bush, which are eaten mainly by blackbirds. I am going to plant some
more cotoneasters at the end of the garden to get more berries for my birds.
The builder has been very busy taking the covering off this
piece of wall. This crack looks quite big and is where an old doorway had been
blocked up. The builder is going to mend it and
recover it with cement. There are lots of bags of bits around so we have to forget being
completely tidy for a little while.
Looking through the kitchen window at my icy pond makes me feel quite cold, but the
best way to get warm is to go for a long fast walk, which keeps me warm for the
rest of the day as well, even when I am back indoors.
Priory Park top pond is still empty which has made it
really easy for the gardeners to get to the islands to prune back the willow
trees. Another big snowball nearby is surviving very well and in the background
you can see the gardeners' truck.
This is the composting area of Priory Park where all the
prunings and dead leaves go. The lorry was moving the compost into a big
crunching machine, and the smashed up twigs and bits went up a belt onto this
pile. It will all break down into good soil which they will put around the park
This last bit of snow looks as if it has decided to go down the drain before it
has melted properly. I am sure we will see this bit of water again when it comes
back as fresh clean snow next time.
In Poverest Recreation Park there are always lots of seagulls and magpies
walking all over the field. I don't like being out in the mud but the birds are
very happy, as it brings all the worms to the surface, especially when people
have been running over the grass. This field is one big dinner plate for them and they are so
busy that they do not always realise we are nearby. That means we can get good
closeup pictures while they are occupied catching the worms.
I often see pied wagtails around, even in the streets, but
they fly off quickly before I can get a picture, so I am very pleased to have
got one at last. I think he felt a bit safer as he knew he was behind a fence
away from people.
The water in Priory Park lower pond is still very low. We
seem to have not enough water but too much bread. When the birds have had enough
for the moment, people still tip the bread in for later, before they go home.
Maybe the birds have it for supper.
When I got home, I saw that the builders had finished and
stacked their tools all in one place, so perhaps we can be a bit tidy after all.
In the wheelbarrow I found evidence of where they get their energy from –
orange-chocolate biscuit bars and chocolate-covered coconut bars!
After all the snow and ice, we have had a very warm sunny
day. When I saw this bluetit preening in the hawthorn tree, I rushed indoors and
upstairs to get the camera, and the bird was still there when I got back. He was
obviously knew he had to get himself smart for his photo! All the bulbs I put in
last year are coming up and the stones keep everything warm as they heat up in
The fish are very pleased with the warm weather and are all
swimming at the top of the pond, instead of lurking on the bottom. The blackbird
is finding lots of meals inbetween the stones and in the long grass.
These are the first roadside daffodils that I have seen on
my walks. In Orpington High Street I saw this wonderful van painted like a cow,
with a face on the front, an udder on each side and tail on the back door. Is it
a white van with black marks, or a black van with white marks?
The frogs have arrived and have already laid piles of
frogspawn. Their croaking is very loud. They are so busy with their job that
they are not remembering to duck down underwater when a person walks past. That
is good news for me as I can take lots of closeup photos.
It looks like playtime in the pond, but in reality they are
spending a lot of time pushing each other with their back legs and seeing who
can croak the loudest. I have taken loads of photos, because one day I will come
out to see them and they will all be gone.
The day started very foggy and chilly, but I am glad to say
that it soon cleared and we took a walk to the garden centre. This year the
twiggy plant holders are of little dogs with the usual lovely pansies. When are
they going to do Dinosaur ones, that's what I want to know!
At last, some good magpie closeups, on my neighbour's roof. The camera is rather
slow starting up and zooming in, so I am glad he did not fly away too soon.
Sometimes the magpies come down to my birdbath for a drink, or even a bath. I am
sure they are very good at keeping the mouse population down.
We scraped off the bedroom wallpaper and found this map of a world. At the top
are the cloudy mountain tops, where there is a lot of rain and where all the
rivers begin. In the middle is a large continent full of forests, woods, parks
and rivers. At the bottom in a paler colour is the sea. The coastline is very
long with plenty of places for inlets, bays and sandy beaches. In the bottom
right is the special island that we keep just for picnics. It takes about a week
to travel all around this little world and by then we are glad to get home for a
bit of a rest. But it's nice to know it's all there to go back to again another
time. Now that we have a photo of the secret map, we can get on and put the new
It's boot sale time again and this is Hewitts Farm and Pedham Place. I bought a
pyracantha plant (for the berries) from Martin the plant man, and a small book.
The best thing about boot fairs is the open countryside and the fresh air, grass
Another walk to the garden centre. This hanging basket stand should really be
revolving like a carousel, with some cheerful organ music to help things along!
It reminds me of the cup and saucer carousel rides at the seaside.
I thought at first these were bird nests. The first one is a bunch of mistletoe.
The second one in Priory Park is very large and made of twigs and dead leaves. I
think it must be a squirrel's drey, as there are no wild eagles in Orpington!
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In Priory Park the gardeners were very busy spreading the compost that they have
made. This lone miniature daffodil in the rose bed must have got there from a
previous lot of compost.
The weather was very sunny and warm. The goldfish are very glad that the water
is warming up at last and that they don't have to lurk on the bottom of the
pond. You can see that all the fish come swimming towards you when you walk
past. They can feel the vibration from footsteps and come to see if any food is
going to be thrown in. These four friends were basking in the warm sunny weedy
Our last visit to Hewitts Farm boot fair until next winter.
There are a lot of empty spaces on the gravel area. Once the good weather comes,
everyone goes to Pedham Place which has a lot more room. At Hewitts there is a big
mound with trees and shrubs, and maybe one day I will climb to the top to get
some good photos of the surrounding farmland.
Priory ducks still have a puddle left in the dried-up pond.
I still have not worked out how they can sleep balancing on one leg and not keep
wobbling and waking up. The last two ducks look asleep but their eyes are open.
Sorry, not bread, just a Ted taking a photo!
We have had a lot of very foggy mornings recently, which is
very unusual. These birds on the aerial have not got their usual "bird's-eye"
view of the surrounding gardens. We went to Pedham Place boot fair hoping that the fog
would clear. It was cold and damp all morning, and just as we were driving home
at midday the sun began to come out.
These ceramic ornaments in the garden centre look very
jolly. But, they are three things I don't really want in my garden. Fungi
usually mean some old wood is rotting down in the soil, and snails and
caterpillars mean holes in my plants. At least the caterpillars turn into
The tadpoles have hatched out really quickly as the days
have been very warm. They spend all day wriggling in the blanket weed and eating the
algae. There are quite a few fat ones. No doubt the fish have eaten a few, but
that is better than having 500 frogs in my garden all at once! Very soon they
will all go and hide amongst the plants in the corners where the fish can't
get at them.
These are my stacking pots, that go together to make a pot
tower. I have filled them with violas, which are a small type of pansy. Dino
helped to fit them together into a tower, as they were a bit heavy for me. I am
keeping it near the water tap in the shady corner, as violas don't like hot
places. These towers are good at not wasting water, as it dribbles down from the
top level onto the others, and then you give the layer at the bottom a bit extra
to make up for the lack of drips!
I have always liked this mound at Hewitts Farm, but today I
decided to go to the top and get a photo of the boot sale. I could really enjoy
this hill if I had it a bit nearer home!
If I went into the garden centre and asked for a plant with lots of brilliant
yellow flowers, that did not need a lot of care and would grow anywhere without
any trouble, I don't think they would supply me with a lovely dandelion like
this. This one was growing in a concrete kerb crack.
We went for a walk along the River Cray to see how the
water levels are. The water was a bit low but at least it has not dried up. At
this end part there is not enough water to move these bits of branches.
Throughout the riverside gardens the cut logs are left for the insects and
The upper part of the river was quite full, as it only
loses water through an overflow, which acts a bit like a dam. I like the little
artificial duck island, sensibly covered with protective nettles!
Further along these well-fed ducks were all resting on the
banks amongst the old leaves. The white ones stayed back a bit away from the
path, but they still come for bread when it is being thrown about and there are
lots of different quacks and squeaks from the different kinds of duck. If you
walk slowly, they don't get worried and so you can get good pictures.
Here is the St Paul's Cray village sign on top of a tall
post. The apple at the top is a reminder that Kent is an apple growing area. The
church is St Paulinus which is on the other side of the road. The mill at the
right is a reminder of the various mills that used to be here. The white horse
is a symbol of Kent. Date of 1086 refers to when the Domesday Book was
completed, which listed all the lands and farms in the country.
The Parks Department has been busy reshaping some of the
banks and cutting waterways to improve the river. I like this little dam and it
should make a lot of deeper water behind it for the birds. It will look better
when the water supply has increased. This blackbird knows that there will be
lots of worms in the damp ground on both banks.
I have a robin nesting in my shed. We were very surprised
and had to quickly take out our lawn mower and other tools. You can see the dead
leaves on the left at the bottom of the basket. I left a camcorder running
looking at the gap in the shed, and got some good film of the robin coming and
going. This is a very cosy and safe home for him, completely dry and no
draughts. Just like my house!
We had another walk along the River Cray and heard some
very loud birdsong. We went onto a little bridge and then saw this tiny wren
producing all that sound. I am sure he was singing to defend his territory
because he was up on his post where he could be seen by all, and usually wrens
like to hide in the undergrowth.
If you look carefully at this raft of twigs and ivy, you
can see that it is made of wire netting and there is a water outfall pipe
further up. I think the raft must be there to stop the bank getting worn away
when the water is in full flow.
This big tree obviously came down some years ago, with the roots left up in the
air, and it has sprouted new shoots all along its length. So next time I see a
row of trees, it may not have been planted by anyone but just grown in a line
all on their own!
This is our favourite part of the river. There was not enough water to make a
waterfall, and only a small trickle went off to one side to continue the river
by another way. You can see how clear the water is. It is only ankle deep, just
enough for the ducks to paddle through.
These water patterns remind me of being at the seaside, when there is shallow
water on a sandy beach. I think this flower is going to open out into something
more grand and I am definitely coming back to check up on it a bit later on.
These messy brambly places are just right for nesting birds. There is lots of
birdsong all along the river and I was really pleased to see this lovely
chaffinch and get a picture before he flew away. Often I end up with just a
picture of an empty branch!
This is a giant tree log that has been here for years. When they tidy the old
trees, they leave the logs to decay naturally. This one is covered in moss and
has plants growing on it. I think the moss keeps it damp for longer and so makes
it break down into soil even more quickly.
Here is my resident robin at his singing post in my hawthorn tree. He sings for
a bit then listens to make sure there are no others singing in his territory.
This is a footpath through Covet Wood. This part goes past the back gardens and
then you come out into the woodland and park. There is always lots going on with
the birds all calling, crows, magpies and woodpeckers, and squirrels rustling
I saw this computer board on the footpath back from the boot sale at Pedham. It
looks like a city with skyscrapers and big buildings. Unfortunately there were
no ants crawling over it to look like people! Back home, after lunch, I
inspected my flowers. I have moved the pot tower into the sun a bit more and I
will have to get someone to turn it round from time to time so that the flowers
at the back get some sun as well.
I decided to tour the garden to admire the flowers while they are still good and
fresh. I can't make up my mind which is my favourite. I think possibly the best
one at the moment is the wallflower because of the lovely scent.
I don't see the robins so much nowadays because I think
they are sitting on the nest. We can't use the shed or get anything out, but it
makes me feel really good to know that they are safe and dry at night,
especially with all the cold heavy rain and gusty winds that we have had. I
couldn't sleep if I thought my birds were getting cold or wet.
This planting by the shopping park reminds of a rolling foam coming in on the
breaking waves at the seaside. I remember these plants when they first went in
all spaced apart but now they have all grown together. This is the underside of
the railway viaduct at St Mary Cray. I am wondering what the ivy will do once it
reaches the highest part of the ceiling, whether it will start growing down the
This is the River Cray bank and weir improvement, and you can just see at lower
left some water coming through underneath the big rock. I think over time the
holes will all silt up and then this little dam will be able to hold back the
water and make a deeper pond behind. Further along the Parks Department have put
a little notice to let us know what they have done.
This rainbow seems to have got spread out in the mist. The weather was very
changeable, with rain then sun and rain again, and that is the best time to look
We opened some new special ink today and found this cheerful smile inside the
lid! I was allowed to try out a new pen. The people who make them like whales
and they decided to make the clip in the shape of a whale, so that we don't
forget to look after them. I will think of whales every time I write with it,
and the dark blue ink will remind me of the deep sea. Now I can draw a whale by
copying the shape of the pen clip and then paint in the sea with some watered
down writing ink. Brilliant!
This chaffinch was singing in my garden and my camera only just managed to zoom
in enough to get a photo. His song is very long and chirruppy, with a special
bit at the end to finish it off. Mostly I hear them without being able to see
I have decided I am going to enjoy the dandelions when I am
out and about, but perhaps not in my garden, because they seem to spread a bit
too much, especially after I found one in the middle of a rockery plant. It's
nice to know we will never ever run out of dandelions and their lovely flowers.
I heard some clucking outside my bedroom window and found our blackbird sitting
on the top gutter. He has a nest in my back garden and is working very hard
finding all the worms, which is much easier now that we have had loads of rain.
But he was looking a bit bedraggled at times in the rain, so he got a few extra
crumbs of bread to help him out.
Priory pond now has two puddles instead of one, after all
the heavy rain, and I am really hoping it will continue to fill up. The old
puddle is getting very green and unhealthy, and the ducks need some fresh water.
The main big pond is now just damp instead of dry, but at least that's a start.
When I lie in bed listening to the rain pouring, I always think of these ponds.
This Great Tit is taking a beakful of food into the nest
box that is just to the right of him in the picture. I was really surprised to
find the nest box being used, because it is only a few feet from the kitchen
window. I am sure these birds were delighted to have a box that has never been
lived in - all clean! When I put it up I made sure all the branches covered it
up well. The bird arrives at the back of the trellis and has a look around to
make sure it is safe, then he makes his way down through the twigs, before going
into the box hole. When he comes out he flies away in a straight line.
Today is very gusty with heavy rain. Normally I enjoy a day
indoors reading my books, but I really wanted to see how Priory Park pond is
doing. When we first went past, the puddles in the lower pond were joining up
and when we came back again after shopping, nearly all of it was covered in
water. The ducks were even swimming in the deep puddles on the nearby grass! All
I can say is – Yippee!!
The blossom trees are holding up well to the gusts and the
downpour, but it is always a bit sad to see flowers knocked to the ground. At
least I get a closeup look at them.
Today we are visiting friends in Hassocks. I never go anywhere without my veggie
juice drinks. It was my job to check the SatNav (an old one!) en route to make
sure we were going the right way.
These road signs were making me hungry. After eating your pease pottage, you
might get a pie in Pyecombe, then visit the friendly chickens in Henfield who
are all living in new wooden chicken houses from Newtimber! I liked this rustic
bus shelter but I think the passing heavy traffic would make it very noisy and
draughty. There is a huge tree overhanging it which has shaded the roof and
allowed all the moss to grow. My garden birds would love this for nest material!
Our journey home was very rainy and all the cars were throwing up spray. They
looked like boats going along a big wide river in the mist. A few people were
going much too fast and I am glad they were not in our lane. I was very glad to
see that the sheep in the fields still had all their woolly coats to keep them
warm. I really enjoyed the scenery and all the countryside getting well watered.
When we see this bridge, it means we are nearly home, and I was glad to get back
indoors before it got any darker and wetter.
I checked up on my favourite waterfall on the River Cray and it now has water
falling over it! I like to hear it before I get to see it over the wall.
The river is now a lot clearer because with the extra flowing, all the silt is
getting moved along. This tree was broken and covered in ivy and had to be cut
down, and now the stump is regrowing. It is a hawthorn tree and they are very
good and fast at regrowing.
Here is the boating pond near Kent Road where some of the
ducks and geese went for a swim when Priory pond was all dry. It is filled
artificially, so it is only dry when it is drained for the winter.
Further upstream, the new water channels are full and flowing. The new weir is
making a lot of gushing noises which I like and there are some sandbag sausages
to hold the mud back. I think this is going to help build up the riverbed behind
Over the back is the main source of the river and here is the owner of this
area, singing very loudly, obviously because it is such a good place to live
with lots of food around.
Priory Park top pond now has a large puddle as well and the
pigeons are having a good time bathing, although after several weeks of rain
they must be quite clean already! They are making the most of having a shallow
bit to walk around in.
Here is Daddy Blackbird feeding his youngster. This is a shady little path by
the pond with roses over the top, so they are a bit hidden. There are lots of
places round the garden when they can hide and poke around for worms, which must
be quite easy now as the ground is very soft after a few weeks of rain.
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