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Diary 2012 November


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1 November

Yellow Teddy with last daisy  Yellow Teddy with last buttercup
This really is the end of summer. There is just one ragged daisy and one tiny buttercup left. We sorted the plant pots, gave the lawn a last mow and then a load of very heavy rain came.

Nasturtium growing through hole in bottom of pot
This nasturtium plant doesn't know the season is over. It is in a pot underneath another upturned pot. I am going to leave it there and see how long it lasts.

Yellow Teddy with slug-eaten apple  Yellow Teddy with swept up autumn leaves
The slugs have had a go at this fallen apple. It must be like having a dinner as big as a house!  I swept all the leaves down to the bottom corner of the garden, and I might put some of them over the fuchsia bushes when it gets really freezing.

2 November

Bluetit in birdbath  Rainbow on wardrobe door
I just managed to get a picture of the bluetit emerging from his bath. They don't wait around very long when you need to run upstairs for your camera! I was very quick to get the rainbow as well, because they disappear in an instant. If we painted the door a brighter white, the rainbow would be a lot more brilliant.

4 November

Yellow Teddy looking out of window  Yellow Teddy with the last Spartan apples
Lots of rain and wind. I thought it was time to get in all the last of the apples before they blew down and smashed. The rain had washed them but they needed another proper scrub before storing in the fridge.

Yellow Teddy with netbook and apple mango snack
I settled down on the bed, with a dish of hot mango and apple pieces, and played on my new netbook. I have put my favourite flower photo on the desktop, with space around for the icons.

4 November

Fireworks 1  Fireworks 2  Fireworks 3  Fireworks 4
Bonfire Night is tomorrow but lots of people could not wait, especially as they knew heavy rain was forecast. I saw all these from my bedroom window. Every time I heard bangs, I quickly got my camera and opened the window. I had to take movie clips so that I got it all.

5 November

Thames Barrier
We went to see the Thames Barrier again (we last went there on 3 October). Today is one of their testing days and we wanted to see the barriers come up out of the water. When we got there one gate was already raised.

Thames Barrier small side gate  Yellow Teddy looking out over river
Here is one of the side gates that is smaller. It stays up all the time, and is lowered when they need to shut the river. It was low tide and we could see all the rocks, mud and debris. They always wait for the low tide before moving any of the barriers.

Barrier emerging from water  Barrier halfway up  Barrier fully raised
Here is the next barrier coming up, it took six minutes. Some of the other gates took a bit longer because they stopped in the middle for a short while. They sound a hooter before each gate is moved.

Brown Teddy reading sign  Blue Parrot at top of slide
Brown Teddy always reads the signs. This one is a safety notice about who to ring in an emergency. We went back to the playground part. Parrot climbed to the top of the slide but I think he actually flew down a bit, because the slide was a bit grimy and he seemed to stay very clean!

Brown Teddy on climbing frame  Yellow Teddy on climbing frame
Brown Teddy and I enjoyed the climbing frame, and I came down the fireman's pole at the side (with some help).

Boat with tyres around  Circular lichen
This boat was moored to the Harbour Master's jetty, the tyres keep it safe from being bumped. At the base of the railings were these rings of bright green lichens, they make me think of a map of green islands with lots of trees and a lagoon in the middle.

Seagull near barrier  Seagull on barrier 1  Seagull on barrier 2  Seagull on barrier 3  Seagull flying away
We watched another gate going down. This seagull flew up to the top of the gate, and stayed on it until it disappeared under the water. He flew off once his feet touched the water.

Blue Parrot with telescope  Telescope instructions
Blue Parrot enjoyed playing with this talking telescope. I don't think he actually saw anything because he said he didn't like the part that said "insert money"! But he has good eyes, so he didn't really need a telescope. If we need to see something far away, we zoom the camera in and then have a closer look at the photo at home on the big computer screen.

Visitor Information Centre  Blue Parrot with road hump
This is the Thames Barrier Visitor Information Centre. It looks like the top of a ship, and the entrance door looks like the circular part that raises the barriers. On the way back to the car, Blue Parrot found another barrier - a hump in the road to stop cars going too fast.

Shiny posts  Brown Teddy with shiny post  Blue Parrot with shiny post
These smooth markers are everywhere. We all had a good go at seeing our faces in the surface, but it wasn't shiny enough to see any detail.

Yellow Teddy with gabion  Thames Barrier noticeboard
I had a closer look at the gabions. I think they must be very interesting when the rain is trickling through or covered in a dusting of snow. In the summer it would get really hot and you could warm yourself on the hot rocks. This sign is very puzzling - I thought the Thames Barrier was there to stop overflows! If the river flooded, I think I would follow the Exit arrow.

Yellow Teddy admiring brick wall with arch for tree roots  Greenwich Park boating pond repairs
We went on to Greenwich Park. This is the wall in front of a house in a nearby road. The owner has got the builder to make a little arch over the base of the tree that was in the way of the new wall. I like good ideas and this is a really good one! In the park we saw lots of workmen and diggers in the boating pond. I think they were resurfacing the bottom before filling it again.

Panorama from One Tree Hill
Here is the view from One Tree Hill looking towards the Royal Observatory, it is three photos stitched together. You can see a lot more this time of year because the leaves are beginning to go.

Yellow Teddy with tree with little door  Pond feature
Down the hill we saw this little door in a hollow tree trunk, I think it is there for children to wonder about what is behind it. The shallow pond behind it is now dry.

Dismantling Olympic equestrian arena  Nelson's ship in a bottle
There were lots of workmen taking down the Olympic equestrian arena on the green in front of the Queen's House. I am sure it goes down much more quickly than it went up. This is "Nelson's Ship in a Bottle" by Yinka Shonibare MBE just outside the National Maritime Museum. The bottle itself is about 6 feet high, about the height of a person. It is on a tall plinth so that people cannot climb on it which would be dangerous.

Greenwich road sign  Greenwich coat of arms
As Greenwich is now a Royal Borough, all the road signs have had to be changed. Here is the Greenwich coat of arms, it is all very royal, nautical and astronomical, with the wavy line in the middle of the shield standing for the River Thames. You can read what all the parts of it mean here:

Cutty Sark and glass canopy  Model of man on sails
Here is the Cutty Sark all finished after its refurbishment, with the glass canopy all around looking like a swelling sea, as it reflects the blue of the sky. In the rigging is a model figure. I think they have not painted it in lifelike colours because everyone would be reporting it all the time as an intruder or someone stuck on the beams!

Cutty Sark canopy from below  Moving wooden model of clipper ship
Inside the museum entrance you can see the wonderful glass canopy. You can see all this from the front end, without paying to go down into the museum itself, which means I did not have to spend my collection of 50p's at all! In the shop I saw this little hand-cranked model of a clipper and lots of other interesting toys and souvenirs.

Cutty Sark prow  Cutty Sark figurehead
I am so glad that the person who thought of the glass sea had their plan chosen for the new museum. Here is the figurehead called Nannie holding a pretending horse's tail, which used to be made from old rope. Nannie is a character in the poem called Tam O'Shanter, she chased and nearly caught Tam on his horse, hence the horse's tail.

Figurehead closeup
Nannie is made of painted wood and I really like her flowing hair. I hope she has a good hairbrush and some bottles of conditioner after all that travelling through salty sea spray!

Seamen's Hospital sailor's cabin  Seamen's Hospital coat of arms
We went into the Discover Greenwich Centre. This is a copy of the little room that old sailors had when they lived in the Seamen's Hospital. The shelf is real but the items and the coat are painted on the wall, they look very real! The sailors would not have had an electric light of course. Here is the coat of arms for the Hospital, the characters are half man/lion and half fish, I think they probably represent mastery over the sea. They seem to be carrying paddles and the shield has four anchors on it and crown above.

Dolphin spouts on fountain  Dragon headed boats on fountain
In the grounds there are several dry fountains with dolphin spouts on each side. People had never seen dolphins so they had to make up the details from descriptions. The upper spouts are dragon-headed boats. I would really like to see this with the water coming out and the splashing sound effects.

The Painted Hall  Wind vane
I enjoyed going back into the Painted Hall to get some different pictures. This one is three photos stitched together, so the columns look rather curved. Over the Chapel opposite is this beautiful gold-coloured wind vane with a crown on top. I am glad the camera can zoom right in.

Greenwich Park avenue of trees
After all the riverside and historic places, we enjoyed the park and all the autumn colours in the sunlight. The park is quite big so it is never crowded. The long shadows mean it is time to go home.

6 November

River Cray autumn leaves  Swans
Here is the River Cray in its autumn colours. It looks like the middle of the countryside but there are roads and suburbs all around, and you can hear the traffic all the time. In Priory Park there are now two swans. I wonder if they will stay over winter, I think the regular arrival of bread from park visitors will help them make their mind up, as well as the plentiful weed in the pond. I think they feel safe because there are lots of other pairs of eyes looking out for danger.

Geese sleeping on path
The Canada Geese are well used to people, and here they are sitting on the path because the sun has warmed the concrete, much better than cold muddy grass. They don't move out of the way when people walk past, but they do keep an eye on things in case dogs or children come running!

9 November

Pyracantha berries  Blackbird on grass
We planted some pyracantha bushes for berries for the birds, so I have got in quick for a photo before the birds finish it all off. The bushes are growing well and we are going to let them get really big so that they are covered in berries as much as possible. This blackbird was eating my cotoneaster berries outside the kitchen window, but he flew down before I could get the camera ready. He has decided that berries and worms make a good combination for a dinner. I prefer nut burgers followed by strawberry yogurt, myself!

11 November

Autumn leaves  Car tracks dried in mud
At last a fine day for the boot sale, it was rained off last week. The good part is all the lovely autumn trees, the not-so-good part is the patches of mud where the cars have gone through puddles. Early morning was quite frosty, but it all dried up and it was very pleasant to walk around. We bought some books.

13 November

Swan with stripy shadows
This lovely stripy swan was swimming just where the sun was coming through railings on the bridge. After a couple of minutes the sun went in and he was not so stripy after that! There is a lot of weed for them to eat on the bottom of the pond.

18 November

Dawn sun
I always wake early on boot sale day and look out of the bedroom window to see the weather. This dawn sun is coming over a grey cloud bank but it looks like a big grey mountain, or a surfing wave with spray on top. I hope not!

Car tracks frosty grass  Car tracks in grass
The cloud vanished but it was still very frosty. I really like the patterns that the cars make in the parking field. After about an hour, the grass had turned green again, except in some of the shadows.

Stile  Pylons
This is a stile at Hewitts Farm leading to the orchard field, it is a lot easier than making a gate. There are huge pylons going across the farm and when you are underneath you can hear them crackling.

Berry tree
This lovely berry tree will provide for the wildlife, especially as it gets a lot colder here, being on high ground, with not many houses to provide breadcrumbs when everything is frozen.

19 November

Yellow Teddy with dawn sun
When the sun is making my curtains glow, I always get up straight away. I can get a good view of the sun coming up if I get right into the corner of the window.

Brown Teddy in the woods  Yellow Teddy with drainage pipe
This is Covet Wood. It is Brown Teddy's favourite place because all the paths join up with each other. There are lots of these large pieces of plastic pipe in the ground for drainage across the paths

Yellow Teddy listening for birdsong  Squirrel with apple
The woods are full of bird sounds - singing from blackbirds and robins, drumming from woodpeckers, and crows and magpies cawing and screeching. Sometimes the rustling is birds, but sometimes it is squirrels and this one has got an apple. I was very surprised that squirrels eat apples, maybe he is just after the seeds inside.

Yellow Teddy with rotting log  Fungus
This rotting wood is turning back into soggy soil. The fungus looks just like a flower, it reminds me of a scented candle made in the shape of a rose.

The swans came over as we passed, but I am sorry to say that they wasted their energy as we did not have any bread. When we stop to take a photo, the birds all swim our way thinking we are reaching in our bag, so we take the picture quickly and then move on.

21 November

Market rides
In the market place, they were putting up the rides ready for the evening celebration to switch on the Christmas lights. When I was at home that evening, I heard the fireworks from my bedroom, but I did not get the camera on them in time to get a distant shot!

22 November

The Priory
Orpington Priory is now nearly finished with its repairs. It would be very interesting to view the park from this lift, but it is only for workmen. I think it is normally used for inspecting lampposts.

23 November

Sparrows in grass
I think the sparrows were eating all the nasturtium seeds that have fallen in this patch. They were very busy about it and they like having plants to dive into to make them feel safer.

24 November

Priory puddles
The weather was very wet and rainy, here the puddles look as if they are turning into ponds. The ducks and geese like to stand in the puddles, and when the puddles dry up they are always covered in birdy footprints.

27 November

Cascade of lights  Christmas tree lights
Today we went to Polhill Garden Centre. In the entrance are these blue lights looking like a big frozen waterfall. It looked very cold. We went straight to the Christmas lights section, the red and yellow lights are a lot warmer!

Colour changing candle    Christmas tree candle
This is a colour changing light made like a candle. I like a candle that never burns down and you can enjoy it without burning the tree and the house down!

 Yellow teddy with imitation flame lights  Yellow Teddy with imitation flame lamp
This made me feel really warm, a pretending flame made of an orange light with a thin piece of orange nylon flapping in an airflow. You have to look really close to see it is not a real flame.

Ice Queen display  Illuminated reindeer
Polhill displays are always very good. Here is a shop dummy dressed as an Ice Queen, with white gauzy frock, white lights, and greenery, sitting on her throne. This reindeer looks as if he belongs to her. It all looks very cold again.

Cuddly reindeer toys  Cuddly garden bird toys
These cuddly reindeer are not so cold-looking, at last. I really like these cuddly garden bird toys as well. There are so many cuddly things here it is difficult to decide which I like best.

Star mince pies  Chocolate bear  Chocolate with tree decoration
We went to the food hall section to get some frozen berries. These mince pies would look wonderful on the Christmas Day table. The chocolate bear and tree could be hung on the Christmas tree but I don't think they would go unnoticed for very long!

Snow village decorations
This is always the most interesting display, all the miniature village scenes in a very large glass case up on a table. They are rather expensive, so I think a photo is the best way of enjoying them.

3D Christmas card  Fire grate with imitation coals
My favourite card was this three-dimensional one of chaffinches in a snowy tree. After all those cold and snowy things, I made a quick visit to the section that sells imitation coal fires. There's a lot of pretend things on sale, but the best real things I saw were the mince pies and chocolate.

30 November

Yellow Teddy with ice from birdbath  Robin
This is the first cold night that has frozen the birdbaths, so that is the most important thing that has to be done in the morning. The robins always notice when people are moving about and they sit around waiting for action, either the appearance of some very small breadcrumbs, or someone moving something like a pot to reveal worms underneath. If he gets a meal, then he is more likely to come back another day for more.

Egret in river  High water in Priory weir
Now and then we see a white egret by the river. He stood very still all the time. We had to walk very slowly and get behind a tree to get the photo, as they are easily frightened off. At Priory pond, the water level was so high, the steps of the weir were all under water. The difference between the levels was only a few inches, instead of several feet.

Priory seagulls
The gulls were wheeling round and making a lot of noise, but they don't get the bread meant for the ducks, because they keep back away from people. If they do manage to get something, they make a lot of fuss trying to snatch it from each other.

Priory compost enclosure
The park gardeners' compost heap is doing well. It is really huge and deep, and they move it about with big tractors. There was steam coming out of the top from all the decay that is going on inside.

Jay in birdbath  Jay splashing in birdbath
Back home I saw a jay having a bath. We crept up to the kitchen window really slowly, even though the bath is right down the garden. He didn't notice us. Jays are quite uncommon in our garden, but maybe he has decided to live in this area. He makes a sound just like a magpie.

Jay in tree  Goldfish with bread
Here is the jay again in a sunny part of the tree, drying off. Although his face is hidden, I am glad to have a picture of his lovely blue wings. The goldfish don't eat much in the cold weather, but if they swim towards me quickly as I walk past, then I think they need some bits of bread. When they have enough in their mouth, they swim off and spend time chewing on it.

Yellow Teddy with holly tree  Blackbird on cotoneaster bush
There are only a few berries on this new small holly tree, but one day it will be really big and covered in red berries. At last I have a photo of the blackbird in the cotoneaster bush outside the kitchen window, snacking on the berries. I like my berry bushes to grow as big as possible.



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