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Diary 2012 October


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2 October

Honesty seedpods  Moth
These are the seedpods from my honesty plants. I have kept a few of the stems for indoors, but most of them I have scattered around the garden. I threw them in one direction and they floated back at me! This moth is very smart and I think that pattern would look good on a winter scarf or some pyjamas. I think he would be more invisible if he sat on some bark.

3 October

Yellow Teddy on Erith Deep Wharf pier  Turntable at end of Erith pier
We went to Erith which is on the River Thames. We went on Erith Deep Wharf pier. The pier goes out a short way, then turns a right angle where there is this long section. At the end there is a turntable which we think must be for any vehicles or cranes that have to go down there.

Mud at low tide from Erith pier
It was low tide and there were a huge expanse of mud all the way out to the pier. We know it is deep because the mud gullies under the pier are deeper than a person. If you trod in this mud I think you would disappear out of sight!

Seagull on mud  Pigeon footprints in concrete
Even this gull is leaving quite deep footprints. On the other side of the railings we saw this bit of concrete that a pigeon has walked over before the concrete had set. These pigeon-prints will be here for ever now, and someone in the future might think they are dinosaur fossils!

Rainclouds over Thames at Erith looking west
The rainclouds came over and it started to rain just before we got back to the beginning of the wharf.

Floodgate by Erith pier  Floodgate shed by Erith pier
Here is the entrance to the wharf, where there is a hidden gate and sliding rails for the big flood gate. We had to shelter from the heavy rain just under the flood gate shed, and there was just room for three people and us Teddies.

Vapour jets over vegetables in supermarket  Wind vane on supermarket, Erith
When the rain eased off, we went into the supermarket to get something for a snack. These vapour pipes over the vegetables are a very good idea to keep them fresh, but I think it would not be so good if you came in out of the freezing cold with frozen hands. We bought some ginger cake buns and ate them in the car. The supermarket wind vane is very appropriate, I think it is a Thames sloop that used to be quite common on the river.

Pike fish sculpture Erith roundabout  Horse sculpture Erith roundabout
These sculptures on the Erith roundabouts on Bronze Age Way are really interesting, but it was quite hard to get a good picture from a moving car. I like the mosaic pike fish best, which are based on the Erith coat of arms. The horse is a Cob and commemorates the horses that were traditionally kept on the nearby marshes. You can read more about them at:

Brown Teddy with waymarket at end of Crabtree Manorway, Erith  Wind turbines seen from Erith
We went on to Belvedere and down Crabtree Manorway to the river. Brown Teddy liked this waymarker. There are markers like this in lots of places, put up by the National Cycle Network. These wind turbines looked really huge as we approached the riverbank, but when we actually got there and up the riverbank steps, they looked quite small. I think it was the bigness of the open sky over the river that made them appear to shrink! 

Yellow Teddy at Jenningtree Wharf, Erith  Cormorant
We walked a short way upriver. This is Jenningtree Wharf. There are lots of jetties and wharves in this area, as there are factories and industrial sites everywhere. This cormorant was sitting on that separate end part. It must mean there are lots of fish in the river, which is a good sign.

Plants in riverside rocks  Blue Parrot looking out over Thames
Over the edge of the wall, it looked like a miniature rock garden with carefully chosen plants put in all the holes and spaces - but this little garden planted itself. Parrot decided to sit on someone's shoulder as it is safer when there is a wall with a steep drop. He likes flying but does not like flying over water at all!

Yellow Teddy at Thames Barrier, Charlton  Thames Barrier - Blue Parrot
We went on to the Thames Barrier at Charlton. The grounds were very smart and Parrot said that if this fence thing had flat tops, he could jump from one to the other. I think it has sloping tops to let the rainwater off, otherwise they would go green. But you could play some good games running in and out of the spaces, like the skiiers do going round the slalom poles.

Thames Barrier  Thames Barrier closeup
Here is one of the seven barriers. I wonder whether they meant the buildings to look like boats? The actual barrier is on the riverbed and is raised to hold the water back during flood times. They test it every so often and I would really like to be here when they do that.

Thames Barrier - covered walkway  Thames Barrier - Yellow Teddy looking at flood level marks
This covered walkway beside the barriers has a list of all the towns and locks along the River Thames, with their heights above sea level. These first markings shown some of the past flood levels.

Thames Barrier - Yellow Teddy  Thames Barrier - Brown Teddy  Thames Barrier - Blue Parrot  Thames Barrier - Yellow Teddy
We all chose our favourite ones. I like Teddington of course. Brown Teddy likes Runnymede, because he thinks it may be a big field where you can play running games. Blue Parrot likes Eton, and he thinks it should be spelled "Eaten". As Dino was not with us today, I chose Cookham for him, and he will be respelling it as "cook 'em". We were definitely thinking about food today, being a coldish rainy day!

Lichen patterns on rocks  Cable cars over Thames
There was some more foreshore just past the barriers, with these beautiful lichens on the rocks. They were growing in rings. In the distance we could see the cable cars over the river.

Thames Barrier - diving bell  Thames Barrier - Blue Parrot with diving bell
We went back to where we came in, and found a small park area with these pieces of equipment on display from when the barriers were built. This diving bell enabled the engineers to view the riverbed. Blue Parrot said it was interesting but he preferred the open sky and not a tiny diving bell.

Thames Barrier - Yellow Teddy with excavator grab  Thames Barrier - yellow Teddy with model of barrier
The notice on this excavator grab says "Used for clearing debris from the river bed." This is a big model of the barrier in the closed position. The model was used for testing for the real ones. The notice says that they tested it really hard which made the big dents that can been seen round the side.

Thames Barrier - children's slide  brown Teddy with pond covered in duckweed
Back in the riverside park, we thought about trying out the slide, but decided that it was a bit too chilly to sit on cold metal and increase the wind in our faces. But we liked the blue water splash effect. Round the corner we saw this fenced off pond covered in duckweed. Duckweed makes it look like you could walk on it, but if you did you would get a very cold, wet and muddy surprise indeed!

Thames Barrier - gabions
On the way back to the car, we saw this gabion. It is steel mesh boxes full of small rocks. I am sure the dark coloured rocks are meant to be a river flowing along. Someone took a long time doing it really neatly, so that the line between light and dark is straight and tidy. I think they must have lined them all up in a big field, and then put paper tape along the side to mark out the wavy lines, and then numbered all the boxes so that it was assembled correctly. What a job!

9 October

Priory Park geese on their island
We like to go through the park on the way to the shops. I am glad the geese and ducks have their own private islands, where they can sleep and rest safely. The islands were not so safe earlier this year when all the water dried up!

Priory Park fallen sweet chestnuts  Squirrel with chestnuts
Everything is falling off the trees now. These are from a huge sweet chestnut tree. The squirrel is having quite a time sorting them all out and eating as much as he can.

10 October

Yellow Teddy with new netbook  Yellow Teddy setting up netbook
Today I went down to the computer store and got a small netbook. It came in a very handy cardboard suitcase which is too good to throw away and I shall be using it to store my papers and cards in. I set up the netbook all by myself. There was not a lot to do really, other than plug in the mouse dongle and decide on my user name and password. I am really going to enjoy having my own Teddy-sized computer, so that I can work on my website while other people are using the big computer. My first priority is to change the desktop image to something more cheerful from my photo collection. The water blobs design is not very inspiring and I will find a photo of some summer countryside, or maybe yellow flowers.

11 October

Dawn sky
As soon as I woke up, I remembered the new netbook, so I got up straight away. I don't like to waste time! I think I shall be seeing a lot of dawn skies now that I can work quietly on my own.

12 October

It rained on and off today. As I was walking up this road, I wondered why a man was taking a photo of an ordinary road. When I turned round, there was this rainbow. I am glad I always have my camera with me.

13 October

Yellow Teddy with copper tape against snails  Yellow Teddy with copper tape against snails - checking for gaps
I have really had enough of seeing the bike box full of snails. They make a lot of mess. When we grew sunflowers (which snails love to eat) we used copper tape round the bottom of the pots. It is best to have a fringed edge so that the snails and slugs cannot arch themselves over the tape. I had to check really careful there were no gaps they could get through. In future I will not let even one snail stay in the box, I will deal with it straight away. They go in the compost bin where we need stuff being chewed up!

14 October

Frosty grass at boot sale
Here is the slightly frosty grass at the boot fair, the first frost so far. The weather was not cold and the sun soon dried the grass. The people leave unmown stripes so that the cars can park in straight rows.

Boot sale  Boot sale sign
The people selling want to make lots of money, and the people buying don't want to spend too much. But somehow everyone goes away happy with their bargains. The second boot fair was the last of the season, and we made the most of it, as it is a long wait till next year.

Yellow Teddy with bags of home made compost  Yellow Teddy with compost bins
That frost a few days ago really made us determined to get the gardening done before cold weather comes. We emptied the compost bins. The bottom half of one bin was full of really good new soil which we put into bags. Then we put all the fresh stuff back inside. After that we emptied the bags around the garden.  There is a lot more in the second bin but we will do that another day. As usual I heard the robin singing, waiting for his chance to come down and inspect the worm situation!

Yellow Teddy with cut off roots  Yellow Teddy with pyracantha
At the bottom of the bin were all these roots from the yew bush. No wonder it was growing so well! I cut them all off and will save them for covering plants when the hard frosts come. The bush is quite big so losing these bits is not a problem. I bought a really small pyracantha in the supermarket, because it had flowers to make berries. It has grown a huge amount and I have put it at the end of the garden so that it can cover the fence. When all the pyracanthas have grown big, they will be a really good place for the blackbirds to nest, because of all the big thorns.

Yellow Teddy with solar lamps
These solar lamps were not coming on properly all the time, so we are having to put them a sunny spot by the pond and move them back to their poles at night. I think we might tire of that after a while!

15 October

Yellow Teddy with Cox apples  Yellow Teddy with Russet apples
These apples have not done very well. They are Cox and Russet. The trees were very small and it would have been better to not let the apples grow, so that the tree can grow bigger and stronger first. The branches are so thin they are hanging straight downwards!

Yellow Teddy with misshappen Conference pear  Pencils with multicoloured leads
We have just a few of these curly pears on the tree. They are supposed to be pear shaped! I think it's probably about time to eat them, as there is not much warm weather left now. I had a good look in the art cupboard and found these wonderful rainbow pencils that I had forgotten were there. They will really brighten up a gloomy afternoon indoors and we can all have one each. These will be really good for colouring autumn leaves as the pencils draw in several colours at once.

16 October

Priory geese eating grass  More Priory geese eating grass
Everyone feeds the geese and ducks, but this is what they really do when there is no-one about. They eat the grass throughout the park, and keep it short. They expect food from people walking through the park, but they are not really starving at all!

17 October

Fleecy cover for netbook
We spent the day making a soft cover for my new netbook, using an ocelot-print fleece scarf. It is exactly the same as making an oblong cushion cover, you just sew up three of the sides and the fleecy material hides all the stitches. It did not cost much at all - if you already have a scarf or jumper to cut up, it will cost nothing! We did not put in a zip in case it scratches the netbook. The main thing is that no-one sits on it, thinking it is a cushion!

18 October

Yellow Teddy with River Cray weir  Yellow Teddy saying hello to geese
Here is the weir on the River Cray near Priory Park. This was newly-built last year and the plants are beginning to cover everything and make it look more natural. I said hello to the Canada geese in Priory Park but they are really only interested in getting bread.

Young moorhen sitting down  Young moorhen walking
These young moorhens are not yet as black as the adult ones. They start off really fluffy but now they have proper smooth feathers, which I am glad about because it keeps the rain off much better!

19 October

Fallen tree over River Cray  Lichen on dead branch
It rained all day but we still went out for our walk. I am glad this tree fell safely over the river, rather than onto a footpath. I think it must be a dead tree that has rotted at the base. It is covered in brilliant green lichens, which are almost yellow.

Rotten tree  Leaves in puddle
This huge tree is also entirely rotten but the park keepers have removed the top, and put the rotten trunks safely on the ground. In the photo you can just see some black bracket fungus on the left and base of the main stump. It would be too dangerous to wait until it fell on its own. I was looking for colourful autumn leaves but they were mostly swimming in muddy puddles, but we did discover that going through longish wet grass is very good for cleaning the mud off shoes, as long as you don't pick up more mud in the attempt!

Colourful autumn leaf  Snowberries
I did find a few really brilliant leaves but I had to look hard in the undergrowth. These snowberries looks just like polystyrene Christmas decorations. I think some birds may eat them, but they are poisonous to people. A long time ago we had a snowberry bush but it invaded everywhere, with new plants coming up from the roots, and even under the fence to next door - it had to go, despite the decorative berries. This one is in the Riverside gardens, so it is free to spread and make a thicket for the birds.

Fallen branch in park
I am glad I was not underneath this tree when this branch fell in the park. It is much bigger than it looks in the photo and if you were underneath, you would have woken up in hospital. We don't go through the park when it is very windy and galey.

Sweet chestnut after squirrel has eaten some  Rosehips
The squirrel has had a go at this sweet chestnut. He has left the white chestnut as it is obviously not ripe, and there are plenty of brown ones to eat. There are lots of rosehips on the bushes which will keep the blackbirds going throughout the winter.

21 October

Yellow Teddy with Conference pears
We started off with loads of little pears on the Conference tree but somehow most of them vanished. I think the birds must have pecked them by the stalk and made them fall off, as I found some shrivelled ones on the ground with damaged tops. So I have been watching just these few grow over the last few months.

Yellow Teddy with Spartan apples  Dino with apple porridge
The Spartan apples have done well again, it is a very good tree and I am very glad we chose that one. These are windfalls which I will scrub and make sure they get eaten today before the bruises get bigger. Dino very kindly said he would volunteer to use them up, and so I chopped them in pieces to put on his morning porridge. Warm apple is very easy to eat as it goes nice and soft in the microwave, although a bit brown round the edges. He likes to have the bowl on his beanbag, so when he is finished there is a very warm patch for him to lie down on!

22 October

Yellow Teddy with wet spider web outside window  Honeybee drinking some of Yellow Teddy's honey
We awoke to thick fog and everything very misty and wet. The wet spider webs were everywhere, even on my kitchen window. I decided to look round the garden but when I opened the back door, I noticed this very cold and wet little honeybee on the ground. I tore off a piece of cardboard and put a blob of soft honey on it. The bee drank as much as he could, and in the picture you can see his long tongue in the honey. When I came back a few minutes later, he had flown away.

Wet blanket webs  Yellow Teddy with blotchy pear tree leaves
There were wet spider webs everywhere. I think these blanket webs are there every morning but normally they are dry and do not show up. My pear tree does not seem to be doing very well, with orange blotches on the leaves. The tree is in a big circle of gravel, and I think I will remove that and put loads of my home-made compost round it, to help it get stronger and healthier next year.

Rook  Resting pigeon
We went to the park. All the geese were eating grass and the ducks were eating pond weed. This rook was having a very good time with all the worms that have come up in the wet grass. But this pigeon is obviously full of bread, because he is not walking around looking for food. There were lots of resting pigeons, but they keep an eye open for people with interesting bags!

24 October

This is the third day of fog and damp weather. I stayed indoors and printed some bus route maps. They were quite big so I had to tape them all together and match up the words over the joins. Whenever I hear the noise of the sticky tape coming off the roll, it makes me think of Christmas and all the present wrapping.

31 October

Poorly pigeon
Here is the injured pigeon that we found. We knew he was very special because he had a numbered leg ring and was very tame. He couldn't walk or find food or water, so he ate all the birdseed that we gave him. Today we took him to the Folly Wildlife Rescue Hospital in Tunbridge Wells, who said he had a broken leg. They said it was unlikely it could be mended. We left him there for them to make him comfortable and give him some food treats. We are glad he will be spending his last days full of food and in the safe and warm, which is much better than what might have been, out in the cold and dark.

The Folly people are very kind and loving, and I especially like checking on the Bird Photo Gallery on their Facebook page to see the new arrivals that need help:





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Where to report a lost or found teddy in the UK:

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