I was very surprised to find a pair of ducks on my fish pond yesterday afternoon.
I like them when they are in the park or on the river, but definitely not in my pond! This
packet of netting says, "I'll protect your fishy friends" so I knew it
was the one I should get. The fish are all safe now, but I have left narrow
gaps everywhere so that any sparrows that creep in can get out easily.
The tadpoles need protecting as well. The bigger fish try to push in to
get at them and the other snacks, and I think the blackbirds might eat
them as well. There is now a covering of green branches and wire netting that makes
lots of little corners for them to stay safe in.
We have been scrubbing this painted wall which has turned streaky green
and it is going to be painted tomorrow. I had a good time playing shadow
games on the white surface. If a daffodil gets broken, I have it indoors
on the kitchen windowsill, and I get to see more of them than the ones
in the garden.
Today we went to Petts Wood May Fayre. The very first stall I went to
was Reptile Events (www.reptile-events.co.uk) and I was very glad to see my friends Bruce the
Bearded Dragon and Slinky the Skink. Slinky looks a bit bigger and
fatter than last time. You can download drawings of them to colour in on
Dino's Reptiles page. This beautiful snake was allowed out onto the top
of the box, but decided to investigate the table top instead. It's a
good job the keepers watch them all the time.
The new May Queen was crowned by the Mayor in a short ceremony, and she
read out her speech. Later on they all came out and danced round the
After the dancers came the Bloco Fogo samba drumming band.
You could feel the loud music through your feet and in your stomach!
There were lots of cake stalls and it would be very hard to choose the
best cake out of all these. There was a lady making traditional candy
floss and I am sure it is much nicer and fluffier when it is freshly
Orpington Beekeepers had lots of bee things on their stall, with local
honey, wax items and toys. The bees were in a glass case, all walking
up and down and taking no notice of the people.
We were really glad to see this old game brought back form the past. You
roll a coin down the wooden slot and if it falls in a square without
touching any line, you get the amount written in the square. Long ago it used to be
pennies but now it is 10 pence pieces.
The Lifeboats stall had lots of toys and these red wagons were the best.
Mr Metro Man was doing a good job, and I could not work out how the
person inside could see where he or she was going.
Afterwards, we all went back to Auntie's house and had some sponge cake
and juice. I had a chocolate piece, but then Auntie said have some more,
so I got to taste the yellow piece as well. A very good end to the day!
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More goslings in the park. I didn't think the grass could get much
shorter but the goslings are having a go.
Mum duck and ducklings in the park, huddled up for a rest and sleep.
I don't think the geese were looking out for bread from us but were
looking for signs of danger. These double almond blossoms are my very
favourite and I am glad there were some really low hanging branches for
me to look at, and take loads of pictures of.
Every year the garden centres have coir fibre ornaments made into a
different selection of animals, this time it is elephants. I wonder what
else they have on their list. I like these pots in the shape of welly boots, maybe
someone could grow a topiary bush in them in the shape of a person!
These ant ornaments are quite unusual but I have enough ants at the
moment. More drilled log insect houses, so that people with gardens that
are too tidy can help them out.
Along the riverside walk there are big areas of nettles. They are good
for wildlife but I don't let them grow in my garden. The flowers are
white. I sometimes find a plant in my garden called deadnettle (also
called Lamium) that looks about the same but doesn't sting. I seem to
remember that the deadnettles are not hairy and they can also have pink
or purple flowers.
This is the part of the river where the ducks like to hang out, mainly because
the river is slow, with lots of weeds and islands that have been made
for them, but especially because there are seats where people can sit
and throw food. There are also rats here so I think it is better to
throw the bread a little bit at a time. We saw a fat rat as a big as a
squirrel, and he is definitely overweight!
We sat down for a while, and some of the more friendly ducks came to stand at our
feet, waiting for titbits.
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This is a bit further on, where the river is wider with lots of trees,
and some spaces where you can get right to the edge. It is very quiet
The robin has abandoned this nest that he built in the shed, so we disposed of it in the compost
heap. While clearing out the shed, we put all the forks in a row to see
which ones the robin would sit on, but he continued sitting on the solar
light post, as usual.
The shed is going to be replaced with a greenhouse, and here we are
taking down the big shelves at the end. I like to have all my tools tidy
and hanging up, but I will have to keep them in a small pot in future.
The boating pond was covered in almond tree petals, all along on side.
It will soon all go brown and sink to the bottom. In the park another
covering of white stuff was a load of bread and the pigeons were eating as fast as
they could, and tossing it around.
I really like this very old brick wall in the park, with all the
different colours and mosses. I am glad it has not been tidied up or
repointed to fill in the gaps. The gardener was busy trimming the yew hedges with a
long-handled electric cutter. He has made it all very neat for visitors
I was very surprised to see a little bird hopping up and down the brick
wall. It was in the distance, so my photos are not very clear. It is a
nuthatch which I have never seen before. There must be insects in all
the cracks, another good reason not to repoint the old walls.
It has been very windy overnight and we do not go in the park until it
dies down. There
were a few big branches lying around, mainly dead wood, and lots of smaller twigs and bits
The ducklings always do everything the same at the same time. Here they
are all preening themselves by the side of the park pond.
These sparrows have got used to getting bits of bread and fly up to the sill to
make themselves obvious to anyone in the kitchen. We will continue while
they have nestlings but after that they all have to learn to find their
proper food. I wonder if they can see the blue jar that contains the
suet pellets that are their favourite. Sometimes they ignore the bread
and wait for the pellets, and other days they are not so fussy.
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We have bought a new storage box for the shed bits like brooms and
forks. This part is one of the two pistons to hold the lid open. I always
lay everything out on a tray and check all the parts against the
Here I am putting on the adhesive copper strip to keep the snails out. I
have cut a fringe at the edge to make it more difficult for any snail to
cross over it. It works very well as long as you make sure there are no
gaps where they can get in, or overhanging branches that make a
convenient bridge for them. I also covered all the holes in the doors
and sides with black tape, in case a snail gets in the box and decides to
hide down inside one of the holes. Last of all I cut off the stringy
bits of waste plastic.
When we took the window out of the shed, all these spiderlings were in
the corner. We took the window down the garden and leaned it up against
the garden bench, to give them time to
all walk away. The shed came down quite quickly after the roof had been
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Today we went to Stockwood Park in Luton. I am really enjoying our new
TomTom, but after a while I prefer to sit back and enjoy the real
scenery. There is every shade of green possible in these fields.
There was a Radio Boot Sale in the big field. I don't know what these are, but I could play for hours with the shiny gold bits and the rings!
There was a lot of antique equipment. This record player has a velvet
turntable to protect the vinyl record. You can sometimes buy new radios
that look old, but this one is an original. There were old radio valves
everywhere and I am amazed that they have survived so long, being made
I like the picture on this His Master's Voice" gramophone case. There was a ceramic ornament
like it as well.
This stork is on the park gatehouse called Luton Lodge. I am glad he is not standing
around the little square fish pond in the Discovery Centre! A few years
ago this pond only had one little fish and no plants, but now there is
some shelter under the irises and lots more goldfish friends.
My favourite part is the Victorian garden. It must be a lot of work
trimming all these box hedges and I am sure the gardener must have
These are the four chickens in the Dig For Victory garden and someone
has chosen one of each colour. They spoke Chickenese and Blue Parrot spoke English and Parrotese, but I think they got
on quite well any way! Dino says they are feathered dinosaurs and I am
sure he is right. The chickens
were very happy, with a central shed for shelter, and a feeding tray and
water pots, and lots of straw to scratch around in. Entertaining the
visitors keeps them occupied and prevents boredom for them!
This is an old water pump and a drill. All the machines in this long
are attached to the main steam engine belt by smaller vertical belts.
Dino enjoyed the fossils and read all the cards to check up on their
ages. This fossil seems to be a wavy undersea plant.
These Anglo-Saxon jewels were hanging between two panes of glass, so you
can see them from both sides. These cabinets were in the dark with only
the items lit up which made the gold ornaments stand out from the
Parrot has found more gold and silver here, in a cabinet showing a bag
of money and writing materials. There are lots of interesting drawers
you can pull out to see more items, like these coins.
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Outside near the horse stables this cockerel was wandering about, making
sure his hens did not stray too far away. The hens can go anywhere they
like, and this one found a dip in the grass where it could scratch
around for insects.
The Mossman Carriage Museum has lots of vehicles from the past and here is
Dino sitting in the carriage behind a big horse model. You are allowed to sit
in this one, but you are not allowed to touch any of the others. I had a
good time holding the reins and pretending the horse was running.
I think I prefer the classic cars, they would be a lot warmer to ride
This car engine would be even more interesting if I knew what all the
bits did! Here is a sedan chair from long ago, the passenger
would sit inside, and four servants would carry it along holding the
handles. Even town roads were muddy and dirty, especially with lots of horses being ridden everywhere, so this was not just to save
walking energy for the passenger. Ladies could pull the curtains and not
be on view to everyone passing by.
We visited the bee area which is in a very long lean-to greenhouse
against the garden wall. There were no actual bees on display, but lots
of items like hives, equipment, bee products and bee games. At last we
got a chance to sit in the yellow and stripy bee chairs. The arm rests
are meant to look like bee wings.
This a wobbly bridge game made of blocks of wood on some ropes. There is
a soft layer of bark chips so it is quite safe if anyone falls off. This
wooden dragonfly makes a good seat or could be another balancing game.
This is the sensory garden with lots of scented plants. We enjoyed
playing with the chimes. There is a
small metal rod attached on a cord, which you can pull across the big hanging rods.
This sound wheel seems to be full of marbles or little balls, and when
you spin it, it makes a sound like gravel being tipped out from a lorry!
Time for a snack of ginger snaps and a drink before we go home. This is
the open part of the park where people play football and run about. Dino
thinks he can eat three chocolate biscuits at a time, at least he takes three and then eats
them one at a time!
Just time to take a walk down the bottom end of the park along the mown
tracks. At the end there is a lake where we found two swans. I was
wishing we had brought some bread but I think they have enough food in
I like the tunnels, mainly because it is like a very short adventure
followed by the relief when we get back out into
the sunlight. This gatehouse is at the south entrance to Blackwall
Tunnel in Greenwich. I wonder if anyone lives in those rooms.
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There are plenty of goslings in the park, and these are walking through
a large puddle by the side of the pond. The babies are not afraid of
people, it is where bread comes from. The parents always have their
necks straight and head up, looking for possible danger.
This is our robin pair, unusually both sitting on the solar lights. The
left hand one is the female, as the other one sometimes feeds her.
We went to Polhill Garden Centre for the afternoon. I would like a seat
like this in my garden with our names on.
Before you get to the plants, you go through the food hall. If Dino was
with us, he could probably eat all of it!
This is a fascinating ornament. When it spins, it looks as if the spiral
is travelling downwards and the ball is travelling upwards. Maybe I
could make one with my big marbles and some copper wire. Brown Teddy
thought these orange trees were plastic, but they are real. They don't
grow outside in England, the weather is not hot enough.
We always go in the aquatics centre to see the fish in their glass-sided
tanks. They always crowd round when you stop, because they are expecting
View from the top - quite a commotion!
Here are the giant koi. The staff let people feed them
with special bags of pellets, but only a certain amount per day. There
is a big side window as well so that you can see them underwater.
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I was really pleased with this photo of the moon, with all the detail
and no blurring. I prefer the photo of the sun coming up, because it
means a really good warm day ahead with blue skies.
Here are my goldfish, to compare with the Polhill pictures. My fish have
a more interesting life as there are snacks in every corner, so they are
more relaxed when someone goes past. These are my ornamental strawberry
plants, with pink flowers instead of white. They don't make any fruits.
Sometimes an ornamental duck lands in the park. This one is very
handsome, but they usually don't stay very long and soon fly back
to their real home. Someone tipped a large bag of triangle crisps by the
pond and the birds were all having a peck at it. The big Canada goose
spent some time chasing others off but soon lost interest, and left it
for the pigeons to clear up.
Here are our new birds, a young blackbird and a new sparrow who has
found some of the crumbs on the path.
Our first sight of one of the baby robins, after many weeks of feeding
the adults and seeing them fly off with it over the fence to their nest.
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