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Diary 2013 May


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 2 May

Yellow Teddy with packet of pond netting  Yellow Teddy with pond net and fish
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.

Yellow Teddy with tadpole defences
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.

3 May

Yellow Teddy playing shadows on white wall  Yellow Teddy with daffodils
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.

6 May

Bruce the Bearded Dragon  Slinky the Skink  Orange stripey snake
Today we went to Petts Wood May Fayre. The very first stall I went to was Reptile Events ( 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.

Crowning of May Queen  Dancing round maypole
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 maypole.

Bloco Fogo drumming band
After the dancers came the Bloco Fogo samba drumming band. You could feel the loud music through your feet and in your stomach!

Table full of cup cakes  Lady making candy floss
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 made.

Pots of honey  Bees in glass case
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.

Coin rolling game
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.

Model vans on Lifeboats stall  Mr Metro
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.

Yellow Teddy with sponge cakes
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!


7 May

Canada goose and goslings  Goslings on water
More goslings in the park. I didn't think the grass could get much shorter but the goslings are having a go.

8 May

Duck and ducklings resting
Mum duck and ducklings in the park, huddled up for a rest and sleep.

Yellow Teddy with Canada geese and goslings  Yellow Teddy with almond blossoms
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.

9 May

Coir elephant decoration  Welly boot pots
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!

Ant decorations  Drilled log insect houses 
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.

Yellow Teddy with nettle bed  Closeup of nettle 
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.

Ducks and pigeons by riverside
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!

Yellow Teddy with two ducks 
We sat down for a while, and some of the more friendly ducks came to stand at our feet, waiting for titbits.


10 May

Yellow Teddy by river
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 here.

11 May

Yellow Teddy with robin's nest  Row of garden forks in lawn
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.

13 May

Yellow Teddy unscrewing shelf in shed  Yellow Teddy with tool rack in shed
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.

14 May

Petals at edge of boating pond  Crowd of pigeons eating bread
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.

Old brick wall in park  Park gardener trimming hedges
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 to enjoy.

Nuthatch on wall 1  Nuthatch on wall 2 
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.

15 May

Broken branch on footpath  Broken branch in park  Broken twig
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 broken off.

Ducklings preening
The ducklings always do everything the same at the same time. Here they are all preening themselves by the side of the park pond.

Sparrows on windowsill
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.


16 May

Yellow Teddy with storage box piston  Yellow Teddy with storage box instruction leaflet
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 instruction leaflet.

Yellow Teddy with the adhesive copper strip  Yellow Teddy with taped-over holes  Yellow Teddy cutting off the plastic waste bits
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.

17 May

Spiderlings  Taking down the shed
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 taken off.


19 May

Yellow Teddy with Tomtom  Green fields and scenery
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.

Electrical bits  More electrical bits
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!

Antique record player  Antique radio  Old radio valves
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 of glass.

His Master's Voice gramophone box  His Master's Voice ceramic ornament
I like the picture on this His Master's Voice" gramophone case. There was a ceramic ornament like it as well.

Stork on Luton Lodge  Discovery Centre fishpond
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.

Topiary spiral  Topiary
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 electric shears.

Blue Parrot with Dig For Victory chickens  Dino with Dig For Victory chickens
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!

Old water pump  Old steam-driven drill
This is an old water pump and a drill. All the machines in this long shed are attached to the main steam engine belt by smaller vertical belts.

Dino with fossils  Plant fossil
Dino enjoyed the fossils and read all the cards to check up on their ages. This fossil seems to be a wavy undersea plant.

Anglo-Saxon jewellery  Anglo-Saxon gold ornaments
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 shadows.

Blue Parrot and money bag  Yellow Teddy opening the drawer
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.


Cockerel  Hen
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.

Dino in horse-drawn carriage  Yellow Teddy holding the reins
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.

Classic car 1  Classic car 2
I think I prefer the classic cars, they would be a lot warmer to ride in.

Yellow Teddy with car engine  Sedan chair
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.

Honey pot  Dino with the bee chairs
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.

Wobbly bridge  Dragonfly wooden seat
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.

Yellow Teddy with the music bars  Sound wheel with noisy balls inside
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!

Yellow Teddy's snack  Dino with 3 chocolate biscuits
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!

Yellow Teddy on mown path  Yellow Teddy at lake with swans
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 the lake.

Tunnel  Blackwall Tunnel gatehouse Greenwich
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.


21 May

Goose family  Goslings
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.

22 May

Pair of robins
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.

23 May

Polhill Gardens long bench
We went to Polhill Garden Centre for the afternoon. I would like a seat like this in my garden with our names on.

Ice cream  Cake
Before you get to the plants, you go through the food hall. If Dino was with us, he could probably eat all of it!

Spiral ornament  Brown Teddy with orange trees
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.

Yellow Teddy with goldfish  Brown Teddy with goldfish
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 some food.

View from the top - quite a commotion!

Big Koi tank
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.


26 May

Moon  Dawn sky
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.

27 May

Goldfish pond  Pink-flowered strawberry
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.

28 May

Ornamental duck  Pigeons with crisps
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.

Young blackbird  Young sparrow 
Here are our new birds, a young blackbird and a new sparrow who has found some of the crumbs on the path.

29 May

Young robin
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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