These beautiful starlings are on my roof aerial and I am glad I took a
photo as it makes it much easier to admire their shining greeny
We took a walk through the woods, and this part of the path goes behind
some gardens before coming out at the road. I think the green fence
counts as an "evergreen"! These ivy berries will be black when they are
ripe and they remind me of a starburst firework.
I like these house slippers, and I think they would also make good hand
muffs, although you couldn't do any work with them on, except amuse
children. These socks are good for someone who might be tempted to wear
the same ones again and not put clean ones on each morning!
A few branches came down in the park in the stormy night, but not as
much as I expected. This large branch is hanging on by the bark and I
think the parks people will come round soon and lay it on the ground.
Some large twigs in the pond have collected a load of leaves, like boats
sheltering in a harbour. This raven was very close to us, picking at the
mud, and we got lots of good long videos of him. They usually keep their
distance, but this chap did not mind us at all.
This is a frame from one of my video clips of the fireworks in garden of
a house down the road, take from my bedroom window. It all happens so
quickly, you can't really get a photo, it has to be a movie. People are
letting off their fireworks on different days, they do not all wait
until the 5th.
This is a huge fallen tree near the road, and it looks as if it was a
bit rotten anyway, as the wood has torn instead of bringing up the soil
and roots. Further along in the riverside gardens, there were some
fallen willow trees, which seem to be not so strong against high winds.
I like autumn leaf pictures, and this one look s a bit cold as all the
leaves are blowing sideways in the wind. These are yew berries, they are
very bright with a hole in the middle, and they are all poisonous to
people and Teddies. Only wild birds can eat them.
These are chaffinches in the park, they have a more hopping way of
getting around, and there is a flash of white from their wing stripes
when they fly away. I think these may be females, as the males have more
pinky and bluey feathers on their front and head.
When I go to the shopping area, I like to visit the river behind it. It
was a grey chilly rainy day and the river looked very cold. On the
riverside path, they have put new granite signs that won't wear away
like the old painted ones. The first one means people and cyclists can
go here, and the second means no cycling - the red circle is used round
things that are not allowed.
The sand pit and water area is looking very sad and messy. It was all
right in the summer, but the water is green and muddy now and so it
can't be used until it is all cleaned and the weather is warmer and
drier. I think the council have made some extra work for themselves!
This willow right on the river edge has fallen and brought a big chunk
of soil and root up with it. Once the fallen bits have been made safe,
the parks people usually leave the branches to rot away naturally, so it
is a haven for insects and wildlife. This pigeon in the park was
drinking from the leafy puddle. His wet feet and cold drink made me feel
cold as well!
Some more fireworks, behind the street lamp.
A used rocket and stick. I like to see the rockets but I prefer to save
my pocket money for something that lasts longer than a few minutes!
We went to Hall Place Gardens, and this picture shows how the flat
pleached trees are trained, as the leaves on the end part have fallen
and you can see the criss-cross framework.
All the seats are inscribed in memory of someone, as it helps the family
of the person, and it also pays for the seats. Last time we ate bits of
bread as our snack, but this time it was chocolate flavoured bourbon
biscuits - much better, and so we ate a lot more as well!
In the far corner of the garden are these two giant Dawn Redwood trees,
called "metasequoia glyptostroboides" according to the label. They are
very tall but compared with ones in other countries, these are still
In the same corner is a palm tree and I think they have planted it here
because it is well sheltered. This is a sycamore tree with flying winged
seed heads. The leaves are all very bright yellow and really glow in the
Brown Teddy is admiring the stripey white bark of a birch tree, and the
mossy stripes on another tree. There are lots of interesting plant
colours even when the flowers have all gone.
This is a monkey puzzle tree, with sharp hard leaves along the stem.
From a distance it look all soft but it definitely isn't.
This mahonia flowers in winter, so it has only just started. It also has
sharp points along the edges of the leaves. These are new trees in
little cages. There is plenty of space for them to grow.
The river edge here is held up with hurdles made of branches, with a
special muddy area at the side protected by some logs that have been
staked in place, so the current does not wash it away again.
We went to the fruit and cut flower garden part and Brown Teddy was glad
to find out that they do not have keep walking up and down with watering
cans! This rose looks like a bright sun in a pink dawn sky, like I often
see from my bedroom window. I wish I could find some room in my garden
for a few more roses like this.
This climbing nasturtium is nearly reaching the top of the fence and has
grown through a climbing rose. Here is my robin, singing loudly in
ownership of my lovely garden and all its worms. I hope he will stay all
winter and we will help him out with dinners when it snows.
We went on a day out to North London. The timetable could be very
confusing, but only the middle table was about my train. Here it is
coming into the station and we were glad to get in the warm, as it was
starting to rain.
We changed trains and got on the Docklands Light Railway known as the
DLR. Here were are going past the River Quaggy which goes into the
Thames at Deptford.
Quaggy is an old word for muddy, and it exactly matches the name of one
of the stations further along - Mudchute.
Here is the DLR station in North London. The ceiling is big arches of
red painted steel. Brown Teddy liked the sound of Pudding Mill Lane much
better than Mudchute!
We visited this place in Camden that gives away books that no-one wants
and you can take three books a day for free. I really like the painted
bus and I would definitely like some wallpaper or curtains with flowers
Here is the stairwell at Tufnell Park Underground Station. Before the
tube train comes, there is a rushing wind of warm air and a rumbling
sound, and you can see the headlights long before you can see the red of
We travelled to the Victoria Embankment, which is on the River Thames.
These sea-creature fishes were wrapped around the lampposts all along
the embankment. The lions are on the river side of the wall, and I looks
as if they might have been used to tied up boats. Someone told us that
when the lions drink, the city of London is flooding - well, the lion
heads are at street level, so that makes sense.
This beautiful enormous gold eagle is on top of the Royal Air Force
memorial. Further along is the Battle of Britain memorial, with names
and insignias, and these three-dimensional airplane scenes on both
sides. The pilot is running to his plane during an attack, in order to
get into the air as quickly as possible.
All the seats have these sphinxes at each end, which are the head and
shoulders of a woman, the body of a lion and big eagle wings. This lion
is on the other side of Westminster Bridge and is called the South Bank
Lion. He was made in 1837 for the Red Lion Brewery, and he was
originally painted red. He is made of coade stone.
Here are the Houses of Parliament behind Westminster Bridge. The sun was
beginning to set, with the clouds coming over.
These are the sightseeing pods on the London Eye. The red bits are the
rows of power wheels that turn the whole Eye wheel.
A lot of the lampposts have these golden crowns on top. The funfair was
getting ready for the Christmas season, and lots of stalls were being
put up. We stopped here for a bit, and ate our home-made scones with jam
that we had brought with us from home. This is much better than queuing
in the cold for an expensive sandwich, like the tourists were doing!
Behind the Royal Festival Hall they have built lots of things like this
for children to play in and on. We had some help getting up to the
Before going home, we had a look at Waterloo Station, which is very big.
The clocks are well-known and we got a good view of them from the
upstairs walkway. The people moving about all stood out black against
the white marbly floor and the announcements echoed all round the hall.
From our station we got a good view of The Shard building. It was very
beautiful as the sun was going down and the yellow and pink sky was
reflected along one side. Here I am back at our home station, just in
time to get the bus home. We were glad to get indoors at last, at it was
getting chilly and dark.
This is my prunus tree with the morning sun making it glow. It won't be
long before these leaves are all down. This is the same tree seen
through my bathroom window, and if I didn't know it was a tree, I might
think it was a bonfire!
Out in the park, here are some more berries for the blackbirds. Brown
Teddy is wondering how long it will be before this oak sapling is a
mighty tree, like the ones on the other side of the park.
In Priory Park, this is where there was a big rotten tree stump, which
the parks people have now removed. All these very delicate white
mushrooms have come up and I think they are so soft they will soon fade
away with the rain and cold. The mushroom roots are breaking down the
tree roots and rotten wood.
We went to Ruxley Garden Centre. This chicken hat is very cheerful but a
bit big for me. These cups are for Night Owls and Early Birds. At the
moment I am an early bird as I don't like to waste good daylight,
especially on short winter days.
In the pet section aquariums, this is not a real jellyfish, but it is
made of plastic. This snake was asleep in its little house and was
probably sleeping off a meal.
The decorations were wonderful and here is a white horse with big white
mushrooms, all hanging with blue and sparkly baubles and tinsel. There
were several pictures like this, with lots of LED lights showing
through, so everything twinkles.
As usual, the snow village display was really wonderful, and there is a
tunnel underneath the bit tabletop for children to go through, and they
can then pop their heads up into the two domes and feel they are really
in the village. The figure at bottom left lying in the snow has made a
Here is the Nativity scene with Mary, Joseph and the Three Kings, all
looking at Baby Jesus in the manger. I especially like the starry
backdrop cloth, although it makes me feel I ought to put a cosy blanket
over the baby.
We went outside looking for the real reindeer. These toy ones seem to be
saying "Further along!" At last here is the reindeer enclosure and they
looked quite happy to see people and did not walk away.
On one of the toy Christmas figures, I saw this lovely jumper and I
would definitely like to have a row of knitted reindeer like that on a
hat. I have drawn a chart for the reindeer figure and it is now on my
section, along with some other charts. The ice rink was quite wet with the rain, but I think that
improved its slipperiness. Last year the hard frosts had frozen all the
ice crumbs that the skates have scraped up, and that made it more
difficult for people to slide around quickly.
This is spray foam snow and made the trees look quite cold. The bears
and penguins looked quite at home.
I kept hearing a clucking and twittering, and eventually found our robin
in this tree. He likes the same perch every time. The red leaves of the
prunus are still hanging on, they match my winter coat very well!
I like to see a dawn like this when I get up, it often means a bright
sunny day ahead.
Here is the boot sale at the farm. This mud really gets churned up into
deep ruts by the cars and they have a tractor going round to pull cars
that are stuck. Their wheels just spin and the car doesn't move. I am
glad our driver knows how to go slowly so that we get out of the field
without any trouble! The problem is only solved when the mud is frozen
hard, but it is too warm for that at the moment.
At the farm exit gate is this wonderful apple tree. It doesn't seem to
ever drop any apples, and I wish I knew what the name of it was. My ripe
apples often drop off the tree and get smashed before we can get to
We visited Greenwich Park to see all the colourful autumn leaves. It was
a grey day so there were not many people about, but at least I got good
photographs without people in them! This maple tree with red autumn
leaves was the brightest one in the park.
Every time we stood still, there was a squirrel coming towards us
looking for some food from us. There are millions of acorns on the
ground, so he already has lots of goodies for the winter. This glove is
a bit sad, someone has dropped a child's glove or hat, and someone else
has put it on the fence near the gatehouse. It was in a bit of a state,
so I don't think the person is going to come back looking for it.
The pigeons are obviously well fed, as they can't be bothered to look
around for food. The raven was rather hopeful of something from us, but
unfortunately we didn't have any bread. They have lots of worms but
throwing bits of bread at them gives us some good close-up and movement
Here is the pink marble drinking fountain. It must be very old. This is
the General Wolfe statue. He is looking out over the river from the hill
top and the pigeon is looking out over the visitors to see if they drop
anything like bits of sandwiches or cakes.
They are stripping the paint off the Royal Observatory gates. It is a
big job as there is a lot of fancy ironwork. The gates at the bottom of
the hill are looking much better, and I really like all the gold painted
detail. They are just right for the entrance to a Royal Park.
Here is the Cutty Sark all finished, and reflecting the grey sky in its
glass sea. The dome over the river tunnel stairway is now all repaired
and refurbished, and it is looking very smart and clean.
The river was cold, grey and muddy, and as it was high tide we spent
some time watching the waves sloshing and splashing up the steps. We got
some good videos of the big splashes and some of it went on people's
feet as well.
I think I prefer a sunny day with blue sky for watching rivers. We saw a
few of the river boats go past, and they have very powerful engines, as
you can hear them a long way off and they really roar when they brake
and turn in a circle. Here is one passing the Millennium Dome.
This is the wind vane on top of the Naval College. The dome below has a
clockface showing the wind direction. The other dome on the other
building looks the same but it has a real clock.
We decided to go home before the traffic got too busy. These balls by
the bus stop were going green, and if they were a bit cleaner I think
people would sit on them while waiting for their bus. We were glad to
get on the bus where we stayed warm all the way home.
I keep seeing lots of lovely Christmas knitting that I would like to
have, so I am keeping all the photos and maybe by next year someone will
have knitted one for me!
This very sudden shower of large hailstones came down while we were on
the bus and made a lot of noise. My photo of the slush near a shop
doorway has to count as the first "snow" of winter!
We went on a day's outing to Richmond which is to the west of London. I
am really enjoying the train journeys, as there is so much to see. This
crest is over the end of the platforms at Charing Cross.
I like all the decorative old railway architecture. The plants in the
cones made it all look cared for and I hope the people travelling
through have time to appreciate it as they rush past in the mornings.
These are the views of the River Thames from Richmond Bridge, firstly
looking south which is upstream, and secondly looking north, downstream.
It is all very beautiful as there are so many trees along both sides
rather than lots of buildings, and a big open sky. I think an artist
would love to live here and spend all day painting the river views.
This is the path leading downstream. Someone has put up a hand-painted
map of the river which is very helpful when you are a visitor. We
continued walking towards the bridge in the distance.
There is one of the little bothies on each side of the river, but no
notice to say what they are. I am sure it must be something to do with
drainage or water supply.
This is Twickenham Bridge. This decoration on the side looks to me like
This is a notice for the Old Deer Park, and there is a map cut into the
steel. It was difficult to get a good photo but if you are standing
there, you can get your shadow over it and then you can read it. The
park fields have a brook or canal alongside, and the wind was blowing
hard over the fields and making our walk very chilly.
This is Richmond Lock. It is a big bridge that has gates held up in the
air which are lowered to hold back some of the water, so that upstream
doesn't lose too much of its water at low tide. The first picture shows
the lock at one side so boats can pass through when the gates are down.
The second picture shows one of the gates held up at the top of the
bridge, and swivelled to lie flat.
This is the whole bridge and on the left there is an overflow slipway,
so that canoes and shallow boats can still pass through.
One of the seagulls actually took a piece of bread before it was thrown
up, so we spent some time taking videos, but the gull did not do it
again. But they were catching the pieces in the air and making a lot of
noise. We started by throwing a piece of bread for two ducks swimming
along, and in a matter of seconds all the pigeons round about descended
on us. They have obviously done all this many times before!
The ducks were swimming and it was the pigeons that were walking. The
fallen leaves here are a lot more colourful than at home, because they
have different trees - these are plane tree leaves, which is quite a
common tree in London, but not so much where I live.
we are back on Richmond Bridge again looking downstream. This is a small
island with big trees on, and I think it is probably a good home for the
ducks, especially at high tide.
Back at the railway station, I like to see the old scrolling ironwork
and I am glad it is all well kept and not left to rust.
On the train home, we saw the old Battersea Power Station, which people
say looks like an old table upside down. They are definitely right about
that, we had an old table just like that a long time ago. I am
definitely going to visit that area some time and get a closer look. I
saw this strange sculpture at the back of a building - a sailing ship,
some wolves, and what looks like bird boxes. It looks very muddy. Maybe
someone is keeping it there until the rain washes it clean!
We went to the shops at Bexleyheath. These are the best animal Christmas
decorations so far, as they are very lifelike, and soft and fluffy to
touch. This tree in an upside down umbrella is raining polystyrene snow.
It looks good but this type of Christmas decoration can be quite noisy.
I was very glad to see these Christmas Nativity stable scenes, as they
sometimes get forgotten amongst all the other stuff. I think I like the
white one best, as it would show up in the dark, when we only have the
Christmas lights on and no wall lights.
I always like to stop and look at the village scenes, as there are so
many interesting ones with lots of detail. Before we went home, we
noticed this bust of William Morris on the clocktower, and his friend
the pigeon having a rest on his head.
I was making a snack when I noticed loads of starlings in my birdbath.
Luckily they were still there by the time I came back from upstairs with
the camera. The water was very muddy when they had finished, and they
had splashed it about 2 metres away onto the garden path. It was a good
job we did not have washing on the line, as it would have been in the
direct line of fire!
Went went round the boot sale at the farm, but it started to mizzle
after about an hour. Lots of the cars were getting stuck in the mud and
here is the farmer's tractor helping someone get his lorry moving. Just
like last week, we got out all right, I am very glad to say.
I had a look round the garden to put some old cut flowers in the compost
bin, and found these nasturtiums growing and flowering, with all their
leaves leaning towards the sun. The lid must have been off for quite a
while. It seemed a shame to squash them so I put the old flowers on the
ground. I know exactly who this grey feather belongs to, our regular
wood pigeon who comes looking for crumbs most days and clears up
anything that the sparrows have left.
Some overnight frosts have wilted these nasturtium leaves and I will
soon have to clear them all away. The giant pots have been planted with
tulips and crocus, with winter pansies on top. Later on I will get
someone to move them nearer the house so that we can admire them from
We went to Polhill Garden Centre today. There are lots of decorations
that could be made at home, if only we had the time to spend doing the
sewing. The knitted star is a good idea and a bigger version would make
a very lovely and soft cushion. I think a knitted robin would be not too
hard to make, as well.
Every place has these snow villages for sale. This one has fibre-optic
strands with moving lights that look like four waterfalls, and magnetic
skaters going round the pond.
There were lots of lifelike animal ornaments and this Snowy Owl is the
best. It would look really good in a darkened room with just the
Christmas lights on.
It was getting a bit dark outside, but I wanted to see all the Christmas
trees. These are cut ones and I think they have been sprayed so that the
needles don't drop. They go through these tubes to get covered in the
netting so that they fit in people's cars. All the other shoppers were
inside in the warm.
These are artificial ones but from a distance they look like a real snow
scene. I was glad to get into the food hall. These chocolate Christmas
goodies look too good to eat, but I am sure we would eat them
This is the Christmas decorations department, with rows of lit up
Christmas trees. The starry decoration is quite big and you would only
need one of them hanging somewhere over the top of the tree. This
pretending flame fire was very real looking but it is only a piece of
nylon flapping in a current of air, with an orange light underneath.
This tree-shaped decoration is at the end of Orpington High Street. They
used to have a real tree which looked better in the day, but this is
better at night. At home, I had a practise run with the Christmas
We got this box of Cake Mistakes at Polhill. It was a big box for very
little money, and it is all the broken pieces of Oaty Flapjacks with
Almonds and Dates. We all ate quite a bit, although some of it did
survive until the next day - but not much!
These are the best reindeer decorations I have seen so far, as they are
more real looking, apart from the colour. Some more Christmas knitting
for my pattern collection.
These bears are having a picnic in the forest and here is a closeup of
the cupcake glass decoration. I could not find the cupcake decoration
for sale on the shelves, but I think it might have been a bit expensive
Now that shiny glass decorations are back in fashion, someone has had
the brilliant idea of providing cardboard egg boxes for customers to
take them home in. It also has the advantage that you feel you want to
buy six at a time instead of just one or two! Will they ever run out of
ideas for Christmas knitting! Another question is, who will want to wear
a Christmas pudding hat in January? To me it looks like a row of houses
with lighted windows, so I think I would wear it all winter.
TOP OF PAGE