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Diary 2013 November


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2 November

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 feathers.

Woodland path  Ivy berries
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.

Sheep sock  Day of the week socks
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!

3 November

Park branches  Park broken tree
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.

Park leaves in pond  Raven
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.

Big fallen tree stump  Fallen willow
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.

4 November

Red autumn leaves blowing  Yew berries
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.

Female chaffinches
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.

5 November

Rainy River Cray  Footpath and cycling sign  No cycling sign
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.

Riverside playground
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!

Riverside fallen tree  Pigeon drinking in puddle
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.

6 November

Spent rocket
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!

7 November

Hall Place pleached trees 
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.

Hall Place seat  Hall Place snack
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!

Hall Place sequoia  Hall Place sequoia label 
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 just beginning.

Hall Place palm tree  Hall Place sycamore tree
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 park.

Hall Place birch tree  Hall Place mossy tree trunk
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.

Hall Place monkey puzzle tree  Hall Place monkey puzzle tree closeup
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.

Hall Place mahonia bush  Hall Place new sapling trees
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.

Hall Place River Cray  Hall Place hurdles on river bank
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.

Hall Place water tap  Hall Place Yellow rose
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.

9 November

Nasturtium  Robin singing
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.

Train timetable  Train arriving
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.

DLR train  River quaggy from train
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.

Mudchute railway sign
Quaggy is an old word for muddy, and it exactly matches the name of one of the stations further along - Mudchute.

DLR station North London  Railway sign - Pudding Mill Lane
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!

Free charity bookshop Camden
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 like that.

Stairwell Tufnell Park tube station  Tufnell Park tube station, train arriving
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 the train.

Embankment - dolphins on lamp post  Embankment - lion
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.

RAF memorial gold eagle  Battle of Britain memorial
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.

Sphinx seat ends  South Bank lion
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.

Westminster Bridge & Houses of Parliament
Here are the Houses of Parliament behind Westminster Bridge. The sun was beginning to set, with the clouds coming over.

London Eye pods  London Eye power wheels
These are the sightseeing pods on the London Eye. The red bits are the rows of power wheels that turn the whole Eye wheel.

Crown on top of lamp post  Funfair merrygoround
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!

Play area  Yellow Teddy - play area  Brown Teddy - play area
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 window holes.

Waterloo Station  Waterloo Clock
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.

The Shard  Yellow Teddy with Petts Wood bus
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.

10 November

Prunus autumn leaves  Obscured window glass
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!

Hawthorn berries  Young oak tree
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.

Tree stump mushrooms
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.

12 November

Chicken knitted hat  Printed mugs
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.

Plastic jelly fish  Snake asleep
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.

Christmas decorations - horse and mushrooms  Christmas decorations - twinkling picture
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.

Christmas decorations - snowy village scenes
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 snow angel.

Christmas decorations - Nativity stable
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.

Christmas decorations - toy reindeer 1  Christmas decorations - toy reindeer 2  Real reindeer
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.

Reindeer knitting  Ice rink at Ruxley
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 Christmas Knitting 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.

Foam snow Christmas trees  Christmas decorations - bears and penguins
This is spray foam snow and made the trees look quite cold. The bears and penguins looked quite at home.

13 November

Robin  Yellow teddy with autumn leaves
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!

16 November

Yellow and orange dawn sky
I like to see a dawn like this when I get up, it often means a bright sunny day ahead.

17 November

Boot sale  Boot sale mud
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.

Apples still on tree
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 them.

18 November

Greenwich Park - autumn leaves  Greenwich Park - maple tree
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.

Greenwich Park - squirrel  Greenwich Park - lost glove
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.

Greenwich Park - pigeon  Greenwich Park - crow
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 photos.

Greenwich Park - drinking fountain  Greenwich Park - General Wolfe statue and pigeons
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.

Greenwich Park - paint stripping Observatory gates  Greenwich Park - lower gates
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.

Cutty Sark  Foot tunnel stairs building
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.

Thames slopping up steps
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.

Yellow Teddy looking out over Thames  Millennium Dome
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.

Royal Naval College wind vane  Royal Naval College wind direction clock
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.

Stone balls near bus stop
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.

19 November

Reindeer knitting  Snowflake knitting
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!

20 November

Slushy hail
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!

21 November

Train journey  Charing Cross shield closeup
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.

Decorative railway roof  Flowers at station
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.

Thames southwards from Richmond Bridge  Thames northwards from Richmond Bridge
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.

Thames northwards from Richmond Bridge with boats  Hand painted map of river
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.

Yellow Teddy looking at bothy  One of two bothies each side of river
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.

Twickenham Bridge  Twickenham Bridge art deco detail
This is Twickenham Bridge. This decoration on the side looks to me like Art Deco.

Old Deer Park steel sign  Old Deer Park fields and canal
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.

Richmond Lock - lock enclosure  Aerial lock gates on top of the bridge
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.

Richmond Lock Bridge
This is the whole bridge and on the left there is an overflow slipway, so that canoes and shallow boats can still pass through.

Feeding seagulls  Crowd of pigeons
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!

Ducks Walk path sign  Plane tree autumn leaf colours
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.

View north from Richmond Bridge
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.

Railway station decoration scrolling ironwork
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.

Old Battersea Power Station  Ornamental sculpture
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!

22 November

Christmas decorations - penguins  Christmas decorations - tree and snow with umbrella
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.

Christmas decorations - nativity scene white  Christmas decorations - nativity scene coloured
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.

Christmas decorations - snowy villages  William Morris bust with pigeon
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.

23 November

Starlings in birdbath
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!

24 November

Mizzly boot sale view through car  Tractor towing truck
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.

25 November

Nasturtiums growing out of compost bin  Grey feather
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.

Frosted nasturtium leaves  Winter pansies
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 the kitchen.

26 November

Christmas decorations - embroidered tree shape  Christmas decorations - knitted fluffy star  Christmas decorations - robin
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.

Christmas decorations - snowy village with waterfalls and skaters
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.

Ornament - Snowy Owl flying
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.

Real Christmas trees  Netting tubes for Christmas trees
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.

White Christmas trees  Christmas chocolate
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 eventually!

Polhill Christmas decorations department  Lighted starry decoration  Pretending flame lamp
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.

Tree shapes Christmas lights  Christmas lights
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 lights.

Yellow Teddy with flapjack Cake Mistakes  Dino with flapjack Cake Mistakes
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!

27 November

Christmas decorations - reindeer  Christmas knits - tree pattern
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.

29 November

Christmas trees with bears' picnic  Christmas decorations - cupcake glass ornament
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 anyway.

Eggboxes for glass ornaments  Christmas knits - pudding hat
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.



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