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Diary 2013 September


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1 September

Hay rolls in fields 
The fields near where I live are now full of hay rolls. The remind me of the giant snowballs that I sometimes find in the park, only there are a lot more of them.

Yellow Teddy assembling bench  Finished bench with gold lion
We were finally able to put together the restored old bench, with all new wooden slats and the paintwork all redone. Here I am putting the screws into the centre strip that holds the slats together. I really like the lion faces at each end and they are now very smart in gold. I am not letting the rain and snow onto it now, I shall be very careful to put the seat cover on to protect it, after all that hard work.

2 September

Duck sleeping  Moorhen and chick
When the park is quiet, all the ducks sleep and rest but they are quick to open an eye if someone comes past. The moorhen was pulling up little bits of weed and feeding them to the chick.

5 September

Sleepy pigeons
Another visit to the park, this time it is the pigeons who are resting. They are obviously not hungry and are just waiting for someone to walk past, slow down, and stop and then open their bag of goodies. They don't bother getting up unless there is some food on offer.

7 September

Evening primrose  Rainy day
This Evening Primrose is a wildflower that is growing outside my kitchen. I love the yellow colour as it is bright and clean looking, and there is a new flower every day. The day started off rainy but by the time I had tidied my room it was brightening up.

Riverside walk  Shadows under trees
We took a walk along the riverside gardens. The sun was going in and out, but I made sure the photos were all taken when it was out. I like these shadows patterns on the grass and on the bare soil under the tree. In real life, the sun and shade patches were waving about.

Geese  Seagull
Normally the geese follow us, but as we weren't waving carrier bags around, perhaps they realised it was not worth their while walking over to us. The seagulls normally don't come near people or Teddies, but this one was joining in with the pigeons for some bread. He is obviously very intelligent and better fed than the others!

8 September

Wild grasses and sky
Here is a field near where we go to the boot sale. In summer there are lots of colourful tall wild flowers and waving grasses, but now the seedheads are the best part, especially when they stand out against the sky.

13 September

Statue in Bexleyheath  Shop window - cosy bed
We went shopping in Bexleyheath. This is a statue of a small child who is playing the swinging and jumping game while hanging on to his parents' hands. I really liked this shop window display, showing all colourful cosy things to make up a warm bedroom for winter. I like the owl cushion on the little seat.

Weather map
I am glad we got back home before all this rain on the Met Office weather map reached us. It all fell overnight, while I was tucked up in bed!

14 September

Water drops on pond netting
The black pond netting is usually invisible but all the raindrops have made it look like a misty wet spider web. It is collecting leaves as well, which makes getting them out easier than when they fall in the water, where they might sink before we can get them out with the hand net.

15 September

Wild clematis seedheads
While I was waiting in the car, I took a walk along the hedgerow. These wild clematis "Old Man's Beard" look more like sea anemones waving in the water. They look as if they are on the march, climbing over the shrubs.

Hawthorn berries  Apple tree
There are lots of berries on the hawthorns, which will keep the birds fed during winter. These hedgerow crab apples will feed them as well. I always see lots of these apples fallen, smashed and rotting. Maybe the crows and magpies will have some of the mushy ones on the ground.

16 September

Hall Place gate  Hall place gate ornament
We went to Hall Place in Bexley which is a Tudor mansion and gardens. We went out early so that we could make the most of the sunny day before the clouds came over. This is the main gate to the house when it was someone's home, but it is not used now. The golden stag is at the top of the ornamented part over the middle gates.

Hall Place Queen's Beasts
This is my absolute favourite part, the Queen's Beasts in yew topiary. They are copies of the animal statues that were at Westminster Abbey at the Queen's Coronation in 1953. They are about 10 feet tall or 3 metres, anad there 10 of them.

Hall Place topiary
These are supposed to be chess pieces, but I think the shapes have changed over time. They look best on a sunny day.

Hall Place peacock topiary  Hall place topiary
This one seems to be a peacock. Brown Teddy was glad to see that there is plenty of space in between to run around and play hiding or catching games.

Hall place hedged garden  Hall Place herb garden
There is a lot of clipped hedging at Hall Place. This is one side of a long enclosure. There are lots of sections each with a curved hedge in front, and filled with brilliant flowers. The dark hedging shows up the flowers really well. Here is some more low box hedging in the herb garden. This makes me want to dig up my crazy paving and have brick paths instead!

Hall Place sunken garden
At the very far end is a sunken garden, which is cool and shady. The grass is very fine, as it it not trodden on very much and is always damp. It is just a few yards from the thundering traffic on the road behind those trees at the end, but maybe on a Sunday it is more peaceful.

Hall Place River Cray  Hall Place weir gates
The River Cray runs through the gardens. Further on there is a water gate that is sometimes opened to allow river flood water to escape into a long wide channel that runs through the gardens near the back boundary. This water up against the gate is covered in green duckweed and you definitely cannot walk on it!

Hall Place weir gate grille  Hall Place windows with leaded lights
The grilles over the water gates look just like the diamond leaded windows in the main house.

Hall Place stone sculpture  Hall Place view through stone sculpture hole
Last time I came here, I found out that this stone sculpture was planned to have a maze or play area round it, but it is still just grass. I think it needs two circles of box hedging round it, with openings at opposite sides, to make people walk round to get to the middle. The hole is very good for taking photos through!

Hall Place ducks and geese on river
Here are all the geese and ducks swimming towards us. We had some bread but we could not give them any because there were so many, there would have been chaos and also some of them would not have got anything. So we took our pictures quickly and kept walking.

Hall Place River Cray weir  Hall Place rock and pond garden
This is the weir near the visitor centre. There used to be a flour mill here. The falling water is very noisy, which is refreshing on a hot summer day, but not so pleasant if the weather was cold. On the other side of the gardens there is a pond and rock garden in the old gravel diggings.

Hall Place stripey bark  Hall Place mountain ash berries
Brown Teddy's favourite tree is this stripy one. If you look long enough it looks like a seaside scene with mudflats and the tide going out, with brown islands of sand and seaweed. I liked this mountain ash tree, especially as it will feed the birds in winter.

Hall Place shed on staddle stones  Hall Place shed with staddle stones
Near the main house is this shed on stone legs called staddle stones. They were for keeping granary storage sheds dry and rats out. It all looked quite new and clean, so I am not sure if it is an old original that has been repaired, or a reproduction.

Hall Place art exhibition  Hall Place art exhibition painting
Inside the visitor centre was an art exhibition with very colourful pictures of landscapes. I like a lot of colour in paintings. This is my favourite called Meteor Shower with spots and streaks of white falling down from the night sky.

Hall Place pleached trees and lawn  Hall Place timeline brick
This avenue of pleached trees is clipped flat and they only look round when you stand facing them. The plant border on the right shows the history of plants in chronological order, when they arrived in Britain, with painted bricks in a timeline of all the history events placed along its length.

Hall Place banana plants outside greenhouse  Hall Place greenhouse
I saved visiting the big greenhouse till last, as I wanted to take my garden photos while the sun was out. These banana plants are waving about outside, but there are bigger ones inside with real bananas growing on them. This is just the place to be on a cold day.

Hall Place cacti  Hall Place tall cactus
There are lots of tropical plants and brilliant coleus, and at the back is a long gravel bench of cactus plants. Through a door there were some very tall cactus plants going up to the ceiling. I did not touch any of them at all!

Hall Place pond in greenhouse  Hall Place radiator pipes in greenhouse
In the middle of the greenhouse is a long goldfish pond surrounded by tropical plants and trees. It was very interesting to look under the benches where I found all these radiator pipes with flanges to spread the heat. I think I might come here again on a cold winter day just to see how warm it all is!

Hall Place kitchen garden notice board  Hall Place Chinese lantern plants
Near the entrance is a small area of kitchen and cut flower gardens. Brown Teddy is reading the notice board so that we don't miss anything. There were still lots of flowers out, although the summer is nearly over. The best one was this Chinese Lantern or Physalis. I am most definitely going to grow some of these next year, in a very big pot outside my greenhouse, so that I can admire the seed pods while sitting inside in the warm.

Hall Place bower in model garden  Hall Place water feature in model garden
Next to the greenhouse are some little model gardens, showing the different things you can do with a small square space. Here I am sitting in a bower of climbing plants looking out over the hot paving and brilliant yellow flowers. Further on is a cool shady garden with a narrow stream running through it. This cave-like bit is the outlet and then it flows diagonally along a narrow channel with paved edges to the other end of the garden, where there is a seat under a pergola.

Hall Place bluetit box  Hall Place wrought iron gate
Round a corner Brown Teddy found this bluetit nest box. I am hoping there are lots more boxes hidden away so that the birds all come to Hall Place and can nest in peace and quiet. This is the beautiful ironwork on the visitors entrance gate, between the car park and the big greenhouse. It was making some lovely shadow patterns on the paths and walls. It was getting cloudy so we left before it got too breezy and cold.

17 September

Motley the pigeon  Crow
Here is Motley the Pigeon in the park, walking purposefully around where people have been feeding the ducks. Sometimes they peck up tiny bits that you can't see. There are lots of crows about but they very rarely come near people.

18 September

Garden bench  Pears
I think the lions on my new garden seat are doing a very good job of protecting my fruit trees! The pear tree is all bending down with the heavy crop. The pears are hard and will have to soften up indoors.

Apples Lord Lambourne  Apples Cox  Nasturtium
Next, a tour of the small apple trees. The first is Lord Lambourne, which I am sure is going to grow quite large, and has four big apples on. The next is Cox on a very small tree. I hope this tree puts on some growth soon, as it branches are all bending downwards, as they are so thin. The nasturtiums are coming up everywhere, with bright red or yellow flowers.

Birthday present  Unwrapping birthday present
We were invited to a birthday tea. Yellow Parrot and I are helping with the first present. The second one was a beautiful white glass vase, which Brown Teddy helped to unwrap very carefully.

Birthday lunch  Birthday cake
We really enjoyed the lovely lunch, and Dino did a good job of keeping an eye on the iced cake. He is very good at noticing when it is getting smaller, and makes sure that everyone gets equal sized pieces.

Big crispy chips  Cinnamon apple crumble
Dino insisted on having photos taken of the giant crispy chips, and the hot cinnamon apple crumble. He will be looking a lot at these pictures and making requests for more as soon as the weather gets cold.

21 September

Bucket full of pears  Moth
I have picked lots of the pears, as they will not do any more ripening outside. I am giving these away and there are still many more left on the tree. This moth was outside my back door and I am wondering how he knows what type of wall will hide him best!

23 September

Brown pet shop rabbit  Black pet shop rabbit
I like to go into the big pet store and see what the animals are doing. These rabbits have very cosy homes, with bowls of food and water drip bottles.

Cardboard animals for painting
In the craft shop next door, there are a lot more animals, made of compressed paper and ready to paint. They remind me of Noah's Ark, except they are not in twos!

24 September

Statue of Liberty glass paperweight  Pencils and sketchbooks  Colourful treasures
I decided to tidy up the art and treasure cupboard. I found lots of things I didn't know I had. This Statue of Liberty glass paperweight was hiding at the back. Getting all the sketchbooks and pencils out made me want to start playing with them, but I had to finish the tidying first. Brown Teddy saved a few things from being put back, so he could play with them for a while longer. All our treasures are colourful things, so that when we draw and paint them, the pictures always turn out looking good and it doesn't matter if the lines are not straight.

26 September

Thumbnail of map of Well Hall Pleasaunce Click on the thumbnail to get the full size picture

We went to Well Hall Pleasaunce, near Eltham, London. Pleasaunce means an ornamental pleasure garden. It has been a long time since we last visited, and I was hoping that it would be renovated and planted up again. We started at top left of the map.

Well Hall Pleasaunce gates  Well Hall Pleasaunce Italian garden
I think the entrances to places are just as interesting. This gate is very friendly and inviting, as you can see the gardens as you walk past and you just have to go in! At one end is a long Italian style garden with tall trees and a long formal pond, with a fountain in the middle. There are no fish but plenty of water lilies.

Well Hall Pleasaunce pergola  Well Hall Pleasaunce wisteria stems
At the end is a stone pergola with wisteria plants. The branches are very knotted and tangled and I think they would stay up even if the stone disappeared!

Well Hall Pleasaunce rose garden
The middle part of the Pleasaunce is a large rose garden in geometric shapes. It is very pleasant with plenty of room and sky. The grass was fresh green and newly mown. I think I could sit here all day, as long as I had a snack with me.

Well Hall Pleasaunce shelter hut  Well Hall Pleasaunce shelter hut view through lattice
This pavilion is the building in the previous picture on the left. It is in the middle of the rose garden path and has benches inside. You can look through the lattice to the bowling green behind.

Well Hall Pleasaunce sunken pond  Well Hall Pleasaunce sunken pond fountain
In the middle of the rose garden is a sunken pond with a tall fountain. It is three fishes with a bowl on top, and on top of that two small figures holding the fountain spout. The hanging green strings are blanket weed that has grown down from the bowl with the constant water overflowing and they were waving about in the breeze. The fishes' faces are very friendly.

Well Hall Pleasaunce bee boles  Well Hall Pleasaunce bricked up bee boles
This is a very old wall. This part has been mended and the bee boles restored, with a new skep in one of them. I think the master of the mansion enjoyed having his own supply of honey. The second photo shows a bee bole that was bricked up a long time ago.

Well Hall Pleasaunce moat  Well Hall Pleasaunce moat lifesaver
Next we came to the square moat. The island is a flat area with some trees and shrubs. There was a manor house on it, which was demolished in 1733. Here is a life-saving ring in case someone falls in the moat. The moat is home to some ducks and moorhens, and as they swam around they were leaving long streaks through the duckweed and pondweed.

Well Hall Pleasaunce wooden dragon sculpture  Well Hall Pleasaunce wooden bird sculpture  Well Hall Pleasaunce wooden hare creature sculpture
I found three wooden sculptures on Moat Island, a dragon, a bird like a woodpecker, and a creature a bit like a hare with eyes sticking up.

Well Hall Pleasaunce playground  Well Hall Pleasaunce sundial
This is the children's playground, with climbing logs and other games. This sundial is on top of a stone column, in the restaurant garden. The inscription reads "Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you." The sundial says it is nearly one o'clock, time to have the banana I brought with me!

Well Hall Pleasaunce Tudor Barn  Well Hall Pleasaunce leaning brick wall with buttresses
On one side of the moat is the Tudor Barn, which is a very old red brick house. It was used as servants' quarters and storage for the manor house that used to be on Moat Island. It is now a restaurant. In the walled garden, this brick wall is leaning at a very alarming angle, and the camera was absolutely straight when taking the picture. It is at the same angle as the brick buttresses that have been built to hold it up, so now it all makes a strong triangle that will stay up. The bricks of the buttresses look very old as well, so the wall must have been gradually sinking for a very long time.

Well Hall Pleasaunce bog pool  Well Hall Pleasaunce rock garden
In a corner near the road is a rock and bog area, with rocks and little pools leading down to this duckweed covered pool. There was not much water in the little upper pools and in the second picture, the middle rock would have been a stepping stone if the water was flowing, from left to right.

27 September

Thumbnail of map of Danson Park Click on the thumbnail to get the full size picture

We went to Danson Park in Bexleyheath. It is a large green park with a long lake. My journey went anticlockwise round this map, starting at middle right.

Danson Park entrance
The main entrance is a long avenue of tall trees.

Danson Park - Danson Mansion   Danson Park Old English Garden
Here is Danson Mansion, built around 1762, which overlooks the lake. Opposite is the Old English Garden. I am glad the gate was open!

Danson Park garden panorama
The garden is made of lawns and formal borders. This is a stitched picture, so the left and right paths are really one straight line. The outside paths make a square, and two more paths cross in the middle, where there is a hedged circle with seats and a sundial.

Danson Park sundial  Danson Park sundial detail
The sundial commemorates the Queen Elizabeth's and Prince Philip's Golden Wedding in 1997. In the corners are thistle (Scotland), leek (Wales), rose (England) and shamrock (Ireland). The shadow time says 11 am, which was 12 noon for us on our present British Summer Time.

Danson Park grapevine  Danson Park pond
We walked down the left path to a long pergola. Halfway down it was covered in a very large grapevine with lots of bunches of black grapes hanging down. The grapes were quite small, like peas. It was very beautiful with the sun shining through it, especially as the leaves were changing to yellow, orange and red. At the far end was a round pond full of water lilies and some duckweed.

Danson Park woodland  Danson Park wildflowers
We walked to the far end of the park and into the woodland area. One of the glades had been seeded with a large patch of wildflowers. There were still plenty of flowers, but I am sure there were even more earlier in the summer.

Danson Park crows
While we were taking pictures of the wildflowers, a crow came down and Brown Teddy threw a piece of bread from the snack bag. In no time, there were ten crows walking around and waiting. I threw some more, one small piece at a time, so we could get photos. Crows are very intelligent and they know that people often have food with them.

Danson Park rock garden
Further down the hill is a rock garden, leading down to a boggy Nature Reserve area.

Danson Park first secret pond  Danson Park stream  Danson Park second secret pond
Here I found the secret pond. A little stream flows out of it into another secret pond. There were quite a few ducks living here quietly, plus a few moorhens. They are not used to disturbance, so it is best to just walk slowly and quietly.

Danson Park acorns  Danson Park haws
We crossed the bridge over the stream and continued on up the south side of the lake. There are plenty of acorns for the squirrels and haws for the birds.

Danson Park lake  Danson Park lake view from south end
At intervals there are little places to stand at the water's edge. This last picture is the view at the very south end, with the main road behind us.



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