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Diary 2014 January


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1 January

New Year's midnight New Year's Day garden
We all stayed up for midnight to see the New Year in. There was not quite so much noise from the fireworks, as it began to rain at about 5 minutes past. After 20 minutes of trying to get some video, we went to bed. I think my videos will just be sound effects of bangs. The morning was wet and grey, and the garden looked exactly the same as last year, yesterday!

2 January

Crittalls underpass tiles motorbike Crittalls underpass tiles caravan
This is the underpass at Crittalls Corner roundabout, with tiles in patterns of cars, trucks and motorbikes. I especially like the car towing a caravan. I am going to get some more good photos of all of these for my Knitting Page charts.

Decorations hooks in jar Last chocolate coin from Christmas tree
Today we packed away all the Christmas decorations. I saved this peanut butter jar to put all the hanging hooks in, so that they don't move about too much and I hope they will be less tangled when I tip them out next Christmas. Dino was delighted that I discovered one more chocolate gold coin when I dismantled the tree.

River overflow waterfall River
This is where the natural part of the River Cray falls down into the manmade overflow channel. I was interested to see a pile of rotten leaves on the top of the wall, exactly opposite the waterfall and nowhere else. I think I may have missed some dramatic floodwaters here, but maybe it might have been a bit dangerous for Teds to be standing so near to it all! The bit of channel just before the waterfall has a line of swept flattened grass with mud and leaves, so more dramatic water overflowing has obviously happened here as well.

Mossy wall with river weir below
At the big weir further back up the river, I was glad someone could hold the camera over the railings and get a photo of the mosses, which I always like to see. The noisy waters were churning down below with quite large broken branches swirling around and getting stuck in the corners.


3 January

Blue Parrot sorting the buttons Brown Teddy mending the Ipod cable
Another wet day, and Blue Parrot decided to sort out the mitten buttons. He put them in three containers - too big, just right, and too small. If you put a button on one cuff and a loop on the other, the mittens or gloves stay together in the drawer. Brown Teddy sorted the problem of the broken sheathing on the Ipod connector cable. He didn't want the actual wires inside to start getting broken, so he strengthened each end with short bits of split plastic straws and sticky tape. I think it will last for some time. Well done, Brown Ted!

4 January

Big puddles on park grass Park gates closed
Lots of rain and high winds again. The park gates were all shut and I think the parks people wanted to check for fallen branches before opening it.

Penguin character on Ruxley ice rink Ruxley ice rink
In the afternoon we made another visit to Ruxley Christmas Ice Rink. Here is the Penguin character joining all the people skating round and round. We stayed until it was dark, when all the lights made it much more interesting than in the daytime.  The ice was very smooth and fast, because of the rain that had fallen on it and frozen into a much smoother surface.

Ruxley Christmas lights on ceiling LED dove decorations
The Christmas Department was being packed away and the notice said that there were 30,000 lights the ceiling. I really like these LED doves.

Yellow Teddy with Ruxley chickens Ruxley chickens
Out the back they have some chickens to amuse the children. They were very relaxed and quite, and were doing a lot of preening, as they do not have to spend much time looking for food or water. They are under cover and have a little house of their own so they are well cared for.

Driftwood seat
I quite like this driftwood seat, but I think we Teds would probably fall through the hole at the side! I would have to put a big cushion on that bit.


6 January

Well Hall long winter shadows on grass
As it was a sunny day, we went to Well Hall Pleasaunce. There were no flowers but the long winter shadows made it look quite interesting. Long winter shadows are much better on white snow, though!

Leaning trees Tree with broken branch
It was still quite windy, and I was wondering if these tall trees would straighten up when the wind stopped. I hope they are not leaning permanently because of the gales we have had. This tree was cordoned off because of a big broken branch hanging down.

Plane tree buttress  Plane tree  Brick wall buttress
This is the root buttress of a huge plane tree, and the middle photo is 4 photos stitched together as I looked up the tree. They have kept the tree strong and safe against the gales, just like the buttresses on the old brick walls.

Drainage channel Squirrel
This is what we came to see, the little drainage channel like a miniature river and I was delighted to find it full of water. In summer it is absolutely dry. Everywhere we went the squirrels were coming up to us hoping for a snack. They really should be in their dreys hibernating.

Well Hall Tudor Barn Pigeons on roof
We got a much better picture of the Tudor Barn with no people about. It is now a restaurant. I was very pleased with one of the photos of pigeons on the roof, showing one of them in flight.

Mossy top of brick wall
I just love mossy walls, as they look like small forests, and this is the top of one of the very old brick walls with the sun shining on it.

Mossy side of brick wall
Here is the back of the same wall, with more moss and lichen as it is north facing and is in shade most of the time.

Mossy rock Mossy rocks in grotto
More lovely mosses on some big rocks in one of the flower beds. There are even more bright green rocks in the grotto garden, which is very shady and has little pools draining into each other, with the lowest one much bigger and covered in duckweed. But there was still not enough water for me to see the pools actually overflowing, and I think I would need to be here in a big downpour to see that, which is quite unlikely.


9 January

Clouds scudding over sun
Another chilly and windy day and I just got this action shot in time, of the clouds scudding in front of the early morning sun.

10 January

Tree stump regrowing
This big tree was obviously cut down a long time ago with the little straight cut marks for the stump killing stuff to be put in. But the tree just won't give up and has started to grow again. With all those branches growing together, I think it will just turn into a big bush rather than one trunk and the council may decide to let it stay after all.

11 January

Sunrays behind cloud
Today is a day of sun and heavy showers, and I just caught these sunrays, a few seconds later they were gone.

Priory ducks  Priory seagulls
The birds in the park are very happy with all the rain and I wonder if they can remember when the pond was dried out. If the bread is a bit hard or unusual flavour, the gulls will always clear it up, and make a lot of noise at the same time.


14 January

Mossy wall  Moss flowerheads
This is one of the small bridges that takes the footpath over the River Cray and with the shade from the overhanging trees the moss has grown really thick. The tiny heads look like daffodils.

Bamboo  Riverside muddy path
There are lots of very big clumps of bamboo in the riverside gardens, which make rustling sounds in the breeze. This dip in the path is now full of squidgy mud and everyone has had to make a detour path round the tree on the left, which is also getting quite muddy, but at least you can walk on all the sticks and leaves which helps a bit.

Broken tree
Another branch that broke in one of the gales. I think the squirrels like these as it makes paths between the trees which saves them jumping the gaps!

20 January

View upriver  View downriver
We are on Brown Teddy's favourite arched bridge, first looking upriver and then downriver. This is the lower channel that takes the extra water, separate from the more natural top bit where the ducks live.


22 January

Bird cushion  Shredding Christmas tree
We went shopping in Bexleyheath. This fat bird on a cushion looks like my birds when they have had a bit too much bread, and sit around waiting for it to go down. Here are the Council men disposing of the town centre Christmas tree in the big shredder. All the shreds will be used in the parks.

Bexley coat of arms  River Cray at Footscray
This is Bexley's coat of arms "Boldly and Rightly" and I am glad someone chose that motto. When we got off the bus at Footscray, I found a bit of river that I have not visited before. It is rushing over a small weir into two tunnels that go under the main roadway.

25 January

Dartford mural
We visited Dartford today. This huge mural is in the town centre showing the history of all the activities and industries of Dartford in the past. If you click the thumbnail below, you can get a high resolution version so that you can see all the detail.

1MB version

Pub sign The Clipper at Dartford  Pub sign The Royal Oak at Dartford
I like to see all the pub signs as they usually tell a story. The clipper ships would have sailed up the Thames past Dartford bringing cargoes from around the world. The Royal Oak shows King Charles II hiding from the Roundheads in 1651.

Holy Trinity Church window  Knapped flints
This is the front top window of Holy Trinity Church and I am glad the stonework is looking clean and white. The outside is made of knapped flints (cut in half) with odd white stones between.

Filled-in church window  Pigeons
There must be a story about this filled in window, as it looks very old. We walked to the river behind the church, and a cloud of pigeons flew down to us. Feeding is not allowed, and there are far too many of them. When there was nothing offered, they all went back up on the church roof to keep up their lookout.


Wrought iron work, River Darenth  Water height gauge, River Darenth
I like to see decorative wrought iron, especially if the paintwork is kept smart and not allowed to rust. The River Darenth water level was quite high.

Ducks River Darenth  Duck River Darenth
These ducks are swimming past the seats half under water on the riverside pathway. This duck doesn't mind the broken wood, he is using it as an island to rest on.

Darent Valley Path sign  River Darenth
We followed the pathway signs a short way and found another piece of river, overflowing onto the lower footpath. The valley name is spelled differently from the river.

Moss and lichen  Yellow Teddy upstairs on  bus
More lovely moss and lichen. On the way home I am glad we got a seat on top of the bus at the front. The journey took about half an hour so we enjoyed our snack of wholemeal bagels.

28 January

Rainy day
Another rainy day, and even the garden birds are sheltering somewhere and not sitting on the fence waiting for food.




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