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Diary 2014 September


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1 September

Keep Calm slippers
I really like these slippers, and I am trying hard to remember which shop they were in, so we can go back and get them!

2 September

This is the best part of the river on a sunny day, as the river weed is a very bright green, with the shadows very dark. This is taken from a wooden bridge over the river. On the right it leads to a shopping place, and on the left to a main road, but in the middle here it is quite peaceful.

Duck on straw bale  Bird nesting on straw bale
We walked on to the park. The park keepers put straw bales wrapped in chicken wire into the pond. The ducks have been using them as resting islands all year and lots of baby ducks have been sitting on them. This bird has made his nest on top of one.

3 September

Mail order tree boxes  Old bird's nest
My first two mail order apple trees arrived today. We are all very excited. We have to clear the plants along by the fence, especially some ivy, and I found this old bird's nest underneath. It had been built over the top of an old unused birdbox, but I think the nest belonged to a blackbird.

4 September

New apple tree
I got up very early to check on my lovely trees. They are very green and healthy. This one is Royal Gala.

Old stump  New post
We got out the root of an old shrub, pulled out an old post, and put this new post in. It was hard work and I helped where I could. I am especially good with the spirit level, to make sure the post is straight. We put the cement mix in dry and watered it in around the rocks, which makes sure there are no air spaces.


5 September

We went to the Tall Ships Regatta at Greenwich. All these grasses  are grown in long rows, so they look like waves in a green sea. The rows of people are all watching the ships on the river and it was difficult to see over their shoulders or between them. This sweets stall was very attractive, but too much sugar I think!

The sailing ships had been in a race from Falmouth in Cornwall. In the Royal Naval College were loads of things going on and places to sit and eat. This big blue pond had two giant fans providing a wind. The children on each side were turning the boats round and pushing them back across the "sea". They were all very excited and noisy.

There were lots of people dressed in costume, officers and sailors, and all the people who made and mended things.

This stall was to do with guns, and all the tools needed to make and repair them are on the table. These ladies were sewing, as all the clothes had to be made by hand in the 1800's.


There was so much to see, but for a break we went into the museum. I really like this diary from 1838, and the person has done a beautiful painting to go with the words. All these badges are ships' signs and my favourite is the red dragon of Wales at the top.

Upstairs is a big open space with the world map on it. King Neptune was giving talks to groups of people, and the children were running around trying to stay on the land and not step on the blue sea bits.

This is a ship's figurehead that looks like an eagle but it is the mythical Roc which was a giant bird. There were lots of ship paintings and on most of them I found some seagulls flying around and looking for the gulls each time made it a lot more interesting.

We looked around the Queen's House which is full of paintings. Looking out of the upstairs window we were able to watch the prize-giving for the Tall Ships race. In the crowds we saw another King Neptune riding his seahorse. Under the seahorse is a motorbike so that Neptune can whizz around the place!


6 September

We went back to Greenwich again. As soon as we arrived, we took the Docklands Light Railway to the other side of the river, so that we could see the boats with fewer crowds. Here is the Queen's row barge calle Gloriana. The part with the big red flag is the stern of the ship and the rowers are at the front. It passed by and then later on had turned round and came back again.

More sailing boats floated past at intervals. This steamer boat had a very loud booming horn but as I did not know when it was going to sound, I could not get a video of it at that exact moment.


This is a part of the cutter head of the tunnel boring machine for the Docklands Light Railway, when the tunnels between Greenwich and the north side were being made. As soon as we got back to the Cutty Sark ship, we noticed these people up in the rigging, showing how people used to walk along to unfold the sails.

This stall shows the very nice food, crockery and tea set that the captains would have had on board. I don't think the ordinary sailors got any fresh fruit. This man is making nets and is using a shuttle full of string to make all the loops. He has started with a top rope and will make rows of loops all the way down.

The are two bad pirates, and they did a lot of posing for everyone's cameras. At the end of the afternoon we watched this Japanese-style drumming band outside the colonnade of the Queen's House. It was very loud and they must have had a lot of energy because it went on for some time!


8 September

Today we decided to go to Woolwich to see the Tall Ships there. I got up very early and painted the trellis pieces, so that they are ready for putting together another day. When we arrived at Woolwich, we saw a big water feature with water flowing over flat paving. The pigeons absolutely loved it and were sitting around, paddling and drinking.

We went through the Old Woolwich Arsenal site and down to the river edge. I was delighted to see this fairground carousel with its traditional music. The music is real and comes from a big organ in the middle.

I took lots of photos of the horses and cockerels, and all the mirrors and lights, so that I can look at all the colourful patterns again when there is a grey day at home in winter time.


We spent some time leaning on the railings by the river, watching the tall ships gliding past. People were having rides up and down the river. The sailing ships were a lot quieter than some of the ordinary ships on the river.

Here is a wonderful emblem on the side of one of the ships. As it is on the side, it is not really a figurehead. It is winged fiery serpent.

This is a wheelwright's stall and there were tools and half-finished wheels lying around, so you could see how they were made. There were stalls showing how everything was made and done.

This table showed what the ordinary sailors had to eat - hard sea biscuits, salted meat and navy grog, which was a rum drink that was sweetened and watered down.


In the museum we found lots of modern tapestries showing the history of the area in lots of tiny detail. The first one seems to be somewhere like Greenwich Park and a Roman road being built nearby. Brown Teddy liked this one where Sir Walter Raleigh is laying down his cloak so that the Queen can walk over a muddy patch.

The museum had lots of measuring instruments that were used in the Arsenal when it was an ammunition factories area. In the hall, there were lots of prints of paintings by young children, of ships on the sea. They were all very good and colourful. I wish they were all in a book so that I could see them again, at home in a soft warm armchair!

A long time ago the river was entirely full of ships likes these, with masts everywhere.

We walked along towards Greenwich. The pigeons have found a very safe place to rest and sleep on this jetty, as nothing can on it from the shore, and the concrete is warmed by the sun. This post is rotting away and has almost disappeared and I suppose the whole jetty will disappear like this eventually.


We took a bus back to Greenwich, and here is the wool dyeing stall. This lady looks as if she has lots of ideas for knitting up the wool to make things that will keep everyone warm in winter.

This stall shows how vegetables were stored at sea in boxes of hay. We were very glad to see the Punch and Judy stall and we watched it for about half an hour. We saw Mrs Punch and the Baby, Mr Punch's dog and his horse, and a scene with the Beadle, who was like a policeman in those days. Mr Punch is always getting into trouble and never seems to learn from his mistakes!

Here Lord Nelson is asking Mr Punch to join his Navy, to help him win the battles. Later on the Crocodile came to steal the sausages, and Mr Punch had a bit of trouble stopping him. The Crocodile's mouth is made of wood that makes a very loud clacking noise when it shuts. All the children were screaming when the Crocodile came up behind Mr Punch.

There are lots of souvenir shops in Greenwich and I think these sailing ship models might be a bit expensive.

10 September

We made a start on nailing the trellis together. It might take some time to do it all. We put in the bulbs along the edge of the fence, and I always take a photo when bulbs go down, so we don't forget where they are. The fuchsia was wrapped up because it had just been moved from a shady pot to full sun, and did not have enough roots to survive the heat.


13 September

We put the apples trees in and I laid some big smooth stones around the base. It is planted at the same depth as it was in the pot, so the pot soil needs covering to stop it drying out, until the tree has put roots out. A few days ago we mixed the grass seed with some damp soil in a bucket, so it could be germinating, to prevent any delays. We raked in the seed and put down this very thin plastic dust sheet to keep it all damp and warm. This is the only use I can think of for all those lumps of soil left over after raking!

Further down the garden, we got out an old tree to make way for a new apple tree. The root stump was very spreading and thick. We all had a go at digging around it. It is a good idea to leave a long bit of trunk so you can rock it about and give it a good tug, to see where the remaining roots might be, which will need cutting. It was very heavy.

18 September

The next two apple trees arrived and Brown Teddy just couldn't wait to get them out of the boxes. Later on we had some friends visiting and we all sat in the greenhouse and ate cake. This wonderful musical candle surprised everyone and we took a film of it opening its petals and the music playing.


21 September

It was a misty morning and I found these blanket webs everywhere. These webs are over the plants at the end of the pond. Blue Parrot found the only two Spartan apples, which had fallen onto the netting. They were still clean and eatable, and I am glad the snails did not get there first! I hope the tree has a good crop next year, after its rest this year.

Brown Teddy is glad the birds have lots of berries to see them through the winter. The yellow is pyracantha and the red ones are cotoneaster.

Dino approves of fruit trees, and wanted to know when he could eat the apples. He might get a bite next year, when we will only allow a couple of apples to grow. He said who will water the tree, and that made us think that it would be a good idea to put down the black covering material and put all our spare stones on it, to keep the soil from drying out. It looks like a beach now and it is much better than having bags of stones lying around.

29 September

This evening primrose has been flowering all year. The flowers come out at night for the moths and we admire them every morning before they drop off. This rose has its flowers in spring, but here it is putting out just one little branch with a few more on. It is called Adelaide D'Orleans and it a very fast-growing rambling one, with lots of very long thin branches.



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