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Diary 2015 August

 

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1 August

Blackheath  Wine tasting fair on Blackheath
We went to Lewisham and then went on to Blackheath. This is the heath looking back to Blackheath Village. I like the big skies and it is a brilliant place for kite flying, as there is plenty of room away from the main roads. There was a wine tasting fair on the heath but we made straight for Greenwich Park.

Folly Pond near Greenwich Park  Folly Pond near Greenwich Park
Just outside the park is Folly Pond. Very many years ago this was an open clear pond with tiddlers in and just a few trees around (so I am told) but now it is surrounded by thick greenery and covered in duckweed. I looks like you can walk on it. Blue Parrot says it doesn't matter to him that you can't walk on it as he prefers flying over things, but he didn't today, I am relieved to say! Supposing his wings got tired when he was over the middle of it?

Panorama of  Greenwich from Observatory
My new camera has a panorama setting, it makes the pictures a bit curved at the edges, but this is quite a good one. This is taken the Observatory looking downhill to the Queen's House and over the River Thames to Canary Wharf straight ahead.

Greenwich Observatory Meridian Line
Inside the Observatory grounds people queue up to stand across the steel strip that marks the Meridian Line. You need a friend to take the picture but I am sure anyone would gladly help a tourist who was on their own.

Ship's log with whale tail drawings  Model of river
We went into the National Maritime Museum. This ship's log has pictures of what looks like whales' tails in the margins. I am guessing it is how many they saw on particular days. I just love little models and I really like this piece of river with houses and boats. You could make one like this out of a flattened cereal box quite easily but it would take a long time to make all the little boats. I think I would just draw the houses on with blue paper for the river.

River painting  Basket of fruit painting
In a darkened room within the museum were lots of sea and river paintings. This one of the Thames at sunset is very lifelike. Another one was of a crowd of people and I thought this basket of fruit looked so real, with all the basket weave done very carefully. They look just like oranges, but they are more likely to be golden apples which do grow in this country.

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Seagulls in sky painting  Seagulls over calm water painting
There was so much to see so I just concentrated on getting photos of all the bits with seagulls, as the painters like to put them in to give the picture more movement, and you can imagine the gulls screeching as well. I like the one with the reflections on the calm water.

Stormy sea painting
More seagulls on a very stormy sea and it looks like the white cliffs of Dover in the background. I am sure the painter did not paint it from life whilst standing on another boat! I would not like to be out on a sea like that.

Model seagulls 1  Model seagulls 2
Back in the main part of the museum were lots of seagull models sitting around. They look very friendly and well fed - and quiet!

Models of buoys in wooden box  Tools for making ships in bottles
There was a display of lighthouse things in one of the rooms. This lovely box is full of models of buoys, in order to teach people the differences and meanings of the patterns. This board is full of the tools for making miniature ships in bottles.

Model lightship  Lightship painting
Here is a model of a light ship and also part of painting with another lightship. I think the light beams would have been bobbing up and down quite a bit.

Walker log device  Cocked hat
I like this Walker Log of 1861, which is dragged through the water behind a ship and counts the miles travelled on little dials. It is named after Mr Walker who invented it. Blue Parrot really likes this cocked hat and he wants one just like it. You can wear it facing forwards or sideways or anything in between. We will have to make one out of newspapers when we get home.

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2 August

Wood pigeon  Wood pigeon drinking
It was a very sunny day and I sat in the greenhouse and enticed Woody the woodpigeon to get very near the entrance. After lots of bits of bread, he took a really big drink from the birdbath.

Wood pigeon wing
Then he flew away and although I didn't get the picture I was intending, the one I got was even better, all his beautiful flight feathers opened out!

5 August

Hall Place cut flower garden  Smiley sunflowers
We took a friend who loves flowers to see Hall Place. This is the cut flower garden and obviously people have been helping themselves here and there. They should write down the name and grow their own at home! Every year the gardeners pick out the seeds on the sunflowers to make smiley faces.

Peaches  Plums
These peaches are really delicious looking and there were lots of cloudy coloured plums as well, trained across the old wall.

Globe artichoke flower  Globe artichoke flower closeup
This globe artichoke flower is a really clear bright mauve and the flower was as big as my head. It looks like a thistle, but much better of course.

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Hall Place greenhouse  Coleus plants
This is the big greenhouse with the pond in the middle. Brown Teddy definitely wants to grow some Coleus plants next year.

Banana tree  Heating pipes
Here is the banana tree flower hanging down with the little bananas just forming. All thanks to all these chunky heating pipes running along all the sides under the staging. Very cosy! 

Gaillardia  Agapanthus
Just outside these gaillardias were heating things up all on their own! Further along these agapanthus were much cooler, under a pergola covered in grapevine, in a little mini garden with a cool fountain.

Looking out of the window  Stormy looking orange sunset
In the evening it looked really stormy, but it didn't storm, although the sky looked like it.

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7 August

Branch shredder  DLR train
Today we decided to go back to Greenwich. While we waited for the bus, we watched the Council men pruning the trees. This huge branch shredder was very noisy and had no trouble with even quite big branches. All the chips will be composted to be used in the parks. At Lewisham we got on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway). This is what I call an action picture, motion blur!

Boris Bikes at Island Gardens  River Thames at Island Gardens
We went to Island Gardens which is on the north side of the river opposite Greenwich. These "Boris bikes" (named after the Mayor of London) look very inviting. The tide was low and we could see the whole of Greenwich as far a Deptford Creek, just out of the picture on the right.

Crow on river mud  Pigeons fighting
Some crows were walking about on the mud looking for worms. We had our snack and the pigeons got a few crumbs. These two ended up fighting, with wings clapping and flapping, and pecking each other around the neck. It was because they were surrounded by all the females, who actually got all the bits of bread.

Greenwich foot tunnel  Greenwich foot tunnel south stairs
We walked back to Greenwich through the foot tunnel under the river. Brown Teddy said he would be glad when we got to the dip in the middle, as that is the halfway point. At the end Blue Parrot said he was sorry but he couldn't count the steps as he likes to fly up instead!

Greenwich foot tunnel south entrance  Greenwich foot tunnel Island Gardens entrance
This is the Greenwich entrance, and the other picture is the one in Island Gardens, taken with the zoom.

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Food market  Ice cream stall
There was a foodie market with lots of stalls selling foods from different countries. We all liked the ice cream stall best.

Cutty Sark lobby  Ship's rats soft toys
This is the entrance lobby to the Cutty Sark. Amongst the souvenirs were cuddly ship's rats - no thanks!

Birds 3D card  Greenwich river boat pontoon stage
In the Discovery Centre nearby, I saw a stand full of 3D cards, and this one with birds all over it is my favourite. I think I can make one of my own a bit like this when I get home. We spent some time watching the river and cruise boats coming and going from the floating pontoon.

Greenwich souvenir shop  Union Jack leggings
We went through the village at Greenwich which is full of things for tourists. It is always very crowded. I really like these Union Jack leggings, they are fun but quite smart as well.

Tunnel digger head in station  Looking out of the train window
In the station is a tunnel digging head, painted in flag colours. The train home was quite peaceful compared with busy Greenwich. I like to see all the buildings and back gardens, it is very interesting as you don't normally see the backs of everything.

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8 August

Mudchute noticeboard  Mudchute entrance
We went to Mudchute City Farm which is on the Isle of Dogs, on the north side of the River Thames. There are a lot of fields and woodland as well as the farm. This is the entrance gate.

Raised path  Gloucester Old Spot pig
We walked along this raised path and eventually came to the farm part. This big Gloucester Old Spot pig was eating its dinner extremely noisily. Its fur was very dirty and we did not stand too close!

Sheep  Mottled sheep
These Whitefaced Woodland sheep get lots of treats from the visitors and they are very good at raising themselves over the fence to get closer. I really like this mottled Jacob's sheep, I think he would disappear in the shadows. Jacob is a man in the Bible who bred sheep of all different patterns and spots.

Ibex  Goats
This is a Pygmy goat having a nap. These long-eared ones are Anglo-Nubian goats getting a treat from a small boy. I do hope he scrubbed his hands afterwards! Fortunately there is an open-air hand-washing station and lots of hand washing notices, and a separate clean area for families to eat their lunch.

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Rooster  Chickens  Turkey
This cockerel was making a lot of noise and strutting around to keep his hens in order. The hens have a very smart henhouse under the shade of the trees and lots of space to scratch around in and have dust baths. The turkeys are very smart when they open up their patterned tail feathers.

Donkeys  Alpacas
These donkeys are called Dizzy and Snowflake. The alpacas are getting carrots from a visitor.

Shetland ponies  Dexter cow
The Shetland ponies have decided there is more grass on the pathway or maybe bits of treat that have been dropped. This is a Dexter cow in the back field. I thought it was a big bull until I looked it up on their website!

www.mudchute.org/farm-animals

Thames at Canary Wharf  Thames Clipper
We walked back to the riverside. This inlet is where boats can be launched, but it only leads up to a normal roadway. I like to watch the Thames Clippers zooming along very fast.

Thames foreshore rubble  Giant chain  Buddleia
The foreshore is always very interesting and I always wonder how all the bits got there. It is mostly broken brick and stone covered in green algae. I wonder how old this giant chain is, maybe it is one that was made by hand hundreds of years ago. I don't know what the buddleias find to grow on in the wall, they must have very long roots back to some soil.

Greenwich pier  Lewisham trains
We went through the foot tunnel to the south side. This is Greenwich Pier with lots of activity going on all the time, and cruise boats coming and going, and people going up and down the walkway. These trains are coming into Lewisham station, one coming downhill and one coming up. I think the left hand one was ours.

13 August

Crow with rubbish bag  Crow pecking rubbish bag 
One of our crows caught in the act! I don't think he was able to make much of a dent in this bag though, but he did find something in the roadway later on, it looks like an eggshell.

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14 August

Orpington Station  DLR West India Quay station
This is Orpington Station with our train arriving. We went to Lewisham and then on the Docklands Light Railway to Canary Wharf. We got off at West India Quay Station and this is another DLR train just leaving.

West India Quay  West India Quay
This is West India Quay. I have given up guessing how heavy these iron cranes are. They are on wheels but they don't move now, they have blocks at each end.

West India Quay  Museum of London Docklands
I think this apple sculpture outside one of the buildings block refers to the New York (The Big Apple) style of apartments inside. We came here to visit the Museum of London Docklands, and outside we saw this very noticeable buoy. Or is it a pear, to match the apple?

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St Peter's Barge, West India Quay  Cafes, West India Quay
Just opposite is St Peter's Barge, London's Floating Church. The cross has rope lights around it but we won't be here when it gets dark. The cafes have lots of greenery and flowers so that people can enjoy their lunch in something like a garden.

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
This is some old lifting gear outside the museum, which was once a giant warehouse. We began our tour on the top floor, start with the early history. This rowing boat is suspended on cables and on the wall at the far end is a huge screen showing the Docklands through the ages.

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
These are Roman items, including a merchant ships, coins, seals and an original writing tablet, plus a modern one of how it looked when new. This lead ingot weighs as much as a grownup person - 11 stone or 70 kilograms. It is marked with the Roman Emperor's name Vespasian. It was meant to be exported from Britannia.

Museum of London Docklands
This is a big model of London Bridge in the middle ages, covered in houses.

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
These are boat hooks and fend-offs that the boatmen used in order to avoid collision with another boat. The hooked part was also useful for pulling things in. The second picture is an eel spear with some prongs missing.

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
This is a brass ring dial from 1820 which was used to calculate the ship's position at sea. Around a corner were areas were set up to look like workplaces. It got darker and darker until we came to a very gloomy alleyway full of little shops and workrooms.

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Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
This is an office of some sort, with a desk and hand-written accounts. It would have been lit by candle, so the room had an electric candle. Outside the window is a painting of the buildings and river scene outside and it looks very real because it is so brightly lit. Further along is this very gloomy and grimy opening, meant to be a slipway down to the murky green river. I am glad there are no lifelike smells!

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
This paper peepshow has lots of pictures one behind the other, so you look through the hole at the front and see it all in 3D.

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
Here is another one, spread out a little more. This is long before people had all the films that we are used to. I really want to make one of these myself.

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
These are two giant pieces of whalebone, from different whales. Inside it gives the story of Greenland whaling, which was not really very happy reading if you love whales.

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
I am sorry to say that these whale tails in the ship's log are not marking the number of whales seen, as I thought in my other diary page, but whales caught. It is all very sad because whales are lovely intelligent animals. I always look carefully at the paintings for little details. I like this little fire that the man has lit to keep warm. It looks to me as if the firewood is crackling and spitting a bit because some of it is damp and the water explodes.

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Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
This model ship is on a wonderful wavy sea with foam and froth, it is really lifelike. Here is a painting of a very stormy Thames, so maybe the blue colour in the model is a bit of wishful thinking. I prefer to see the models and paintings from the warm indoors.

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
On the next floor down is more modern history. Brown Teddy and I like models of things, and these cutaway models of the transport and stations would have been wonderful to play with if they had not been in glass cases!

Museum of London Docklands  Museum of London Docklands
I have always liked the circular London Transport sign, they have lots of variations of it for the different things like Underground, Overground, DLR and buses. There was a lot of history of the Docklands during the Second World War. This iron girder was melted in a very fierce fire started by a bomb attack.

West India Quay  Looking towards Canary Wharf DLR Station
When we left the Museum, all the food stalls were crowded with people from the offices, getting some lunch and fresh air. West India Quay station is only a few yards from Canary Wharf Station with the curved roof. I think we ought to come back again to the Museum and then I will read the labels a bit more and find out what it was like before there was a London here.

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17 August

Hungerford Bridge  Charing Cross Station
Here we are approaching Hungerford Bridge leading to Charing Cross Station. These lines all over the station floor are a brilliant idea to help everyone find things.

Highgate Wood  Highgate Wood
We are at the top right corner of the map. Brown Teddy says this gate is very welcoming. We took the right hand path, along the top of the map.

Highgate Wood  Highgate Wood
It was a very sunny day, but the woods were entirely shadow patterns with some bright patches. We went all the way round and finally got to the open field where there is a cafe and an information cabin.

Highgate Wood  Highgate Wood
The information centre has everything you could possibly want to know about the wildlife, with loads of photos of all the moths, butterflies, birds and everything that lives in the wood. Blue Parrot liked this bird box nest, which had been abandoned and so could be used for the display.

Highgate Wood  Highgate Wood
Brown Teddy admired all the brown moths, but not so sure about the brown grass snake. Look at this wonderful mural by the school children, I would really like one like that in my bedroom.

Highgate Wood
In the hut is a picture of a very detailed map that was made some time ago, with different dots for every tree in the wood. It is amazing! You need a map like this if you have the job of maintaining all the trees.

Highgate Wood  Highgate Wood
Here is the open sports and playing space in front of the hut. We saw this lovely robin on the cafe roof and he sat very still for his photograph.

Highgate Wood  Highgate Wood
We kept seeing the old branches piled up in different shapes, and then we found the tree surgeons who do it all. It must be an endless job, which I think they are probably glad about.

Highgate Wood
Blue Parrot's favourite branch pile was this large circular one around a tree, like a big nest.

Muswell Hill view to Canary Wharf  Magpie at Alexandra Palace
We went on to Muswell Hill and this is Canary Wharf tower gleaming in the sun. Then we went to Alexandra Palace again, as it is nearby. This magpie was clearing up the crumbs on the picnic tables, but keeping away from the people.

Alexandra Palace  Alexandra Palace
This is my favourite part of Ally Pally, I think it must be the walkway from the former station as it has the same decoration as station roofs do, with the fringed wooden edging. I found a lot more lightning conductors round the back of the building and they all have a gap and a joining piece in the same place, so I have to correct my description - the gap in the copper must be there for a deliberate reason.

Alexandra Palace  Communal ground planted up near Finchley
We took a walk around the boating lake and then made our way home. On the bus towards Finchley I saw this corner of municipal ground all planted up with fruit trees and flowers. The residents here must be very interested in taking care of their area and using the spare spaces.

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19 August

Fuchsia  Californian poppy
This fuchsia pot is doing really well. The pedestal base used to be a birdbath but I have a new use for it! The Californian poppies are in a shallow pot and I think I would have had more flowers if I had put them in a bigger pot. I will do that next year.

Spartan apples  Conference pears
The Spartan apples are doing well and the pears are increasing in size a bit. These pears will need softening indoors after they are picked, but that is not yet.

Goldfish  Bird nest in honeysuckle
The goldfish seem bigger as well, I think it must be the air pump and the increased oxygen in the water making them more active and eating more! They are a lot livelier and happier with the air pump than they were before. We took down some tangly honeysuckle and found this old bird nest in the middle. There were a lot of climbing rose branches hanging about so they will go over the fence top instead and be easier to look after.

29 August

Woolwich Tall Ships event stalls  Cadets band
We went to the Tall Ships event at Woolwich. There were many of the stalls that we saw last year at the Greenwich event. There was a pretend ship surrounded by blue mattresses for the children to climb on. We really enjoyed the cadets band who played perfectly, especially the drummers who went very fast!

Wool dyeing stall  Cord winding
I liked the wool spinning and dyeing stall. This lady was showing how to make a cord using a special circle of wood with slots around the edge. I could spend hours playing with one of those.

25 Pound gun  Tall ships and swans
Two young men were demonstrating the 25 pound gun, and you could pay to sit on the seat and fire a blank. The tall ships were moored along the pontoons. All of a sudden a family of swans came swimming past quite slowly.

Pontoon Dock gardens  Pontoon Dock gardens
Afterwards we went on to Pontoon Dock on the north side of the river. I really like this long garden, which must have been a dock in the past, filled with wavy shaped yew bushes and other hedging.

Thames Barrier  Tall ship going through Thames Barrier
At the end of the garden is a good view of the Thames Barrier. We watched several of the tall ships sail through the Barrier. After a while we felt some spots of rain so we decided to go home before it rained more heavily.

Bus shelter tide table pattern  Bus shelter phases of moon pattern
These bus shelters underneath Pontoon Dock Station are decorative versions of the tide tables and the phases of the moon. I think the moon one would make wonderful wallpaper for a corner or an end wall.

View of Pontoon Dock gardens
Back up on the high level station we got a really good view of the gardens and Barrier.

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