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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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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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.
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.
Back in the main part of the museum were lots of seagull models sitting
around. They look very friendly and well fed - and quiet!
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.
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.
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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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.
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
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
These peaches are really delicious looking and there were lots of cloudy
coloured plums as well, trained across the old wall.
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
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This is the big greenhouse with the pond in the middle. Brown Teddy
definitely wants to grow some Coleus plants next year.
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!
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.
In the evening it looked really stormy, but it didn't storm, although
the sky looked like it.
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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!
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
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.
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!
This is the Greenwich entrance, and the other picture is the one in
Island Gardens, taken with the zoom.
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There was a foodie market with lots of stalls selling foods from
different countries. We all liked the ice cream stall best.
This is the entrance lobby to the Cutty Sark. Amongst the souvenirs were
cuddly ship's rats - no thanks!
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.
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.
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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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.
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!
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.
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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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
These donkeys are called Dizzy and Snowflake. The alpacas are getting
carrots from a visitor.
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
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.
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
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.
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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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.
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.
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
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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.
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.
These are Roman items, including a merchant ships, coins, seals and an original writing tablet,
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.
This is a big model of London Bridge in the middle ages, covered in
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
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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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!
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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!
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Blue Parrot's favourite branch pile was this large circular one around a
tree, like a big nest.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Back up on the high level station we got a really good view of the
gardens and Barrier.
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