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Diary 2015 March


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5 March

Croydon Tramlink  Tram seats
Today we went to Morden Hall Park. We took the train to Croydon and changed onto the trams. I always like to see the different colour seat materials and wonder how the people thought of the designs, they have to be interesting and stay clean even when hundreds of people have sat on them.

Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
We got off at Phipps Bridge Tramlink Stop and crossed the track. We looked carefully both ways twice, and all was clear and quiet. The entrance to the Park was just over the other side.

Morden Hall Park
Brown Teddy was happy to see so many streams on the map. They are all the River Wandle, which means there will be lots of wildlife to see.

Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
I am sure this grass is bright green all year with all the streams. This robin was obviously used to visitors and came very close for some crumbs from our snack sandwiches.

Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
The river widens into large pools. You can see the muddy path beside it, but we kept to the drier parts. Brown Teddy really liked this little rivulet leading into the stream, it is something that would look good in a garden!

Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
These mossy logs must have been here ages, and I wonder if there is any wood left underneath all the moss. We then crossed a white ironwork bridge at the far side of the park.

Morden Hall Park
Further along is the mill with a waterwheel. The wheel was not turning but there was some water running underneath it.

Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
These millstones and gear wheel are on display outside the mill house.

Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
Nearby is the Stable Yard with a coffee shop and a second-hand book shop. We sat at the tables and had our snack. There were lots of school children on an outing and some of them were playing in this children's area. The carved wooden enclosure is shaped like a boat and there are logs to play on.


Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
We walked towards the wetlands part. Here is a derelict arched bridge. The weir is between the upper and lower pools just behind the bridge.

Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
This is the wetlands area but I am glad to say that the paths had a lot of dry places where we could walk.

Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
Brown Teddy wants to make some hurdles like this when we get home, so I will have to find some spare twigs in our garden. These huge trees had been felled and they must have made a big noise falling over.

Morden Hall Park  Morden Hall Park
This tree trunk was quite rotten and the ring pattern has turned into smooth ridges. We had to cross the tramlink line again. After we were over, we waited for this tram to go past to get some photos.

Deen City Farm
Further on we found Deen City Farm. I really like this mural on the outside covered walkway. It is on wood and looks as if it can be closed during wet weather! I would really like to make a cartoon map like this of my garden.

Their website gives all the photos and names of the animals:

Deen City Farm  Deen City Farm
Opposite the mural is this wonderful window box painted in a cow pattern. This is Edna the owl and you can read about why she lives here on their website.

Deen City Farm  Deen City Farm
This goat and sheep are very good friends as they were walking about everywhere together. The cow looked very friendly and I think she looks forward to seeing the visitors.

Deen City Farm  Deen City Farm
The two pigs have made a complete "pig's dinner" of their field, the holes they have made are really very deep, which don't show up so much in the photo. Not a blade of grass anywhere! The farm has a garden to one side and this hut has been roofed in squashed plastic drinks bottles. It is very decorative and shiny, and I think they have got a job on, as plastic cracks very quickly in the sunlight! It reminds me of a raffia sun hat.


6 March

Recycling centre
An very early morning visit to the Recycling Centre to get clear of some bags. There were hundreds of seagulls and if we closed our eyes (passengers only!) it was just like being at the seaside.

Hall Place
As it was sunny we decided to go to Hall Place Gardens to see what spring flowers there were. This is the cut flower garden, and I will be using this as my "before" picture. It will be absolutely full of flowers later in the year.

Hall Place  Hall Place
We heard a lot of quacking as we got near the bridge, someone was feeding the ducks. On the other side, where it is a bit wilder, there were lots of pine cones and obviously the squirrels have had all the seeds out of them.

Hall Place  Hall Place
We went to the daffodil and blossom meadow. There were only a few daffodils out and a couple of blossom trees. This will be full of yellow, pink and white in a few weeks.

Hall Place  Hall Place
This is the overflow channel and in summer you can cross it on foot. It was a steep muddy slope today and the stepping stones looked slippery, so no chance of getting across today, we had to walk all the way back to the bridge.

Crow 1  Crow 2
There were lots of crows, as the ground is still damp and there must be lots of worms on the surface.

The sun brought out all the crocuses. These are under a tree where they won't get trodden on.

Turf maze with crocuses
This is the turf maze with crocus flowers on the raised parts. It is better in real life than in the photo.

7 March

Boating pond  Water ripples
I know winter is over when they fill the boating pond. I just love all these ripple patterns in the sunlight and we took lots of movies of the patterns moving from left to right.


10 March

Bike 1  Bike 2
Today we cleaned up some bikes that someone gave us to send overseas to people who need them. They are in really good condition so it was just a cleanup of the oily wheel hubs. I left that to someone else and my job was to polish the handlebars and test the bells.

Pressure washer  Clean paving stones
At midday we decided to clean all the paths with the pressure washer. This white stone was black before! The garden looks much lighter all over, with no slippery mossy patches in the shady corners.

11 March

The sunny weather has brought all the goldfish up from the bottom of the pond. I didn't realise we had so many. Once the water lily leaves grow, we will not see them all at the same time again. The foamy bits are caused by the water coming out of the filter box.

12 March

Pruning clematis  Robin
Another mild sunny day, so I decided to tidy up round the pond. I pruned back the clematis  and then I had to unwind all the climbing bits of the passion flower, and then put it all back with more of it up the top, instead of flopping about. Our robin was very interested in all the activity, especially when leaves are swept up into a corner.

I put out some food for our special Collared Doves but this cheeky pigeon seems to have scoffed the lot while I was not looking. I am going to keep a closer eye on the food next time!

13 March

Beckenham coat of arms
This is the Beckenham coat of arms. The trees are flowering chestnuts, the lines are the River Beck and there is the White Horse of Kent.

Knitted Last Supper  Knitted cockerel
We went on to West Wickham, and in The Barber Shoppe window is this lovely knitted scene of the Last Supper, with Jesus and his twelve Disciples. They all have plates and cutlery, there is a plate of bread, and the tiny fishes are crocheted and stuck onto bits of card. There is even an embroidered countryside scene in their little window. I really like this cockerel, which I think is the one that Peter heard later on.

Knitted Jesus on donkey  Knitted sheep
Here is Jesus riding a donkey, and I am so glad there is some hay for the donkey. On the other side are sheep on the hillside. One of the black sheep is in the shade under the palm tree. They are knitted by Mary Sanders, and I wonder how many people go into the shop to ask if they can get a knitting pattern for it all. It is right by a bus stop and if I missed my bus looking at everything, I wouldn't mind at all!

14 March

Shopping trolley cars  Lewisham history wall paintings
Today we went to see Surrey Docks in Rotherhithe. We took the train to Lewisham and in the shopping centre we saw these shopping trolley cars for the children. I am sure they all want one for Christmas or Birthday. At the back of the centre is a large wall with the history of the first 2000 years of the area. They are beautifully painted, I wonder what else these artists are producing!

Surrey docks  Surrey docks
Surrey Docks is now all housing, and there are canals and stretches of water everywhere. This particular one has blue water with a chemical that stops it going stagnant. I wish it was flowing water with green plants though, as there is not much life in it other than some reed islands.

Surrey Docks bridge  Surrey Docks bridge
At the end just before we get to the River Thames is this giant bridge, which turns on the curved part to raise the walkway.

Water level pole  Winding gear
This water depth pole needs a cleanup and the tops painting in bright red, but I don't think that would last very long. More guesswork over the gear that is left everywhere - Brown Teddy is sure this one is to put a rope around.

Floating duck house  Floating duck  house
In the open dock are some floating duck houses. A moorhen has bagged the triangular one, being a smaller bird and it having a smaller door hole.

Lavender Pond noticeboard  Lavender Pond
We walked downriver and found Lavender Pond which is a nature reserve. There was lots of wildlife and the ducks followed us as we walked around the edges.

Floating duck house  Sign on lamppost
Back in the dock waters, more duck houses on floating wooden circles. I don't think the pigeons live there, they are just looking at the people in case some bread appears. This lamppost has a row of people joining hands like a paper cutout, it must be something to do with community things, but there was no notice with it.

Stave Hill  Relief map sculpture
This is Stave Hill, a huge mound that was made of leftover rubble and turned into a lookout hill. There are a lot of steps! At the top is a steel sculpture of the docklands and when I looked it up on a website, it said when it rains the dock areas fill with water. When it rains, I am usually at home, though!

Canary Wharf from Stave Hill  London from Stave Hill
There is a good view all round. This is Canary Wharf area and the second one has The Shard in the distance. It will be much nicer when the trees are out and the sky is blue.

Insect hotels  Wildlife area
Next to Stave Hill is a wildlife area which used to be Russia Dock but now filled in. These are insect hotels, which are lots of holes drilled in wood. All the tree trunks and wood is left around for the insects, which attract the birds, and there is a stream and ponds.

Iron sculptures  Iron sculpture
This is Greenland Dock and the iron sculptures are Phyllis Pearsall who created the A-Z map books by walking all the streets of London in the 1930's, and actor Michael Caine. The bike represents Barry Mason, a cyclist coordinator for Southwark and wildlife enthusiast.

Greenland Dock
A good view for eating sandwiches, and we saved a few bits for a swan and two ducks who swam by. Here is where the grebe dived down and we waited ages for him to come up. I think he swam away underwater and came up somewhere else where we were not looking!

16 March

Frogspawn  Frogspawn
The first lot of frogspawn appeared in the pond, although we have not seen or heard the frogs croaking just yet. There will be more later as they come back on different nights.

17 March

We went to the garden centre for some shrubs. The walk up their driveway was full of daffodils.

19 March

New shrubs  Painting trellis wood
Here are the new shrubs, to fill in along the fence where we have cleared and tidied a messy area. The trellis needs renewing and here I am painting the pieces of wood before we make it up into squares. It is much quicker to paint the separate lengths before they are nailed together.

More frogspawn
More frogspawn. I did see some frogs from a distance, but when I got to the pond with the camera they all bobbed down out of sight.

20 March

Eclipse lighting effects  Eclipse partial
Today is Eclipse Day. It is supposed to be about 85 per cent darkness here in London. It was a cloudy day so we didn't really notice it at all. On the Popular Science website we saw views of Orkney where it got really dark, with some strange lighting effects on the water. We watched all of the eclipse on the screen, much easier!

Eclipse corona  Eclipse diamond ring
Dino was very patient waiting for the corona effect, which you have to watch for carefully as it happens suddenly. I liked the diamond ring effect a little while later. The white squiggle on the moon is the computer's buffering sign!

21 March

Canary Wharf DLR station
This is Canary Wharf station, where we took the Docklands Light Railway to the Millenium Dome in Greenwich. This would be very interesting in heavy rain, thunderstorms and hail, I wonder how noisy it would be on the glass!

Millennium Dome  Millenium Dome doorway
These people are preparing to walk up the roof of the Dome. They have to wear special clothing and be tethered with ropes. The Dome is also called the O2 Centre and this doorway lets you know that is what it is.

Angel helpers  Pigeon  Writing on paving
Inside there were lots of angel helpers, but they were not flying about today. The pigeon was outside ready to give them flying lessons but he did not find any takers! Outside there are bits to read on the path. I like this one, but I did not feel I was moving at all.

Thames Barrier woodland area  Thames Barrier woodland area stone table
We expected to see the extra high tide at Greenwich but it was not there! So we took the bus to the Thames Barrier site at Charlton, where we thought the barriers be raised to hold it back. Here is a little woodland area, with rocks and spring flowers. This stone table would look better with a picnic on it.

Thames Barrier woodland area daffodils
This enclosed area has a small pond inside. These daffodils have made a break for freedom outside the fence!

Thames Barrier extra high tide  Thames Barrier extra high tide
We came here to see the extra high tide. The river came up over the pathway. We just looked from the high bank. It was quite a chilly wind.

Thames Barrier cafe mural
There is a cafe further along and this huge mural has been filled in with crayons. I would like to have a mural like this! Maybe I should draw my own. We were getting quite cold so we did not stay very long after we had got all our photos.

23 March

Straw rafts aroudn frogspawn  Frogspawn
I have made some straw rafts to protect the frogspawn from the fishes. I think the dots are getting bigger.

24 March

Daffodils  Mirror infinity effect
After some shopping, we walked through the parkland to see the areas of daffodils. All the creamy ones were out but the yellows are only just starting. We went into Hall Place Gardens. In the toilets I noticed this amazing infinity effect between the mirrors that are on opposite walls.

Daffodils  Apple blossom
The daffodil meadow was a bit disappointing, as there were not many of them out, and also not a lot of bud heads either, but lots of leaves. I think the bulbs are having a resting year. I had to concentrate on taking close up photos, and it was a good thing the blossom branches were hanging down very low for us!

Pink blossom  Forsythia blossom
I think this big shrub is a Viburnum Bodnantense, the flowers are very fragrant. The brightest ones were the forsythia and they were a lot yellower than in the photograph, as the bushes are very big.

Catkins  Clearing under tree
Brown Teddy likes these catkins all hanging down like decorations. I like these clearings under the big trees, and in the summer when the leaves are out it will be a dark shady hide-away.

Heather and dogwood  Weir
These are heathers and the orange stems of dogwood, with red tips. It really lights up when the sun is on it. The big weir was in full flow and there is often a big log or tree trunk hanging over the edge. I think by next time the gardeners will have removed it, but it would be interesting to see it going over the edge on its own!

I got my daffodils picture at last, this is on the verge opposite the bus stop and I had to be quick on the camera button, as cars kept going past and hiding it.

30 March

Young swan  Moorhen nest
Sometimes a swan visits my park and this seems to be a young one as he still has some brown feathers. The ducks and coots are beginning to build their nests around the island where they are much safer.

31 March

Easter eggs display  Display of plug plants
I just love Easter Egg displays in shop windows. We went to Coolings Garden Centre. This display is plug plants and the pictures look like the flowers are already out.

Ceramic geckos  Fish sculpture
I really like these ceramic geckos but I would have to buy three to get all the colours. Fish sculptures are quite popular in garden centres to go with the fountains on sale. My pond at home has the real thing, though.

Dolphin topiary bush  Tea room ceiling
Not another fish but a dolphin topiary bush. It needs to green up a bit more. This is the ceiling of Arthur's Tea Room with Easter egg paper lamp decorations and rows of enamelled watering cans on all the beams. I like these wooden ceilings, they are much more interesting than flat white ones.



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