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Diary 2015 May


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2 May

Another visit from a swan to the park. The swans don't always stay very long. It looks like a younger one as the wings are still a bit brown.

Goose and goslings  Coot and chick
There are lots of baby water birds about now.

Morris dancers
We went on to the shops, where we saw the Morris dancers. There was a loto of jingling from the sets of bells on their legs. Out of the photo is a man playing an accordion. They do some dances, then move to another part of the area.

The Tarn, Eltham  Duckweed
Later on we went to The Tarn Bird Sanctuary in Eltham. It is a small sunken park with a long lake in the middle. This duckweed looks as if you could walk on it. Further along we saw where the wind had blown it all to one end. A reminder that you can't walk on it, it's water not a green field!

Lake and bridge  Butterflies and moths area
At the far end is a bridge with stopping places. At the end is an area planted up for moths and butterflies.

Insect hotel  Holes for insects
These insect hotels are getting quite common now in wildlife areas in parks.


Fountain, Hornfair Park  Fallen almond blossom
We went on to Hornfair Park in Charlton. I was very glad to see a new fountain here. A long time ago it used to be a lily pond and without the fence around. Most of the roads in Charlton are planted with almond trees. I just love to see the pink snow everywhere, it makes up for the trees losing their blossom.

Park exercise equipment  Charlton House
We went to Charlton Park, a few roads away. A lot of parks now have these exercise areas so that people can get fit without having to buy any expensive equipment. This is Charlton House, a Jacobean mansion built in 1607, that is 408 years ago. It is now a community house, holding events, and with a tea shop.

Carving  Seat
There are carvings everywhere on Charlton House, this lion is by the front entrance. The lions and monsters were meant to show the ordinary people who was in charge. The date is on the seat, so no-one gets it wrong!

Stables gardens  Stables building
To one side is a quiet garden in front of what was the stables. It has been covered like this for very many years and our family has always called it the Ivy House, although it is not ivy, it is virginia creeper. I looked it up and it does not damage the walls.

Charlton House clock  Charlton House weather vane
This clock is on the front of Charlton House, I think it must be gold paint, there is too much for it to be real gold! The very ornate weather vane matches all the other decorations on the house.

First mulberry tree  Mulberry branch and stay
This is the very first mulberry tree planted in the country in 1608. Some of the branches have to be supported on iron stays. The leaves were just coming out and it would be good to go back when it is entirely green again.


3 May

Apple tree Sunset  Stripy tulip
This is the best of my new apples trees called Sunset, covered in blossom. I have to remove most of the developing apples though, until the tree is better established. But I will leave a few on to see how they turn out. I forgot about these tulips, I got them because they look like raspberry ripple ice cream, which is one of our favourites.

Knitting in the greenhouse
I spent the afternoon in the greenhouse, helping to finish off the knitting. There are a lot of ends that need darning in and snipping.

Sparrow birdbath  Collared dove
I kept the camera handy as the birdbath is just opposite. Further along our friendly collared dove decided to have a snooze on the fence post.


4 May

Petts Wood May Fayre parade  Petts Wood May Fayre - May Queen
This is the Petts Wood May Fayre. It starts with a march around the area, with a band, the Mayor in his vintage car, then Petts Wood May Queen and entourage in white and green, followed by Orpington May Queen and entourage in pink, and then various dancing school groups.

Petts Wood May Fayre - May Queen crowning  Petts Wood May Fayre - Maypole dancing
The May Queen was crowned in the hall by the Mayor. Later on they dance round the maypole, while everyone watches in a big ring.

Petts Wood May Fayre Reptile Events  Petts Wood May Fayre Reptile Events
Then I went straight to the Reptile Events stand. Here is Jane holding Sandstone, a Woma Python. He is all lovely shades of yellow and orange when the sun is on him. Cobalt the Blue Tongued Skink was having a nap on the table, so his orange eyes are invisible.

Petts Wood May Fayre Reptile Events  Petts Wood May Fayre Reptile Events
There were lots of young helpers doing a good job of showing everyone the various pythons and explaining all about them.

Petts Wood May Fayre  Petts Wood May Fayre
Sweets and cakes stalls everywhere and a funfair in the road nearby.


5 May

Young coot  Goose family
The baby birds in the park are getting a lot bigger. As usual, parent geese have their heads up looking for danger, and also for people stopping and just possibly opening a bread bag!

9 May

Erith roundabout fish sculpture  Erith pier
We went to Erith. This is the fish sculpture on the roundabout, the patterns are all done in mosaic. This flagpole by Erith pier makes me feel I am by the seaside.

Erith pier  Erith pier
We went on Erith pier, whose proper name is Erith Deep Wharf. The mudflats are huge and extremely deep. At the end, the pier turns right in an L shape so there is another long walk.

Erith pier  Erith pier
At the very end is a turntable, and a hut with buffers like a train station.

Starling  Sparrow  Duck
There were lots of birds finding things to eat in the mud.

Erith mural  Erith mural
This beautiful mural is on the side of the former White Hart Pub in Wharfside Close. It was done in 2005 and the artist's name is Drostle.

Artwork in Erith underpass  Erith Station
More interesting artwork in the underpass. I think the artist must have got the idea from a map of the river and all the squares for the houses. We took the train at Erith Station and I am glad the bus went over the bridge just as I was getting a photo of our train was coming!

Cleaning greenhouse  Cleaning greenhouse
In the afternoon we cleaned out the greenhouse. I checked that the guttering was clear and it was my job to rub down the windows with an old teeshirt. There is a lot of glass and I only did the bottom half of the sides!


11 May

Crow sunning  Well Hall Pleasaunce
We went to Well Hall Pleasaunce. In the front flowerbeds, this crow was sunning himself. I checked out the moat, and it was about half covered in duckweed with a lot of blanket weed underneath.

Well Hall Pleasaunce  Well Hall Pleasaunce
The ducks are delighted with their new life-saver ring island! Along the front of the park, I always go and look at the leaning walls. I don't think I would like it if they were straightened somehow.

Well Hall Pleasaunce  Well Hall Pleasaunce
There were lots of mown paths through the woodland meadow part so Brown Teddy had first choice where we went. Underneath all these lovely wild flowers is a small ditch, which I have never seen full of water but maybe one day I will.

Well Hall Pleasaunce  Well Hall Pleasaunce
Further along, the ditch has these lovely ferns on one side, under the shade of the big trees. I really like this rock garden part, as the gravel makes the flowers look brighter.

Well Hall Pleasaunce  Well Hall Pleasaunce
The wisteria pergola was in full flower and the flowers are very sweet smelling. This rock garden corner has always looked a bit empty, but now that I am here at the right time of year, I realise it is a Japanese garden with the red maples against the green moss on the rocks.


13 May

Erith  Erith Deep Wharf
We went back to Erith, and being morning it was high tide. The end of the pier looks entirely different with the water up so high.

Erith sculpture  The Erith Mural
This sculpture is called "Wind, Wave & Sail". Nearby is the Erith Mural showing the history of the area.


16 May

Planting nasturtiums  Fish pond
The tulips will be going off soon, so I am putting some nasturtiums into the same pot and they will grow up a frame that I will put over the pot. The straw island that I put in the pond to protect the tadpoles has sunk a bit now.

Fish pond mud  Last two daffodils
When the fishpond filter mats have to be cleaned, all the mud that comes off them goes round some of the shrubs, as it makes a very good plant feed. These are the very last two daffodils, just miniature ones.

17 May

Blackwall Tunnel entrance northbound  Blackwall Tunnel northbound
Today we went to Stockwood Park in Luton. This is the entrance to Blackwall Tunnel that goes under the River Thames at Greenwich. Blue Parrot tried counting the time it took to get through but was not to good at counting the seconds. I think it is just over two minutes.

Welcome to Luton sign
They have made a new road layout, with new slip roads, new mounds and new shrubs and trees planted with their protective sleeves. I think this sign is just for us!

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
I just love all the big trees in the park, especially this twisty bark one. Lots of the trees have a metal number plate on them.

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
This is the woodland part by the golf course. Blue Parrot decided we should go straight ahead. He really liked this hollow trunk, which is open at both ends, and it would make a good shelter if there was some sudden heavy rain.

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
I was trying to get a picture of the hooded crow going into the nest hole, but thought I was too late. Just as I clicked the camera, he came flying out again. These crows were noisy and chattering all the time.

Stockwood Park
On the path we saw some beautiful pheasant feathers.


Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
In the Discovery Centre they were having a steam engine day. All the machines were working, so there was a lot of chugging and clanking noises, steam and smell of smoke and hot oil.

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
The little open lorry was giving rides around and was never without passengers all the time we were there.

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
There were some tents with smaller models. The model boats and ships had lots of tiny detail.

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
I like all the brass and in this chimney top you can see the park area upsidedown!

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
I like all these greenhouses, I like them when the plants have been watered and everything smells warm and damp and planty. One greenhouse was full of these lovely big ferns, and it had army style camouflage netting up at the ceiling to keep the plants from scorching, but it was still quite hot inside.

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
Dino had a great time talking to the chickens in the Wartime Dig For Victory Garden. Blue Parrot had some good conversations with them as well. I don't know what they were talking about though!

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
This is my favourite part, the Victorian Walled Gardens with lots of box topiary and bedding plants. I am definitely going to put lots of wallflowers in my garden for next year.

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
Dino thought this old farm equipment needs some painting up, but we decided that that would hide all its rusty old history, with all the knocks and bumps. So we hope they will leave it as it is. Inside the Mossman Museum, this Noah's Ark toy had some wonderful sheep that look really woolly.

Stockwood Park  Stockwood Park
There was a display of photos and prints of places around the world. The first picture is a map of the North Pole in 1595, and the second is a world map of 1492 by the Royal Geographical Society.

Driving home  Blackwall Tunnel gatehouse
We drove home in about an hour and a half, and when we see the Blackwall Tunnel gatehouse at Greenwich, we know we are nearly home at last.

19 May

Geese in park  Daisies
Our way through the park was held up by the goose family all sitting on the warm path in the early morning sun. We walked around them and they did not move at all! The grass is completely full of daisies, looking like a hail shower.

20 May

Petals on fishpond  Collared doves
I like it when the hawthorn blossom falls on the fishpond, but I think the fish get a bit fed up with eating bread and pellets with petals attached! Here are our friendly collared doves again.

25 May

Collared dove
The birdbath is a good place to see what's on offer. This dove prefers middle-sized peanuts.

27 May

In the greenhouse  Starlings in birdbath
I spent the afternoon in the greenhouse, helping with the shorthand website writing. I got a really good view of the starlings splashing about in their bath. They are very noisy and leave the water in need of a clean out and filling up.

28 May

Beckenham village sign  Kelsey Park map
We went to look round Beckenham and then went into Kelsey Park, which is long and thin with a beck/stream and lake running through it.

Kelsey Park
The waterfall at the end leads to a higher up lake, which gets wider as you go through the park.

Kelsey Park  Kelsey Park
The edges at this end are filled with giant rheum leaves, about as big as an umbrella. The swan had brought the baby cygnets to get the bread people were throwing.

Kelsey Park  Kelsey Park
The lake is quite wide at the middle and top end. Brown Teddy likes to listen to the woodland birds in order to identify who is singing and making the noises.

Kelsey Park  Kelsey Park
I just love to see the ornamental ducks, but in my own park they often don't stay very long. I like to get photos of unusual pigeons, especially mottled white ones which are more interesting.

Kelsey Park  Kelsey Park
I was really pleased to get a good photo of a thrush at last. Outside the information hut is a wonderful wooden seat with carved birds at each end - owl and swan.

Beckenham Station  Beckenham Station
I don't mind waiting for the train home when the station has interesting ironwork and other old decorations.

30 May

New Addington tram
We went to see what was at New Addington, which is a village near Croydon. The bus journey left town and went through some countryside roads, and then we caught the tram for the last bit. There were only a few shops, but we really enjoyed the trip, seeing new scenery from our usual one.

Gorilla wood carving  Bear wood carving
In New Addington we saw these carvings on one of the green verges. I am guessing they must be made from old tree trunks, and sometimes the trees are still planted in the ground. They both look a bit threatening, as they are not cuddly animals! But the artist has done a good job in making them lifelike. I would not want to meet these when walking home on a foggy night!

West Wickham village sign
On our way home we stopped off at West Wickham. The village sign has a picture of The Stocks Tree. This elm tree stood for centuries at the junction, exactly where the middle of the road is now and underneath the tree were the village stocks, used to punish wrongdoers in past centuries.




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