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Diary 2016 April

 

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2 April


The fish are swimming about more, now that the weather is milder.

 
The fish like to lounge about in the weed, but this is a bit too close to the frogspawn. We built a raft of straw wrapped in pond netting and placed it as a barrier in front of the frogspawn.

 
A friend bought me this lovely variegated perennial wallflower when we were the garden centre. I am keeping it in the greenhouse so it doesn't get attacked by snails. This wood pigeon has taken to sitting on the greenhouse roof. This is not a good idea as I like my glass to stay clean!

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3 April

 
Today we went to see Croydon Airport Museum open day. The airport buildings are now offices. There is a huge aircraft outside, held up on stays and you walk underneath to get to the entrance.


Croydon Airport was the first international airport in the world, just when airplanes began to take passengers. It is a very important historic site in the history of aviation.

 
The booking hall is now a smart foyer, with a new reception area in the middle. All the walls are covered in pictures of the airport's history. There is so much to see. We watched a video from a comfy sofa seat, while waiting for our tour to begin.


This is a print of the booking hall as it was. The clocks are showing the time of the flight departures, as our guide told us, and not the world times.

 
Here is the insignia over the door at the rear. Just behind the reception desk area is a glass case with a model of the whole of the airport as it was. This building can be seen on the far right in a darker grey.


These insignia are very smart, I like the "Nil Time" one which means "Fear Nothing", but my favourite is the Swift at bottom right.

 
Through the back door are more corridors line with lots of prints of photos and paintings. These colourful ones are interesting for their history and also for how well they are drawn and painted.

 
I wish there were aircraft landing and taking off, before we proceeded! Our guide took us upstairs, with even more prints on all the walls. Blue Parrot wanted to fly up but we said no, you will miss all the pictures, so he stayed with us as we walked up.

 
This is an Imperial Airways poster. Brown Teddy was very interested in these caricature drawings of people in aviation.

 
Upstairs there are two rooms with lots of exhibits. We were told how these huge wooden propellers were made in two pieces and bolted together, so that they could fit inside an airplane and be flown out as spares. The second room was chock full of interesting things and it took some time to look at it all. There were some old airplane seats as well, and posters and prints up at the windows.

 
Everything you can think off has been collected and shown in the cases, it is all so interesting to see the real items rather than just information in books. I really like this embroidered postcard of a flight insignia with wings.

 
Then we went up more stairs to the control tower. In one corner is a room made up to look like how it was in the past, and you have to look through windows to see it. These little planes would really like to take off and fly round Croydon Airport, maybe they do when no-one is watching!


A family and children were gathered around the the flight simulator, with an aircraft seat, joystick and the simulator programme on the computer screen, and the guide telling the boy what to do next. I think the little boy operating it wanted to become a pilot straight away!

 
This is a photo of the last flight to take off from the airport in 1959, and the control tower that we are standing in. The second photo shows the history of Croydon Airport as the "Birthplace of Air Traffic Control." We had a really wonderful time and our guides told us all sorts of things that they experienced during the war when they lived in Croydon.

 
On the way home Blue Parrot could not make up his mind which seat to sit in. I like to stay by the window, and see the countryside go past. Here we are going past some allotments just past the town of Purley.

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4 April

 
Today I went to Hall Place gardens to see how the daffodil meadow is doing. It was magnificent two years ago, but last year and this year there are not so many. I had to zoom in the camera to the good clumps.

 
It was an opportunity to go for closeups with the sun shining through. Brown Teddy was a bit alarmed at this tree with holes in the trunk, but I think it will survive and flower OK.

 
Blue Parrot was the first to find some blossom, these red buds will open out and become pale pink eventually. We heard a robin up in the tree and got about two minutes of closeup video of him singing loudly.


I think there were only three trees with blossom out. It will be really good when they are all out which will be a few weeks from now.


As we left the park, lots of families with children were arriving to have their afternoon picnics and run around, as the sun had come out more and the clouds had gone.

6 April


This robin has taken to sitting outside my kitchen window waiting for a pink bird food pellet. He is very patient, but sometimes he flutters to get our attention.

7 April

 
A good day for bird spotting, a pied wagtail in the boating pond which is still being filled up, and a white egret wading through the shallow river nearby.

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8 April

 
Today we went to the pier at Erith, called Erith Deep Wharf, on the River Thames. There is a very smart clock tower on top of the supermarket that is close by. It reminds me of the top of a lighthouse, and the wind vane is in the form of a sailing ship.

 
The pier goes out and then turns a right angle. The mud has very deep gullies in it, caused by the water eddies around the pier legs. You might disappear if you fell in! This smart pigeon kept walking up and down, but when I threw a crumb from my biscuit, he flew away.


This is the north bank of the river. The mound is artificial, being made up of rubbish landfill that has been landscaped smooth.


This mosaic mural shows the history of Erith, which seems to be mostly things to with ships. It was a good idea to have a seat that faces both ways!


Afterwards we went shopping in Dartford, where I saw this milestone which says 5 miles to London and 7 miles to Gravesend. I am glad they keep the old stones.

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9 April

 
Here are my glorious tulips all out in the sunshine. They don't really last very long, and it's a bit of a surprise when they suddenly die off, so I take lots of photos. This little primrose is growing on the edge of a grassy area, so I will have to move it before it gets mown!

 
The bluebells are all coming out now, and the pink flower at the bottom is a pulmonaria which comes out even earlier. The fish pond is very frothy at the moment, I think it must be the frogspawn doing what washing up liquid does!

12 April


This bold pigeon with the white wingtips keeps visiting the lawn, but we don't feed this type of pigeon. He never gets much, but he does walk around looking very confident and I think he is sometimes surprised that the robin and sparrows get more than he does! If we fed him we would soon have loads of them and that is not the thing to do.

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14 April


This is a tree in Blackheath and we were told once that they were used by aircraft as landscape markers because they are very big and flat.

 
This is Vanbrugh pits on the edge of Blackheath near Greenwich Park. The whole heath used to be like this. It is very stony and no use as farmland, so in past centuries it was dug for gravel. The stones are still here! The holes are quite a bit steeper than they look in the photo. My family used to call them The Dips when they lived here.


We went into Greenwich park. All the circular beds are planted with spring flowers and they will be replaced with summer flowers later on.

 
This nearly white pigeon is one smart bird, and knows that unusually coloured pigeons get more crumbs!

 
These ducks came marching towards us quite quickly, and quacked and squeaked all around our feet. They were saying, "Where's our bread, we know you have come to give us some!". We moved on and Brown Teddy read the wildlife notice board in front of the deer enclosure.

 
I wonder what is inside this ranger's hut? I am guessing maybe gardeners' tools and an electric kettle and a biscuit tin. Blue Parrot noticed that the area beside the big pond has been cleared of the shrubbery and replanted with some spaced out trees, which means the pond can be seen more. We think this knobbly tree is a redwood, which is not native to this country.

 
A lot of the pigeons were sitting around. lazing and sleeping and waiting for people to pass by with crumbs. They are a little bit too well fed and seem to make a bit of a mess around the pond bench areas. I think they need more healthy natural food and more exercise!

 
These logs have been pegged down so they can be used as seats. In the main park they were pruning more of the trees. Most of the trees are quite old and sometimes a whole branch dies off. It is not safe to leave a dead branch on a tree in a park. They turn them into chips and use them around the bases of other trees, to make a neat circular ground covering where the grass does not grow.

 
On the way home we had a look at the Cutty Sark and the flags flying from the rigging. This is the tracks at Lewisham Station. I don't think either of these are level, one is coming downhill and one coming uphill. Our train is the uphill one.

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16 April

 
We went to the Open Day at Richmond Fire Station. Inside we saw Mr Smoke Alarm walking around and shaking hands with the children. It is to remind people to get one to keep their house safe.

 
The children were having a great time climbing in the cabs of the vehicles, and seeing all the equipment.

 
The most popular was this vintage fire engine with extending latter. There are lots of wheels to turn and things to investigate. Children were climbing all over.

 
The best part was the bell, which children were ringing every few moments. This is the logo on another vintage vehicle. The Lion and red cross stands for England and the wavy line is the Thames going through London. LCC stands for London County Council.

 
This vehicle is quite old but still very smart looking and children were enjoying sitting in the driving seat.

 
The firemen gave a demonstration of cutting up a car, like they do to free someone in an accident. These hydraulic cutting pincers are gigantic! The car was an abandoned one which would have gone to the breaker's yard anyway. This one has been jacked up so that it doesn't collapse after all the cutting.

 
Here is the tower they use for fire practice, with a beautiful crown of white mobile phone masts. The display board had lots of pictures from the past, showing huge jets of water in action.

 
On the way home we changed trains at Clapham Junction. It is obvious why it is called junction and I think the signalmen must have quite a busy job, nowadays via the computer rather than pulling levers like in the past. Back at Victoria Station, we were very pleased to see these artificial flowers beautifying platform number 16. 

17 April

 
We were sitting in the greenhouse and this robin sat opposite us waiting for bits of bread. This is Woody the wood pigeon looking through the grass, and we give him some bits as well, as he likes to visit regularly. I am glad he clears up any leftover crumbs, before night time.

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21 April

 
My new rose came today, in this lovely rose-patterned box. The rose was very well packed and the plant is in full leaf and very healthy. It is going to grow really well. I am keeping the rose patterned box as it is too nice to throw away and I will use it to replace another one that is falling to pieces.

 
The rose is Queen of Sweden, a pale pink cupped rose, and I am already certain it is going to be my favourite. I will read the cultivation booklet that came with it so we can look after it properly. This is one of our collared dove friends, who has come down for some of the bird pellets and peanuts. We wait until he hops down onto the lawn before throwing the pellets to him one by one. This avoids the pigeons getting any and he is gradually learning that it is a good idea to eat up very fast!

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23 April

 
We were walking from Charing Cross main station towards the underground, when these two lovely police horses came along the underpass. We took the underground to Fulham, to see the Fulham Fire Station open day.


In the yard was quite a crowd of people and stalls, like a little fairground.

 
The firemen were showing the children the trucks and equipment. This little boy is wearing a toy fireman's hat and is holding the real fire hose. I liked this stall, with bags shaped like little houses.


In the Petting Corner were some small sheep and goats and the children were allowed to give them some milk from a bottle.

 
We then went on to Putney. This is St Mary's Church and on the side is a vertical sundial which says "Time and Tide Stay for No Man". We looked at the shops in the high street. This window is full of stationery all about parrots.

 
We went down the steps to the river. Nothing interesting washed up on the beach! Brown Teddy is looking the other way under Putney Bridge. He likes brown things but definitely not brown river water!


We came here to see the kayaks coming down from central London on their big day out. At last we saw them in the distance. My camera has a good zoom on and the tiny black shapes we saw in the distance turned out to be all very colourful.

 
The tide was still coming in, so they were getting some help paddling upriver. Here they are going under Putney Bridge.

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24 April

 
Today we are going to Perivale in West London, but this is my local high street. We were on the bus and the traffic all stopped. It seems to be the Scouts 30th anniversary, and so we waited about ten minutes while they all went past. They all looked very excited.

 
We took the train to Perivale Station and walked to Perivale Wood Nature Reserve. The owl is saying Walk This Way. Here is a real laid hedge, where the bottoms are half cut and the branches laid down, so that the shoots all grow upwards and make a really solid hedge that liverstock can't get through.

 
The leaflet says there are 3 million bluebells in this wood. It was truly amazing with blue absolutely everywhere. They are all English bluebells, which are smaller and bluer than the bigger Spanish ones.


Lots of people came to the open day, and it was like a party atmosphere, with everyone chatting about the bluebells and taking pictures.

 
They look best when the sun is shining through them, and also when there are other colours in the grass as well.

 
In the meadow, we saw the marvellous Mr Stag, and the Northfields Morris Dancers. I like it when their clash sticks clash together, with a hollow woody sound. They had a man on the violin providing the music.

 
There were stalls all around. This is the worm table. The ground is marked up for the Worm Charming competitions, and on the table are the worm charming instruments. We all know really that it is the vibrations from feet that bring worms up, but it makes a good story to think it was the music!

 
This is a bug hotel, and the netting over it stops any birds from pecking at the insects. This is the archaeology table. I am not surprised they have found tiles and bottles, I find bits in my garden all the time, but I think mine are not nearly so old or interesting.

 
This is the stall for walkers, giving all the information. Here is a slow worm refuge, underneath the corrugated sheet, where nothing can get at them. A slow worm is a legless lizard.

 
Further into the woods, we kept finding sticks and branches in bundles and heaped up to make little boundaries. Blue Parrot likes this pile of sticks, it looks like a nest already!

 
Lots of children were crowded around this tree house. I think it may be used as a wildlife observation platform at other times. Brown Teddy says there must be much more than 3 million bluebells. 

 
At the far end, we went up the steps, and then along a bit, and then down again.

 
It was all very nettly and mossy in this area.


Along the back boundary fence is the Grand Union Canal.

 
Before we went home, we went one station on to Greenford to see some very old semaphore type railway signals.

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26 April

 
The crows are always walking about the roofs, looking out for dinners somewhere. This is one of our regular wood pigeons having a soak in our birdbath. The water will definitely need changing after he has washed his dusty feathers.

27 April

 
We went for a walk around Petts Wood woodland. We found quite a few bluebells, but nothing like the amount we saw at Perivale. This woodland is a lot drier, so not so good for bluebells to spread.

 
This is the Willett Memorial. William Willett campaigned for the introduction of Summer Time, when the clocks go forward, so that daylight hours are not wasted. Dino found a tree trunk that looks like dinosaur skin. By the way, Dino is very smooth because he is a fast running one and doesn't need armoured skin or camouflage colours. At least that is what he says and he should know.

 
Brown Teddy said be careful not to tread on this tiny yew tree that is trying to grow. This stand of tall pine trees is what happens when little seedlings don't get trodden on!

 
At the other end of the wood is the Edlmann Memorial, for the person who bought woods for us all to enjoy. More bluebells here, as it is damper.

 
Yes, here is why it is damper for the bluebells, this is the river Kyd going through the woods. At last a photo of one of the Ring Necked Parakeets that we hear all the time.

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29 April

 
These are some glorious forsythia bushes on Gravel Hill near Bexleyheath. We went to Hall Place Gardens nearby. Some of the grass areas were covered in daisies looking like snow.

 
We went to the daffodil meadow, which is now turning into the blossom meadow. We all have our favourites. I like the flowers to be thick and frilly. Brown Teddy likes the red buds that turn pink.

 
Just a few of the trees were flowering, there are lots more to come. This is the drainage overflow channel. It always has a trickle of water flowing through. The dark green is growing in the water, so you can't cross over to the other side.

 
This is azalea and mahonia.

 
Tulips and irises along the back old brick wall. I am very glad to see a replacement topiary bush has gone in. You can see how big the old one was.

 
A lot of the ducks were sitting around snoozing. Just by the exit gate, Brown Teddy was delighted to find some reddish brown tulips. He likes matching colours!

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30 April

 
This is Paddington Station. It has a lot of decorative ironwork.

 
This is a statue of Paddington Bear, and the stall next to it selling Paddington toys.


Right outside Paddington is the Little Venice area of canals. This is the Canalboat Cavalcade day. I lost count of the number of narrowboats. It was very crowded.

  
These Rosie and Jim dolls are in the right place. We used to watch their TV programme many years ago. The lady would draw pictures of their travels and hide a picture of Duck in it somewhere. Rosie and Jim would always say, "But where's Duck?" and eventually they would find him hidden in the drawing.

 
I like this teddy bear painted boat, but it ought to have a few more flags like all the others!

 
So many flags, I can't see the boats. Ah yes, I can see them all now from the bridge!


I just love maps, this shows the canal routes from here, in and out of London

 
In the little gardens were the children's amusements. I like these giant bubbles on water for children to roll around in.

 
We enjoyed the Punch and Judy show. This is Mr Punch facing Mr Crocodile who has eaten the sausages. After that, we watched Mr Mylo of Trunk Circus, who is a Children's Mime Artist. He did everything by action with no words, and still managed to keep all the children's attention. He was really good. I especially liked the little folded windmill on the fingertip, as well as the juggling oranges.


This boat is made up to look like a duck, to tell people that ducks should not eat bread, but greenery, to keep them alive and healthy.

 
Old sign on the bridge, and smart shiny sign outside the station. The VR stands for Victoria Regina which means Queen Victoria.

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