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Diary – 2016 August


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3 August

This milestone is in Beckenham near St George's Church. I had to zoom in from the other side of the road, which is why I had not noticed it before. Next time I will cross over and get a photo of the other two sides.

5 August

This Cabbage White butterfly is almost invisible on the euonymus bush and I only knew he was there because I saw him land. The fish are enjoying the sunny weather and like to lounge about in this warm sunny corner of the pond.

7 August

Today we went to the Barbican which is an arts and theatre centre in London, to see the roof conservatory.

I like the winding brick wall which you can sit on. This is a bougainvillea climbing up the struts.

Teddy found some more struts with no plants on and was wondering what else there was that could climb up them. Here is the pond in the middle, half hidden by the plants.

We went up to the high walkway for a better view over the pond.

Off to one side is the arid house full of cacti and succulents. I like these star-shaped ones.

This hanging basket plant looks like a green wig. Here is the gardener's corner, all tidy and ready for the next batch of cactus potting.

On the other side, past the café, is a fantastic clear shallow pool full of gravel and lots of fish. You can sit on the side wall and watch them swim past.

Outside we saw this piece of London Wall from Roman times. These raised areas are made of very old gravestones laid flat.

We walked through Moorgate and found this plaque for Armorers and Brasiers. This is a statue called the Gardener. I think he will be wanting a hot shower for his aching back quite soon!

We were early for our train so we walked across Blackfriars bridge from where we could see the railway bridge.

Back home we shooed a frog off the path and back into the pond. In his hurry, he hid under this waterlily leaf for a while. Frogs don't normally sit on lily leaves, because there is no hiding place, but this place had an extra leaf to hide under.

9 August

I keep seeing moths sleeping through the day on my speckly wall in the garden. This brown moth decided to hang out in my porch and that often happens if the window is left open all night.

10 August

Here is Dino saying Hi to the new tree loppers. They are both very good at munching things up!

14 August

Today we went to the village of Harmondsworth which is just north of Heathrow Airport in West London. We went to see the Great Barn. The signs were all looking good!

Here it is, the very old Great Barn with a new roof. There are three big double doors and the first one is on the left out of the picture.

What a sight! This oak barn is 600 years old and 190 feet long. The poster shows all the Kings and Queens who have reigned while this barn was still standing. A lot has happened and the barn just kept on barning!

There are chinks of light coming through all the weatherboards and lots of spiders' webs glowing like wall lamps. Here are two sheaves like the ones that would have been brought in, stored, and then threshed.

This is a laser beam composite picture of the barn, so that accurate drawings could be made of the barn. The blues show the dark and light areas of the barn, where different amounts of light were reflected from the laser beam.

Up close, the bases of the posts are very grey and dry looking, but the view of the roof is all a lovely golden honey brown.

There are some hatches along the back wall, made inthe 18th or 19th century, for the sheaves to be thrown outside for the threshing machine. This table shows the animals that have been seen here, owls, bats and rodents.

At the far end Brown Teddy found this pallet full of the old timbers that had been taken off and replaced. They keep everything as it is important historical material. Here is a repair to keep one of the lower beams in place. It has to be galvanised metal so that it does not rust and make things worse.

Looking back down the barn, the far end is a very long way off!

Here is a table showing different tiles, some original. The one at the bottom is an original and has two deer footprints in it from when it was wet clay 600 years ago. Here are some examples of oak pegs that would have held the tiles on.

We went outside and round the back. This part is quite blackened. Here you can where see the old pieces have been attached to new ones, to keep it repaired but also keep the historical wood.

This is the back view. If you just saw the roof, you wouldn't be able to guess how old it all is inside. Now the inside is completely protected from the weather and will last lots more hundreds of years.

Just outside the barn is a granary, but it is a relocated one and I think not so old. It is standing on staddle stones, which are designed so that rats and mice can't climb up and into the grain store. It also keeps the building and grain dry, and ventilated underneath.

16 August

We saw this railtrack checking train come through, as we were waiting for our train.

We went to Regent's Park in Central London. Everything is on a grand scale including this wonderful fountain. Another fountain (not working) has these fierce winged lions underneath. On top a wood pigeon was sitting in the water having a soak.

The gardens are very formal. Next we went to the rose garden. There were lots of roses but I think we missed the best of the display by a couple of months.

Blue Parrot enjoyed watching these tall flowering plants waving in the breeze. We were sitting near the pond and eventually the two black swans came up to the edge.

Then Brown Teddy and I went round to each find our favourite rose.

Near the pond is a dinosaur bit of the garden, with tree ferns and blobby rocks that look like tiny volcanoes. The waterfall is really high and makes a lot of noise, very welcome on a hot day.

I stood on the bridge and watched the cascades and another wood pigeon having a bath

This wisteria bridge leads to an island in the middle of the big pond.

On the island there are inlets and rock bridges over them, plus a wooden bridge.

The gardener is raking out the blanket weed. It is a big pond so there is a lot of it. This bridge goes through the reed bed.

I was glad to see some speckled pigeons, as they look so smart.

The main lake had an area of duckweed at one end. This coot was swimming through and the weed was closing in behind him.

All the lamp posts have ER (Elizabeth Regina which means Queen Elizabeth) on them. This is part of the Regent's Canal and we will have to come back another day to walk along that.

We went past the Lost Property Office in Baker Street. In the window were some quite old lost things including an enormous mobile phone from 1988.

20 August

Today we went to the London Fire Brigade 150 years celebration. We went past this park with hundreds of pigeons lazing in the sun, waiting for an easy meal. This tree has grown over the railing and swallowed the tops! It looks like lava flowing down.

This is a corner of the grounds of the Imperial War Museum, a wild flower meadow. I like this inflatable entrance. The celebration was called "Safe In The City". 

We saw all the fire engines, modern and old ones.

This is an old Panda police car, I think from the 1960's. This actress lady was talking about life in the war and the fires from the bombing.

This is a pretending collapsed building to demonstrate how to find people trapped.

We watched a demonstration of getting people out of car accidents. The man is holding the "Jaws of Life" metal cutter. The man said there is a "Golden Hour" for getting people out of the accident scene, for the best chance of recovery.

This is a steam driven fire engine. The sound of the engine was almost musical. This old fire engine has a telescopic ladder on the back.

Before going home, we had a look around the South Bank. This is the London Eye and over the Thames are the Houses of Parliament.


22 August

This is where the fish like to hang out in the hot weather, with their heads under the plants that we have let grow out over the water, and they can find snacks in there as well.

Here I am helping to make a shelf to put on the garden fence post, to hold up the aerator pump. I will paint it with black bitumen paint to make it last through the wet weather. This passion flower is growing along the wires very fast, a bit too fast!

I was surprised to see the frog, it is a reminder to be careful when clearing up under the larger plants where there might be a frog in the shade.

23 August

Another hiding frog. I had put some garden seat covers and plastic bags over the newly-planted wallflowers, to protect them from the sun while they settle in, and it seems the frogs like the damp shade as well. I moved the bag and he jumped out, so he was relocated to the water's edge at the pond.


26 August

This is Borough Market which is underneath the railway at London Bridge Station. It is full of food stalls, with wonderful looking dishes. Each stall specialises in mainly one type of food. My favourite was this delicious looking fruit stall.

In one corner of Borough Market is this glass roof covered in leaf patterns. There were some starlings walking around and flying around looking for leftovers, but I am glad to say all the stalls had parasols and tents over them!

We went into Southwark Cathedral which is right next to the market. This picture is all embroidery, it must have taken months to make, maybe years! I like the way that Mary had a little red sleeve showing to match the Baby Jesus's halo.

I really like this embroidery, it is almost all gold and doesn't the hair look wonderfully silky and glowing with a special light!

We all love stained glass windows. The last one is a more modern one.

This dove is on a wall plaque, and the eagle is a lectern at the altar end.

Outside is an "old rugged cross", held in its hole by some extra pieces of rough wood. Round the corner is this cross shaped planter but unfortunately the lavender plants were suffering in the dry weather. Maybe they should plant it with "sempervivum" which puts up with dry and it means "ever living", very appropriate.

This is the big building we have come to see, the curved one in the middle. We will be going to the top to see the Sky Garden. This wall of plants is opposite the entrance on the south side. We passed through security on the ground floor where they X-rayed our bags.

We whizzed up in the lift to the 35th floor in about 20 seconds! Then we went straight out onto the open air viewing terrace. What a wonderful view over London on a clear sunny day. We were surprised how green the whole city is, with trees and green spaces dotted everywhere, as well as the larger parks. We could even see to the countryside beyond London.

The plants slope up in terraces all the way to the back, with tropical plants and palms.

This is the front big window with the viewing terrace outside. The second picture is the back view looking northwards. We stayed about an hour but we will definitely be coming back again.


27 August

Today we went to see Croxley Great Barn in Rickmansworth. We went up a lane and across a bridge over the stream. The barn is behind all these trees.

Here is Stephen of SPAB* telling us all about the history. He told us how you can tell what has happened because of the different types of bricks, cement and flints in the repairs. He knows so much about it!

*Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

It is about 600 years old. It is still very rough inside, which means it is really good for archaeology and finding out all its history.

Here are the types of tools that the carpenters would have used. Stephen is showing us the archaeology that is still undisturbed under our feet waiting to be documented and protected.

28 August

I moved some pots and buckets, and I am wondering whether Mr Frog is the same one that I saw on 22 August. It is quite shady and damp in this corner where the hosepipe is stored.


29 August

Today we went to Greenwich Peninsula. I was amazed at this prickly cactus pillow, teapot and cruet set! I much preferred this toy jellyfish aquarium, they looked so real!

Here are people going up the roof of the O2 Building, not for the very young or old! Everyone has to be tethered as they go up and down.

We walked on to see the Emirates cable cars that cross the river. This steel sculpture is called Quantum Cloud out on a jetty in the river and has a shadowy human figure in it when seen from the shore. We were off to one side but you can see the shadow in the middle.

We took the Docklands Light Railway to Pontoon Dock on the north side of the river. The long cutting has been made into a garden of wavy yew bushes. It is quite spectacular, and is best seen from the paths on either side or the bridge that crosses it at one end.

This is the Thames Barrier at Pontoon Dock, looking down river. The tide was going out and the seagulls were sitting on the sandbank waiting for the mud to appear.

The crows were have a good time on the beach turning stones and finding things to eat. The cormorant is drying his wings after a diving session. The Thames is very muddy so I think he must find his find his food by feel rather than sight.

We went back to London Bridge. This is the first day of opening of the new concourse which is below track level. It is very smart and spacious, and there is plenty of room for rush hour crowds.

Now that the concourse is finished, they are now working on the remaining old tracks. It is interesting to see the progress each time we go past on the train.

30 August

The pond water is now very clear and we can see to the bottom. We can watch the crumbs float down to the shelves and see the fishes poking about and clearing it all up.




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