We always stay up
until midnight, and watch the clock change over. Sometimes we are
snuggled on our beanbag bed waiting, and then get up at about five
minutes to twelve.
Near our house
people always let off fireworks, so I took a video from my bedroom
I like New Year's
Day to be bright and sunny, but it was also a cold frosty night, and
these frost flowers were on the car windscreen.
I thought this was
a little bit of snow, but it is foam from someone washing something
This is winter
jasmine, it has been flowering all through December. These are
pulmonarias, they usually flower about February, so these are extra
early, because the weather has stayed quite mild.
Today was very
cold, wet and rainy all day, so I stayed indoors and read my books. I
like to read books that show photos of gardens on sunny summer days, and
I remember my garden when all the flowers were out, and look forward to
next summer as well.
Today we went to
Purley which is in south west London. The first part of the name means
that pear trees used to be grown there in orchards. The station is very
welcoming with hanging baskets. In the walkway tunnel there is a lovely
painting of the bridge and a train, but a bit difficult to photograph
because of the perspex in front of it. But I am glad it is protected, so
the artist's hard work does not get spoiled.
Then we went to
Caterham nearby, which is another old fashioned and tidy station, with
more hanging baskets. On the way home, just past Caterham, I was hoping
to get a video of the part where the trains make a loud diddly dum noise
on the old tracks, like we heard on the way up here, but it seems the
eastbound line is different from the westbound line in sound effects!
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Today we went on an
outing up to London. On the way I saw this lovely full size rainbow, the
sun was behind us and some showery clouds in front.
We went to the
Science Museum in Kensington. The ground floor is full of historic steam
engines and machinery.
I like this print
of James Watt, showing him taking an interest in the action of the steam
from the kettle. Later on he became an engineer and made big
improvements in the existing steam engines. There is a room where they
have assembled all of his laboratory experiment bits and pieces, with
thousands of items. Everything is behind glass.
The second picture is the Puffing Billy Locomotive of 1814, the oldest
in the world. It pulled coal wagons along a 5-mile track to the River
Tyne for loading onto ships.
Stephenson's Rocket Locomotive of 1829. The second picture is The Grand
Junction Railway Locomotive Columbine of 1845.
This box is full of
souvenirs of the original Atlantic telegraph cables. I like this motor
tricycle of 1899 and I can imagine it made a bit of a racket as it went
This is a Noiseless
Typewriter of 1921. This adding machine looks very interesting and
probably made some strange noises when the handle was turned.
This is a Budding
lawnmower of 1832, the first ever made. Edwin Budding copied the
rotating cutters that were used to trim the pile on velvet cloths and
made it into a gardening tool instead. It replaced the scythe that
gardeners used and made it possible to have a lawn with short smooth
grass. Next we made our way to the space travel part. In the hallway is
a Foucault's Pendulum, which is hanging from the roof several floors
above. The direction of the swinging moves in a gradual circle, which
proves that the earth is spinning.
earth is hanging from wires but looks as if it is floating. The
illuminations on keep changing, and people sit around it and listen to
the narrator. This is a model of the moon lander.
The astronaut is
going for a walk! Here is the food they eat, all in flat plastic bags so
that they can suck it out. If they ate as normal, the food would float
about because of the zero gravity.
This piece of
moon rock is "olivine basalt" from a lava flow billions of years ago. It
is kept in a nitrogen-filled triangular glass case. It looks like a
piece of concrete breeze block.
I like this fun
jokey porthole, showing a view of the moon's surface, with the lander in
the distance, and a deckchair, snack and sun block cream, ready for some
After we left the
Science Museum, we went past the Natural History Museum which is right
next door. I was very interested to see how an ice rink is taken down.
Everything was very wet and muddy, but the Christmas tree was still
there. This is the entrance to South Kensington Station. We like to take
pictures of old station entrances, before they get replaced. The old
ones are always very handsome and decorative.
We ate our snacks
by the River Thames. We threw some bits of bread to the seagulls and
they caught most of them in mid-air. One seagull even snatched a piece
out of the fingers! We then went on to Somerset House to see if anyone
was still skating. It was not so crowded as before, but still fun to
House there were some rooms with an exhibition of the Tintin cartoon
stories and history. The floors were quite interesting as well with
beautiful floral wood inlays.
At the end of the
corridor is Nelsons Stair. We went up but it didn't lead anywhere that
we could go.
We went home from
Charing Cross Station. This is the view from the end of the platform
over Hungerford Bridge. This is our train just crossing from one
track to the other. It was getting a bit chilly so we were glad to be
sitting in a warm train on the way home.
We went to
Richmond. I like this pub sign of an old-fashioned steam engine coming
out of a tunnel. The gulls were sitting on the boats near where people
have their sandwiches, but there were not many people about.
This is looking
left towards the main bridge, and right towards downriver. The sun nearly
came out for a few seconds here and there.
The high water
level was creeping up a road called Water Lane. I think this road
was made with these granite strips so boats could be wheeled down on
We were early
getting on our train and so we had another snack whilst watching the
other trains come and go.
This is Canary
Wharf. We looked at all the different fountains, not so inviting on a cool
winter day. These sculptures have their back to the fountain and are
discussing whether they think the sun will come out today. I think the
answer is no!
This is my
favourite one, cascading steps, it is quite noisy and just right for a hot summer day.
This second one has blue tiles so it looks more like a swimming pool.
There is a lot of
big building work going on in Canary Wharf. We stood for a while
watching the trucks go through the wheel wash.
There is a small
greenery dotted around Canary Wharf, wherever they can fit it in between
the high rises, mostly clipped box plants in blobs and cubes. I think it
makes maintenance easy. Some of the steel containers have small flowers to
help things along.
This sculpture in
Westferry Circus is like a brick chimney. Close up it looks like they
are not cemented in! I hope there is something helping them stay in
looks like a very cosy Fair Isle sweater, one I would like to have been
wearing that day, with the chilly breezes coming off the river.
This is the
riverfront near Westferry Circus. It was better last time when it was
bright and sunny. The river was cold and muddy looking.
Back to the central
garden in Westferry Circus. I really like these sculptures, firstly a
delicious Easter egg, it's called Sasso Cosmico which is Italian for
Cosmic Stone. It is not chocolate but bronze and steel and the idea is
that all the surfaces reflect the flowers and sky. The second did not
have any title, but I think it looks a bit like a dolphin diving back
into the sea (if you imagine a tail on it).
This is not artwork
but a seat with a solar panel and a phone recharging terminal. The
gates are very decorative with twining plants and trumpet flowers.
This is West India
Quay DLR station, not a pretty place but very beautiful if that is your
train coming along, with lots of warm comfortable seats inside!
We changed to main
line trains, and watched this very long goods train go past. It sounded
rumbling and very heavy and it made the lines creak and squeak. It must
have been full of rocks.
We stopped for a
while at Greenwich. It was low tide with not much happening apart from a
few Thames Clippers going up and down.
We woke up to a
covering of snow. By the end of the day, the rain had cleared the paths
and roads. I have been waiting several years to see my greenhouse
covered in snow, although it did not get a good grip and slid off.
We went to Amersham
in north west London. There was still a tiny bit of snow along the fence
edge of the platform. They have a very interesting notice board on the
platform, showing old trains and lots of history.
Everything is more
old fashioned, just as I like it, although the bridge could do with a
bit of a clean.
We went home via
Marylebone main station in London. I like to see the underground
headlights as they come through the tunnel, and you can always feel the
wind ahead of it.
One of my better
sunset photos, this cloud is very high and catching the setting
Another trip on the
trains. These are passenger plugs so people can use their laptops whilst
travelling to work. Brown Teddy said the tables are best used for
sorting out our chocolate snacks and I agree.
This is Chesham
Station. They have lots of historic photos and Stations in Bloom
information around the walls. This is the old water tower on the station
from when the trains were steam powered and needed filling up.
I like this sign in
the town centre, some signs have a curved arrow to show that the place
is around a corner, but this one has the sign itself curved. This window
is a shop where parents and children can stay and play. It is all
dinosaurs enjoying the greenery. Looks like they have eaten all the
leaves off their tree, though!
This sweet shop has
a teddy bears' picnic, and in the opposite window lots of older sweet
packet wrappers that people like to remember from their past.
This is the crest
on the sign leading to the town hall. It says "Serve One Another". The
clock tower is very smart in brick and flint and gold edging.
Back on Chesham
Station this is the old signal box. On the way home we zoomed past these
fields full of growing Christmas trees.
Next we went to
Pinner, where they like their flower displays, there were lots of
planters bolted to the railings. But best of all, everyone in Pinner
seems to like fantastic cakes smothered in interesting icing and cream.
High Street is
completely full of very old timber framed houses. This is The Queen's
Head pub, which has been here since 1540, but originally called The
Crown. It may even be older than that, or at least the ale house that
was there before this one.
Even more fabulous
cakes in the shop windows and chocolates advertised on the swing board.
I feel it is Christmas all over again!
This is the
indicator board at Uxbridge Station. Over the main station entrance is
this lovely stained glass window, seen from inside.
The left window
shows three "seaxes" to stand for Middlesex, and the swan stands for
These are "winged
wheels with leaf springs" over the station entrance.
Inside the shopping
mall are lots of little stalls and boutiques. I like these little
cottages but can't decide which one I want to live in. The one at top
left looks quite roomy. The flower stall made it feel like summer,
although it was cold and breezy outside in the street.
We had a look round
Ruislip. Someone on Ruislip Station couldn't resist dotting the I's. We
suspect it is chewing gum but as it was on the opposite platform, we
couldn't check up. After our chilly day out, Blue Parrot suggested we
finish off the little Christmas puddings with some thick custard. That
was the best idea of the day.
It is officially
midwinter but there are daffodils coming out everywhere. The snowdrop
has got it right, it is a January plant, so at least that is normal.
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