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Diary 2016 January


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1 January

Waiting for midnight
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.

Fireworks 1 Fireworks 2 Fireworks 3 Fireworks 4
Near our house people always let off fireworks, so I took a video from my bedroom window.

Dawn sky  Frost flowers on glass
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.

2 January

Foam not snow
I thought this was a little bit of snow, but it is foam from someone washing something outside!

Winter jasmine  Pulmonaria
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.

3 January

Rainy pond
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.

5 January

Purley Station  Purley Station artwork
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.

Caterham Station  On the Caterham train
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!


7 January

Full arc rainbow
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.

Science Museum hall  Steam engine
We went to the Science Museum in Kensington. The ground floor is full of historic steam engines and machinery.

James Watt print  James Watt workshop
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.

Engines  Puffing Billy Locomotive
Engines everywhere! 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  Columbine Locomotive
This is Stephenson's Rocket Locomotive of 1829. The second picture is The Grand Junction Railway Locomotive Columbine of 1845.

Box of Atlantic cable souvenirs  Motor tricycle
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 along.

Noiseless typewriter  Adding machine
This is a Noiseless Typewriter of 1921. This adding machine looks very interesting and probably made some strange noises when the handle was turned.

Budding lawnmower  Foucault's Pendulum
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.

Illuminated earth  Moon lander
This illuminated 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.

Astronaut suit  Astronaut food packets
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.

Moon rock in glass case  Moon rock closeup
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.

Fun porthole view of moon surface
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 relaxation time!

Taking ice rink down  South Kensington Station frontage
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.

Swooping seagulls  Somerset House skating
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 watch.

Tintin exhibition  Wood inlay floor
Inside Somerset 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.

Nelsons Stair  Nelsons stair roof light
At the end of the corridor is Nelsons Stair. We went up but it didn't lead anywhere that we could go. 

View from Charing Cross Station over bridge  Training coming in to Charing Cross Station
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.

9 January

Richmond Railway Tavern sign  Seagulls on boat
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.

Richmond upriver view  Richmond downriver view
This is looking left towards the main bridge, and right towards downriver. The sun nearly came out for a few seconds here and there.

Richmond high water  Water Lane
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 their trolleys.

Waterloo Station
We were early getting on our train and so we had another snack whilst watching the other trains come and go.

13 January

Canary Wharf fountain  Canary Wharf sculpture
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!

Canary Wharf fountain  Canary Wharf fountain
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.

Canary Wharf building site  Wheel wash
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.

Clipped box balls  Clipped box cube
There is a small amount of 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.

Brick chimney sculpture  Closeup of brick chimney sculpture
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 place. It 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.

River Thames at Westferry Circus
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.

Westferry Circus sculpture  Westferry Circus sculpture
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).

Solar charging bench  Gate decorative ironwork
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.

DLR structure  DRL structure
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!

Goods train wagons  Goods train diesel engine
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.

River Thames at Greenwich
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.

17 January

Snowy garden  Snow on greenhouse
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.

18 January

Amersham station sign and snow  Amersham Station noticeboard
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.

Amersham Station clock  Amersham Station bridge
Everything is more old fashioned, just as I like it, although the bridge could do with a bit of a clean.

Marylebone Station London  Marylebone tube station
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.

22 January

Sunset high clouds
One of my better sunset photos, this cloud is very high and catching the setting sunlight.

25 January

Plugs on train  Brown Teddy on train
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.

Chesham Station posters  Chesham Station old water tower
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.

Chesham signpost  Shop window dinosaurs
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!

Shop widow teddies picnic  Shop window sweet packets
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.

Chesham crest  Chesham clock tower
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.

Chesham Station signal box  Christmas tree farm
Back on Chesham Station this is the old signal box. On the way home we zoomed past these fields full of growing Christmas trees.

Pinner planter with flowers  Cake shop window
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.

Pinner timber framed houses The Queen's Head
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.

Cake shop window  Chocolates advertising board
Even more fabulous cakes in the shop windows and chocolates advertised on the swing board. I feel it is Christmas all over again!

28 January

Uxbridge Station indicator board  Uxbridge Station stained glass central window
This is the indicator board at Uxbridge Station. Over the main station entrance is this lovely stained glass window, seen from inside.

Uxbridge Station stained glass left window  Uxbridge Station stained glass right window
The left window shows three "seaxes" to stand for Middlesex, and the swan stands for Buckinghamshire.

Uxbridge Station entrance
These are "winged wheels with leaf springs" over the station entrance.

Model cottages  Plant and flower stall
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.

Ruislip Station sign  Christmas pudding
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.

29 January

Early daffodil  Snowdrop
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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