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Diary 2016 May

 

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2017 Jan
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2014 Jan
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2013 Jan
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2012 Jan-Apr
2012 May-Jun
2012 Jul

2012 Aug
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2011 Jan-Apr
2011 May-Aug
2011 Sep-Dec

2010 Jan-Apr
2010 May-Aug
2010 Sep-Dec

2009 Jan-Apr
2009 May-Aug
2009 Sep-Dec

 

 

 

1 May

 
These are my favourite tulips at the moment. While I was inspecting the flowers, our friendly collared dove was watching me, waiting to see if any food was going to be available.

2 May

7
Today is the Petts Wood May Fayre. This is the Bloco Fogo drumming band leading the parade. The drumming was very loud.

   
Here is the Petts Wood May Queen in her limo, followed by some well known characters.

 
These are the bees on the Orpington Beekeepers stand, with honey and candles for sale.

 
These strips of fur on sticks are meant to be snakes. Here are our friends at the Reptile Events stands. It was too chilly to bring the animals out, but their furry stand-ins didn't mind the breezes. https://sites.google.com/site/rudgereptileevents

 
Look at this marvellous cake, lots of octopus arms coming out of the sea! Loads of cakes everywhere as well, but this fruit stall balances things out a bit in favour of healthy snacks.

 
It would be difficult to choose which hairband to have. These pick-up penguins make a change from pick-up ducks.

 
The Petts Wood May Queen and Maids danced round the maypole, and then afterwards the  Orpington May Queen and Maids did their dances. They have all practised really well. The fairground in the car park was quite crowded and noisy.

3 May

 

 
We went to Church House Gardens in Bromley, which is just behind the busy high street. There are a lot of steps up and down as it is a hillside. At the top we sat under this shelter and had our snack.

 
The sun was shining through all these red and bright green leaves. This is a theatre area with a big semi-circle of wide stone steps and over the little lake there is a stage area.

4 May

 
Today we went to Sydenham Hill Wood nd Brown Teddy is checking up which way we should go. This downward path is Cox's Walk. It is very quiet and soft underfoot with all the old leaves, but there were some deep muddy patches to avoid.

 
At the bottom is another notice board with the features and lines in raised metal, which means it will never wear out. This is a bridge over the old railway track area, which is now just a woodland valley. Blue Parrot said he could get over without a bridge, but he prefers to stay with us!

 
We stopped for a snack in the middle of the woodland. Dino always lets us know when it is time to eat. We continue through the second part of the woodland called Dulwich Wood. This is the Dulwich Estate Emblem, and Donum Dei means Gift of God, which refers to the chapel building called "Christ's Chapel of God's Gift".

 
Brown Teddy was the first to spot the bluebells in one of the shadier areas. Dino found a lot of decaying tree trunks which he thinks have been chewed up by woodland dinosaurs who come out when there is no-one here. It does look like a big bite mark.

 
This looks like an owl box, and the smaller ones look like bat boxes with the little gaps at the bottom.


At the south end of the wood we came out at Sydenham Hill Station, where the long tunnel starts.

 
These mosaics on the station platform wall were made by local young people.

5 May

 
Today we went to Dartford, and after shopping we went through Central Park. I like this part at the end alongside the river Darenth. We went through the tunnel under the main road.

 
It is very echoey in here. At the other end the river enters through a weir. You can't walk here when the river is high and full, because it comes up onto the path and isn't safe. In town we saw a poster for the Steam Rally in the park so we will be coming back in two days.

7 May

 
Back to Dartford for the Steam Rally in Central Park. This one is parked outside the library. We spent some time listening to the band first.

 
This is a mobile forge, with lots of hand made items all around. There were lots of stationary engines and this one was pumping water into a big container.

 
These steam engines are really huge. Their owners have spent a lot of time getting them all shiny and clean for the show.

 
The big organ was playing lots of tunes, most of which we recognised and there were some benches in front for people to sit as they listen. This open top bus was full of children all the time, and grown-ups as well!

 
This is the old Borough of Dartford fire engine. Then we went over to the back field to see all the classic cars. Same as the engines, every one was polished and gleaming.

 
The Routemaster bus is always a favourite for us to see. I think some of these trucks might have given a bit of a bumpy ride, compared with modern cars.

 
These beautiful shire horses were standing still and very happy to be admired by lots of excited children. I liked the row of decorations along their mane and the brasses hanging from the harnesses. After a while, the man led them off across the field.

 
Here is a row of vintage farm tractors and later on they all drove off round the field. There were lots of classic motorbikes, mostly in black and chrome, but this one was by far the best decorated.

 
This is the tent for the Crayford Manor House Astronomical Society, I wonder if they got any new members. I quite like all this but I don't think I could stay awake at night to watch planets through a telescope.


At one end of the big long tent was a Memory Lane part with lots of photos of life in the past in Dartford and the area.

 
These ones show life on the farms and how people lived and worked. Brown Teddy found some of more shire horses pulling ploughs on a farm.


Finally we watched the Punch and Judy show. This is where the Crocodile is creeping up on Mr Punch, who is about to turn around and see him and get a fright. The children were all shouting very loudly to warn him!

8 May

 
We went to Somerset House in Central London. In the central courtyard are these fountains that come out of the paving. People and children were running through them and having a great time. Along the main road there are lots of souvenir shops with London postcards and novelties.

 
This is Covent Garden market area, full of stalls. There are many street performers here, and I like this one of a cat in a little basket. The children were crowding round and stroking the paws.

11 May

 
We went through the park and saw all the usual "pink snow" from the blossom trees. Amazingly, the grass was almost entirely white instead of green, and this "snow" is millions of daisies. It really looks like a snowstorm has been through here.

 
Back in my garden, a near disaster with the pond. The pump hose had broken off from the filter box and the pond water went down the garden instead of back into the pond. Fortunately the fish still had a fair depth of water, but I think they were wondering why their ceiling had lowered! It took three and a half hours to fill it back up again.

13 May

 
We went to Richmond Park in south west London. I like to see these old cattle drinking troughs. This one still has water, but many of them get planted up with flowers. There were deer sitting in the shade. At first, I thought they were more of the old tree trunks and branches that get left lying around the park nowadays.

 
We went to Isabella Plantation. This corner is full of bluebells under the shade of the trees. Brown Teddy was very happy to see his favourite tree trunk here, all variations of shiny brown.

 
Many of the trees have metal identification tags so they can be recorded and managed properly. Blue Parrot said this tree had been managed a bit too much - it had been taken down!! We agreed in the end that there must have been a good reason and they will plant more in all the spaces.

 
There were masses of brilliant azaleas everywhere and we took a lots of photos.

 
Yellow is a bit more unusual for rhododendrons so I am glad I found this one. Brown Teddy could hardly believe the size of these giant white ones.

 
This is a Pocket Handkerchief Tree and they were all waving about in the breeze.

 
This wood pigeon and this crow were very persistent in following us, so they got a few pieces of bread.

 
You can hardly see these deer all sitting in the long grass, which I am sure they are very happy about. They can't hide so well when they are grazing though.

 
We walked down the steep hill. There were no cyclists going dangerously down the hill, I am glad to say, but we did see a few bravely cycling uphill. We left through these very ornate gates, out of the quiet of the park and into the noisy traffic outside.

15 May


A really exciting day today, we went to the Streatham Common Kite Day. It looked like everyone had a kite and there was a good wind to keep them all up in the sky. I was amazed there was no tangling but the common is quite big so people can spread out a bit.

 
This giant crocodile was flying quite low down, and it is held up by another more efficient kite higher up. These are the tethered kites on the tops of flexible poles and in the tent below you can buy any type of kite, from big to very tiny.

 
This one had the best colours, but the shark was the best attention grabber!

   
I really like this purplee fish with his big smile. There were lots of bird ones, crane, swift, owl and falcon.

   
The ocotopus looks very friendly with his arms waving about. I am sure the dragonfly is getting a lot of lift having two sets of wings. These are my favourites, a dragon type creature with a long tail and a whirling streamer one, and both were flying from the top of the flexible poles.

   
These two airplane kites have tails that look like vapour trails. Here is a kite and a real airplane together, although I think the pilot would not see it as it would be too small and low down.

 
After the giant crocodile came down, this giant blue teddy kite went up, and you can see the cord going further up in the sky to the big kite that is holding it up. Anyone too small or young for a kite was having a good time with their windmills on sticks.


This is Streatham Underground station and I really like this chandelier. It is full of energy saving bulbs, which gives it a very neat and smooth look.

17 May


We went to the garden centre and we saw this wonderful plant bus. You could have a lot of fun with that in the garden, especially having a tea party inside when it is raining!

   
These are the bug and bee hotels, which are either bundles of hollow canes in flowerpots, or wood with lots of holes drilled in. Whilst in the cafe, we saw this robin hopping around under the tables for the crumbs, and this wagtail doing the same. Later on there was a dunnock as well, but he was too quick to get a picture of him. There are definitely no crumbs left on the floor for the staff to sweep up.

 
I like this idea, these are houseleeks in a tray, set between pieces of slate, looking like a mountain scree or roof tiles. The most colourful display in the garden centre is this lovely mountain of flowers, and they are all nylon ones. I wish I could fill my greenhouse with all that, but it might be a bit expensive.

18 May


The weather was fine during the day, but by bedtime there was a very heavy and noisy downpour. This is the wettest photo I have ever taken, of the deluge going past the street lamp outside.

19 May

 
Here is our collared dove and one of our regular wood pigeons. We try to feed the dove by waiting until he is going away from the woody, and then throwing a bird pellet at him, because the woody is very quick at running towards food. Later on we went past the park and this coot has made a nest right in the middle of the big pond, the safest place in the park.

 
Here are the Canada Geese and their goslings. Most of the goslings were sitting on the grass and napping, but we knew lots of eyes were watching us.

20 May

 
The train people have decided to put these saw patterns on the door edges, to remind people it is not a good idea to get caught in closing doors. I think it works very well, it looks like teeth waiting to clamp shut and makes you want to stay out of its way. We went to Ilford, and this is the coat of arms on the municipal building, and it says, "In unity progress." On the left is a forester and on the right is the Abbess of Barking Abbey. The stag on top seems to have lost his head.

 
We went to Redbridge Museum in the Central Library. This is a cast of a giant mammoth skull. The museum was upstairs and it was interesting looking down over the white globe lights, a good idea so that no-one has to read their books with shadows falling across them.

 
These are the mammoths that roamed around this area 300,000 years ago, I think I would have come up to about their foot! These are the teeth, with a striped grinding surface to break up the plants they ate.

 
Brown Teddy is looking at a beaver lower jaw. In another case is a huge lower jaw, I think from a rhinoceros, but I didn't take a picture of the caption!

 
On the floor they have put some mammoth prints, but I think they would have been much bigger than that. There were some other exhibits and I like this Jewish Bible because the writing alphabet is very neat and beautiful, although I cannot read it!


At the library entrance is this plaque saying that a time capsule was buried here when the Central Library was constructed.


This is Ilford station, it is very grand and smart with different colour stripes of marble.

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22 May

 
Today we are going to Luton. This is the Blackwall Tunnel entrance at Greenwich. Blue Parrot can never remember how long it is. I think it is about two minutes long, so if you are a passenger resting your eyes, you may miss it altogether!

 
This is Stockwood Park and Dino remembers the golf course. He always wants to come down this path to see the two big dinosaur footprints on the green. He says golfing must be a prehistoric game, and it probably started with old dinosaur eggs being moved around their scrape hole nests in the sand.


Near the football field, we watched a big flock of starlings and their young ones all picking through the grass for grubs. There was a lot of noise from the young starlings.

 
This cut down tree has had a bit left in the centre, so that it makes a good seat. Further along some rocks and old tree trunks are left as seats, and at first they look exactly the same as each other. The stone one is on the right of the photo.

 
Inside the Discovery Centre there was a Steam Exhibition. These are models from the St Albans Model Engineering Society.

 
There were several giants as well, all working with the flywheels running. They are very warm when you get up close. It must be fun to turn this wheel, but a big responsibility as well, as you must not make any mistakes and flatten something!

 
I like theses miniature ones, I think they are used to pull little carts to give people rides. Red and green seem to be the favourite colours for steam vehicles.

 
In the gardens part, Dino discovered this prehistoric looking plant with giant spiky leaves, but he couldn't remember which dinosaur might be eating it. This little fountain has replaced the one that we saw before, which was a raised square of hand painted white tiles but never had the fountain working. It is very good but it could do with a lot more water gushing out to provide some loud gurgling noise and make us feel cool on a hot day.

 
The Victorian Garden is the most interesting. These box hedges need a trim and I don't think the gardeners will be doing it with hand shears! There is a lot of it.

 
This archway path is quite long, and will be even better when the branches grow over the top. The flowerbeds were very colourful, and all the plants are very ordinary ones like bellis daisies and forget-me-nots, but they are very closely planted, which makes it such a good display.

 
Here is Blue Parrot having a talk with one of the Dig For Victory Garden chickens, and I think they were discussing feather maintenance and seed quality. Their home looks very comfortable, with a private hut in the middle, and space to move around.

 
There were some stationary engines in a shed near the museum. More interesting noises, smells and steam.

 
This is a covered area with lots of very old farm implements for tilling the soil. Inside the museum was this model Mammoth, just like the pictures we saw in Ilford a little while ago.

 
My favourite part is the gold coins. These brass ring handles with rams heads decoration would have been part of a wooden and brass bucket. Their horns are very small and their nostrils are big and red.

 
The little square raised fishpond outside the cafe now has a grid over the top which I am pleased about, as it keeps children safe, and the fish safe as well. On the way home, Dino was looking forward to going over the Queen Elizabeth the Second Bridge at Dartford. Good job he woke up from his nap before we got there!

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23 May


This robin is waiting for some bird pellets. Sometimes he flutters about a bit like the sparrows to get our attention but mostly he just sits still looking at us.

26 May

 
In the garden centre I like to go and look at the aquariums. This little fish looks like a shark but he is only about two inches long.

 
The bearded dragon was sitting very still but I am sure he had his eye on us. Back home I spotted this frog in the garden sitting very still under the leaves.

28 May

 
The part on the right used to be some weedy grass and a narrow bit of very weedy rocks next to the pond. Now we have dug it out and made one large bed. I am going to fill the bottom bit with sedum plants, which will completely cover it in green. I will have to put in a few pieces of broken paving as stepping stones for when people want to get the net into the pond to clear things out.

 
To make a change from for all that soil and mud, I went round the garden to check on all the roses. There are quite a few now and they are all out.

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30 May

 
Today we went to Highgate Wood in north London. It is on a very high hill.

 
We wanted to see the Canopy Stair which someone has invented for going up trees. It can be fixed up very quickly and does not damage the tree at all. I wish I had a tree like that so I could buy one! If I had two trees, I could go up one and down the other. Maybe they can invent a walkway to go between the two as well, wouldn't it be wonderful to walk around amongst the treetops! You can see a video of it and the inventors here: www.canopystair.com

 
In Highgate Wood playground, the old standing tree trunks have been covered in carvings. In the detail photo there is a bat in the corner.

 
This tree must have made a big crash when it went over. All the fallen twigs and branches get arranged in circles around trees, I think that is why the grass is growing under the tree. It is bare everywhere else because so many people walk and jog through the woodland.

 
We went to East Finchley Station. This Art Deco figure of an archer is on the top. It commemorates the hunting that took place in the Royal Forest of Enfield, but to me it looks like a reminder that the train speeds ahead like an arrow. Inside the station entrance hall is a drawing of it.

 
This lovely painting is inside as well, but we went through the barrier before we saw it, so it is a sideways photo! You can see the red circle logo reflection in the frame, coming from the window off to the right.

31 May

 
This ceramic birds water feature is like my birdbath - in need of a regular clean out! I was taking a photo of Woody on my greenhouse roof but I got this rather different picture instead.

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