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Diary 2016 September


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3 September

Rain at last! It has been very dry and I am really glad for this rain, although we need a really big lot to help the plants and trees properly.

4 September

We went to London and these are the box-tree planters outside the entrance to the Shard building. It's a shame they are all plastic but they are shard-shaped of course. In the Shard entrance, the revolving door has a plant in it, quite interesting to see it going round and round.

We travelled on to The Angel in Islington for their Canal Festival day. Here are two angels gliding up and down the street. Under the dresses are stand-up scooters, and I eventually realised the controls are hidden in the lacy muffs at the front. They each had a long trumpet, and there was angelic music coming from one of them. They were stopping to pose for photos with people. It was really amusing and fun! This ordinary van has bricks and a taxi painted on it, so it looks like two cars parked there.

We watched the Punch and Judy show by the river. As usual, Mr Punch made the baby walk against Mrs Punch's orders.

My favourite part is when the crocodile steals the sausages. Mr Punch thinks the croc it is a cat (which the croc agrees he is) and Mr Punch ends up stroking it, but the croc is all the time trying to bite him. We all love it when the croc's mouth makes that loud snapping sound.

We saw a mini zoo stall showing snakes and lizards. The animals were sitting quite still and I think they are used to being out and about.

People were taking canal trips in the narrowboats. We walked along the towpaths. These marks in the iron edging to the underpass are where many years of ropes have worn grooves in the metal.

Here is the lock. The bricks in the ground to help people keep their footing as they push and lean on the lock gate bar.

On one of the walls is this wonderful mosaic of Islington life. I really like this fish mosaic seat nearby.

We walked back along Wharf Road. This clock on a building there shows hours, minutes and seconds on three different clock faces. All you would need is three identical clocks and remove various hands. Then we travelled on to Camden Lock where they have drained one of the locks for repairs to the wooden gates.

They were allowing people down the scaffolding steps to see inside at the bottom. There were a lot of old bottles in the mud. Here they have put some of the finds along the side beam - a horseshoe and a mobile phone, as well as a selection of coins. The long pieces appear to be winding keys that have been accidentally dropped in over the years.


7  September

The hot weather is continuing, so I got the parasol out so I could sit in the garden. At least all the sun and heat is ripening my apples on the new trees.

8 September

Today we visited the Sky Garden again. Before going up, we had our sandwiches by the Thames. The clear sunny day made the river very bright and sparkly.

The building is called 20 Fenchurch Street. The view was just as interesting as last time, even though we saw it all before, but this time we took someone else with us to enjoy it all.

There are steps on both sides of the gardens, and I think these little blunt cone shapes are there to stop people sliding down the sloping stone beside the steps. I think this "rock" is really the loudspeakers.

This is the view from the top back, looking down southwards. The main big palms are at the top.

We saw Tower Bridge opening for a sailing ship to come through.


11 September

This is St Katharine's Dock near Tower Bridge where there was a Classic Boat Festival. We went down a small pontoon and were able to get right up close to the Queen's rowbarge Gloriana. It is covered in gold leaf. I am glad the Queen has allowed the rest of us to see it at close quarters. On the barge website you can see it being built.

There is decoration everywhere and I like this one which seems to be Noah's Ark on the water. The sea monsters are very lovely looking and I think they seem to be a combination of fish and dolphin, before people had actually seen dolphins for real.

I thought this decoration was little swallows, but on second thoughts it is more like little plants. All the oars have these sea monsters painted on them.

We went on to Wimbledon Common Open Day and fair. I am not sure what these are chicks of but they looked very friendly. The sheep all looked very clean and scrubbed.

The brass band was playing under a tent. The Send A Cow (to Africa) stall had this model cow in front. It has rubber teats on which children can have a go at milking, except it is water that comes out into the blue bucket.

We watched the birds of prey flying in the arena, first an woel then a big vulture. The man on the right was in charge of the birds and giving the commentary.

The hawk and falcon were next. It was great to see them flying around free and coming back to the handler.

This stall has "walking balloons". They are helium filled but weighted so that they just touch the ground and appear to walk. This is the Pick Up A Penguin stall.

This stall is for The Brooke which helps donkeys and horses around the world, in places where they are worked to death. The pictures were very sad indeed and the charity helps and educates owners in those countries on how to look after their animals better.

We then went into Wimbledon Windmill Museum. We listened to carpentry talk and at the end the man showed up some miniature tools that he had made, and they all worked!

There are lots of windmill models, all motorised with their sails going round. The first one is different, the sails go round horizontally, instead of a vertical circle like the other ones, so it doesn't matter which way the wind is coming from.

This is the carpentry tool collection made by a previous occupant of the mill. Outside in the yard are lots of old millstones.

This model is Wimbledon Windmill as it was in 1825. This cog wheel reminds me of the garden hose fixing at home, with all its little teeth in a circle!

We went on to Putney Bridge, looking up river and the second photo is down river.

Lots of pigeons were gathered to clear up the food dropped by people. It looks like a lot of tourists come to admire the great River Thames that they have only heard about.


16 September

This is Westminster and we went past a horse guard and Downing Street, where there are lots more guards and railings protecting the Prime Minister's residence.

We were here for an Open Day at the Supreme Court. In the foyer is this plaque from when Queen Elizabeth II opened the Court in 2009.

This is the library, with big paintings on the walls and a wonderful plaster ceiling. The staircases are very decorative as well.

This is one of the Courts with carvings on all the seat and bench ends. I like the lion's mane, it is really lifelike.

I am not sure what this creature is but the second one is an eagle.

Decoration everywhere, panelled windows and floral plasterwork on the ceilings.

This emblem is in another Court room. The thistle is Scotland, the blue flax flower is for Ireland, the the red rose is England with leek leaves for Wales. The clock is interesting, as the numbers are all different sizes so it has to have little red lines to make it easier to read the time.

In the window recess I noticed this little doorstop with a bird on it.

In the basement are more museum pieces, this framed document had some wonderful artwork, and the closer you look the more detail there is. This is a close-up of the gold work on a judge's robe in a glass case.

On the way back I got a photo of the wording underneath the Elizabeth Tower (=Big Ben) clock. It is Latin and say "O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First". It started to rain and this photo is from the train pulling out of Charing Cross and crossing the Hungerford Bridge over the Thames.


17 September

This is Kempton Steam Museum in west London. This is one of the two tripe expansion engines, which means there are three engines in one, each using the same steam one after the other. The picture is Engine No.7 which does not work yet.

This is looking down to the lower level. There is so much machinery and most of it was labelled or had a clue on it somewhere, and the ones with dials mostly had their name and purpose written on the faces.

Next to No.6 Engine (the one that works on some days), we found this amazing enormous spanner, it must take at least two people, one to hold and one to push, pull or hammer it round. There was a very interesting display about the market gardens that used to be around here, and the man who made this miniature model told us all about it.

Some of the machines had counters, and this spare counter iss placed on the edge of the walkway for people to play at counting up on. These fantastic machines are mercury arc rectifiers that turn AC electric current to DC. The were green and blue lights dancing around on pools of mercury. I think we went round the engine room at least twice, up and down steep stairs and looking at the underneath parts as well.

On the way home we went past the Gherkin building in St Mary Axe. As it is all glass, I think everyone in the offices gets a window seat.


18 September

Today is the one day of the year when Tower Beach is open to the public and lot s of people went down to look for archaeological finds. They were all dressed for a muddy time and the Time Truck people were handing out blue vinyl gloves for everyone. There was a table where people could take their finds to, to find out what the pieces were. Further along, this cormorant is drying his wings after a few diving sessions.

I like these riverside seats made of stone, with plant and flower shapes carved into them, but only when it is warm!

These are the fish emblems on top of the Old Billingsgate building. Then we went through Leadenhall Market which is full of interesting decoration.

I would like some ceiling stars like this on my bedroom ceiling. The plasterwork has a potted plant with apples and birds. Sugar Bakers Court must have a very interesting history but only the name is left now.

Then we went past Horseguards Parade and into St James's Park. This old tree is winding round and round and has iron supports to holdl it up. The flower beds are very well kept and completely full of flowers. It has to be the best display, as it is very close to Buckingham Palace!

On the lake we saw these pelicans and everyone was bending down taking photos of them. The ornamental ducks were just sitting around, as they are well used to tourists.

More drying cormorants.

Here is Buckingham Palace and a close-up of the gold statue in front.


20 September

This is Woody the wood pigeon, who seems to turn up quite often for supper in my garden.

We went to Hall Place Gardens. The ornamental crab apples are doing well, they look like big plums. This is gaillardia and I think it it time I grew some in my garden, maybe next year.

We had to work hard to find other flowers, Brown Teddy noticed this very bright Welsh poppy. On turning the corner, this whole bed was still in full flower, unlike all the others which had all ended some time ago, with all the very dry weather we have had in the last months.

I have a cloud of Michaelmas Daisies in my garden as well. This grass plant looks like a cloud, and when I find out the name I can grow some in a pot at home as well.

This is an agapanthus seedhead, but someone thought it was a photo from a banana tree! This yew hedging needs a trim, I am sure the gardeners will do it before the winter comes.

In the big greenhouse are lots of brilliant coleus. It is a good warm place to look around when it is getting breezy outside.

The water has collected in this plant. The fish have things very good, with never any cold or frost.

I always check the banaba tree and this time it has a huge flower and green bananas. This flower is a Bird of Paradise.


23 September

We opened the Belgian chocolates and Dino is helping us decide which ones to start with by tasting a few.

24 September

This is Well Hall Pleasaunce, which is always quite colourful although it is all dying down now that summer is ending.

The moat is covered in duckweed and the ducks don't think much of it at all!

The pigeon knows his water is still under the weed and his friend is waiting behind him for his turn. These rebuilt bee boles in the old wall show how it was used in the past when the big house was here.

Brown Teddy and I both like secret paths that lead somewhere interesting. This one goes to the wisteria pergola. The huge tangly branches have broken the brickwork but they are still holding it up!


25 September

Just checking the apples, this is an all green one, I think Golden Delicious, and the red ones are Cox's Orange Pippin. It is a very small tree but it is always full of apples.

I still have a few flowers left, nasturtium and passion flower.

The passion flower fruits are bright orange and plum shaped. I always pick up the fallen ones so the seeds don't end up growing everywhere, as it can be a bit of a nuisance to keep pulling them out.

This cotoneaster is covered in berries and will keep the birds fed in winter.

28 September

These two bouquets have lasted quite a while, and I think they will go on for a few more weeks as well.



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