5 September 2010
I love Wrotham boot fair. When it is hot and
sunny with lots of people, we have to park in the second field, and
I like the short walk through the shady woods to get to the main
field. You can't miss the pylon which is a good place to meet up at
the end of the morning.
At the far end of the field, there is a
wonderful view of the countryside. This picture is made of three
photos joined together.
Dino approves of the new plates that will be
going into the new kitchen cupboards. You won't be able to get all
the porridge in one dish, Dino! Look at this wonderful digital
picture frame, I can't wait to choose some pictures to go in it! I
don't think much else will get done while we are playing with this!
This is Tripes Farm boot sale in Orpington. I
took the photo because I liked the stripy shadows on the grass. It's
hard work going round and making sure you don't miss any tables, but
it is very interesting, good exercise and fresh air! I never go
without my water bottle.
We went to a second boot fair near Swanley and
I bought two of these giant fuchsias. They are not giant yet, but I
know they grow really big because I already have some and I forgot
to take cuttings when the weather was warm in July! While we are
waiting for the others to get back to the car, we practise our
handwriting. I just love red ink pens!
This is a new playground near the River Cray. It was a very quiet
Monday morning and there was no-one there. I especially like the
musical xylophone but I am wondering what can be used to strike the
bars with. Maybe there are some sticks attached on the other side.
Here is a quiet section of the River Cray with
places where you can get right to the edge of the water. There were
not many ducks here today. This is one of the large waterfalls along
the manmade part, which was made to take any overflow of water
during rainy times. The orange thing is a traffic cone, but I think
it looks like a giant goldfish! It is very noisy as the waterfall is
quite high and this is just the bottom bit.
I always take a sunset picture if the sky looks
interesting. This dark cloud looks like a big fluffy fleece blanket
being pulled over the sky, so that we can get to sleep and rest in
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The water in Orpington Priory pond is very clear, as it comes
straight out of the ground into this pond. It is very interesting
watching the birds' feet paddling along. This picture looks peaceful
but it is next to a busy main road with lots of noisy lorries and
buses. Further into the park it is more peaceful.
Time to inspect the garden now that summer is ending. The sunflowers
have all grown big and healthy, and no snails got past the copper
strips on the pots. When odd leaves are left lying on the grass, the
slugs and snails always find them. When the flowers are finished and
start to get heavy with seeds, we cut them down before the pots fall
over with the weight. If there are more flower buds, we only cut the
tops off so that the buds get a chance to come out.
What a lovely looking red apple! This Spartan
is a really good tree. Dino is testing the Conference pear. You have
to lift fruits and if they fall into your hand, they are ready to
eat. If you have to pull them, they are not ready. I think Dino is
getting into practice for eating them!
While we are eating our fruits, the birds in my
garden will have plenty of berries - honeysuckle, hawthorn
(blackbirds' favourite) and skimmia. I think mice like skimmia
berries because I sometimes see some berries on the ground with
little bites out of them. Or maybe it's the snails having a snack!
Even more berries, this one is cotoneaster,
another blackbirds' favourite, and the others are rosehips. Even
when the rosehips are shrivelled and black, sometimes the
greenfinches like to crunch the seeds that are still inside.
Greenfinches have big beaks for breaking seeds, and little birds
like robins have tiny thin beaks for eating soft insects and worms.
These clematis seed heads look just like wigs
of blond hair, combed into a ball shape. I have seen people with
their hair like this but I think it had to be sprayed to keep it in
shape. This caterpillar accidentally landed on the hand of someone
with a camera. After a look round, the caterpillar decided the best
way was down. He got some more help to go down when he was shaken
off into the flowerbed!
I got up really early and took this photo from
my bedroom window. I wonder if anyone else was up taking photos? I
don't like to miss anything, so I always have a quick look very
early to see if the sky is looking interesting.
We went to Maidstone and after looking round
the shops, we went for a walk by the River Medway. The suspension
bridge has thick cables that hold up the giant posts, from which the
walkway part of the bridge is suspended. While you are admiring the
view up and down river, you can feel the vibration from the
footsteps of people coming onto the bridge from each end. Not so
good if you have the camcorder going!
This sculpture is in the Archbishop's Palace
gardens by the riverside. It is made of marble. I think the orange
bits are the sun coming up. It was made by Ekkehard Altenburger and
is called Morning Thoughts.
There are plenty of swans on the river. The
young swans are browny coloured, and they have learned very quickly
that people often have sandwiches to share with them. On the subject
of eating, we saw two of these dragons outside a Chinese takeaway in
Maidstone. I think they have eaten everything in the shop and are
looking for more!
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Dino noticed this tree root on the surface and
he thinks it looks like a giant dinosaur leg and claw. The tree is a
beautiful pink flowering almond and we will not forget to take some
walks down this road during the spring.
The leftover blackberries on the footpath to
Orpington are all shrivelled now, but I know the greenfinches will
eat these, because the seeds are still inside. The greenfinches are
very shy birds and only come into town and gardens in the middle of
winter when there is not so much food in the countryside. I noticed
just one red one left, but it is not ripe until it turns black. Here
is a very late flower and there is not enough time for any berries to
Dino also sees food wherever he goes, and this
post reminded him of a liquorice stick with some sweet yellow icing
on the end. Don't try it, Dino!
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What a lovely crop from the fruit trees in our
garden, red Spartan apples and Conference pears. The trees are still
quite small but have given a lot of fruit, and very few spoiled
ones. It is worth waiting for all year.
A walk through Orpington Priory Gardens. I don't
know if any animal eats conkers, there seem to be more around that
the wildlife is making use of. This pyracantha bush was smothered in
berries and they will feed the blackbirds for quite a few months.
This robin seen from my garden was singing very
loudly from the tree top, to let everyone know that these gardens
belong to him. You know there is a robin about because you hear
their song coming from the bushes. It is best to look round very
slowly so that they do not fly away in alarm. When we are digging,
sometimes we stand back and let the robin come down to eat the
worms, and it gives us a minute or two to go and get the camera.
After lots of planning, especially by me and
Brown Teddy, the old kitchen has finally disappeared. It all ended
up in the garden and a van eventually took it away. Dino was a bit
alarmed at first, but he was glad when I told him that the food was
still in the house! He was even happier when he realised that the
containers from the high-up cupboards were now down at ground level
where he could get to them. When the man drilled the big hole for
this socket, I was in the bathroom next door and it sounded like an
airplane taking off – the toothbrushes were rattling in their cups!
Dino was pleased to discover that our kitchen
is now spread between the fridges in the living room and on the
armchairs in the hallway . He can see all the food containers and is
spending longer than usual deciding what he would like to have. When
the adverts come on the television, Dino turns round to watch the
fridge door instead!
It's hard work remembering where everything has
been put in the new cupboards. These lights underneath are like the
Christmas lights that we bought last year, but all in one place. I
would like to get the Christmas lights out, but it is slightly too
early for that. Dino will have no difficulty remembering the
contents behind this door, and as it is low down, he can read all
the tins at his leisure. Dino is very active, especially turning
over and over getting comfortable on his beanbag, so he needs lots
of carbohydrates to provide the energy!
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This noticeboard by the pond in Orpington
Priory Gardens shows all the birds that come to the park. These
gulls were very noisy and were probably clearing up a load of bread
crumbs, but they flew away as we got nearer.
These rocks in the gardens often have people
sitting on them in the summer, but it is too cold and wet now. They
must be very warm places to sit when the sun has heated the rocks.
We had the first frost this morning. These
frosty leaves are in the boot sale field at Pedham where there is no
shelter from the cold air. It soon warmed up and the day was quite
warm and dry after a while.
These hawthorn trees on a footpath near the
roundabout at Pedham are full of berries, or haws. I am going to
check on these each time we pass, to see if the birds have eaten
any. If they eat them gradually, this supply will last them all
These yew berries are in Orpington Priory
the car park. All parts of the tree are poisonous, and only birds
can eat the berries. As the seeds are also poisonous, I don't think
these fallen berries will be collected up by any mice for their
winter food stores.
These coots all came out of the water as we
walked by, expecting food. I think they are a bit too tame, and
should be finding their proper food of weeds in the pond water.
Coots have white faces and beaks, whereas moorhens have red beaks.
This very old timber-framed building next to Orpington Priory is
covered in ivy at the end, right over the window. Maybe there is
only a storeroom behind, because the window has disappeared behind
the leaves. I suppose someone could cut a square hole in the foliage
if they wanted to see out or open the window, but my guess is that
the window is stuck shut. I wonder how many birds have nested in
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Here are last night's fireworks seen from my
bedroom window, I knew when to grab the camera because of the
whining sounds. There were not so many fireworks this year and I
think people are saving them for the New Year midnight celebrations.
I found just a few more Royal Gala apples at
the very end of the garden. It only has a few small branches,
because the main big branch broke. I know it will grow again, but
meanwhile we are still going to enjoy these miniature apples. There
were some even smaller ones, but I left those for the blackbirds.
What a find! These bottles of handwash come
with pictures of an undersea scene. There are coral pictures on the
front and back of the bottle, and there is another floating plastic
sheet inside with the dolphin, fish and turtle picture on. I will be
keeping them on my desk where I can see them all the time. Now that
the weather is colder, I like to be reminded of warm days by the
seaside. In England, when the weather on the beach is hot, the sea
is still very cold!
The days are so grey and dark that we couldn't wait any longer for
the Christmas lights, so we have put them all up. When we are
snuggled in bed admiring the glow through the curtains, we wonder
who will get up again to switch them off. When morning comes, we
notice that someone has already done it for us!
This is a solar windup torch. If you leave it
on the windowsill, you don't have to wear yourself out winding the
handle round. I always leave it in the same place, so that I know
exactly where it is, even if the lights went out suddenly.
I got up really early to see what the weather would be like and took
this picture of the street lamp before dawn. The sun coming up looks
the same as the lamp, but only for a very short while! Sometimes
when the sun is just over the roof of the house, it looks as if it
is rising out of the chimney stack!
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The first frost has come at last. This is
Dino's favourite plant, because it is trimmed into a ball shape and
looks like a big pudding, and with icing on at the moment. I am
having to look very hard for the last few flowers. I prefer to do my
looking from the warmth of the kitchen window.
Time to get the winter coats out. Dino likes
his cape but he doesn't really get cold because he is on the go all
the time and eats a lot as well. Brown Teddy has cleaned and pressed
our fleecy hats ready for any snow that comes our way. We love snow,
as long as we stay warm.
Well, no chance of snow at the moment. We
walked down a road near Green Street Green and it was just like
summer. This is the view from the beginning of a footpath that goes
over the fields.
On our way back from the boot sale at Pedham Place, I was very glad
to see this supply of apples by the wayside, that the birds will
eat. Some already had peck holes in them. If the holes are big and
round it is slugs and snails, and if there are teeth marks it is
country mice. I wonder if squirrels eat apples?
There has been more and more frost every
morning. I stayed indoors today but someone took pictures of the
frost at the boot sale at Hewitts Farm. Everyone was wrapped in lots
of layers of clothes. The sun did come out eventually but it soon
disappeared behind clouds again. The good thing about these pylons
is that they bring the electricity to heat the house!
Someone got painful cold fingertips at the boot
sale, and it is pity that these gel hand warmers were not ready.
When they have been used, they go hard and have to be boiled for 15
minutes to get them back to liquid again. The little yellow ones can
go inside the palms of gloves, and the red ones just about fit
There was just a tiny dusting of snow granules
this morning but it has snowed all day. I think I would be up to my
neck if I went out now. The netting round the pond is sagging but
the layer of snow on it makes a roof over the water, so the edges
don't freeze. There are some places underneath the bushes where the
snow doesn't settle, making a good place to leave some breadcrumbs
for the birds.
This really is the very last flower of summer.
I think when the ice melts the flower will go soggy and fall off.
This cotoneaster bush always starts off full of berries but they disappear throughout the winter, although I never see the blackbird
eating them. I think some fall off and get eaten by mice.
Plenty more snow has fallen and it is now
deeper than I am tall! This is the smaller overflow pond in Priory
These gulls must think they are standing on a
cold beach! I don't think their feet can have much feeling for cold
in them. These berries are definitely a blackbird's dinner because
we could hear him making clucking noises in the bush. He was waiting
for us to go.
No chance to sit down and have a rest here!
These icicles in Priory Buildings were hanging along the whole of
the guttering. They
are very old timber-framed buildings and I think they don't keep the
heat in like modern houses. I am glad our bedroom is a lot warmer
and keeps our Ted Bed Beanbag cosy.
My back door step has disappeared. Fortunately I
have no intention of going out onto it. The birdbath in the second
photo is about 18
inches high, so the snow is obviously too deep for Teds. We are
doing our best to keep some water in it for the birds, but sometimes
the snow falls too quickly. The area on the left of the picture is
underneath the rose arches where the snow does not pile up so much,
so that is where we sweep a clearing and put some crumbs. Actually
someone did do some "gardening" but it was only to tip the soil out
of the defrosted pots, so that they can go back outside
I think mine is the only garden round here with
a huge sunflower still surviving – this is our sunflower foam
kneeling pad that Auntie Freda gave us! Everyone seems to have icicles on their gutters.
These ones are outside the kitchen window. Some of the ice has
encased the wires as well.
It's dripping everywhere so we don't have to
get the ice off the pond any more, as there is now a big area of
open water. The fish are swimming around slowly now and then, but
they are mostly resting on the bottom of the pond.
I managed to find three flowers in the snow, an
erysimum (which is a little wallflower), a rose bud and a winter
jasmine flower. The last two were rather soggy and look much better
in the photos.
This robin was watching the path being cleared
and swept of snow and leaves, and he kept up a very low warbling
song which usually means he is interested in what the gardener is
turning up in the way of bird snacks.
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The snow has mostly melted, but these big heaps
remain. They were made by the tractors that cleared the streets.
Time to get the decorations out. There is
always something in the boxes that I had forgotten we had. This drum
decoration is my favourite and was bought in the 1970's.
Blue Parrot has the job of decorating the top
of the tree as he can fly up there. The tree-top angel always goes on last, when the rest of the tree is finished.
I like the shape of this last piece of snow melting, because it looks like a big
island with steep cliffs sloping down to the grey sea, surrounded by some little islands. I think the cliff faces were made by
the bus tyres!
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Some fresh snow has fallen. This is my very favourite type of snow,
absolutely flat and clean, with no footprints or marks in it. This
is the sunken garden in Priory Gardens, Orpington.
These Canada geese had to wade through the
slush on their frozen pond to get to the open water.
The ducks and geese have left their footprints
in the slush on top of Priory Gardens pond. I don't think they have much feeling in their feet
for cold . We
did not stop too long just here, as the birds were walking towards
us in case we had bread, and we did not want them to waste their
energy. Lots of people feed the birds and squirrels here.
These handfuls of gravel were thrown down before the snow fell, but
were warm enough to prevent the snow settling on them. It's more
interesting when the iron drain covers make square holes in the
Blackbird's larder well stocked in Priory
Gardens. This is the foothpath home from Orpington, which was very slippery –
there are enough
people walking here to flatten the snow into ice, but not enough to
wear the snow down to slush, which might have melted it a bit more.
We had to walk very very slowly and try to find the crunchy bits at
the side that were not so slippery.
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We have had a blackcap bird eating these cotoneaster berries, but he
disappears very quickly, so there is no chance to get a photograph
of him. He is bigger than a bluetit but smaller than a sparrow, and
he is grey with a black top to his head. This is the only flower
left in the garden, a metal sunflower dish on a spike!
Time to inspect the snowy garden. I think these
must be squirrel prints as they are in pairs, which is how a
squirrel jumps when he is leaping along quickly. Next are pigeon
prints, but the middles have melted so they look like duck prints.
The last are the fox. We normally spray the garden with the anti-fox
scent, but no-one wanted to go out much in this weather to renew it!
I am glad to see a big patch of clear water on the pond. We have to
take as much ice as we can off the pond, so that the water stays
fresh. The moving water from the filter normally keeps this
patch clear. The summer flowers may be gone, but the pots are
looking very decorative with their snowy hats. It looks like a
village of pots and the villagers are a lot of woodlice hiding under
This is the bluetit box, with some artificial Christmas-tree type
garland over it to disguise it. I think some bluetits used it during the
summer. This is the sawn stump of the old apple tree. The hole is
where the robin nested last spring. We thought we might put it
under a bush to make a nesting place again.
This bin is where a lot of worms are spending the winter. Worms don't
like being hot, so a coolish compost bin is just right for them.
When we dig it out, the birds will have a great time feeding, but
that is a long way off just now.
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We have had these little trees for a very long
time, and the ones that have lost their tubs have to be held up with
Blutack. They used to be sold as Christmas cake decorations, but
nowadays cake trees are mostly plastic.
The Christmas Cactus was a present from Auntie
Freda and has lots of buds. it is definitely living up to its name.
We are keeping it in the porch where it is not too hot. I can't work
out what is in these parcels. There is a big round one but it is too
hard to be a Christmas pudding!
One last look at the window lights before going to bed. Here is Blue
Parrot snuggled under my red snow cape on our Ted Bed Beanbag. The room is warm but he
feels cosier with a blanket over him! We go to bed quite early
because we don't want to be tired tomorrow. Dino is already asleep.
I always take a photo of all the cards together
as a reminder, it would be too much to keep them all every year.
After Christmas we might keep a few colourful or snowy ones to
decorate the wall through the grey days of January. I was well
pleased with my Yorkshire puddings, they all rose high and did not
get burnt! Their lovely colour makes me feel warm on a snowy
I will need some help to manage all this lovely
pudding and minty ice cream. Fortunately Dino is always nearby to
lend a hand, or should I say teeth. The pudding had nuts in, which
always pleases Dino, as he likes anything that crunches.
Brown Teddy spent a long time closely
inspecting this beautiful embroidered little cushion from Auntie
Freda. Then I found out that it was scented! We are going to put it
in the clothes drawer, but we will have to get it out now and then
to admire it. Dino was delighted with this Bluetooth headset, he
said it makes him look like a different dinosaur with horns.
Dino never fails to inspect the wrapping in
case anything has been forgotten. I think he just likes to
make all the rustling noises and throw it around. Blue Parrot has
made a good hat out of the wrapper that was round the Christmas
Cactus plant pot.
Dino likes counting games before he eats the
chocolate, he is always hoping that there may be one or two more
coins when he counts them again. He also likes to count the sweets
so he knows how quickly people are eating them. He does not like
counting the wrappers! Best get in quick, Dino, and choose your
favourite before it disappears!
Time for a quick nap, carefully guarding the
favourites – hard toffee covered in chocolate, just right for
someone with strong teeth.
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Here is an interesting pair of similar looking lumps. The first is a
pile of old snow, blackened by the dirt from the road. The second is
the Bromley Millennium Rock in Orpington Priory Gardens donated from
Lochinver in Scotland. The plaque says it is over 2,000 million
years old. I wonder how they know that?
One last look at the Christmas tree on New Year's Eve, as tomorrow
we will start to pack some of it away. But these lights will be
staying up for quite a lot longer, to see us through the gloomy days
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