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Diary 2011 January to April

 

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2017 Jan
2017 Feb

2017 Mar

2016 Jan
2016 Feb
2016 Mar
2016 Apr
2016 May
2016 June
2016 July
2016 Aug
2016 Sep
2016 Oct
2016 Nov

2016 Dec

2015 Jan
2015 Feb

2015 March
2015 April
2015 May
2015 June
2015 Jul
2015 Aug
2015 Sep
2015 Oct
2015 Nov
2015 Dec

2014 Jan
2014 Feb
2014 March
2014 April
2014 May
2014 June
2014 July
2014 August
2014 September
2014 October
2014 November
2014 December

2013 Jan
2013 Feb
2013 March

2013 April
2013 May
2013 June
2013 July
2013 August
2013 September
2013 October
2013 November
2013 December

2012 Jan-Apr
2012 May-Jun
2012 Jul

2012 Aug
2012 Sep
2012 Oct
2012 Nov
2012 Dec

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 January 2011

Yellow Teddy midnight clock  Brown Teddy with new diary
We stayed up to watch the clock get to midnight. We heard the fireworks and I am glad they chose ones that go up into the sky, so everyone can enjoy them. After about 20 minutes, everything went quiet and we all went to bed.

Brown Teddy can't wait to start his New Year diary notebook. He is going to be practising his handwriting, making notes of good ideas and plans, and making a list of things he would like to make.

7 January

Dirty remains of old snow in car park  Catkins
I thought all the snow had gone but this black heap was still in the car park of Nugent shopping centre. The rain trickling through it seems to have turned the snow to solid ice. We walked along to the River Cray, where we saw the first signs of spring. Are they catkins or is it a Worm Tree?

 Empty boating pond with umbrella  River Cray first weir
The circular boating pond was empty and this sad umbrella was the only colour around. The River Cray's first weir was in full flow and making a lot of noise.

9 January

River Cray things in water
We took a walk along the River Cray near the viaduct at St Mary Cray, where there is a long straight length that flows over concrete, with lots of small weirs to help it go downhill. There are always interesting things in the water. Here is a mobile phone, a saucer and a pair of scissors underwater.

Remains of old snow  Chocolate birthday cake
The snow was hanging on where it had been left in big heaps in the car park. It was quite cold when the sun went in, and I was glad to get home and have some of the chocolate birthday cake!

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10 January

Bluebell shoots
These bluebell shoots are right outside my kitchen door and I will be watching them very closely for signs of buds. We don't always clear up the dead leaves, because the blackbirds like to turn them over for the worms and insects that are hiding underneath.

12 January

Pigeons feeding, Walnuts shopping area, Orpington
These pigeons in Orpington Walnuts shopping area are just the right shape to fit together in a circle with no gaps, so there was absolutely no chance of seeing what they were eating. The fastest eater wins!

13 January

Priory Gardens pond, Orpington
This hole at the edge of Orpington Priory pond has been getting a little bigger every year for quite a long time. It must be rain and feet that are wearing out the edges, because they are in the places that people stand to throw the bread. The stone pond edge is now a harbour wall!

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14 January

Yellow Teddy with new Lumix camera
I have been waiting for this parcel for days now. This little camera is just my size and as soon as the other bits we need come in the post, I will be looking for things to photograph. I chose this one because it doesn't blur the pictures or movies if my hands shake the camera! I can't wait for sunny days and the garden to start growing again.

16 January

Fish pond
I am glad to say we did not lose any fish in the cold weather. I think they slow right down when it is icy, lounging on the mud at the bottom and dreaming their way through the long cold days. A photo in winter is the only way to count fish in a pond.

22 January

Christmas lights
I have read the new camera manual but it has been too wet and windy to go out taking photos. This is my first indoor picture worth keeping. These lights will stay up until the days get sunnier. I might have this picture as my desktop wallpaper during the grey days.

23 January

Ducks dabbling 1  Ducks dabbling 2  Ducks dabbling 3
We walked by Priory pond for some fresh air. These are three frames from a short movie. The ducks were finding something to eat underwater by the pond outlet grille, where the leaves all pile up. This is where the River Cray starts its journey underground before coming out further down the road. It was a cold day for people and Teds but the ducks don't seem to get cold.

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25 January

Robin
There is plenty of undergrowth round my garden, so I am glad the robin is finding lots of insects to eat. I think the robins are deciding now where to build their nests, so I am going to move the sawn-off tree stump (with a big side hole) down to the bush at the bottom of the garden, and put some wood over the hole in the top to keep it dry.

Nest box No.1  Nest box No.2
These boxes have very small holes for bluetits. One is plywood with some shed roofing material. It should really be a bit deeper to keep the babies safe from magpies and squirrels. The second one is deep enough and was made from leftover floorboards. There is a third bluetit box at the end of the garden. The fourth one is a robin box with a bigger hole behind a thick yew bush near the compost bins. I am sure the birds love these boxes, but I prefer my warm bedroom with my books and comfortable bean bag.

26 January

Crocus  Iris  Winter jasmine
At last, some flowers in the garden. January is very early for crocus, but after two months of freezing snow they have decided that winter is over. A very kind friend called Margaret gave us this blue iris when she moved house. The flowers do not last very long, but they keep coming one after the other. The yellow winter jasmines were looking very soggy after all that snow, but this close-up of a good one is what they looked like when they were all fresh and new (before the freeze-up!).

Tree with bracket fungus
These bracket fungus growing up a tree look just like little steps. I think Dino would enjoy climbing up this or perhaps he already did, looking at the broken one!

29 January

Seagulls Orpington Priory Gardens

These seagulls in Priory Gardens seem to be already full of bread, but they are keeping a watchful eye on the pond just in case more arrives.

30 January

 Bluetit nestbox  Robin nestbox behind bush
Here is the bluetit nestbox at the end of the garden, with some green Christmas garland over it to hide the hole and keep the sun off. The next picture is the robin nestbox behind a thick yew bush in the very bottom corner of the garden and you can just see a few bits of grass sticking out from last year. Its roof is exactly the same green stuff that is on top of our shed!

31 January

 
Sometime we see a white egret standing in the river, but he flies away when he sees people. He must be eating very tiny fish because the river is very shallow, and I think he must be getting more food somewhere else.


This is the village sign in St Mary Cray. The animal is a bear, from the days when people used to bring bears as a novelty, but I am glad the bears are not there now. I prefer wild bears to stay in their wild woods where they can live properly.

1 February

Blackbird in berry bush

This is our blackbird sitting in the cotoneaster bush outside the kitchen window. Most of the berries have been eaten, but I am glad to say that there are still some left. I think it would be a good idea to plant more berry bushes in my garden.

3 February

Walking bus sign

This looks like a very good idea for getting children to school safely. I think I would prefer the real bus when it was raining or a cold wind blowing.

7 February

Playground River Cray
This playground is near the Cray River. The sea serpent look very friendly. The blue ground is meant to be sea, with white sharks and fish shapes.

Weir River Cray  Coin in river
This is the big weir on the River Cray where the river leaves a small lake. Lots of branches got broken during the heavy snow and here they are all washed down to the same place. The river is not deep enough for them to be washed further along. I think this is a two pence piece in the river. When this turns green, no-one will be able to see what it is and it will stay there forever.

Mossy bricks
More lovely mossy patterns, I think this is a red sandstone cliff, with trees on top and down the cliff side, with a greyish sea at the bottom full of green floating seaweed.

7 February

Goldfish
These fish in my pond are much happier now that the sun is warming them, they did not really like all that snow we had. The spotty fish are my favourites because they have so many colours, they look more dressed up than the others.

9 February

Bluetit nestbox
You can just see the tail of the bluetit as it is going into the nestbox. They really like this one because it has bushes around it and the inside is quite deep, with the hole near the top. When they are nesting here, we can't really do a lot of weeding round that bit of path!

13 February

Man digging sign  Yellow Teddy rainy day
The man in the picture has not only dug up the soil but he seems to have put some of it into the bag! I am glad I had my walk in the morning because by afternoon the rain settled in. Time to get the picture books out!

14 February

Yellow Teddy on a day out
Day out to Maidstone. I like to go somewhere whenever it is a sunny day.

birds shop window  Ice cream sign
I like to look for especially good shop windows. These birds make the shoppers feel like holidays are coming soon, so they might want to go in and buy the clothes. This ice cream stall in the shopping mall is my favourite so far, the colours of the neon lights were a lot brighter than the photo. Everyone was buying ice creams!

River Medway edge  Building in different greens
Here is the River Medway reaching right to the top of the river edge. I was looking down from the big bridge so I didn't mind if the water was rising. I think someone opens some lock gates if the river gets too high. This new building on the riverside reminds me of all the little paint tester pots, for when you can't decide which shade of green to use. I think it looks a lot better than just one green, and maybe the person who planned it wears stripy jumpers just like that!

Underpass tiles 1  Underpass tiles 2  Underpass tiles 3
This is the underpass by the River Medway. I would like some tiled pictures like these on my bathroom walls but I don't think there is enough room. I would have just the sheep and then some green tiles near their feet for their grass.

Yellow Teddy Mote Park  Mote Park slide
We parked our car in Mote Park and after shopping we had our sandwiches. In the distance is the playground and I thought I would test the zoom on the camera. These slides look really interesting but I can't work out how you get to the top.

24 February

Balloons in twigs  Straw panda plant holders
This might be rather sad if someone lost their balloons, or maybe they let the balloons go at a birthday party. The garden centre was full of spring flowers, and I really like these straw panda plant holders. I think they might go green after a summer spent out in the garden in the rain!

Yellow Teddy at weir River Cray
This is where the two parts of the River Cray meet again. The top part is more natural looking, and the lower part is an artificial channel to take any extra water. Here the top part is flowing down to join the channel. The waterfall makes a lot of noise. I am wondering what this looked like in all the winter snow!

Park bench with wings
This is near the duck pond part of the top river. I like these old benches with wings on the side. I don't think the benches are very old, but the pattern has probably been copied for a long time.

Yellow Teddy at small weir
Just below the wall the water falls over an edge. I like the River Cray because the water is so clear, but there are only stones to look at, it is too shallow for fishes.

Brown Teddy broken branches  Robin singing
Here are some more trees that were weighed down with ivy, and broke under all the winter snow. It won't be very long before the Parks people come and tidy it. They often leave tree trunks to encourage the insects and birds, but they always make sure all the trees are safe, with no broken bits that could fall on someone. This robin was singing very loudly on one of the branches that were not broken.

8 March

Compost pile Priory Gardens Orpington  Tractor tracks in grass
The gardeners in Priory Gardens have been distributing the rotted compost and I saw the tractor leaving heaps of it around the edges where the bushes are. The park blackbirds will just love rummaging through this! The tractor had to go over the grass but I think these tread marks will wear down quite soon when it rains. The gardeners have big enclosure surround by trees where they put all the old leaves and prunings, so nothing is wasted.

15 March

Ducks on water fountain Priory Gardens Orpington  twigs in pond Priory Gardens Orpington
This is the Priory pond fountain and I hope the birds are not standing on it when it gets turned on! These twigs are near the weir between the two ponds. It is not a nest, so it must have grown like that. It might be a good place for ducklings to hide underneath.

17 March

Boating pond Orpington  Daffodils near boating pond Orpington
I am very glad that the boating pond is now full of water. The blue colour is from the pond lining, so even on a grey day it looks like blue sky! The daffodils by the pond are always the first ones out in our area, probably because they are in the open and get warmed by the sun.

 Monkey puzzle tree   Tree regrowing
This monkey puzzle tree is growing in the allotments. It has sharp scales all over and was named because someone a long time ago said a monkey would be puzzled as to how to climb it. This cut down tree is not giving up and has decided to carry on regardless. Lots of small branches will make it more like a hedge, so I think it will only be trimmed in future and not cut right down again.

Magpie with mud for nest  Squirrel with bun
I saw this magpie tugging at lumps of mud on the bank of the River Cray. He flew off with a lump and I was quick enough to get this photo before he flew off. I am sure the magpie is making a nest with it. This squirrel was feeding on half a bun that someone had thrown down. It's the first time I have seen them eating bread.

19 March

Pigeon on lamp post  Steaming fence
I got up really early to see what the sky was like just at dawn, but this pigeon was up before me. As they sleep out in the trees, they get going as soon as it's light and don't wait for curtains to be opened like us! This fence looks as if it is on fire with smoke rising, but it is steam from the damp wood as the sun is shining on it. At the top of the fence the steam was rising in straight lines for the first few inches.

21 March

Path mending obstacles  Yellow Teddy with compost bins
Well, I am glad it was not looking down at my feet when we came across this mini obstacle course. I hope the cyclists are looking out as well and manage to zigzag safely round it all.

Back home, we decided to empty the compost bins, which have been left for over a year now. It's very good stuff coming out and we are going to leave little heaps of it round the garden, especially in the places where the ground is hard and dry. We will then dig it in later.

Yellow Teddy with homegrown bamboo sticks  Yellow Teddy with daffodils
This is the remains of my supply of bamboo canes. Some years ago we had lots of bamboo clumps growing. They got too big, so we dug them out and we kept all the canes. I bought these daffodils and primroses from Martin's stall at the boot fair. They are all in pots at the moment, but I will put them in big buckets and later on plant them around the garden.

22 March

Yellow Teddy with compost in bags  Frog  Robin on fence
Here are the bags of soil from the compost bins. We left some under some bushes, but this frog got a handful on his head. I thought it was a lump of mud until he moved. You can see our robin is very interested in all that lovely soil and is looking forward to finding lots of dinners in it.

Yellow Teddy with Russet apple tree   Tadpole mass
I have bought a new apple tree. It's called Russet and is Brown Teddy's favourite. If we dig a really big deep hole, with lots of good compost and Growmore granules, it can grow as fast as possible!

Here is the frogspawn that has turned into a mass of tadpoles. When the frogs were laying the spawn, it was rather wet and cold so I did not get out in time to film them or take pictures. You can see the netting has sunk down, but this and the extra lot of weed seem to have given the tadpoles some extra protection from hungry fish.

1 April

Starlings flying up
I just got this picture in time. You can almost hear the starlings squawking and squealing, and the whirring wings. They like to stay altogether because it is safer with everyone watching for danger. This is one of the grass verges on the way to the shops.

2 April

Dawn sky with airplane vapour trails
I went down to the kitchen really early for a cup of water and looked out to see this. It seems five airplanes have gone exactly the same way. These trails disappear quite quickly so the planes must have flown over in a short time. It's amazing what you see before it's time to get up!

3 April

Goldfish having a splash
Sometimes the goldfish all splash about in a corner. Once a few start, they all join in and there's a lot of noise. The idea is to lay eggs, and some of them must be, because occasionally we see very small new goldfish in late summer, but not many. Baby goldfish start off black and very tiny, so you don't really see them until they are a year old.

6 April

Logs in Priory Gardens pond  Second log in Priory Gardens pond
Dino first pointed out this log some time ago, and he decided it was a Logosaurus dinosaur. Well, now we have another one on the left, which looks like the tail of a giant fish my goldfish do that, flapping their tails out the water while resting. Dino informs me that it's another dinosaur trying to look like a harmless fish so it can jump on anything passing by that looks like dinner. I am going to watch that dark spot that looks like an eye and if it blinks, then I think Dino might be right. But if I see a duck sitting on top, then I know it's something else!

Inside red tulip  Inside yellow tulip
These are the insides of my tulip flowers. When I look inside, I pretend I am in a hot air balloon looking up at the flames from the burner and the red or yellow balloon. Maybe if I then look the other way, I will see the ground and all the fields hundreds of metres below!

Robin in tree after his bath
Here is our robin after a bath. He was preening his wet feathers and singing at the same time, but he had to stop singing with each preen. It was a very quiet contented warbly song from a very clean bird living happily in a pleasant garden with two compost bins full of dinners, not to mention a choice of several luxurious nestboxes and his very own lawn full of worms!

15 April

Shiny ornaments at garden centre  Plants in teacups at garden centre
We went to the garden centre to get some growbags for our sunflower seeds. Just look at all these lovely ornaments birds, dragonflies, flowers and balls, on all sticks and some of them on springs so they wobble. It was as good as a Christmas tree full of decorations! I really like these giant teacups with pansies in, they look so much better than pots if they are in a porch or on a windowsill.

Coot  Canada goose  Female mallard duck
Later on I went through Priory Park towards the shops. All the birds seems to be either resting or preening. I think it was inbetween the "bread rush hours" and they had either eaten all the bread, or were waiting for the next lot of people to come by.

Great ideas shop sign
This is my kind of shop!

16 April

Yellow Teddy with lawn weeds  Robin on lawn
What a long job it was digging all the weeds out of the lawn. Sometimes you have to wait for the weed to grow big enough to get hold of, and then you can get it out before it flowers. It was my idea to rake the grass so that the weed leaves were all sticking up higher than the grass. Just walking about on the lawn brings worms to the surface with the vibration and our robin knows it is worth hanging around, preferably somewhere behind the person working. He has a nest somewhere near and I think it is the birdbox on the fence behind the garden shed.

Yellow Teddy with last daffodil  Yellow Teddy with spent daffodil heads
Here is the last daffodil. I have deadheaded all the others, so the goodness goes back into the bulb and not into seeds. I will leave this last one a day or two more, as it will be a whole year before I see them again.

  
Time for the sunflower seeds to go in. These are called "Russian Giant" so I will definitely need some help measuring them when they are fully grown. The sunflower in the second picture is a kneeling mat.

17 April

Goldfish resting in weeds  Blue Parrot with parrot tulip
Here are two of our goldfish friends resting in the weeds, enjoying the very warm sunny day. This is the oxygenating weed so they are really enjoying the bubbles that come off the plants.

Blue Parrot is delighted with the parrot tulips, which have streaky feathery patterns on the petals. The flowers don't last long, so a good photo is a must.

Brown Teddy with Russet apple tree blossoms  Brown Teddy checking tree tie
Brown Teddy is inspecting the newly-planted Russet apple tree. Russet apples are his favourite. There are lots of flower buds and I hope the roots are growing really fast. We dug a good big hole and filled it with extra good soil and plant food granules. A few small bluebell bulbs went down the hole as well. We put some big pebbles and flints around the bottom of the tree to keep the soil from drying out. I will soak it every two weeks this year and next year it will be able to survive on just the normal amount of rain. Brown Teddy decided to check all the other tree ties. This one is holding the big rose arch onto some wooden posts that hold it up. That means that we can replace the arch really easily if it gets too rusty.

Yellow Teddy and small bluebells  Big bluebell buds
I like to keep spreading my bluebell bulbs around the garden. If you accidentally smash or cut up a bluebell bulb while digging, you can plant the pieces and they will all grow again. Most of my bluebells are Spanish bluebells with large flowers and some are pink or white. A few of them are smaller and dark blue and they arch over, so I think they are the English bluebell.

The seedlings look like grass so you have to be very careful not to pull them up by mistake. I have finally worked out what the difference is bluebell seedlings stay as one thin roundish green stalk as they grow, but grass seedlings grow into a few flat blades altogether in a bunch.

Yellow Teddy and hose on lawn
I think the person who invented solar water heating got the idea from leaving their garden hose on the lawn. If you run the water, it runs cold, then hot, then cold again, because half of it is in the shade. If I left the whole hose in the sun, I would have enough for a really big hot bath, just the thing after an afternoon tidying the garden!

20 April


I thought the robins were using this nestbox, until I noticed that they have built their nest of moss above it, on the fence rail. I have not seen any robins sitting on the nest, because if I went too close, it might frighten them away. I think they are a lot safer up in the leaves where they can't be seen.

22 April

Thrush in tree top  Thrush singing in tree top
This thrush has been singing every day for weeks now. Sometimes he sings nearly all day. Thrushes like to eat snails, and they are very welcome to all the snails in my garden that they want.

23 April

Yellow Teddy with Easter eggs and gifts
Look at all these lovely Easter presents from our friends. The green one is a little bag of sweets from our Fruit and Veg man Alf. There is one from Auntie Billy with a lemon shaped soap which smells a bit lemony as well as a bit soapy. The little box has a knitted chick and some tiny chocolate eggs.

Blue Parrot looking after the knitted chick  Dino checking on the little chocolate eggs and sweets
Blue Parrot is going to look after the baby chick, as he is the best qualified. Dino is going to test the chocolate eggs for chocolateyness as he is the best qualified, so he says. I think it will have to be a chocolatey-smell test, Dino, as the eggs are smaller than bite-size!

Brown Teddy keeping the sweets in the folded paper box  Knitted chick looking at Google chicks
Brown Teddy is keeping all the sweets inside the folded paper box. I don't think the box will stay full for very long, though. The chick is sitting on the computer shelf, as that is the warmest place. He was delighted when Brown Teddy Googled some chick pictures for him.

27 April

 
This very young blackbird has found a good hiding place under netting on the edge of the pond. While he was waiting to be fed, he found some tasty titbits in the water. Eventually he flew out and the daddy blackbird brought him some bread. I don't think he realises that he will eventually have to find his own dinners.

29 April

Yellow Teddy watching the Royal Bridge leave her car  Yellow Teddy watching the Royal Couple on the balcony of Buckingham Palace
I finished tidying my bedroom just in time to see the Royal Wedding of Catherine and William. Watching it on television means that I can be everywhere at once, because of all the cameras. Thank you, Wills and Kate, for letting us all share your special day!

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