The shops have had Christmassy things for the last month, but now it is
the first of December, these trees suddenly don't look too early any
more. I have found just what I like on a cold day, some snuggly fleeces
that we could all lie down on, but I think we might be making our own
from fleecy fabric, as it is not so expensive!
The pond has frozen for the first time this year. There was plenty of
clear water around the sides so the fish can come up, but they mostly
stay on the very bottom. All my bushes were looking very decorative.
It was very cold at the boot sale, as it is on high ground where the
winds blow a bit stronger. I like all the tyre patterns in the frosted
More Christmas trees on the farm, although I think a month in a warm
house would not do much for these, unless you put it in the garage to
wait a bit longer. The orchard is looking very bare, and I am already
looking forward to seeing the blossom when they have their boot fairs
again in the spring.
After we had warmed up from our time at the boot fair, I took a quick
walk round the garden. My sunflower solar light was very frosty looking
and I think it is better like that! This little primrose thinks it is
We have to get the ice out of three birdbaths every frozen morning.
Sometimes we remember to empty them at night, so there is no hammering
at the ice next morning. I would like this variegated holly better if it
had some berries. I think there may be one or two hiding under there.
We had a fall of snow this morning. It was big lumps coming down
fast and we all got very excited. My garden was covered but the snow did
not last long as it turned to light rain. Within an hour it was all
gone. Good job I took photos!
This pigeon on the roof looks well fed, you can see the bump in his crop
where he has filled himself with bread. My robin was sitting at the top
of the tree looking for signs of crumbs being thrown from the kitchen
window. I always give him some when everything is frozen.
Another frosty day, and here is my resident
blackbird about to eat the bits of bread. The robin likes to sit on this
little pole by the pond to inspect the crumb situation. On my Christmas
cards robin paintings are very often red, but the real birds are quite
orange, and not red at all.
We went to Bexleyheath for some shopping. I like these giant baubles,
the white ones are about a metre across, and the red one has a seat
inside for children to sit in.
This lovely house-shaped Christmas cake was my favourite in the cake
shop window. I was very surprised to see these Father Christmas
character ornaments dressed in Norwegian knitting, but I think it does
look a lot better than the usual red coat. This knitting will be very
warm, and I definitely want a hat, scarf, gloves and jumper like that!
Inside the supermarket was a giant Christmas tree
with a countdown clock on it. It says "15 sleeps to Christmas" but in my
house we call them "wake-ups to Christmas"!
It was very cold and frosty, and we went through
the park on the way to the shops. This piece of sunlight moving across
the grass is sweeping away the frost. If the sun suddenly went in, the
whole park would be left in green and white stripes. This frosted leaf
is from one of the four small palms in the ornamental garden. It is
looking very sad and I think the palms were expecting very hot
conditions and are wondering why they are in a cold northern park!
I like to see all the shop window displays and this
one is a bit different, with lights half buried in fluffy plastic snow.
I was glad to see a Nativity stable in the bookshop window, as it is
sometimes crowded out by the snowmen and reindeer ones.
Back home we decided it was time for the Christmas
tree to go up. Dino got out the heavy box from the top of the wardrobe.
We keep the decorations in office document boxes so that they don't all
get crushed. Parrot really likes these glass decorations in every
colour, he was allowed to choose which ones went where, but he didn't
pick them up because they are so easily broken.
Sorting out the hanging hooks that have got tangled
was Brown Teddy's job, because he is very patient. The best method was
to shake it all very hard, so that most of them fall free, and then he
only had to untangle the remainder. I always put this stripy ball on
first, so that it gets the best place and doesn't end up at the back.
Then I put on the glass teddies in their smart shiny green jackets.
Brown Teddy likes these other teddy ornaments. They
are not really smiling very much, and I think they look more like
chocolates than glass decorations. They reflect the lights very well.
It was another frost day and all the netting round
my pond was white instead of black, like a giant spider's web, although
I am glad to say that the pond water was not frozen. This blackbird is
sitting on the cotoneaster hedge eating the berries. There is a big
supply to see him through the winter.
We took a trip to Ruxley Garden Centre to see all
the Christmas things. This snowy model village looks very real because
of the photographic background. There were lots of lighting displays and
this one of dolphins, seals, penguins and polar bears also had rope
lights, with the lights in a chasing sequence, so it looked like running
This is the biggest snow village item, and the
houses look very warm and cosy. You can tell their lofts are well
insulated because the roofs are still covered in snow and it is not
Outside there was an ice skating rink. The children
had penguins on skis for them to hold on to, and there were also yellow
sledges for them to sit while the parents pushed them round. Some people
were skating and others were going round the edges holding on to the
rail. The best skater was the Ice Rink Marshall and he was very good at
skating and showing people how it can be done. His job is to make sure
everyone stays safe.
At the back of the garden centre were Ruxley's
three reindeer named Lightning, Bolt and Blossom. They were sitting
around, sleeping and eating hay. They have got used to people and it was
interesting to see them, but I was not too keen on the stably smell when
I got close to them! I think when they have their Wednesday afternoon
"flight practice" is when the staff clean out the pen, and it was
Wednesday midday when we visited!
Inside the aquarium centre it was a lot warmer.
When I saw these bearded dragons in their warm vivariums, I thought of
our friends Nutty
the Skink and Bruce the Bearded Dragon. They have a bowl of food, a
bowl of water, and lots of logs to climb around on or hide under.
I always like to visit the fish section. The bright
orange and yellow ones are my favourites, but sometimes the black and
white stripy ones can look very smart as well. These plastic aquarium
plants are so colourful, it might be worth buying some instead of
artificial flowers for the house!
I would like to pour my Christmas gravy out of a
jug like this, with holly and berries on the side, but it was rather
expensive and would only be used one day a year. I preferred these
chocolate umbrellas, although it would be shame to unwrap and eat them,
unless you refilled the wrappers with something else, so that you could
keep them as decorations.
This is a real growing tree sprayed with artificial
snow, and I hope they wash it all off after Christmas so that the tree
can grow in the spring. There were hundreds of Christmas trees of every
size and colour, and I really liked the clean piney smell. I think I
prefer our artificial tree at home, because you can bend the wire
branches around so that it fits the space in the corner without getting
knocked by people walking past - very important if you have lots of
favourite decorations that must not get broken!
Here I am giving my card to Auntie Freda. These are
my favourite type of cards, where it opens to be three dimensional, and
snow is my favourite as well. Fortunately I still have some left in the
pack so I might send one to myself!
There was a wonderful band in the High Street
playing carols and Christmas songs. They were really good and I am sure
that they have been practising all year. It was very difficult to get a
photo with all the cars whizzing past.
Here is the best card that we have received, and I
purposely stuck it on the wall just behind the lights. Everyone seems to
want snow, and these two window displays are typical for the shops round
These are my favourite decorations. One is a
plastic frozen water drop, and there are lots of other icicles of
different shapes on my tree. There are four paper lanterns and I hang
them up high where they will not get knocked! I think the best is the
tinsel when it has lights behind it. I like my tinsel to be really thick
and all silver so that the reflected colours stand out.
We got some colour-changing LED Christmas trees,
and I made up a little snow scene on a tray. We have these wire trees
out every year but this year they are in a lifelike setting. There is a
model church at the back, and the cotton wool hides the patterns on the
More shop window displays. This baby and manger one is a refreshing
change. They have used bits of tinsel pulled off to make the hay, and
there are several little sheep around. The robin was in estate agents
window, so they could not have anything that hid the details of houses for
There are always lots of Father Christmases in shopping places, but I
have a clue as to how you can identify which ones are the real thing and
which might not be. It's all down to the smiling eyes so I think in my
high street we may have had a secret visit after all! On the way home
through the park, this tree bark reminded me of the Christmas pudding,
and when we eat our pudding, I shall think of the tree, but it will
taste a lot better of course!
Here I am all ready
for Christmas to start. We all received gifts of these marvellous
teddy-sized Christmas hats and have been practising wearing them all
day. It is very empty-looking underneath the tree, but I think that by
tomorrow morning it will look a lot different.
Dino, Brown Teddy
and Blue Parrot have gone to bed with their hats on and there is only me
left still up. I will have to get in really quietly under the fleece so
that we can all get to sleep as quickly as possible.
I just can't guess
what is in all these, although the very soft ones and the flat
rectangular ones might be easier to guess at! It rained very heavily for
most of the day, and I am glad that we did not have to go out in it.
I got the kitchen
stuff all organised very early on. This is our favourite Christmas
pudding, although we only cooked a third of it, as it was too big to eat
in one day. Here we are about to eat our bit of it, with a mince pie,
very thick custard and some mint chocolate chip ice cream.
listened to the Queen's speech. We all love the Queen in our house, as
she loves everybody equally and always thinks the best of
everyone. Afterwards we opened our presents, and we continued guessing
right up until the last bit of paper was torn off. There were lots of
wonderful surprises. The Rupert Annual is our favourite book of the
Later on, Blue
Parrot enjoyed watching the new DVD of the Edinburgh Tattoo Display
especially the drums parts, and later on Brown Teddy had a good time
watching the Nutcracker Ballet. We had not over-eaten at dinner, so we
were able to watch the slim ballerinas without feeling too heavy
The day after
Christmas is always a very good day, because we play with all our new
things. It was lots of heavy rain again, and Dino spent quite some time on
the beanbag reading his new Dinosaur book. Brown Teddy enjoyed all the
adventures in the Rupert Annual.
Blue Parrot had a
hard time deciding which DVD he wanted to see. I was really surprised
and pleased with this present of a Mobile Notes pen, so I can download
my scribbles onto the computer.
computer's DVD tray was stuck so we had to install a new one. I helped
to unscrew the old one and put the new one in. Then we replaced the
noisy fan with a quieter one. It is very interesting to look inside and
we spent some time vacuuming out all the dust. You can save a lot of
money if you can mend your own things.
We went to
Tonbridge. There is usually a very good view over the countryside here
but today was very misty and rainy. I was really looking forward to
seeing the huge Christmas tree in the big window at Tonbridge School. It
must be at least two metres high and I was wishing that we could see it
in the dark. You could fit a lot of presents under a tree that big!
We walked along the
riverside path to Town Lock. The river is flowing from left to right and
the orange floats prevent boats from going over the weirs. In the
distance on the right is the big weir gate. The path is straight, but it
looks curved because this is a joined photo.
This is the weir
gate. The river was roaring through very violently, and the water was
churning and foaming. It would suck down anything that fell in. The
waves were rolling back over themselves and looked as if they were going
Next to the big
weir is this canoe pass. You can see the debris on the grass from where
the river level had been much higher quite recently. On a quieter part
near the lock gates, this swan came up to see if there was any food
going free. Unfortunately there was not, and so he swam off eventually.
In the town there
is always something interesting if you look down alleyways. This painted
Hovis Bread sign must have been quite smart in the past. It is very old
because nowadays they have printed signs on boards rather than painted
onto the brick. I also saw this marker on the ground that says "TUDC
Site of Tollgate". I looked this up on
www.tonbridgehistory.org.uk/history/timeline.htm where it says that
in 1868 the Hadlow Road tollgate was removed. I wonder if this sign
refers to that?
The sports ground
was half under water. The river level was still falling and this field
will be green again quite soon.
We went on to
Sevenoaks. I would like some of this netting material with the snowy
dots on it, so that I can have a snowy window whenever I want. It would
be good if these model fruits stayed on display through the New Year,
even after the Christmas decorations have gone, while the days are grey
I always like to
look in the chocolate shop window. Here are some more fruits, chocolate
wrapped ones, and a chocolate money bag (Dino's favourite). I could look
at this window for hours, there were so many interesting sweets and
chocolate shapes on display. But I might get a bit cold and have to go
inside and buy some to warm up a bit!
letter board is meant for letters and cards, but it would be quite good to
replace an uninteresting corkboard and you would not need any pins that
keep falling out. Just before going home, I checked out the little pond
with the bridge. I think any goldfish must have been hiding in the weeds
where it is safer.
It has been raining
all day and it is very gloomy. I was delighted to find the wool bag and
some knitting. I tidied all the balls and made sure the needles were all
in pairs and fours. I am looking forward to having some leftovers to
play with, especially the rainbow wool. Dino thought about tidying the
treasure shelves but decided the kitchen cupboards were more interesting
case there were any more hidden Christmas chocolates that had been
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