1 May 2012
I always expect the first of May to be a nice warm day and
it was. Here are the Priory ducks all sleeping under the blossom tree, glad they
have got their pond back, at least some of it. The pigeons were all resting and
sleeping on the grass nearby.
Here is our new young blackbird realising that moving
wiggles in the lawn generally mean a dinner appearing from nowhere. We still
haven't seen any new robins emerge from the shed, and I decided to film the comings
and goings. The rain was spitting on and off, so I had to put a sandwich bag
over the camcorder.
I had an hour of video tape to run through and I captured
all the action shots onto computer and left out all the empty minutes. Sometimes
the robin dives through the hole without stopping, but mostly he sits and looks
around to ensure everything is safe before dropping down inside to feed the
The sky cleared and the sun came out, but after so many
weeks of rain the field at Pedham Place boot fair was quite waterlogged. There were fewer people
than usual but we still had a good time. I bought some ring binder folders for
all my artwork and writing, and I am very pleased as they are bright yellow,
bright green and red!
We got back quite early and after a snack we went to the Petts Wood May Fayre
held in the Memorial Gardens. All the usual stalls were there - bric-a-brac,
plants and handiwork. The balloon-modelling man was walking around making animal
shapes for the children.
The first thing I looked for was the Reptile Events tent. This is Slinky the
Skink* with his handler Jane. At first he was a bit quiet, but after some
encouragement from his friend Bruce the Bearded Dragon, he agreed to sit on the
sleeve and shoulder so that people could take photos. Slinky has a website at
www.reptile-events.co.uk where he
has put photos of all his other friends who were not able to come to the Fayre.
drawing of Slinky
on his Reptilespage, that you can download for colouring in.
This snake was having a rest in his box and obviously enjoys having some reading
matter to pass the time. Dino has decided that Slinky is his
favourite lizard, with the best orange colouring, and he knows from personal experience that smart and handsome
dinosaurs, lizards and snakes have to sit very still sometimes, so that people's
photos do not get blurred. Then when no-one is looking, they can run around and
This is Citrine the Burmese Python who was very well behaved with everyone. The
other pythons were also wrapping themselves around their handlers, obviously
eager to get a really good view of the admiring crowds of children and parents.
Pythons are not known for their big smiles but inside they are very happy
because they have a good warm home with willing servants providing everything they
need, with the occasional outing to visit a school or club.
The Orpington Bee Keepers' stall looked very delicious. There was a glass case with lots
of bees in their honeycomb. The queen bee is marked with a spot and her workers
are all crowding round her to make sure she is well looked after.
There was all different types of dancing and music. Last year's May Queen and her
Maids danced round the maypole. Their dresses and tunics were very smart and
beautiful. Everyone knew all their steps, even the younger ones, and the audience
clapped very loudly at the end. There was Morris dancing inside the hall and I
liked the sound of the clogs on the wooden floorboards. The Bloco Fogo drumming
band was entertaining everyone with beats that were so loud you could feel it
in your stomach. Their yellow costumes made it look as if the sun had come out a
In the car park the crowds of parents and children were
enjoying the funfair, with bouncy castles and rides. It was very noisy.
This cake stall looked scrumptious and I saw several people going round biting
into slices of chocolate cake and trying not to drop any. I always visit the
RNLI Lifeboats stall, and I am glad that someone is brave enough to go to sea to
rescue people. The teddy has the same hat as the officer!
Outside the gardens, there were lots of classic cars. This is definitely my
favourite one, it reminds me of milk chocolate! It is very low down and has an
open top, so it's just right for me on a hot sunny day. There was a Better
Driving stall so people can take extra lessons, and I think it's a very good
idea, especially since our trip to Hassocks last week when I saw some very
dangerous driving on the rainy motorway.
The classic cars were very interesting, although I am not sure they would give a
very smooth ride, but what I really liked was the shiny chrome work and
colourful badges. The owners had obviously spent many hours polishing
The Fire Brigade brought their engine and there were lots of children getting to
sit in the cab. On the other side you could see all the tools and hoses.
I like to see colourful sweet stalls, and it is very difficult to just choose
one item, because no-one could eat all of it, especially if they wanted to stay
slim and keep all their teeth! I was glad to see the fresh fruit and vegetable
stall, where you can order boxes to be delivered. I have some small apple trees
in my garden and I think it's just like having sweets growing on trees! As soon
as I got back home, I went straight to the apple basket!
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My new fountain pens arrived today and they are very smart with swirly patterns and the nibs are very springy. The pen people also sent us some lovely bookmarks so that we
remember them! The blue one will have blue ink for writing, and I am putting
black ink in the browny pen, so that Brown Teddy and I can do some drawings.
I settled down with a big cup of red berries tea, and played
with the pens. The best thing about these pens is the big ink window, where you
can see when the ink is getting low. Everything at both ends unscrews and I can
safely take them apart for cleanups, so these are just right for me, because I
like to know exactly how things are made. I keep all our pens and pencils in mugs, so I am
always looking out for new mugs with interesting designs on. The mug of berries
tea has a chocolate bar name on the other side, and I have to turn it away when
Dino is around, or he will think it contains a chocolate drink!
I had a quick look through the shed window as I was passing, to see if any of
the baby robins were out of the nest, but there were none to be seen. Their nest
is round the corner inside, so I can't see it from the window. My pear tree has
the beginnings of the fruits, and they have come on really quickly, as the
blossom has only just gone over. I think it is all the rain swelling them and I
am expecting a really big harvest this year!
This is one of our new blackbirds and he spent a long time having a bath. Later
on in the afternoon it rained and I wonder if he thought he had wasted his efforts
splashing around when he could have sat in a tree and got wet! It's getting a
bit difficult inspecting the garden without surprising and alarming them as they
are poking about under bushes, so we hurry up with our pictures and then leave
them in peace.
This afternoon was quite rainy and so Brown Teddy and I
have had a good time drawing pictures with the new fountain pens. As a surprise
treat for Dino, I traced over the photo of Slinky the
Skink (at the Petts Wood May Fayre last Monday), and someone scanned it for me
and tidied it up. Dino is absolutely delighted because he can print off as many
as he likes, and do some practice colouring. He has put in a bit of grass because Slinky is more
used to seeing English greenery rather than a desert and he wanted to make him
feel at home. We have some very bright soft pencils for Dino, which don't leave
marks on fingers, and of course he never gets anywhere near the ink bottles.
Sometimes he uses the special crayons where you can spread the colour with a
watery brush on the paper, so that there is never any mess.
You can download the colouring pictures of Slinky and his
friends from Dino's new Reptiles page.
Dino says that skinks like to sit on warm hands, and
dinosaurs like to lie on warm pillows that have a hot water bottle inside them.
If there is no-one around to fill the bottle up, he gets warmer by running
around the room and jumping on the bed for a while.
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I am very happy to report that the bluetits have decided to
use one of our nestboxes. This box is behind the shed and I made special efforts
to wind all the bendy branches, twigs and leaves over it, so that it does not
get too hot in the sun. We had a family of bluetits last year, and here we are
again with more occupants. I left the camcorder running for an hour, like I did
with the robins in the shed, and got these shots of moss being taken inside.
It's a very good way of finding out what is going on, because it only takes a
few seconds to miss something if you are trying to watch it all the time, and it
all happens too fast to see what they are taking in.
Here are all the bees on my cotoneaster bush, making sure
that we have lots of berries at the end of the year to feed the birds and the
humming noise was quite loud. There were so many bees all moving about that I
could not get a photo of them all at once. Even though these branches are
immediately behind the garden seat, the bees are no trouble at all, as they are
only interested in the flowers.
The robin is helping himself to a few crumbs that were
thrown to the sparrows, but he is mainly taking insects into his nest. It seems
he has been doing this for ages and his nest must be jam-packed with growing
This clipped bush was growing out over the path so one side of it needed
clipping back very hard. Dino said it looks like a dinosaur has been grazing on
it. I suppose my secateurs do look rather like dinosaur teeth, the blades are
long and sharp like fangs. We kept our backs to the shed and the robin was quite
happy to come and go with us there. These green shoots growing through the
stones underneath the pear tree are not grass but bluebell seedlings. You can
tell the difference because grass blades are flat, and bluebell seedlings are
rounded like bits of wire. I will have to try the gravel stones method elsewhere
in order to grow more bluebells, as I like to have them everywhere.
This is the very beginning of an apple, and I wanted a
picture of it so that I can compare it with a photo taken when they are full
size, as it is very easy to forget how they started out. It's nice to know they
are getting on with growing while I am doing other things, like shopping,
reading or sleeping in bed!
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This is the boot fair at Tripes Farm. I did not buy anything here, and
afterwards we went on to Pedham boot fair which is a 20-minute drive away.
At Tripes, the car parking rows have stripes of uncut grass to mark out the
rows, and they were all full of lovely buttercups. Buttercups like it very damp
and so all the rain has made them grow quite big. Another thing I look forward
to at Tripes is this Union Jack flag waving at the end of someone's garden, and
it took several photos to get one with the whole flag opened out!
This big pot of tulips has now finished. I have put in some
climbing nasturtium seeds and while the tulip leaves are dying down over the
summer I will have some other flowers. Later on I will have to put in a wigwam
of canes. Nasturtiums like old or poor soil so I have also put some more seeds
in this bare patch by the fence so they can climb up the pole and the shrub
This young blackbird has found out that crumbs sometimes fly out of the kitchen
window, so we have to make sure he doesn't keep this habit. There are loads of
worms in the wet garden so he is well provided for at the moment.
In this pot I have put seeds of mesembryanthemum which are
daisy shaped flowers. They will like it in a hot pot under hot stones in a sunny
place. Today is not very sunny and we have had a passing thunderstorm with one
flash of lightning and a few thunderclaps. The sky was very dark over the trees
and quite bright behind me. I like storms if I can watch them from indoors!
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At last! Here are two of the baby robins that have left the
nest and are sitting in the shed window. The second picture is a frame from a
video of the parent feeding the baby. The babies keep flying from one side of
the shed to the other, so we are now sure that they will be able to fly up to
the opening at the top of the shed door.
I am glad I had the camera ready when I went down to the kitchen for a snack! I
think some of the other nestlings have already left the shed because the robins
are going all over the place with the crumbs. This one went back inside after a
This is the Olympic flame landing at Culdrose airfield in
Cornwall, England, this evening. Princess Anne carried the flame inside its lamp
from the plane to the podium and footballer David Beckham lit the torch and the
cauldron. Everything is yellow – the plane, the lamp, the flame and the torch,
and of course me!
I got up really early and saw the sun rising over the back
garden, looking just like a red version of the Olympic flame. I prefer the sun,
as it is longer-lasting and doesn't have to be brought in from anywhere! The new
weir in the River Cray has produced deeper water behind it, and it is obvious
from the photo that it has been successfully duck-tested. The long snaky sandbag
is now draped over the rocks.
Here is a close-up of the pond-inspecting duck. I like this
photo because it looks like a very clever watery painting done in watery paints,
with all the zigzag patterns to make the water look real. In this case the water
actually is real!
I was delighted to find that Priory pond has partly filled up again, although it
is only six inches deep and does not yet meet round the other side of the
island. But the ducks are all very happy and so am I.
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We went on a day out to Stockwood Park in Luton. I
had the £1.50 ready to pay the toll at the Dartford Crossing. Dino
loves the tunnels, because he is expecting to see fossils on the walls!
We had a look round the Dunstable Downs Radio Rally
boot sale first of all. It was a bit cold and misty. No-one was
buying ice creams, and people preferred hot burgers and
I wonder if this person filled up the bag with some
of these old valves. I think this is a coil of wire but it looks more
like a toffee-apple. Someone remembered having an old aerial like this
for the television ages ago and having to walk round the room with it
until they got a good picture!
This model helicopter looks like fun and you can
see how big it is by the size of the car wheel behind it. All it needs
is a little camera and we could all get a really good look at the park
from the air. I wonder how old this tool is, I think it must be some
sort of stapling or cutting machine, as it has a handle that goes down
and a big spring to get it back up again.
On the other side of the park there were lots of
arenas with dog show jumping trials. It was very noisy with dogs and
barking everywhere. I did not stay
too long as even the small dogs look really big to me! Every few minutes
a big plane came in to land at Luton Airport which is very near.
This wooden horse is good for pretend riding games,
and I am glad they put a tail bit on the end so that the person on the
back doesn't slide off! This hollow trunk has been left for climbing on.
Parrot said that if it rained we could go in here.
Brown Teddy found even more climbing logs. Further
on there is a playground with swings and climbing frames. This one looks
like it should have a dolphin jumping through it! I am glad the ground
After lunch we went into the Discovery Centre. In
the Bees section there we no live bees at the moment, but lots of
displays. These are different kinds of hives and the posters show
everything about beekeeping and how bees live.
Bees do a figure-of-eight waggle dance to let the
others know where the best flowers are, and these
footsteps have been painted on the floor for children to do the waggle
dance as well. The steps were too far apart for me though!
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The hothouse was closed off and the bubble-wrap was
still at the windows until the weather gets warmer. Last year it was
very very hot in here. Old walls look good because of all the different
colours in the bricks, but I am glad that this one has been repaired.
After a few years it will be mossy as well. Someone told me if you paint
new bricks with a mixture of mud and milk, they go green quite quickly,
but I haven't tried it, it might start to smell of cheese!
This is the arid dry corner, with gravel and big
red sandstone rocks. This wooden carved lizard looks just like our
friend Slinky the Skink, although this
carving is about a metre long. I think Slinky
would be right at home here on a hot sunny day, with rocks to hide
behind if it gets too hot. Dino has informed me that skinks like sand,
so perhaps he had better bring his own sand box with him! This stone tortoise's face looks as if he has just had a dinner that was
a little too big, either that or he has just eaten the last jam donut!
I love to visit the chickens in the Dig For Victory
Wartime Garden. As soon as we arrived, the chickens left their grain and
came to say hello. They are very friendly and were making nice clucking
noises which means they are interested and not frightened. Their cage is
quite big, with lots of hay to scratch around, a grain trough, a water
dispenser and a private shed in the middle. They really enjoy visitors.
I wonder if they spend the evening talking about the people who came
This arch is one of my favourite parts of the
Walled Garden and it will be even better when the roses are out. Dino
had another look at the chickens over the wall from another bit of
garden and the friendly chickens came right round to see him again. It
was a shame to leave them!
Parrot's favourite place is this grotto, because it
would make a good nest. Outside the walled garden we found a lot of
feathers strung up on invisible wire. We thought it was an artwork but later on we
found out that people were having a fashion photo shoot.
The Rural Life museum was very interesting and full
of old farming and craft equipment. There are old tractors, tools, a
forge and a carpenter's with sound effects running all the time. These
are cow bells so that cows don't get lost. This shelved thing is a seed
sorter and it has lots of gears and chains at the sides so that it
shakes the seeds. I think it is probably used flat, not upright. Even
the ceiling had exhibits like tools and farm gates.
The horse brasses are all polished and shiny. I
think Number 13 must be Welsh, as it has a harp on it.
These gold ornaments were very beautiful and did
not look hundreds of years old. Dino was fascinated by this picture of a
Roman dinner table full of all the things they might eat. He was more
than willing to test them all out for flavour, if anyone gave him the chance. Good
job I had saved an extra large bun for him back in the car!
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Dino admired these gleaming white fossil shells,
and said he would quite like something like that as a garden ornament.
Brown Teddy found this fossil of a fish-eating swimming
plesiosaur. All the little teeth would keep a good hold on any fish it
Out in the garden, Dino had some conversations with
all the lions sitting around. Apparently the lions have decided that
these gardens are the most pleasant place in which to do their guard
We went into the Discovery Centre museum. I liked
this case of very old Victorian children's toys, with puzzles, picture
books, marbles and a magic lantern, which showed coloured slides before film
was invented. Brown Teddy's favourite is the Noah's Ark with the wooden
I like this little royal crown hat, it is just my
size. These very old wedding dresses were very glowing, mainly
because of the special white lights shining down on them. They reminded
me of snow in my back garden when I put the security light on!
We were delighted to see that there is a new
exhibition of Dino-Mites, which is life-size baby dinosaurs. The main museum
is free but you have to pay to see the dinosaurs. Inside everything is
very dark with the dinosaurs lit up by coloured spot lights. There is a
lot of roaring and screeching noise all the time. The second picture
above is Iguanodon.
The models do not move but
Parrot was keeping a watchful eye on this big Tyrannosaurus. I think the
Tyrannosaurus is best viewed from a little distance!
Here is Deinonychus who was a fast runner with
sharp toe claws. Dino is checking out the Diplodocus who was a
plant eater. Dino thinks all these dinosaurs died out because they were
too ferocious and ate each other, and only friendly home-loving
dinosaurs like him were left. He calls it his Theory of Survival of the
This is a Black Hole table. You roll a coin down,
it spirals round and drops down the hole in the middle. The money goes
to charity. There were lots of quilted pennants all along the corridor,
these were organised by Quilts 4 London and one will be given to each
Olympic athlete. These are just 500 of the many thousands of pennants
that have been made.
We all chose our favourite one. This peacock is
Parrot's favourite. Dino liked the one showing fish and chips, as he
especially likes chips that are crinkle cut because they are crispier. I
like the bubbles.
It was very difficult to choose my favourite, but
at last I saw one that I really really liked. These silvery fish were
very beautiful, although the photo does not show up how wonderfully
silvery they are. Brown Teddy liked the Rookery one, especially the
little white bird with the motto, "Reach for the sky, where the birds
Before leaving we had a look round the gift shop.
It took ages to go round as there are so many lovely things. These
dinosaurs are much friendlier than the models in the exhibition. I
bought some pterosaur gliders and some bookmarks.
We had another snack before leaving for home. It
took just over an hour to get from Luton to the River Thames. I like
going over the Dartford Crossing because it means we are nearly home.
It's proper name is the Queen Elizabeth the Second Bridge. After such an
early start and a long interesting day, we were ready for bed quite
soon. Normally we talk about everything, but we all fell asleep almost
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We were finally able to get into the shed, now that
the robins have all left. Here is the nest after we had taken away the
hand tools that were in front of it. I think they were glad to get out
into the fresh clean garden where all their dinners are. It was
definitely time for a cleanup. I put the nest into the compost bin and
scrubbed all the tools.
Today is very warm and sunny, just right for a walk
by the River Cray. My favourite bridge was closed for repair, so we had
to go the long way round to get to where the ducks are. Brown Teddy
likes greenery because it is very cool on a hot day. This part is
usually short grass going down to the water but the rain has made
it grow very long with lots of cow parsley plants everywhere.
These friendly swans came to see us, but they
eventually drifted away when they realised we did not have any bread.
Lots of people bring bags of bread here for their children to throw, so
it won't be long before they get some. There is plenty of weed for them
to eat as well.
A family of geese and goslings arrived and slid
down the bank into the water. Some people had been feeding them and the
goslings were pecking and chasing each other, I think they were getting
jealous in case they missed out on their share of the bread. This end of
the bench by the riverside has got wings on it just like the birds.
Maybe it should be painted white like a swan!
This hole in the tree trunk is where an old branch
has fallen off, but Brown Teddy said it looked just like a dinosaur eye.
Further along there is a bite out of the wall. I'll have to send Dino
down to sort that one out, he's very good at keeping everything in
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Today is warm and sunny again. We took a walk through Covet Wood on the
way to the shops. This little ditch is always dry whenever I see it, but
I suppose on really wet winter days when it the ditch is wet, I am
indoors by the radiator. These roots along the woodland path make good
steps to go down the slope.
This is a stream that passes between the houses. If I had a stream by my
house, I would be watching it all day. This duck was on the mud bank of
the stream, having a rest in the shade before continuing his journey.
After our shopping, we came back through the woodland. This is the boggy
hole in the middle, with big irises and lots of mud. There are thick
trees all around so this sunny spot looks very special and secret. I
like this branching tree trunk - a bit like the supermarket, three for
the price of one!
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We went to the Jubilee Celebration Fair in Priory
Gardens, to celebrate the Queen reigning for 60 years. There were Union
Jacks everywhere, so it it was all a lot more colourful than normal
There was a march past and Drum Head service by the Royal
British Legion, with the Veterans holding the banners, and the Cadets
providing the marching music. The Pastors said the prayers and the
address, and the Mayor in his red robes said his prayers for the Queen
and the country. I think it must be quite a job being Mayor, as he has
to think all the time of the best way of doing everything and look after
everything that happens in his town.
More music and marching by various Cadets, and I
really admired how they can remember all the music and drum beats.
Afterwards the children let off sixty balloons in red, white and blue, one for each year of the Queen's reign.
The wind was quite gusty at times, so the balloons went on their way very
These cakes are beautifully decorated with folding
paper ornaments, just like Christmas decorations, so at least when you
have eaten the cake, you can save the decoration! The human fruit
machine was manned by Legion volunteers. The red poppy on the front is a
reminder of people who have died in service, so that they are never
There was a very interesting falconry stand, with
falcons and owls. I am glad they were in the shade, and
they all had a drinking bowl by their side. I am also happy that these
birds get to fly free a lot of the time during their training and their
displays, so they can soar in the sky just like any other bird.
I was really pleased to see the Reptile Events
stand again and say hello to our friend Slinky, who shares his home with
Bruce the Bearded Dragon. Slinky is quite a celebrity as he loves to go
round with his keepers and see people and children. He is especially
fond of sitting on warm hands and warm shoulders.
I think there are three snakes in this heap. They
are very inquisitive and seem to like poking in every odd corner to see
what they can find of interest. This is Citrine the adult Burmese Python
being admired by a visitor. She knows she is the star of the show. She
is very noticeable, especially from a distance, being so big and yellow,
so people come over to see what is going on.
Dino has a new
Drawing page with some line drawings
of Slinky and friends for colouring in.
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This is my very favourite wild flower place. It is
a pathside verge on a roundabout on the way to Pedham Place boot sale.
It is full of oxeye daisies all waving in the breeze. The breeze mainly
comes from the cars and trucks whizzing past! The rainy April we had has
made the display thicker than ever. I never put off taking a photo until
the next week, because one day I will come and find that it has all been
mown away, with just the seeds there waiting for next year.
Here is my new friend from the boot sale, a very
handsome Seagull. He is delighted to try out our bean bag and I am
looking forward to showing him round our home and garden. He has got
lots of seaside stories to tell us.
I have to be careful when weeding, with all the
little frogs about. This one is too big to be this year's tadpole. If in
doubt, I rattle the plants to see if anything jumps out. They eat flies
and slugs, which I am happy about. Fortunately he stayed still while I
went indoors for the camera. This evergreen bush was cut back very hard
from the path and now it is sprouting again, just as I hoped it would.
I got these hanging flower pouches at the boot
sale, so I can try them out without spending too much money. I have put
nasturtium seeds in each hole and once the seedlings come through, I
will hang the bags up. So I have got a couple of weeks to think of the
best place to put them, and it will have to be somewhere strong as they
are quite heavy. You won't be able to see the bags once the plants have
grown all over them. These are double-flowered bush nasturtiums, and I
have planted lots of climbing ones in the ground in all the places where
no other flowers will grow.
This is the part of the River Cray where the banks have
been reshaped. The plants are beginning to take over, although there
are still a lot of bare patches. It won't be long before these
buttercups are everywhere, spreading just like they do in my lawn,
except here they are a lot more welcome. I was very glad to get a
picture at last of a thrush, sitting by the river. You know they are
around when the end of the garden has a little area of broken snail
shells. I wish they would come back to my garden and clear up some
more of the snails, they would never go hungry.
I thought that the dry ponds would mean no
ducklings this year, but now that the main pond has some water, a
lot of twiggy nests have appeared. I am looking forward to seeing
some ducklings later on.
It was very hot and I was walking home looking
down all the time to keep the sun out of my eyes. I suddenly saw
this pattern on the ground and the first thing I thought of was
python scales, after all the snake drawing we have been doing for
Dino's new page. Brown Teddy says they might be fish scales. Blue
Parrot says they might be pineapple scale patterns and can we buy a
pineapple and make some smoothies with it. Dino says
they are definitely dinosaur scales. This is what you would get if a
dinosaur was lying in the mud and then the sun baked the mud dry!
Down by the river Brown Teddy was the first to
notice a big gully in the riverbank, where a large tree stump was
upended. It was quite deep and would have been invisible if the
grass had not been cut. We did not go right to the edge. I tried to sit on this bracket fungus on a
big tree but as it was sloping, I kept falling off!
Further along I saw the beginnings of an island with a plant that
looks like a big rhubarb. It grows all along the banks further up
the river, and I am sure this is a piece that has washed down the
river. The water will slow down around the plant and the island will
grow bigger. I wonder if eventually there will be two rivers when
the island is really big? I think maybe the river keepers will clear
it so that the water flows properly.
At Priory pond there is more water than before. I am hoping the
waters will meet together right round the island, so that the island
is safe for the birds. All these daisies in the park look just like
snow and I hope the gardeners leave them for a bit before getting
the mower out.
I really like these Union Jack flag patterns on
notebooks. I think will save my money by doing my own
on the computer and printing it out for my own notebooks - you can
download some Union Jacks in colour and in lines on my
Colouring page. Flags are
everywhere for the Queen's Jubilee.
This dinosaur in a toy shop window is having a
ride on a scooter but he will have to eat more dinners so that he
can grow big enough to get to the handlebar. When the shop is
closed, I think he will be riding up and down the mall walkway when
no-one is looking. Fortunately for him there is a chocolate shop
next door and if they have any broken bits they should leave it out
as a treat for him, along with a saucer of water to help it go down!
Back home mummy sparrow was waiting for some
bits of bread to take back to the nest. They get a lot of seeds and
insects round the garden, but when someone is at the kitchen window
they come and wait to see if the top window is going to open and
crumbs fly out. A lot of the time the sparrows are hopping all over
the climbing roses eating the greenfly, which I am very pleased
about. With their bread I think that makes greenfly sandwich - no
We went on a little tour of the tile shops
today. I am already planning some patterns on my graph paper so that
we know exactly how many we need. On the way back I saw these lovely
field poppies growing on a heap of soil by the roadside. The soil
has been left in a mound to grass over but it is obviously full of
poppy seeds and will be for many years to come! I am going to buy
some in a packet and get them to grow in my gravel, in the hottest
driest place in my garden.
Today is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant
along the River Thames. The first boat was the barge carrying the
new bells. After that came the rowing ship the Gloriana, which was
one of the names of Queen Elizabeth the First in the fifteen
Brown Teddy and I enjoyed a virtual helicopter
ride over the Thames, via the cameras installed on top of high
buildings and bridges.
Here is the Queen boarding the Royal Barge.
Brown Teddy enjoyed travelling on the front of the barge just behind
the flag, but without any of the cold, wind or rain!
Dino was very interested in the creatures on
the prow of the Royal Barge. The face is Old Father Thames and the
other creature is a dolphin, carved in the way people did them
before they had actually seen dolphins for real.
The roadway on Tower Bridge was raised for the
barge to go under, and Dino was ready to go and help give it a push
if there was any problem. You really need a big strong dinosaur to
help if any of the systems fail, but fortunately there was no need.
Blue Parrot thought this gentleman was the best dressed person in
the whole Pageant with his coloured feathers, brightening up a grey
Last of all the Fire Rescue boat came past, and
they made sure there was a good distance all around them, as people
were quite wet enough from the rain. These cakes look wonderful - a
corgi dog and a picture of the Queen in younger days. I hope they
took lots of pictures before cutting them up.
I really like the Queen's white gown covered in
sparkly diamonds. Finally I said goodbye and thank you to the Queen
and she very graciously waved back to me. Brown Teddy, Dino, Blue
Parrot and I all love our Queen, she is so kind and thoughtful to
We are having a lot of rain again, which I
don't mind. When this gravelly car park is full of puddles, we often
see lots of starlings having a bath, but the rain was a bit too
heavy today. I prefer my nice warm bathroom with the
fluffy towels and the scented talcum powder!
The rain soon stopped and we visited the garden
centre part of the Homebase store. These frogs all have crowns but
they will never replace our lovely Queen! This dragonfly looks huge
but it was really quite small. If I got one for our garden, it might
put off our real dragonflies.
I am getting a lot of good shots of birds
lately, although I would prefer a really detailed closeup, but the
birds are too shy for that. Blue tits are quite common, but the yellow wagtail in Priory
Pond and the goldfinch on the aerial are not seen very often around here. The
goldfinch has a song like the chaffinch, and I thought that was what
he was, until I got a close look at my photo. He has red markings on
In the boating pond, which is now completely
green, there are thousands of tiny stickleback fish. I am sure the
fish eggs have been carried here on the ducks' feet, because I have
seen lots of these in Priory Pond before it dried up. They were
mostly swimming round the edge of the pond, as it is probably
safer for them. When I got the camera too close, they all dived
down. Later on we gave some birthday presents and you can tell that
Brown Teddy likes to buy flowery wrapping paper. We had some
Victoria Sponge Cake and some chocolate biscuit bars. The biscuit
bars were very thick so we could not eat as many as we normally do!
We were very full up after that.
Blue Parrot asked for a pineapple smoothie
about a week ago. Here he is with everything ready. I did the
cutting of the pineapple and mango, and Blue Parrot pushed the
button to start mixing. We had to put some extra soya milk in to get
it to whizz properly.
He could not manage all of it, so we kindly
offered to help to eat it, and we still had some to save for later.
Blue Parrot enjoyed washing up afterwards, mainly so he can stir the
water up into a pile of bubbles. He has found you can get more
bubbles if you blow into the water through a drinking straw, as long
as you definitely don't suck! It takes him quite a long time to wash
up, as he
does not like to get wet.
The smoothie idea started last week when we saw the
fence shadows that looked like snake
patterns, and Parrot thought of pineapple patterns. Dino was right
about it looking like dinosaur scales, and here is a photo from the
Dinosaur Exhibition that we saw at
Stockwood Park last month.
Rain most of the day today, although we got our
walk in before it really got heavy. The Priory ducks are happier
every day with the water situation and this one is saying "About
time too!". This ornamental duck has returned to the pond now that
it is up to his high standards of swimmability!
These pigeons look a bit bored now that they
can't get any duck bread from the pond floor. Maybe they are glad
that they don't need to walk around in the mud any more! They are
good at clearing up when people get a bit too enthusiastic with the
I left the camera zoomed in on the bluetits
nestbox, and in an hour and a half's recording this seems to be the
only time the bird came out in full view. The hole is just to
the left of that stem. All the other times he was creeping in and
out behind the leaves. But I am glad it is all well hidden, to keep
the babies safe.
This is on the way to Pedham Place boot sale.
All the lovely flowers on the verges have been mown away, so I am
glad I got photos last time. Fortunately, there are still plenty
behind the fence where the woodland bit starts, and these can make
even more seeds for next year. The starlings are very happy with the
short grass as they can look for dinners.
This is the middle of one of the oxeye daisies
in the photo above. Although the yellow part is only 2 centimetres
across, it looks just like a sunflower. According to the botanists,
these yellow bits are the real flowers, so instead of thousands of
oxeye daisies on Pedham roundabout, we actually have millions! We
had these in the garden once and had to remove them as they spread
everywhere a bit too fast, but they are very lovely out in the open
At the Garden Centre I really liked this dragon
ornament. You have to buy at least three bits, a head, a middle (or
several middles) and a tail. I think this would look even better on
a lawn and then it would look like a pond covered in duckweed with a
friendly serpent creature making an appearance. I think I would
have to paint some whites into the eyes to make it more interesting. I
think they would sell more if the geraniums were not so big!
Things at Priory Pond just keep getting better and
better. The weir between the top and bottom ponds is now flowing,
making a very satisfying gurgling sound that we have not heard for
over a year. The smaller third pond is filling up through the
overflow pipe and I am definitely going back soon to check up on it.
Back home some new young starlings have found
our lawn and spent quite some time digging out the leatherjackets,
quite easy now that it is all wet and soft. Leatherjacket grubs turn
into daddy-long-legs which none of us like at all, so come on
starlings, eat them all up for me! If you dig up a piece of turf,
it's amazing how many grubs there are underneath and they can also
wriggle away very quickly out of sight.
The growbags are doing quite well. They got a
bit soaked in the rain and not all the nasturtium seeds germinated,
so I have stood the bags upright to drain the water away, and filled
the gaps with pansy seedlings. Dino was amazed to see a giant
snowflake in the garden. Someone put it out here so that the solar
square could get properly charged. It has a colour-changing light.
I think these Campanula flowers are my
favourite and they increase by roots and seeds as well. I am trying
to spread these about a bit more, so I am taking special care of
them this year, with extra water and feed. There are a few white
ones as well. The Deutzia bush is full of bees. The bees are very
busy, so they don't take any notice of me. Later on, I had a lone
lost bee on my net curtain, and I took him down the garden and put
him on this bush. He was very happy to get to the nectar and refuel
himself for his journey back to his nest.
We have let these wild strawberry plants spread
about. I am hoping the tiny berries will feed the blackbirds. The
fishes are all very happy, but I think they could do with a bit more
sun to make a warm corner for them to lounge about in. They like to
rest with their heads under the waterlily leaves, it must be like
wearing a sunhat.
Here is all the gushing and flowing at Priory
Pond weir. The mud had been going green, so all this moving water is
freshening everything up. Whenever I look at the photo I think I can
really hear the sounds.
They seem to have finished repairing The Priory
and the patterns show where the flint has been repointed. It should
now last a few hundred more years. This tree root nearby looks like
a dinosaur foot. Dino says that it should be claws, but with its
stumpy nails it must be a prehistoric elephant.
Here is the female blackbird pulling up bits of
old crocus leaves. She is making a nest just behind in the evergreen
shrubbery up against the fence. This is right opposite the kitchen
back door, which is very convenient for taking pictures of the
action. I decided to paint some flower pictures and I think I will
practise using this picture of these lovely double ones. I think it
might be easier than it looks, because it will just be a pink circle
with lots of reddish dabs.
Today has been extremely gusty and so we warmed
ourselves up with our favourite meal of veggie nutburger, which is
Dino is always asking for. Afterwards we watched the highlights of
the Trooping of the Colour for the Queen's Birthday. I really liked
the flypast of the Red Arrows with their red white and blue smoke
trails. Every soldier did his part perfectly and the Queen was
looking very pleased with all music and marching, but I think she
will be glad to sit down in the evening on a big cosy sofa with her
soft slippers and silky dressing gown on.
At last I have got a field poppy of my own and
I am definitely going to be saving all the seeds from it so that I
can spread it about. I was interested to see these patterns on a
weed along a footpath. The leafminers must be very full and fat, and
have been well trained to eat weeds and not garden plants!
The small pond in Priory Gardens is not yet
full and this pigeon was enjoying his cool soak in the shallows, and
glad to be standing on clean soft weeds and not a lot of mud. The
second pigeon looked interested but he did not get in the water.
This is a baby robin in the park, before he gets his adult colours of red and
dark brown. I was very pleased to see a thrush because they are not
so common nowadays, at least not in my garden. They like very tall
trees where they can sit and sing over their territory.
This is one of the best bits of Priory Gardens
because there are lots of clipped hedge compartments with seats, so
every time you go round a corner there is a different view, and you
can sit in the sun, shade or out of the wind. When I go up these
steps I expect to see all the lovely bedding but today the beds were
empty and the gardeners were having their lunch. They had started to
plant the thousands of geraniums from the back of the van, but I do
hope they were not eating their sandwiches with muddy hands!
Priory gardeners look after everything really well and they are
always putting in, taking out or spreading compost around. These are
the best two of the rose photos, but it looks much better in real
life when you can see all the colours at the same time.
The blackbirds are nesting in my garden again and here is Daddy
Blackbird, still looking a bit scruffy, but obviously very good at
defending his territory and looking after the family. He had been
singing but here he has stopped to listen for other songs, and also
to look for danger.
I got up really early for a drink of water. This is the sky over my
back garden and it means the day is going to be sunny and warm.
I keep hearing a lot of sucking sounds from the pond as the fishes
push around in the weeds and at the algae on the pond side walls.
Sometimes all I can see is a lot of tails and back fins amongst the
plants. The second photo is an unusual view of one of the tench, who
normally stay below. They feed at the bottom and we bought them to
clear up any debris that might sink. They are more slim and straight
than goldfish and their scales are a dully greeny grey, but their
eye is a red circle. This one was enjoying the warm water on the
sunny shelf, but with the protection of some leaves nearby for
The garden centre has duck planters this year,
and comparing it with a real one, they have done quite well,
although the feet are oversized so that it doesn't fall over. I
think I prefer real ducks though.
I was tempted by these stripey petunias but all
my pots are now full of other things! The purple ones looked like
This is my local car and cycle store with a
wonderful Union Jack staircase. They obviously have someone who is
full of good ideas where to squeeze in another flag pattern. The
upstairs is the best part with all the bikes and accessories. I
think the helmets and bike seats are rather good, but as we don't
actually need to replace what we have at the moment, we will have to
just enjoy the photo instead!
It is very unusual for a magpie not to fly away
when people get near. This one was sitting in a tree directly over
the footpath and making clucking noises, and it was probably a young
one. I could spend all day watching the ducks diving and swimming,
especially as the water is so clean and clear, and you can see every
detail of what is under the water. I like to watch their orange feet
I was really pleased to see these dragonflies
on my pond and fortunately they stayed long enough for me to go
upstairs for the camera. They are very small, about 3 centimetres.
Sometimes we have bigger ones in green or orangey brown, so I need
to keep the camera handy in future.
I am really glad we have at last got some new
bike tyres, the old ones were full of hidden cracks in the rubber.
The mudguards were a bit rusty inside because that is where the
water splashes the most. We covered the inside with red oxide paint
to stop the rust.
Polishing all the chrome and steel is quite
hard work, especially all those spokes, so I helped out by squeezing
the metal polish out of the tube every now and then. Everything
ended up very shiny and glinting in the sun.
Later on we had a trip out shopping with Auntie
Freda. I was absolutely amazed at the size of these high heel shoes,
they look very unsafe and uncomfortable to me. I quite liked the
Union Jack teeshirt but they did not have any really small ones that
would fit me. The most interesting part of the shopping place was
this ice cream van.
Here is the Priory building with the flintwork
all mended. The old darker flint has small extra flint flakes to
fill in the gaps, but the repaired part does not. That would have
taken too long and been too expensive to do. I like this little
window in the back of the building and it would interesting at night
if there was a little lamp inside.
These stone steps nearby have some strange shapes, circles and
squares filled in with concrete. I am wondering whether the stones
have been re-used from somewhere else and had to have holes filled
in to make them into steps. They do not look like mends because the
shapes are very perfect and neat. I hope the children who stuck
these goose feathers in a pattern near the pond washed their hands
afterwards and definitely before eating anything!
Here is the biggest island in Priory Gardens pond where all the
ducks and geese can lounge around in peace, safe from people and
animals. The ivy roots look like a lot of rope strands all twined
together for strength. I gave up trying to count them.
The winds were very strong and gusty today and here is a large
branch in the park that has come down. Another one has landed in the
pond. I think it is better to get back home before any more come
down on us!
This blackbird is not my usual one, and sneaked
into the birdbath. My regular resident blackbird, who is nesting in
the bushes nearby, was not very happy about it and chased the
I was really excited to see two goldfinches in
the birdbath. I really hope they come back again. Their friends have
obviously told them where the best and safest bathing places are. I
have not seen the robin for a while, and was glad to see him again.
Here are our new baby bluetits who I am always
hearing chattering in the garden bushes and trees. They are all
staying together most of the time. One of them wanted a bath but did
not get up the courage to actually land in the water, he just did
some test flights to dip his feet in. I suppose from his point of
view the water can seem quite deep. I am sure he will get a bit
braver when he sees the sparrows having their baths.
This is Dino's favourite flower at the moment, because of its size
and because it looks like a big candy floss! It is a peony and the
heads are so big they flop down on the path. I never got round to
tying it back against the fence.
The pond water was a bit low so we filled it up
with the hose. The fish all enjoy swimming up and down through the
jet. They always get interested when there is a flow of water
because there might be some flies or insects washed down with it. To
save disappointment, I gave them some bits of bread afterwards.
We went to an event in Christ Church in
Chislehurst. Here are my two favourite things from the day - a round
plate with round biscuits, and a very lovely round stained glass
rose window. (The square biscuits were delicious as well!) You can
click the window pictures to get the high resolution photos.
Here is the complete window.
This is Daniel in the lions' den, basking in
rays of brilliant light coming through the bars, while the lions
prowl around wishing it was dinner time. They were not allowed to
touch Daniel. I think in real life lions are much bigger, but they
had to fit into this narrow window! These sheep are all clean and
cuddly with their soft fleeces and they are looking lovingly up at
their shepherd in the next window. One of them is having a drink
from a very refreshing looking river. I really like the berries
against the dark green leaves of the tree. There is a lot more
detail if you get close to the windows - the sheep even have
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