This really is the end of summer. There is just one ragged daisy and one
tiny buttercup left. We sorted the plant pots, gave the lawn a last mow
and then a load of very heavy rain came.
This nasturtium plant doesn't know the season is over. It is in a pot
underneath another upturned pot. I am going to leave it there and see
how long it lasts.
The slugs have had a go at this fallen apple. It must be like having a
dinner as big as a house! I swept all the leaves down to the bottom
corner of the garden, and I might put some of them over the fuchsia
bushes when it gets really freezing.
I just managed to get a picture of the bluetit emerging from his bath.
They don't wait around very long when you need to run upstairs for your
camera! I was very quick to get the rainbow as well, because they
disappear in an instant. If we painted the door a brighter white, the
rainbow would be a lot more brilliant.
Lots of rain and wind. I thought it was time to get in all the last of
the apples before they blew down and smashed. The rain had washed them
but they needed another proper scrub before storing in the fridge.
I settled down on the bed, with a dish of hot mango and apple pieces,
and played on my new netbook. I have put my favourite flower photo on
the desktop, with space around for the icons.
Bonfire Night is tomorrow but lots of people could not wait, especially
as they knew heavy rain was forecast. I saw all these from my bedroom
window. Every time I heard bangs, I quickly got my camera and opened the
window. I had to take movie clips so that I got it all.
We went to see the Thames Barrier again (we last went there on
Today is one of their testing days and we wanted to see the barriers
come up out of the water. When we got there one gate was already raised.
Here is one of the side gates that is smaller. It stays up all the time,
and is lowered when they need to shut the river. It was low tide and we
could see all the rocks, mud and debris. They always wait for the low
tide before moving any of the barriers.
Here is the next barrier coming up, it took six minutes. Some of the
other gates took a bit
longer because they stopped in the middle for a short while. They sound
a hooter before each gate is moved.
Brown Teddy always reads the signs. This one is a safety notice about who
to ring in an emergency. We went back to the playground part. Parrot
climbed to the top of the slide but I think he actually flew down a bit, because
the slide was a bit grimy and he
seemed to stay very clean!
Brown Teddy and I enjoyed the climbing frame, and I came down the
fireman's pole at the side (with some help).
This boat was moored to the Harbour Master's jetty, the tyres keep it
safe from being bumped. At the base of the railings were these rings of
bright green lichens, they make me think of a map of green islands with
lots of trees and a lagoon in the middle.
We watched another gate going down. This seagull flew up to the top of
the gate, and stayed on it until it disappeared under the water. He flew
off once his feet touched the water.
Blue Parrot enjoyed playing with this talking telescope. I don't think
he actually saw anything because he said he didn't like the part that
said "insert money"! But he has good eyes, so he didn't really need a
telescope. If we need to see something far away, we zoom the camera in
and then have a closer look at the photo at home on the big computer
This is the Thames Barrier Visitor Information Centre. It looks like the
top of a ship, and the entrance door looks like the circular part that
raises the barriers. On the way back to the car, Blue Parrot found
another barrier - a hump in the road to stop cars going too fast.
These smooth markers are everywhere. We all had a
good go at seeing our faces in the surface, but it wasn't shiny
enough to see any detail.
I had a closer look at the gabions. I think they must be very
interesting when the rain is trickling through or covered in a dusting
of snow. In the summer it would get really hot and you could warm
yourself on the hot rocks. This sign is very puzzling - I thought the Thames Barrier was
there to stop overflows! If the river flooded, I think I would follow the
We went on to Greenwich Park. This is the wall in front of a house in a
nearby road. The owner has got the builder to make a little arch over the
base of the tree that was in the way of the new wall. I like good ideas and this is a really good one! In
the park we saw lots of workmen and diggers in the boating pond. I think they
were resurfacing the bottom before filling it again.
Here is the view from One Tree Hill looking towards the Royal
Observatory, it is three photos stitched together. You can see a lot
more this time of year because the leaves are beginning to go.
Down the hill we saw this
little door in a hollow tree trunk,
I think it is there for children to wonder about what is behind it. The
shallow pond behind it is now dry.
There were lots of workmen taking down the Olympic equestrian arena on
the green in front of the Queen's House. I am sure it goes down much
more quickly than it went up. This is "Nelson's Ship in a Bottle" by Yinka Shonibare MBE just outside the National Maritime Museum.
The bottle itself is
about 6 feet high, about the height of a person. It is on a tall plinth
so that people cannot climb on it which would be dangerous.
As Greenwich is now a Royal Borough, all the road signs have had to be
changed. Here is the Greenwich coat of arms, it is all very royal,
nautical and astronomical, with the wavy line in the middle of the
shield standing for the River Thames. You can read what all the parts of
it mean here:
Here is the Cutty Sark all finished after its refurbishment, with the
glass canopy all around looking like a swelling sea, as it reflects the
blue of the sky. In the rigging is a model figure. I think they have not
painted it in lifelike colours because everyone would be reporting it
all the time as an intruder or someone stuck on the beams!
Inside the museum entrance you can see the wonderful glass canopy. You
can see all this from the front end, without paying to go down into the
museum itself, which means I did not have to spend my collection of
50p's at all! In the shop I saw this little hand-cranked model of a
clipper and lots of other interesting toys and souvenirs.
I am so glad that the person who thought of the glass sea had their plan
chosen for the new museum. Here is the figurehead called Nannie holding
a pretending horse's tail, which used to be made from old rope. Nannie
is a character in the poem called Tam O'Shanter, she chased and nearly
caught Tam on his horse, hence the horse's tail.
Nannie is made of painted wood and I really like her flowing hair. I
hope she has a good hairbrush and some bottles of conditioner after all
that travelling through salty sea spray!
We went into the Discover Greenwich Centre. This is a copy of the little
room that old sailors had when they lived in the Seamen's Hospital. The
shelf is real but the items and the coat are painted on the wall, they
look very real! The sailors would not have had an electric light of
course. Here is the coat of arms for the Hospital, the characters are
half man/lion and half fish, I think they probably represent mastery
over the sea. They seem to be carrying paddles and the shield has four
anchors on it and crown above.
In the grounds there are several dry fountains with dolphin spouts on
each side. People had never seen dolphins so they had to make up the
details from descriptions. The upper spouts are dragon-headed boats. I
would really like to see this with the water coming out and the
splashing sound effects.
I enjoyed going back into the Painted Hall to get some different
pictures. This one is three photos stitched together, so the columns
look rather curved. Over the Chapel opposite is this beautiful
gold-coloured wind vane with a crown on top. I am glad the camera can
zoom right in.
After all the riverside and historic places, we enjoyed the park and all
the autumn colours in the sunlight. The park is quite big so it is never
crowded. The long shadows mean it is time to go home.
Here is the River Cray in its autumn colours. It looks like the middle
of the countryside but there are roads and suburbs all around, and you
can hear the traffic all the time. In Priory Park there are now two
swans. I wonder if they will stay over winter, I think the regular
arrival of bread from park visitors will help them make their mind up,
as well as the plentiful weed in the pond. I think they feel safe
because there are lots of other pairs of eyes looking out for danger.
The Canada Geese are well used to people, and here they are sitting on
the path because the sun has warmed the concrete, much better than cold
muddy grass. They don't move out of the way when people walk past, but
they do keep an eye on things in case dogs or children come running!
We planted some pyracantha bushes for berries for the birds, so I have
got in quick for a photo before the birds finish it all off. The bushes
are growing well and we are going to let them get really big so that
they are covered in berries as much as possible. This blackbird was
eating my cotoneaster berries outside the kitchen window, but he flew
down before I could get the camera ready. He has decided that berries
and worms make a good combination for a dinner. I prefer nut burgers
followed by strawberry yogurt, myself!
At last a fine day for the boot sale, it was rained off last week. The
good part is all the lovely autumn trees, the not-so-good part is the
patches of mud where the cars have gone through puddles. Early morning
was quite frosty, but it all dried up and it was very pleasant to walk
around. We bought some books.
This lovely stripy swan was swimming just where the sun was coming
through railings on the bridge. After a couple of minutes the sun went
in and he was not so stripy after that! There is a lot of weed for them
to eat on the bottom of the pond.
I always wake early on boot sale day and look out of the bedroom window
to see the weather. This dawn sun is coming over a grey cloud bank but
it looks like a big grey mountain, or a surfing wave with spray on top.
I hope not!
The cloud vanished but it was still very frosty. I really like the
patterns that the cars make in the parking field. After about an hour,
the grass had turned green again, except in some of the shadows.
This is a stile at Hewitts Farm leading to the orchard field, it is a
lot easier than making a gate. There are huge pylons going across the
farm and when you are underneath you can hear them crackling.
This lovely berry tree will provide for the wildlife, especially as it
gets a lot colder here, being on high ground, with not many houses to
provide breadcrumbs when everything is frozen.
When the sun is making my curtains glow, I always get up straight away.
I can get a good view of the sun coming up if I get right into the
corner of the window.
This is Covet Wood. It is Brown Teddy's favourite place because all
the paths join up with each other. There are lots of these
large pieces of plastic pipe in the ground for drainage across the paths
The woods are full of bird sounds - singing from blackbirds and robins,
drumming from woodpeckers,
and crows and magpies cawing and screeching. Sometimes the rustling is
birds, but sometimes it is squirrels and this one has got an apple. I
was very surprised that squirrels eat apples, maybe he is just after the
This rotting wood is turning back into soggy soil. The fungus looks just
like a flower, it reminds me of a scented candle made in the shape of a
The swans came over as we passed, but I am sorry to say that they wasted
their energy as we did not have any bread. When we stop to take a photo,
the birds all swim our way thinking we are reaching in our bag, so we
take the picture quickly and then move on.
In the market
place, they were putting up the rides ready for the evening celebration
to switch on the Christmas lights. When I was at home that evening, I heard the fireworks
from my bedroom, but I did not get the camera on them in time to get a
Orpington Priory is
now nearly finished with its repairs. It would be very interesting to
park from this lift, but it is only for workmen. I think it is normally
used for inspecting lampposts.
I think the
sparrows were eating all the nasturtium seeds that have fallen in this
patch. They were very busy about it and they like having plants to dive
into to make them feel safer.
The weather was
very wet and rainy, here the puddles look as if they are turning into ponds. The ducks
and geese like to stand in the puddles, and when the puddles dry up they are
always covered in birdy footprints.
Today we went to
Polhill Garden Centre. In the entrance are these blue lights
looking like a big frozen waterfall. It looked very cold. We went
straight to the Christmas lights section, the red and yellow lights are
a lot warmer!
This is a colour
changing light made like a candle. I like a candle that never burns
down and you can enjoy it without burning the tree and the house down!
This made me feel
really warm, a pretending flame made of an orange light with a thin
piece of orange nylon flapping in an airflow. You have to look really
close to see it is not a real flame.
Polhill displays are
always very good. Here is a shop dummy dressed as an Ice Queen, with
white gauzy frock, white lights, and greenery, sitting on her throne.
This reindeer looks as if he belongs to her. It all looks very cold
reindeer are not so cold-looking, at last. I really like these cuddly
garden bird toys as well. There are so many cuddly things here it is
difficult to decide which I like best.
We went to the food
hall section to get some frozen berries. These mince pies would look
wonderful on the Christmas Day table. The chocolate bear and tree could
be hung on the Christmas tree but I don't think they would go unnoticed
for very long!
This is always the
most interesting display, all the miniature village scenes in a very
large glass case up on a table. They are rather
expensive, so I think a photo is the best way of enjoying them.
My favourite card was this three-dimensional one of chaffinches in a
snowy tree. After all those cold and snowy things, I made a quick visit
to the section that sells imitation coal fires. There's a lot of pretend
things on sale, but the best real things I saw were the mince pies and
This is the first
cold night that has frozen the birdbaths, so that is the most important
thing that has to be done in the morning. The robins always notice when people are
moving about and they sit around waiting for action, either the
appearance of some very small breadcrumbs, or someone moving something
like a pot to reveal worms underneath. If he gets a meal, then
he is more likely to come back another day for more.
Now and then we see
a white egret by the river. He stood very still all the time. We had
to walk very slowly and get behind a tree to get the photo, as they are
easily frightened off. At Priory pond, the water level was so high, the
steps of the weir were all under water. The difference between the
levels was only a few inches, instead of several feet.
The gulls were wheeling round and making a lot of noise, but they don't
get the bread meant for the ducks, because they keep back away from
people. If they do manage to get something, they make a lot of fuss
trying to snatch it from each other.
The park gardeners' compost heap is doing well. It is really huge and
deep, and they move it about with big tractors. There was steam coming
out of the top from all the decay that is going on inside.
Back home I saw a jay having a bath. We crept up to the kitchen window
really slowly, even though the bath is right down the garden. He didn't
notice us. Jays are quite uncommon in our garden, but maybe he has
decided to live in this area. He makes a sound just like a magpie.
Here is the jay again in a sunny part of the tree, drying off. Although his
face is hidden, I am glad to have a picture of his lovely blue wings.
The goldfish don't eat much in the cold weather, but if they swim
towards me quickly as I walk past, then I think they need some bits of
bread. When they have enough in their mouth, they swim off and spend
time chewing on it.
There are only a few berries on this new small holly tree, but one day
it will be really big and covered in red berries. At last I have a photo
of the blackbird in the cotoneaster bush outside the kitchen
window, snacking on the berries. I like my berry bushes to grow as big
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