These are the seedpods from my honesty plants. I have kept
a few of the stems for indoors, but most of them I have scattered around the
garden. I threw them in one direction and they floated back at me! This moth is
very smart and I think that pattern would look good on a winter scarf or some
pyjamas. I think he would be more invisible if he sat on some bark.
We went to Erith which is on the River Thames. We went on
Erith Deep Wharf pier. The pier goes out a short way, then turns a right angle
where there is this long section. At the end there is a turntable which we think
must be for any vehicles or cranes that have to go down there.
It was low tide and there were a huge expanse of mud all the way out to the
pier. We know it is deep because the mud gullies under the pier are deeper than
a person. If you trod in this mud I think you would disappear out of sight!
Even this gull is leaving quite deep footprints. On the
other side of the railings we saw this bit of concrete that a pigeon has walked
over before the concrete had set. These pigeon-prints will be here for ever now,
and someone in the future might think they are dinosaur fossils!
The rainclouds came over and it started to rain just before
we got back to the beginning of the wharf.
Here is the entrance to the wharf, where there is a hidden
gate and sliding rails for the big flood gate. We had to shelter from the heavy
rain just under the flood gate shed, and there was just room for three people
and us Teddies.
When the rain eased off, we went into the supermarket to
get something for a snack. These vapour pipes over the vegetables are a very
good idea to keep them fresh, but I think it would not be so good if you came in
out of the freezing cold with frozen hands. We bought some ginger cake buns and
ate them in the car. The supermarket wind vane is very appropriate, I think it
is a Thames sloop that used to be quite common on the river.
These sculptures on the Erith roundabouts on Bronze Age Way
are really interesting, but it was quite hard to get a good picture from a
moving car. I like the mosaic pike fish best, which are based on the Erith coat
of arms. The horse is a Cob and commemorates the horses that were traditionally
kept on the nearby marshes. You can read more about them at:
We went on to Belvedere and down Crabtree Manorway to the
river. Brown Teddy liked this waymarker. There are markers like this in lots of
places, put up by the National Cycle Network. These wind turbines looked really
huge as we approached the riverbank, but when we actually got there and up the
riverbank steps, they looked quite small. I think it was the bigness of the open
sky over the river that made them appear to shrink!
We walked a short way upriver. This is Jenningtree Wharf.
There are lots of jetties and wharves in this area, as there are factories and
industrial sites everywhere. This cormorant was sitting on that separate end
part. It must mean there are lots of fish in the river, which is a good sign.
Over the edge of the wall, it looked like a miniature rock
garden with carefully chosen plants put in all the holes and spaces - but this
little garden planted itself. Parrot decided to sit on someone's shoulder as it
is safer when there is a wall with a steep drop. He likes flying but does not
like flying over water at all!
We went on to the Thames Barrier at Charlton. The grounds
were very smart and Parrot said that if this fence thing had flat tops, he could
jump from one to the other. I think it has sloping tops to let the rainwater
off, otherwise they would go green. But you could play some good games running
in and out of the spaces, like the skiiers do going round the slalom poles.
Here is one of the seven barriers. I wonder whether they
meant the buildings to look like boats? The actual barrier is on the riverbed
and is raised to hold the water back during flood times. They test it every so
often and I would really like to be here when they do that.
This covered walkway beside the barriers has a list of all
the towns and locks along the River Thames, with their heights above sea level.
These first markings shown some of the past flood levels.
We all chose our favourite ones. I like Teddington of
course. Brown Teddy likes Runnymede, because he thinks it may be a big field
where you can play running games. Blue Parrot likes Eton, and he thinks it
should be spelled "Eaten". As Dino was not with us today, I chose Cookham for
him, and he will be respelling it as "cook 'em". We were definitely thinking
about food today, being a coldish rainy day!
There was some more foreshore just past the barriers, with
these beautiful lichens on the rocks. They were growing in rings. In the
distance we could see the cable cars over the river.
We went back to where we came in, and found a small park
area with these pieces of equipment on display from when the barriers were
built. This diving bell enabled the engineers to view the riverbed. Blue Parrot
said it was interesting but he preferred the open sky and not a tiny diving
The notice on this excavator grab says "Used for clearing
debris from the river bed." This is a big model of the barrier in the closed
position. The model was used for testing for the real ones. The notice says that
they tested it really hard which made the big dents that can been seen round the
Back in the riverside park, we thought about trying out the
slide, but decided that it was a bit too chilly to sit on cold metal and
increase the wind in our faces. But we liked the blue water splash effect. Round
the corner we saw this fenced off pond covered in duckweed. Duckweed makes it
look like you could walk on it, but if you did you would get a very cold, wet
and muddy surprise indeed!
On the way back to the car, we saw this gabion. It is steel
mesh boxes full of small rocks. I am sure the dark coloured rocks are meant to
be a river flowing along. Someone took a long time doing it really neatly, so
that the line between light and dark is straight and tidy. I think they must
have lined them all up in a big field, and then put paper tape along the side to
mark out the wavy lines, and then numbered all the boxes so that it was
assembled correctly. What a job!
We like to go through the park on the way to the shops. I
am glad the geese and ducks have their own private islands, where they can sleep
and rest safely. The islands were not so safe earlier this year when all the
water dried up!
Everything is falling off the trees now. These are from a
huge sweet chestnut tree. The squirrel is having quite a time sorting them all
out and eating as much as he can.
Today I went down to the computer store and got a small
netbook. It came in a very handy cardboard suitcase which is too good to throw
away and I shall be using it to store my papers and cards in. I set up the
netbook all by myself. There was not a lot to do really, other than plug in the
mouse dongle and decide on my user name and password. I am really going to enjoy
having my own Teddy-sized computer, so that I can work on my website while other
people are using the big computer. My first priority is to change the desktop
image to something more cheerful from my photo collection. The water blobs
design is not very inspiring and I will find a photo of some summer countryside,
or maybe yellow flowers.
As soon as I woke up, I remembered the new netbook, so I
got up straight away. I don't like to waste time! I think I shall be seeing a
lot of dawn skies now that I can work quietly on my own.
It rained on and off today. As I was walking up this road,
I wondered why a man was taking a photo of an ordinary road. When I turned
round, there was this rainbow. I am glad I always have my camera with me.
I have really had enough of seeing the bike box full of
snails. They make a lot of mess. When we grew sunflowers (which snails love to
eat) we used copper tape round the bottom of the pots. It is best to have a
fringed edge so that the snails and slugs cannot arch themselves over the tape.
I had to check really careful there were no gaps they could get through. In future I will not let even one snail stay in the box, I will deal with it
straight away. They go in the compost bin where we need stuff being chewed up!
Here is the slightly frosty grass at the boot fair, the
first frost so far. The weather was not cold and the sun soon dried the grass.
The people leave unmown stripes so that the cars can park in straight rows.
The people selling want to make lots of money, and the
people buying don't want to spend too much. But somehow everyone goes away happy
with their bargains. The second boot fair was the last of the season, and we
made the most of it, as it is a long wait till next year.
That frost a few days ago really made us determined to get
the gardening done before cold weather comes. We emptied the compost bins. The
bottom half of one bin was full of really good new soil which we put into bags.
Then we put all the fresh stuff back inside. After that we emptied the bags
around the garden. There is a lot more in the second bin but we will do
that another day. As usual I heard the robin singing, waiting for his chance to
come down and inspect the worm situation!
At the bottom of the bin were all these roots from the yew
bush. No wonder it was growing so well! I cut them all off and will save them
for covering plants when the hard frosts come. The bush is quite big so losing
these bits is not a problem. I bought a really small pyracantha in the
supermarket, because it had flowers to make berries. It has grown a huge amount
and I have put it at the end of the garden so that it can cover the fence. When
all the pyracanthas have grown big, they will be a really good place for the
blackbirds to nest, because of all the big thorns.
These solar lamps were not coming on properly all the time,
so we are having to put them a sunny spot by the pond and move them back to
their poles at night. I think we might tire of that after a while!
These apples have not done very well. They are Cox and
Russet. The trees were very small and it would have been better to not let the
apples grow, so that the tree can grow bigger and stronger first. The branches
are so thin they are hanging straight downwards!
We have just a few of these curly pears on the tree. They
are supposed to be pear shaped! I think it's probably about time to eat them, as
there is not much warm weather left now. I had a good look in the art cupboard
and found these wonderful rainbow pencils that I had forgotten were there. They
will really brighten up a gloomy afternoon indoors and we can all have one each.
These will be really good for colouring autumn leaves as the pencils draw in
several colours at once.
Everyone feeds the geese and ducks, but this is what they
really do when there is no-one about. They eat the grass throughout the park,
and keep it short. They expect food from people walking through the park, but
they are not really starving at all!
We spent the day making a soft cover for my new netbook,
using an ocelot-print fleece scarf. It is exactly the same as making an oblong
cushion cover, you just sew up three of the sides and the fleecy material hides
all the stitches. It did not cost much at all - if you already have a scarf or
jumper to cut up, it will cost nothing! We did not put in a zip in case it
scratches the netbook. The main thing is that no-one sits on it, thinking it is
Here is the weir on the River Cray near Priory Park. This
was newly-built last year and the plants are beginning to cover everything and
make it look more natural. I said hello to the Canada geese in Priory Park but
they are really only interested in getting bread.
These young moorhens are not yet as black as the adult
ones. They start off really fluffy but now they have proper smooth feathers,
which I am glad about because it keeps the rain off much better!
It rained all day but we still went out for our walk. I am
glad this tree fell safely over the river, rather than onto a footpath. I think
it must be a dead tree that has rotted at the base. It is covered in brilliant
green lichens, which are almost yellow.
This huge tree is also entirely rotten but the park keepers
have removed the top, and put the rotten trunks safely on the ground. In the
photo you can just see some black bracket fungus on the left and base of the
main stump. It would be too dangerous to wait until it fell on its own. I was
looking for colourful autumn leaves but they were mostly swimming in muddy
puddles, but we did discover that going through longish wet grass is very good
for cleaning the mud off shoes, as long as you don't pick up more mud in the
I did find a few really brilliant leaves but I had to look
hard in the undergrowth. These snowberries looks just like polystyrene Christmas
decorations. I think some birds may eat them, but they are poisonous to people.
A long time ago we had a snowberry bush but it invaded everywhere, with new
plants coming up from the roots, and even under the fence to next door - it had
to go, despite the decorative berries. This one is in the Riverside gardens, so
it is free to spread and make a thicket for the birds.
I am glad I was not underneath this tree when this branch
fell in the park. It is much bigger than it looks in the photo and if you were
underneath, you would have woken up in hospital. We don't go through the park
when it is very windy and galey.
The squirrel has had a go at this sweet chestnut. He has
left the white chestnut as it is obviously not ripe, and there are plenty of
brown ones to eat. There are lots of rosehips on the bushes which will keep the
blackbirds going throughout the winter.
We started off with loads of little pears on the Conference
tree but somehow most of them vanished. I think the birds must have pecked them
by the stalk and made them fall off, as I found some shrivelled ones on the
ground with damaged tops. So I have been watching just these few grow over the
last few months.
The Spartan apples have done well again, it is a very good
tree and I am very glad we chose that one. These are windfalls which I will
scrub and make sure they get eaten today before the bruises get bigger. Dino
very kindly said he would volunteer to use them up, and so I chopped them in
pieces to put on his morning porridge. Warm apple is very easy to eat as it goes
nice and soft in the microwave, although a bit brown round the edges. He likes
to have the bowl on his beanbag, so when he is finished there is a very warm
patch for him to lie down on!
We awoke to thick fog and everything very misty and wet.
The wet spider webs were everywhere, even on my kitchen window. I decided to
look round the garden but when I opened the back door, I noticed this very cold
and wet little honeybee on the ground. I tore off a piece of cardboard and put a
blob of soft honey on it. The bee drank as much as he could, and in the picture
you can see his long tongue in the honey. When I came back a few minutes later,
he had flown away.
There were wet spider webs everywhere. I think these
are there every morning but normally they are dry and do not show up. My pear
tree does not seem to be doing very well, with orange blotches on the leaves.
The tree is in a big circle of gravel, and I think I will remove that and put
loads of my home-made compost round it, to help it get stronger and healthier next year.
We went to the park. All the geese were eating
grass and the ducks were eating pond weed. This rook was having a very good time with all the worms that have come
up in the wet grass. But this pigeon is obviously full of bread, because he is
not walking around looking for food. There were lots of resting pigeons, but
they keep an eye open for people with interesting bags!
This is the third day of fog and damp weather. I stayed
indoors and printed some bus route maps. They were quite big so I had to tape
them all together and match up the words over the joins. Whenever I hear the
noise of the sticky tape coming off the roll, it makes me think of Christmas and
all the present wrapping.
Here is the injured pigeon that we found. We knew he was
very special because he had a numbered leg ring and was very tame. He couldn't
walk or find food or water, so he ate all the birdseed that we gave him. Today
we took him to the Folly Wildlife Rescue Hospital in Tunbridge Wells, who said
he had a broken leg. They said it was unlikely it could be mended. We left him
there for them to make him comfortable and give him some food treats. We are
glad he will be spending his last days full of food and in the safe and warm,
which is much better than what might have been, out in the cold and dark.
The Folly people are very kind and loving, and I especially
like checking on the Bird Photo Gallery on their Facebook page to see the new
arrivals that need help:
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