Dino has suggested that we have hot custard on our ginger cake to warm
us up. Dino finished his bowl before anyone else, although the little
beanbag dinosaur had a tiny bit as well.
This bucket is full of frogspawn from a friend who has a tiny shallow
boggy pond in their garden that dries out all the time and is going to
be dug up. I put a raft of straw in the corner of my pond and slowly
tipped the frogspawn in. It is a good job that all the jelly sticks
together and does not fall through the straw. As long as the straw all
stays in one piece, it will keep the fish out.
The eggs are now all curly comma shapes and I hope a good number survive
to become tadpoles.
The ducks in the park were making a commotion, as they always do in
spring when they get a bit more short-tempered, but it does not last
long. Back at home, Brown Teddy has opened the little pack of chocolates
that we were given for Easter. We always suck them slowly to make them
last as long as possible! The stripey humbug was very minty flavoured.
More frozen rain, but I am hoping that it will clear away so that we can
go out today.
There were about five redwings in the park on the same bit of grass.
This was about as close as I could get without them flying away. They
are just like a thrush but with red under their wings and stripe across
The goldfish are a bit more active now that the weather is brighter and
warmer. I have noticed seven baby goldfish that must have been growing
unnoticed all through last year. They are about 3 centimetres long and
will soon start to turn orange coloured.
I was very fortunate to get so close to the butterfly. He was enjoying
the warmth in the sun and not looking at me creeping up on him with my
We tidied all the pots and leaves at the end of the garden, and put some
more pyracantha plants in. The robin always does two things when were
are working down there - he comes down to clear up the worms, and then
he goes up in his tree and sings his territorial song.
We had to get some tools out of the shed, so we went in really quickly.
Fortunately there was no robin on the nest and I am glad that they have
not yet laid any eggs, as it is still quite cold, with frosty nights.
I am glad this jay stayed still as we walked past and was facing the
right way to show us his blue wings. We went into the craft hobby shop
and found this needlepoint pack of a robin. I prefer the real thing, and
it is a lot less work as well!
Dino was delighted with the craft shop window display, of a crocodile
made of heavy card fibres pressed into shape, and covered in
patterned paper. The models are sold in brown so they can be painted,
but the dinosaur looks quite real just as he is. Green paint would be a
good colour so that he can hide in the jungle.
This is a large extra pond that has been made behind the main part of
the river. It is more slow moving, and it rejoins the river a short way
further down. The part on the right is now an island that people cannot
get on to, so it is just right for the birds. This post has fungus
growing out of the ground and I think it will not be long before it
falls over. This is near the river so the ground underneath must be a
lot wetter than other verges and parks.
These wood pigeons had more bread than they could eat and were working
very hard to cram more into their mouths. One of them tried to get a bit
more down, but ran out of room in his throat and had to give up. They
eventually walked off. It was a bread glut day with lots of visits from
generous people, after all the cold weather. This is a park robin, and I
am sure he watches the park gardeners just like my robins watch me.
I really like mossy walls because the green is so bright. Months of cold
wet weather have made the moss very thick. It will not look so good
when the hot dry weather comes.
Here is our regular female blackbird at the end of the pond where the
tadpoles are. Fortunately it did not appear to eat any, but had a bath
instead. But just in case, we decided to put some green wire netting
over the area.
This artificial turf was lovely and green. I am glad to say that my lawn
is usually like this but with daisies as well, but I think these would
be cleaner to sit on, and with no ants! The dragon was crouching
underneath the plant displays. His face is a bit fierce, I think I
prefer the more friendly looking ones.
This is St Mary's with St Paulinus Cray Church noticeboard, and just
like it says the church garden is bursting with life and daffodils. I
had some help looking over the high wall though.
This ivy on an old stump by the river looks like a good hidey hole if it
rains, or gets too hot in the summer, but it might be a bit damp to sit
A good day for wagtail spotting, here are Yellow and Pied bobbing about
looking for snacks.
This is a Shield Bug, he made it up the piece of stone to sit in the
sunny patch at the top.
I have been watching a mossy island grow in a corner of the pond, but it
turned out to be shrub branches rooting into the water, with moss on
top. We have now replanted several of the "new" shrubs along the pond
edge, which will make the tadpole area even more covered and safe.
This is my favourite daffodil, with all three colours. Inside another
one I found a lacewing having a rest.
There was a pile of fine mud in a corner from washing the pond filter
sponge mats. Overnight the worms have left all these tracks. I think the
big blobs are water drops. Worms love mud!
A long time ago there was a children's television programme called Rosie
and Jim, which was puppet adventures. They lived on a narrowboat called
the Ragdoll that had a wooden duck on the roof. Each time, Pat the boat
owner made a lovely drawing of where they had been, with Duck hidden
somewhere. Rosie and Jim would find the drawing, pointing out all the
things they had seen and they ended by saying "But where's Duck?" Well,
here he is for real, and Mrs Duck coming into the picture as well. I
really enjoyed the website and looking around the narrowboat
www.rosieandjim.tv You can
click all over the boat picture, and if you click on the narrowboat
Duck, he quacks.
I love dandelions when they are really big. These pigeons in the park
were having a good soak in a quiet moment with no ducks around.
After I got home it rained quite hard for a while, followed by the
rainbow. I was glad I got in and avoided a soaking.
These are wooden bee houses in a shop, but I am sure I could make
something like this with all my spare bamboo sticks if I cut them up and
tied them in bundles. Sometimes they are called insect hotels.
Pigeons are mostly all the same grey colour, so I am taking pictures of
the more unusual ones with brown bits and speckles.
A day out to Gravesend, and at last a chance to use the new TomTom
satnav. It is much better than the old ancient one, and it looked as if
we were flying slowly over a map. Gravesend is very industrial, with
factories, pylons and wind turbines.
This is a bollard with a painted shield of a sailing ship. The OXO bit
is two buckles and a windmill in the middle. The road name is still a
good description, as there are three huge wind turbines across the river
I like to look out for decorated things. The blue creature is a
porcupine with a fish tail. You can read about the meaning of the coat
of arms here:
The bouquets on each side of the King's Head are "horns of plenty"
(cornucopia). I am going to make a copy of my photo and paint all the
white bits, especially the all the colourful fruits - all on the
computer, with no mess! If I see something plain, I just have to colour
Here is a statue of Princess Pocahontas and her picture on the
Here is St George's Church where Princess Pocahontas is buried. You can
see her statue on a plinth very small at bottom left of the photo. The
wastebins around Gravesend have this picture on them and I think it may
be the same church.
The Port Authority buildings have loads of masts and aerials on top, but
I was puzzled by this model of an owl on one of the masts. Then someone
explained to me that it was to keep off the pigeons or birds that might
build a nest up there. This wall was very interesting. It must have once
been the side of a house, then the path was built up and then the wall
was made bigger and longer. I like all the different colours of bricks.
Here is West Thurrock Power Station across the river, which closed many
years ago. The electricity pylons are still there, and I think this
would be a good place to have a lot of climbing plants - sweet peas,
honeysuckle and climbing roses would look wonderful covering the pylons,
leaving a shady space underneath for a picnic! I think they might need
some ivy to get to the top and loads of birds would nest in it
These swans were crowding all around this low jetty, as people like to
walk down it with their bags of bird bread. We went to the end and
fortunately everything was dry and safe and not slippery. But I would
not go on it after rain or in icy conditions, as there are no rails.
There was only one black swan and I think he might get more bread thrown
for him, as he stands out from the others. This young swan was fast
asleep, with no chance of being disturbed as people or dogs would never
want to go in the muddy Thames water.
This is the small lake in Gordon's Park. I am sure this second pond was made to look like a Monet painting. It is the ideal place for
someone to sit and paint pictures, as there is a path all round so you
can choose the best view, and being in a hollow it is very sheltered
and warm, with no river breezes.
Brown Teddy likes to read the information boards. We always take photos
of them so that we always have the information once we get home. This is
the remains of the Blockhouse which was used to defend the river.
I am glad this tree is not planted near a house! This is the decorative
door to the Mission House. I wish I had one like this at home, maybe I
could make a drawing of it and put it on the wall as a pretending little
Here is Gravesend Town Pier which is the oldest surviving cast iron pier
in the world, built in 1834. It now has a restaurant on it, but walkers
can go along the glazed corridor at the side. At the end there is a new
pontoon for ferries and boats.
The pier's history:
On the pontoon was a nylon kite looking like a hawk. I think it is
another way to keep birds from nesting there, and the next pier
downriver had one as well. This beautiful pigeon was not put off, and he
and his two friends followed us around for some crumbs.
As we came off the pier, I noticed this large print of the pier at
night. I had gone straight past it without seeing, because I was looking
at the river instead. Then someone told me that it was a flood defence
door, something else I had not noticed. It's a good idea to go out with
several people, so nothing gets missed!
These flower displays were doing really well in full hot sun outside a
pub, and I hope they fill them with summer flowers when the bulbs have
finished. I like the patterns on the glass, and the idea is that
passers-by cannot look in and stare at people eating at the tables!
Here are the remains of the old railway line that went onto West Street
Pier. It is all a bit sad to see something falling apart. I think I
would like to see all this mended and turned into a Railway Pier
Restaurant with history exhibits, soundtracks and videos of steam trains
on screens on the wall, and teas and jam scones served from a railway
carriage. Hmm, just dreaming! There is a good photo of the pier here
www.geograph.org.uk/photo/2883374 and you can read the railway
history here, with lots of photos
Our resident male blackbird is not so bold as the brown female, so I
have to hide behind the kitchen curtain to watch him get the worms and
Now that it is warmer, we can get to mending things around the garden.
The robin has decided to make another nest somewhere else, so we were
able to finish off the edges of the roofing felt.
I could have a good time making pictures and shapes with all these
rawlplugs, but first of all we had to get on with fixing the bracket
that holds up the outside tap.
Here is some more mud from cleaning the pond filter sponges. This seems
to be squirrel and blackbird prints. I think the top right ones are a
bluetit hopping around. Here is our resident robin singing very loudly
in the hawthorn tree, claiming ownership of our wonderful garden.
Warm days mean more insects about. The butterfly was enjoying the warm
stone of the birdbath. This is a bee-fly, not a real bee at all, and it
has a very long needle-shaped mouth to get into the flowers. The
ladybird very kindly sat still while I got the camera in really close.
Well, this is absolutely amazing. Someone left the shorthand dictionary
on the table, and a spotted ladybird was found sitting on top of the
"dotty" entry. After the photo, he was escorted to the window to fly
It was a wet morning, so Speedy the Snail was still out and about. He
obviously wanted his photo taken before he went back under the wet
leaves. I reckon he can see round corners if he wants to.
We had somehow missed seeing the park ducklings when they were very
small, and these are quite well grown ones. The mother duck was sitting
on a log by the edge, watching out for danger. The gardeners leave lots
of logs and branches lying in the water for the birds to sit on in
Blue Parrot was very excited about these brilliant coloured tulips
because they are called parrot tulips. He wants us to buy a really big
bag of more bulbs in other colours so that next year we can have them
along the whole flower bed. He will have to wait until September for
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