The fields near where I live are now full of hay rolls. The remind me of
the giant snowballs that I sometimes find in the park, only there are a
lot more of them.
We were finally able to put together the restored old bench, with all
new wooden slats and the paintwork all redone. Here I am putting the
screws into the centre strip that holds the slats together. I really
like the lion faces at each end and they are now very smart in gold. I
am not letting the rain and snow onto it now, I shall be very careful to
put the seat cover on to protect it, after all that hard work.
When the park is quiet, all the ducks sleep and rest but they are quick
to open an eye if someone comes past. The moorhen was pulling up little
bits of weed and feeding them to the chick.
Another visit to the park, this time it is the pigeons who are resting.
They are obviously not hungry and are just waiting for someone to walk
past, slow down, and stop and then open their bag of goodies. They don't
bother getting up unless there is some food on offer.
This Evening Primrose is a wildflower that is growing outside my
kitchen. I love the yellow colour as it is bright and clean looking, and
there is a new flower every day. The day started off rainy but by the
time I had tidied my room it was brightening up.
We took a walk along the riverside gardens. The sun was going in and
out, but I made sure the photos were all taken when it was out. I like
these shadows patterns on the grass and on the bare soil under the tree.
In real life, the sun and shade patches were waving about.
Normally the geese follow us, but as we weren't waving carrier bags
around, perhaps they realised it was not worth their while walking over
to us. The seagulls normally don't come near people or Teddies, but this
one was joining in with the pigeons for some bread. He is obviously very
intelligent and better fed than the others!
Here is a field near where we go to the boot sale. In summer there are
lots of colourful tall wild flowers and waving grasses, but now the
seedheads are the best part, especially when they stand out against the
We went shopping in Bexleyheath. This is a statue of a small child who
is playing the swinging and jumping game while hanging on to his
parents' hands. I really liked this shop window display, showing all
colourful cosy things to make up a warm bedroom for winter. I like the
owl cushion on the little seat.
I am glad we got back home before all this rain on the Met Office
weather map reached us. It all fell overnight, while I was tucked up in
The black pond netting is usually invisible but all the raindrops have
made it look like a misty wet spider web. It is collecting leaves as
well, which makes getting them out easier than when they fall in the
water, where they might sink before we can get them out with the hand
While I was waiting in the car, I took a walk along the hedgerow. These
wild clematis "Old Man's Beard" look more like sea anemones waving in
the water. They look as if they are on the march, climbing over the
There are lots of berries on the hawthorns, which will keep the birds
fed during winter. These hedgerow crab apples will feed them as well. I
always see lots of these apples fallen, smashed and rotting. Maybe the
crows and magpies will have some of the mushy ones on the ground.
We went to Hall Place in Bexley which is a Tudor mansion and gardens. We
went out early so that we could make the most of the sunny day before
the clouds came over. This is the main gate to the house when it was
someone's home, but it is not used now. The golden stag is at the top of the
ornamented part over the middle gates.
This is my absolute favourite part, the Queen's Beasts in yew topiary.
They are copies of the animal statues that were at Westminster Abbey at
the Queen's Coronation in 1953. They are about 10 feet tall or 3 metres,
anad there 10 of them.
These are supposed to be chess pieces, but I think the shapes have
changed over time. They look best on a sunny day.
This one seems to be a peacock. Brown Teddy was glad to see that there
is plenty of space in between to run around and play hiding or catching
There is a lot of clipped hedging at Hall Place. This is one side of a
long enclosure. There are lots of sections each with a curved hedge in
front, and filled with brilliant flowers. The dark hedging shows up the
flowers really well. Here is some more low box hedging in the herb
garden. This makes me want to dig up my crazy paving and have brick
At the very far end is a sunken garden, which is cool and shady. The
grass is very fine, as it it not trodden on very much and is always
damp. It is just a few yards from the thundering traffic on the road
behind those trees at the end, but maybe on a Sunday it is more
The River Cray runs through the gardens. Further on there is a water
gate that is sometimes opened to allow river flood water to escape into
a long wide channel that runs through the gardens near the back
boundary. This water up against the gate is covered in green duckweed
and you definitely cannot walk on it!
The grilles over the water gates look just like the diamond leaded
windows in the main house.
Last time I came here, I found out that this stone sculpture was planned
to have a maze or play area round it, but it is still just grass. I
think it needs two circles of box hedging round it, with openings at
opposite sides, to make people walk round to get to the middle. The hole
is very good for taking photos through!
Here are all the geese and ducks swimming towards us. We had some bread
but we could not give them any because there were so many, there would
have been chaos and also some of them would not have got anything. So we
took our pictures quickly and kept walking.
This is the weir near the visitor centre. There used to be a flour mill
here. The falling water is very noisy, which is refreshing on a hot
summer day, but not so pleasant if the weather was cold. On the other
side of the gardens there is a pond and rock garden in the old gravel
Brown Teddy's favourite tree is this stripy one. If you look long enough
it looks like a seaside scene with mudflats and the tide going out, with
brown islands of sand and seaweed. I liked this mountain ash tree,
especially as it will feed the birds in winter.
Near the main house is this shed on stone legs called staddle stones.
They were for keeping granary storage sheds dry and rats out. It all
looked quite new and clean, so I am not sure if it is an old original
that has been repaired, or a reproduction.
Inside the visitor centre was an art exhibition with very colourful
pictures of landscapes. I like a lot of colour in paintings. This is my
favourite called Meteor Shower with spots and streaks of white falling
down from the night sky.
This avenue of pleached trees is clipped flat and they only look round
when you stand facing them. The plant border on the right shows the
history of plants in chronological order, when they arrived in Britain,
with painted bricks in a timeline of all the history events placed along its length.
I saved visiting the big greenhouse till last, as I wanted to take my
garden photos while the sun was out. These banana plants are waving
about outside, but there are bigger ones inside with real bananas
growing on them. This is just the place to be on a cold day.
There are lots of tropical plants and brilliant coleus, and at the back
is a long gravel bench of cactus plants. Through a door there were some
very tall cactus plants going up to the ceiling. I did not touch any of
them at all!
In the middle of the greenhouse is a long goldfish pond surrounded by
tropical plants and trees. It was very interesting to look under the
benches where I found all these radiator pipes with flanges to spread
the heat. I think I might come here again on a cold winter day just to
see how warm it all is!
Near the entrance is a small area of kitchen and cut flower gardens.
Brown Teddy is reading the notice board so that we don't miss anything.
There were still lots of flowers out, although the summer is nearly
over. The best one was this Chinese Lantern or Physalis. I am most
definitely going to grow some of these next year, in a very big pot
outside my greenhouse, so that I can admire the seed pods while sitting
inside in the warm.
Next to the greenhouse are some little model gardens, showing the
different things you can do with a small square space. Here I am sitting
in a bower of climbing plants looking out over the hot paving and
brilliant yellow flowers. Further on is a cool shady garden with a
narrow stream running through it. This cave-like bit is the outlet and
then it flows diagonally along a narrow channel with paved edges to the
other end of the garden, where there is a seat under a pergola.
Round a corner Brown Teddy found this bluetit nest box. I am hoping
there are lots more boxes hidden away so that the birds all come to Hall
Place and can nest in peace and quiet. This is the beautiful ironwork on
the visitors entrance gate, between the car park and the big greenhouse.
It was making some lovely shadow patterns on the paths and walls. It
was getting cloudy so we left before it got too breezy and cold.
Here is Motley the Pigeon in the park, walking purposefully around where
people have been feeding the ducks. Sometimes they peck up tiny bits
that you can't see. There are lots of crows about but they very rarely come
I think the lions on my new garden seat are doing a very good job of
protecting my fruit trees! The pear tree is all bending down with the
heavy crop. The pears are hard and will have to soften up indoors.
Next, a tour of the small apple trees. The first is Lord Lambourne,
which I am sure is going to grow quite large, and has four big apples
on. The next is Cox on a very small tree. I hope this tree puts on some
growth soon, as it branches are all bending downwards, as they are so
thin. The nasturtiums are coming up everywhere, with bright red or
We were invited to a birthday tea. Yellow Parrot and I are helping with
the first present. The second one was a beautiful white glass vase,
which Brown Teddy helped to unwrap very carefully.
We really enjoyed the lovely lunch, and Dino did a good job of keeping
an eye on the iced cake. He is very good at noticing when it is getting
smaller, and makes sure that everyone gets equal sized pieces.
Dino insisted on having photos taken of the giant crispy chips, and the
hot cinnamon apple crumble. He will be looking a lot at these pictures
and making requests for more as soon as the weather gets cold.
I have picked lots of the pears, as they will not do any more ripening
outside. I am giving these away and there are still many more left on
the tree. This moth was outside my back door and I am wondering how he
knows what type of wall will hide him best!
I like to go into the big pet store and see what the animals are doing.
These rabbits have very cosy homes, with bowls of food and water drip
In the craft shop next door, there are a lot more animals, made of
compressed paper and ready to paint. They remind me of Noah's Ark,
except they are not in twos!
I decided to tidy up the art and treasure cupboard. I found lots of
things I didn't know I had. This Statue of Liberty glass paperweight was
hiding at the back. Getting all the sketchbooks and pencils out made me
want to start playing with them, but I had to finish the tidying first.
Brown Teddy saved a few things from being put back, so he could play
with them for a while longer. All our treasures are colourful things, so
that when we draw and paint them, the pictures always turn out looking
good and it doesn't matter if the lines are not straight.
Click on the thumbnail to get the full size picture
We went to Well Hall Pleasaunce, near Eltham, London. Pleasaunce
means an ornamental pleasure garden. It has been a long time since we
last visited, and I was hoping that it would be renovated and planted up
again. We started at top left of the map.
I think the entrances to places are just as interesting. This gate is
very friendly and inviting, as you can see the gardens as you walk past and you just
have to go in! At one end is a long Italian style garden with tall
trees and a long formal pond, with a fountain in the middle. There are
no fish but plenty of water lilies.
At the end is a stone pergola with wisteria plants. The branches are
very knotted and tangled and I think they would stay up even if the
The middle part of the Pleasaunce is a large rose garden in geometric
shapes. It is very pleasant with plenty of room and sky. The grass was
fresh green and newly mown. I think I could sit here all day, as long as
I had a snack with me.
This pavilion is the building in the previous picture on the left. It is
in the middle of the rose garden path and has benches inside. You can
look through the lattice to the bowling green behind.
In the middle of the rose garden is a sunken pond with a tall fountain.
It is three fishes with a bowl on top, and on top of that two small
figures holding the fountain spout. The hanging green strings are
blanket weed that has grown down from the bowl with the constant water
overflowing and they were waving about in the breeze. The fishes' faces
are very friendly.
This is a very old wall. This part has been mended and the bee boles
restored, with a new skep in one of them. I think the master of the
mansion enjoyed having his own supply of honey. The second photo shows a
bee bole that was bricked up a long time ago.
Next we came to the square moat. The island is a flat area with some
trees and shrubs. There was a manor house on it, which was demolished in 1733.
Here is a life-saving ring in case someone falls in the moat. The moat
is home to some ducks and moorhens, and as they swam around they were
leaving long streaks through the duckweed and pondweed.
I found three wooden sculptures on Moat Island, a dragon, a bird like a
woodpecker, and a creature a bit like a hare with eyes sticking up.
This is the children's playground, with climbing logs and other games.
This sundial is on top of a stone column, in the restaurant garden. The
inscription reads "Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall
behind you." The sundial says it is nearly one o'clock, time to have the
banana I brought with me!
On one side of the moat is the Tudor Barn, which is a very old red brick
house. It was used as servants' quarters and storage for the manor house
that used to be on Moat Island. It is now a restaurant. In the walled garden, this brick wall is
leaning at a very alarming angle, and the camera was absolutely straight
when taking the picture. It is at the same angle as the brick buttresses
that have been built to hold it up, so now it all makes a strong
triangle that will stay up. The bricks of the buttresses look
very old as well, so the wall must have been gradually sinking for a very long time.
In a corner near the road is a rock and bog area, with rocks and little pools
leading down to this duckweed covered pool. There was not much water in
the little upper pools and in the second picture, the middle rock would
have been a stepping stone if the water was flowing, from left to right.
Click on the thumbnail to get the full size picture
We went to Danson Park in Bexleyheath. It is a large green park with a
long lake. My journey went anticlockwise round this map, starting at
The main entrance is a long avenue of tall trees.
Here is Danson Mansion, built around 1762, which overlooks the lake.
Opposite is the Old English Garden. I am glad the gate was open!
The garden is made of lawns and formal borders. This is a stitched
picture, so the left and right paths are really one straight line. The
outside paths make a square, and two more paths cross in the middle,
where there is a hedged circle with seats and a sundial.
The sundial commemorates the Queen Elizabeth's and Prince Philip's Golden Wedding in
1997. In the corners are thistle (Scotland), leek (Wales), rose
(England) and shamrock (Ireland). The shadow time says 11 am, which was
12 noon for us on our present British Summer Time.
We walked down the left path to a long pergola. Halfway down it was
covered in a very large grapevine with lots of bunches of black grapes
hanging down. The grapes were quite small, like peas. It was very
beautiful with the sun shining through it, especially as the leaves were
changing to yellow, orange and red. At the far end was a round pond full
of water lilies and some duckweed.
We walked to the far end of the park and into the woodland area. One of
the glades had been seeded with a large patch of wildflowers. There were
still plenty of flowers, but I am sure there were even more earlier in
While we were taking pictures of the wildflowers, a crow came down and Brown Teddy threw a piece of bread from the snack bag. In no time, there
were ten crows walking around and waiting. I threw some more, one small
piece at a time, so we could get photos. Crows are very intelligent and
they know that people often have food with them.
Further down the hill is a rock garden, leading down to a boggy Nature
Here I found the secret pond. A little stream flows out of it into
another secret pond. There were quite a few ducks living here quietly,
plus a few moorhens. They are not used to disturbance, so it is best to
just walk slowly and quietly.
We crossed the bridge over the stream and continued on up the south side
of the lake. There are plenty of acorns for the squirrels and haws for
At intervals there are little places to stand at
the water's edge. This last picture is the view at the very south end,
with the main road behind us.
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