I think I am going to give up getting up for dawn photos, they make me
feel too cold! In the afternoon, I saw our regular Collared Dove sitting
with a new friend, and they are now both staying here to keep each other
company. They don't like being alone, as they like to have someone to
help them look around, to stay safe from danger.
Here is Dove again, having eaten some bread and looking up at the
wondering if anyone is watching him.
This morning was our first real frost of the year, with frosty swirls on
the car windows, and frosted leaves everywhere. The seagulls in the park
were sitting around waiting for a free meal.
These beds in Priory Park will be full of flowers next year, but all we
can do now is admire the neat shapes and hedges. The gardeners are
somewhere warmer with their bedding plans and plant lists. The rose hips
were the only colourful thing I could find.
After lunch we went to a Christmas Fair in Crofton Infants School, to
meet Cobalt the Blue-Tongued Skink again, so we could get better photos
of him. This python is having a rest, and is taking turns with the other
snakes to meet the children. There were very big smiles as the children
were allowed to hold the reptiles carefully and the parents took photos.
Brown Teddy and I think it was the best Christmas Fair we have seen so
far, as everyone worked really hard to fill the stalls with piles of
gifts, cakes and games. On Dino's
Reptiles page there are some colouring pictures of Cobalt and his
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We went to a nearby garden centre to look for Christmas lights. This tree
covered in fruits must smell quite delicious in a warm room. This candle
has an outside made of wax and a plastic flame that wobbles on a
wire over a bulb. From a distance it is impossible to tell it is not a real flame.
At another garden centre, I thought this was a dog ornament but I think
it is really a polar bear. The sleigh and reindeer one looks a bit
strange with spring flowers in it!
I love seeing the Christmas trees wrapped up, as they all look like
spider webs. These little toys are a good place to get some ideas for
knitting real hats and scarves.
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We went to Polhill Garden Centre, and I was pleased to see the model
village all covered in snow. I am glad they had a stable scene as
well, but there was no snow around it, which is just as well, as it
looks a bit draughty.
We always go in to see the fish and big koi. The staff have made these
wonderful fish out of Lego blocks, and I hope they leave them there all
A trip to Ruxley Garden Centre to watch the skating. After a while we
got chilly, but these glowing candle glasses really made me feel warm.
It was a battery LED tealight inside.
They always have a really big model village at Christmas. We spent ages
looking at everything. The snow looked really cold and the houses looked
Out the back the live reindeer were sitting around dozing, but finding
it a bit difficult with all the people walking past.
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Today I got out all the decorations. Blue Parrot's favourite is this
glass one with a bird on it.
Brown Teddy decided to hang up all the bells in bunches, instead of
putting them on the tree. Blue Parrot always has the job of flying up to
the top to put the angel on.
Dino's job is to drape the tinsel around and he can carry a lot of it at
one time without dropping any. This is my favourite card, as all the
animals are around the manger admiring the Baby.
I had lost some of my screw holes when we put new wallpaper up in the
summer, and I had to use a torch shining sideways to find the bumps.
Finally everything was up, including these lovely Chinese paper lanterns
which are quite old.
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We went up London to see the Christmas lights. This is Trafalgar Square,
and one of the lions at the base of Nelson's Column.
We saw this hawk, and he was flying around and kept going back to his
handler. This is to make sure the place stays free of pigeons.
This is the apple market at Covent Garden, with apple type baubles
haning up. These little models of Queen Elizabeth all had waving hands.
They are very tasteful and I am sure the Queen is pleased with one - I
wonder if she has one by her bed?
Someone had fun designing this walkway between the buildings. Here the
fronts of the old buildings have been kept, and I am sure they are going
to build up behind them.
Near Hyde Park we found this monument to Animals in War. On this side
the tired donkey and horse are carrying heavy loads. Through the gap
there is another horse running free after its difficult life in war.
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We went to the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park, a giant funfair.
It was packed with amusements and stalls selling food and sweets.
This lovely dragon is on one of the big carousels amongst all the horse.
This big amusement used to be called Chair-O-Planes. It rises up and the
seats swing out.
Back by the Thames, this Christmas Tree is covered in little messages to
accompany donations. This man is dressed in grey to look like a robot.
He makes jerky movements with robot sound effects. Some of the children
were not sure if he was real or not, but I saw him smile a bit! He does
it really well and shook hands and posed with the children.
Before we went home, I got a good shot of the Houses of Parliament as
the sun went down.
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We decided to visit Hyde Park again, this time at night. This ride goes
up the tower and the chairs swing round. The Ice Kingdom containing ice
carvings looked interesting but it was a bit expensive and very long
This rides swings the riders round in vertical circles, with lots of
flashing lights and loud music. I don't think I would enjoy the roller
coaster either but I like to look at them.
This tower had the Nativity scene going round, with Mary, Joseph and
Baby Jesus on the bottom, wise men in the middle and angels at the top.
I like this tiger on the big carousel. I think he would like to run
around Hyde Park catching the pigeons!
The dodgems were very colourful. This crow was on the scary house but
crows are not really scary, they are very friendly and intelligent.
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This model of Santa seems to be checking his list. Here is a real Father
Christmas, taking visits from children and having lots of photos taken.
The ferris wheel had a sleigh and reindeer suspended below the middle. I
think the sleigh will be going a lot higher on Christmas Night.
The helter skelter is a very traditional ride and looks much better at
night than in the day. The six arms of the star are really seats full of
people being swung up and down, and rotating at the same time.
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We spent quite a while watching the skating. It is quite a big rink
built up round the bandstand, and there was plenty of room for everyone.
Here is the view as we left the funfair and walked back across Hyde
We had a look down Oxford Street to see the white globes hanging across
the road. This picture of the world in pastry made me feel hungry for a
Today we had our kitchen roof replaced, as it has been leaking in the
heavy rain. I am very glad it is all going to be new and waterproof at
The roof was finished on the second day, with a glass fibre and resin
coating. We could smell the fumes for a while, but it will all be worth
it when it rains and we don't have to worry about it. All these bricks
were holding down the tarpaulins, so they can now go back down the end
of the garden.
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We went up London and visited Trafalgar Square again. There were carol
singers around the tree, and an illuminated white star on top.
Near to Nelson's Column was this large glass case with a Nativity scene
inside. I think it would probably look even better in the dark. I like
Christmas shop windows and this is a really good one in Harrods in
Knightsbridge, showing a winter scene above and the mice's cosy
underground home underneath, full of Christmas goodies. It had
polystyrene snow falling across the front, which made the top scene feel
really chilly and the underneath cosy and warm.
We then went to Somerset House to see the skating. We arrived at the end
of a session, and it was very interesting watching the machine being
driven round to smooth off the ice with scrapers and water jets.
The polar bear was helping a young child stay upright on the ice. It
makes a change from penguins! I like these souvenirs of London, maybe I
should get some for myself!
I have just a few cards to write, to go with some presents. Blue Parrot
writes very beautifully, all swirly and loopy, it does not say anything,
but it means "lots of love" in parrot talk.
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A lovely hamper arrived today with jam, marmalade, biscuits and
chocolates. Dino is looking after the star-shaped chocs, to make sure
they don't get lost or forgotten.
This robin in the park seems to have seen a worm and is about to fly
down, but I got my photo just in time. All the roses bushes were pruned
right down, but this one rose was still there, I think it must have been
a small bud when the gardeners came round and so got missed.
At the end of the afternoon, we went up to the South Bank by the River
Thames. There was a big carousel and lots of stalls selling food and
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The carousel is a replica of one from 1951. I really like these paper
stars and I was wondering how I could make my own at home.
The Thames is really colourful at night. This photo is taken from the
bridge that takes the trains coming from Charing Cross Railway Station.
On the way home, we saw this wonderful top with a map of the London
Underground, in a cycle shop. Further on, someone seems to have had a
good time designing this area with stone balls. I wonder if people end
up sitting on them to have a rest between shopping trips and getting
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This afternoon we made our mince pies. Dino had the leftover bits and so
he made a larger square mince pie with more mincemeat in it. It is a
good job I took a photo as he ate it as soon as it was cool enough,
covered in peach yogurt.
Before bedtime, it is time to put the presents under the tree. There is plenty
of room! Brown Teddy likes to put the shiny ones at the front.
All done now and it's amazing how they all mount up. Dino
managed to find two more, with the box of sweets clearly positioned at the
front, so he can admire it a while longer.
There is just time to check on the NORAD Track Santa website. He was just over
Switzerland when I looked, which is not that far from England!
We are in bed before Santa leaves Switzerland, to make sure
we get to sleep before he arrives in our country. We will get sleepy once the
light is out.
We woke up just as the sun was coming up. It is rather cold outside. Brown Teddy
noticed that a new RED bag has appeared under the tree full of presents. I am
sure Father Christmas likes to use RED bags!
I like to get ready really early, so there is no rush. We washed all the special
plates and cutlery, which we only use at Christmas.
I got out all the items for the Christmas dinner, so nothing gets forgotten.
Blue Parrot volunteered to squirt the stuff round the bathroom taps, but I had
to do the wiping!
Dino went on an inspection of the kitchen shelves and found some extra bags of
biscuits and boxes of cakes, and the mince pies that we made yesterday. He also
checked up on the supply of bird feed pellets so our friends outside have
something special as well.
Our two collared doves are still together, and I think the
new one has now been accepted as a friend who is allowed to stay. They have realised that it is best
to sit in our hawthorn tree, where there is a better view of the kitchen window!
We were very pleased to see this fieldfare, a first for our garden. I hope he
comes back and we see him and his friends a lot more.
We still have three Christmas crackers left to pull, so
Christmas is not over until we do! This fibre optic tree is my favourite, and we
always leave it up for quite a while after New Year.
Today we took a trip to Uxbridge which is to the west of
London. This is Baker Street station and I liked the very smart red blue and
white carriages. At Uxbridge station, this train indicator looks quite old and
traditional, with illuminated words behind glass. The clock is as smart as the
I really liked these stained glass windows as we went out
of the station. Outside, there are two big art deco sculptures on top of the
building, looking like train wheels.
In the town is this beautiful mosaic. The artist based it
on drawings and paintings done by local school children. The Hillingdon Borough
coat of arms is very colourful as well and I love the motto "Forward". The
borough website has an interactive picture of the coat of arms describing
what all the parts mean
www.hillingdon.gov.uk/article/9240/Hillingdons-coat-of-arms The slips of rye
on the stag represent the town of Ruislip, but if you look up the name, it
actually comes from "rush leap", a crossing place on the river where rushes
I was very glad to see some municipal Christmas trees with
lots of colour, as many of them nowadays just have white decorations. This
flowerbed has been decorated as well and the gardeners have put in sprigs cut
from a Christmas with little baubles on. They will survive very well in the cold
weather, and may even root if they are left in!
We took the train to Harrow on the Hill to look at the
shops. This bird was made of white tinsel round a frame. I took a picture from
the other side, so the bird is flying in the sky. This must look really good at
We went back to Central London on our way home. I like to look at all the
different tile decorations on the Underground Stations. The green one is my
favourite at the moment.
I was amazed that there were still some sweets left over.
These are hard toffee ones, which are always the last to go. The good thing
about toffee ones is that they take a long time to suck and make disappear, so
they last a lot longer than the softies.
Another surprise visitor in next door's tree, a beautiful
jay with blue wings.
It was cold and frosty, and we went to the park. This very
large puddle usually has lots of ducks standing around in it, but not today. I
wonder if there was a squirrel fast asleep in this drey. It does not look big
enough to stay warm, especially high up in a tree where the wind is colder.
Maybe he also has a hollow bit in the tree trunk.
These were the only flowers to be seen, a frosted rose and
a primula. I had to look hard to find them.
I spent today cleaning up the bike, which we are sending to
Africa where it will be given to someone to help them in their work. We take the
bus and train everywhere now.
Meanwhile, Blue Parrot investigated the unusual coconut cream sweets that
someone sent us from another country. When we have eaten them, Blue Parrot has
kindly volunteered to peck up all the coconut crumbs.
I took a few more pictures of the Christmas tree, as it
will be packed away quite soon, and we will just leave the lights draped around
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