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Diary 2014 May

 

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1 May

Footpath sign on asphalt  London Loop direction sign
This figure seemed to be a bit lost, but I found him later, on the London Loop sign, walking purposefully to his destination!

Huge artist's palette  Coloured pots hanging up
We went to Thompsons Garden Centre in Sidcup. They always have interesting displays. Here is an artist's palette with plants instead of blobs of paint. I really like the hanging pots in rainbow colours.

Armchair surrounded by thyme plants  Garden centre
This armchair is called "Take A Little Thyme Out" so people can sit and touch the thyme plants and be surrounded by the lovely herb smell. We had a good time wandering round and bought a lavender plant and a packet of Rootgrow granules so the new shrubs get growing really quickly.

Yellow Teddy looking at rain  Rain on pond
Later on there was very heavy rain, and you would get soaked in a few seconds if you were out in it. The fish were very happy with the heavy drops as they find flies and insects washed into the pond.

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3 May

Yellow Teddy with bindweed
I found all this bindweed growing round the wire on the infra-red scarer. I could not snip it so I had to break it and unwind by hand. I think it's time to put the wires somewhere else.

Starling with bread  Bluetit
This starling keeps coming back for bits of bread. Starlings always march around in a hurry. The bluetit has got the idea that food is available, and he is very good at holding down a lump of bread with his foot and tearing it into smaller pieces.

4 May

River Cray  Below weir
This is the River Cray at Footscray. It goes down a small weir and passes under the main road. This is the weir water dividing up into the two tunnel holes. The water is ever so smooth until it hits the pier bricks. It is very noisy.

Evergreen planting
There are lots of business buildings here and I really like this evergreen planting with mounds of different colours all trimmed smooth. It is giving me ideas for my garden!

Gable of building  Decoration on guttering
This parade of shops in Foots Cray is done in a Tudor style, with wood carving on the gable, but I think it is not that old. The gutters are very interesting with heraldic lions and Tudor roses all along its length. There are some genuine old cottages further down the road, called Tudor Cottages but really much older than that. Foots Cray is named after the Saxon Godwin Fot who owned land here over 1,000 years ago.

Yellow Teddy by cotoneaster  Bees on cotoneaster
Back in my garden, I spent some time sitting on the bench with a book. There was a lot of buzzing going on behind me. Not all the cotoneaster flowers were open so the bees had to work harder to find the ones that were.

Bluetit with bread  Sparrow with bread
Here is the same bluetit with his bread which he will take back to the nestbox further down the garden. It looks like it is time to cut the grass, so the birds can find their crumbs easily.

Yellow Teddy in greenhouse  Cloud over sun
We sat in the greenhouse with our books. It is very enjoyable when we have our snack as well, and here I have grapes and apple juice. The coloured duster is used to waft any bees or flies back out of the door. We stayed warm inside even when the sun went behind the clouds, but I prefer sun to be out at this time of year.

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5 May

May Queen parade - Bloco Fogo band leading  May Queen parade - Queen and retinue
We visited the Petts Wood May Fayre. The samba band led the procession, followed by the Petts Wood May Queen and her subjects, and also further back were the May Queens for Orpington and Pratts Bottom groups. They went on a circular route, down one main road and back up another main road, ending up at the Memorial Hall.

May Queen's crown on cushion  May Queen crowing ceremony
The new Queen and her Maids assembled in the Hall for the ceremony. Firstly there was a prize giving for the winner of the Fayre poster competition. Then last year's May Queen made her speech, the Mayor of Bromley crowned the new May Queen, and she made her speech as well, welcoming everyone to the celebrations. Here is the sparkling tiara crown on its special cushion.

Maypole dancing 1  Maypole dancing 2
After a time for photos, the Queen and her Maids danced round the maypole. They did it all very well and made all the steps in the right places. They must have done a lot of practising.

Bloco Fogo Samba Band  Children trying out the drums
A little while later the Bloco Fogo Samba Band gave a performance of drumming. It was very loud and you could feel it through the ground as well! Afterwards, they let children have a go on the drums, and I think some of the children will want their own drum set after that!

Veggie health stall  Sstrawberries and raspberries stall
The first stall I saw was a healthy eating one, with fresh veggies and lots of health leaflets. I don't think these strawberries and raspberries are going to be unsold for very long!

Chocolate cup cakes  Carrot cake
These chocolate cupcakes looked delicious, but my favourite was the carrot cake, because it had lots of little carrots on top made of orange icing sugar!

Bruce the Bearded Dragon with Jane  Slinky the Skink
I was really glad to see my friends from Reptile Events, and here is Bruce the Bearded Dragon holding on to handler Jane. Slinky the Skink is having a look around and enjoying being on show. Have a look at my Dino's Reptiles page for more photos and some colouring pages of them for you to download.

Python with donations bucket
I think this python is either guarding the donations bucket or saying "Thank you for my dinner money"!

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Lifeboats seaside scene ornament
I just love this ornament on the Royal National Lifeboat Institution's stand, showing a harbour with boat shed and the lifeboat bobbing about on the choppy seas. It was a bit beyond my pocket money but I can see everything in detail from the photo quite well. I can almost smell the seaweed and taste the salty breezes!

Balloon modelling man  Test Your Strength stall
This is Mad Mick the balloon modelling man. Lots of children were crowding round to watch them being made. This is the Test Your Strength stall. I don't think it is too hard to hit it and ring the bell, because all the prizes are for children and not grown-ups.

Win A Mini poster  Go-karts
This Win A Mini car was very interesting, but I don't think I could drive such a big car. These go-karts are much more interesting, but probably still too big for me!

Fairground ride with vehicles  Fairground cup and saucer ride
The fairground rides were very noisy. I like all the colours. The cup and saucer one is my favourite. We went home with lots of photos and movie clips of all the events.

6 May

Pressure washer  Pressure washer in action
We have been playing with the new pressure washer. It was too fierce for me to have a go, but I was delighted to see it clean up the paving stones, which went from almost black to light grey and creamy colours. It also blew the mud out of the cracks, so now I have the job of filling them in before any more weed seeds get down them.

7 May

Sparrows with bread
The top sparrow is taking bread back to its young, and the bottom one is a new young sparrow who is learning where to find food. He follows the older ones around and copies everything they do.

11 May


The hawthorn tree leans over the pond and here are all the fallen petals collecting around the lily leaves. I don't know what the fish think of this, but as long as it does not stop them getting their food, they probably don't mind.

13 May

Cement in container  Newspapers over cemented bits
Today I am filling in the cracks in the paving. I put the ready-mix mortar powder into the bottom of a milk carton, to make it easy to pour. It went down the cracks very easily, even the small ones. After that we sprayed everything with the hose on the mist setting, to make it start to set hard. We covered the mended areas in newspaper so that it stayed wet, and also so that any overnight rain would not wash it out. It is going to look really neat and tidy with no weedy bits.

15 May

Bold blackbird
Here is the very bold blackbird that has been around for a couple of months now, collecting up food for his nestlings. He does not mind if we walk up the garden path while he is on the lawn. He knows that there will always be a bit of bread being thrown around.

17 May

Filling pond with hose  Cutting up the prunings
Today I got up really early, as I don't like to be in bed when it is daylight. It was time to fill up the pond, as the water level was going down. We had to prune a few of the top branches on the cherry tree, and I watched as someone cut up the prunings with the big loppers to make them fit in the waste bag.

Sparrow feeding young one
I was really glad to get this picture of a sparrow feeding the young one. The young sparrows soon get the idea of eating the crumbs for themselves, and I have seen a lot of them swallowing as much as possible as quickly as possible. No point in leaving any lying around going to waste!

Woolwich Arsenal  Woolwich Arsenal
We went on a bus trip to Woolwich which is next to the River Thames. This is the old Royal Arsenal, which used to be a huge place for making weapons, but now it is all new housing. This poster shows the area now it is all refurbished.

Woolwich Arsenal Roman statue  Woolwich Arsenal cannon
All the historical stuff has been kept. This is a very old Roman statue, so it must be about 2,000 years old. There are lots of cannons of different ages, and this old one has an eagle on the top, holding a sword. We had to hold the camera up over it before we could see it properly.

Bike raill down steps  Pigeons camouflaged on foreshore
We walked along the river front. This yellow rail on the steps is for wheeling bicycles down. Brown Teddy said that it is very close to the railings so that people don't ride their bikes down. We wondered what these pigeons were finding to eat on the foreshore, as there are no plants there. They are very well camouflaged and they seemed to keep disappearing!

Steps down to the Woolwich foot tunnel  Woolwich foot tunnel help point
These iron steps lead down to the foot tunnel under the river. They make a very clangy and echoing sound and there is a lot of spiralling down to get to the bottom. Brown Teddy was glad to see an Emergency Help Point.

Woolwich foot tunnel  Lacy balcony screens
The foot tunnel is exactly the same as the one at Greenwich, except that there is nobody about. We only passed one person on our way through. The other side is called North Woolwich. I really like these screens on the balconies, with punched holes to look like lace.

North Woolwich mural  Railway station poster
There is a very long mural in one of the roads, and at the end is this big trout. All the other pictures show the history of the place. On the Docklands Light Railway platform is this lovely poster of puffins on a flowery cliffside, advertising the seaside.

Thames Barrier park  Thames Barrier park hedges
We got off at Pontoon Dock station, in order to visit the Thames Barrier Park. There is a long deep cutting full of wavy hedges, so I am sure it must have been a dock at some time. You can walk through and see all hedges close up. It was very quiet and pleasant.

Thames Barrier park wavy hedges
Here are the wavy hedges. There are two bridges over to get a good view. Most of them are yew, with tall flat lonicera hedges all along both sides. It would be interesting to be here on a day when they are being trimmed. There are flat grassy parks both sides for people to sit around in.

Rusting pier  Foreshore
The park is right by the river. This derelict pier had sheets of paper stuck up on the walls, asking what should be done with it. Some wanted a bar and one wanted to see it removed as an eyesore. I like to see things restored and I think the shore end bit should be saved and made into a big sitting area for people who want to sit over the river instead of in the park! At the end I would put in a telescope like they do at seasides, so people can see up and down the river in detail. We found a gate with steps leading down to the foreshore. It was low tide and we had a good time looking around. We did not find any Roman coins though, just old bits of rotting wood.

Woolwich Ferry  On the Woolwich Ferry
We came back on the Woolwich Ferry. All the passenger seats are below decks, but we stood at the side railings to see everything more closely. It was quite interesting when it turned a corner to get into the jetty area because of all the foam and waves that came up. There were not many people and it is mainly cars that use it.

18 May

Blue Parrot with pound coins  Dino in the tunnel
We went on an outing to Stockwood Park in Luton. Here is Blue Parrot about to hand over two one-pound coins at the Dartford Toll Gates. He has been practising all week letting go of the coins. It was very difficult but he managed it! Dino likes tunnels, but everyone is glad when we come out into the sunshine.

Stockwood Park paths  Old tree
In the park we took a walk around the woodland. It was Blue Parrot's turn to choose which path to take and we went straight on. Dino likes old trees because the tangled roots look like dinosaur claws.

Goldfish  Chickens
In the Discovery Centre part, we went straight to the fishpond to see how the fish are doing. There are more of them than last year and they have a big clump of plants in the middle to hide in. Then we went to see the chickens in the Dig For Victory Garden. Blue Parrot seems to know exactly what they are saying.

Cactus greenhouse  Greenhouse
This long greenhouse is against a high wall, and is full of desert and cactus plants. Today it was closed to visitors, but I think it would have been to hot in there anyway. There are more big greenhouses full of flowering plants. It looks like a very good place to sit and read books, but all the space is taken up with benches and pots of flowers, so no room for lounger chairs!

Victorian Garden box hedging  Lattice trellis
This is my favourite part, the Victorian gardens with the box hedging. It is all very neat and tidy. Here is Brown Teddy looking through the white door in the far corner, with a view back to the greenhouses in the other section.

Sensory garden musical rods  Ancient mangle
This is the sensory garden with sounds and smells. The rods make musical sounds but it is more fun to just run the rod along the whole lot at once! Round a corner is this very old cast iron mangle, with wooden rollers. I think this needs restoration and putting indoors before it rusts away!

Woodland shrubs  Propped up tree
I love a garden with interesting paths where you can find surprises. Blue Parrot found this very old tree held up by a thick pole. The tree is very gnarly and bobbly and the pole is very smooth.

Woodland  Twisted branches
Dino said that this looks like a dinosaur forest and we might see one at any moment coming round the corner. He was delighted with this twisted fir tree that looks like another big claw. Somehow an upright branch has become drooping and twisted, and has stayed like that while it grew big and thick and back upwards over the years.

Roaming chickens
Back in the open park, these chickens near the horse stables were roaming free in the grass. They have their huts in the stables, where there are more chickens and a rooster.

Museum fire office plaque  Ostrich feather fan
We went in the Mossman Carriage Museum. I like this plaque from a Fire Brigade office. I think people had to pay for their services then and put a notice on their house before they could get help if they needed it. Blue Parrot said this feather fan would be alright as long as the feathers were donated willingly by the ostrich.

Knife grinder's cart  Royal mail cart
This is a knife grinder's cart, from the days before we had stainless steel when knives got rusty and blunt. It is covered in detailed carvings. My favourite carriage is this Royal Mail cart and I wonder how many interesting letters and parcels it has carried over the years and what the streets were like that it went through.

Astronomy picture of Orion Nebular  Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at Dartford
We went into the exhibition of astronomy photographs. Some were prints but most were shown on flat screens, so they were very bright, especially as the area was kept a bit dark. This is my favourite one, because of all the colours. It is the Orion Nebula and is made up of 520 images made up into one big one, and shows 3,000 stars being formed. We came home over the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge, which we call the Dartford Bridge as it is easier to say!

20 May

Pear fruits on tree  Apple fruits on tree
My fruits are coming along nicely. This is my first Williams Pear and I hope it does not drop off! The apples are doing very well too.

22 May

Oriental poppy  Field poppies
I got up really early, just in time to get a picture of this oriental poppy bursting out of the bud. A little while later it dried off and opened out. On my walk I found these field poppies on a wayside heap of soil that the council has not got round to planting up with shrubs. It looks like countryside but it is surrounded by houses and traffic!

Cup and saucer basketweave planter  Tropical mural
More planter ideas at the garden centre, with a basketweave cup and saucer. This painting in the roses section  on the side of an office hut looks like a tropical jungle.

Chickens  Sterlet fish
We visited the chicken pens out the back, and in the pet section we saw these beautiful fish called Sterlets.

25 May

Goldfish in blanket weed
A very warm sunny day and although the pond has now got a lot of blanket weed in it, the fish don't mind as they use it to lounge around in the sun. The blanket weed uses up the nutrients in the pond, which keeps the water healthier.

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