Here are the Gravel Hill daffodils all out at last. I went back to Hall
Place to buy some plants. The cut flower garden is gradually getting
filled with new plants.
oI bought a viburnum and a forsythia and they are a good size. I also
have a climbing rose put in later on.
As it was warm and dry, we painted the laths which will be made up into
Today we went to Highgate in North London. I love seeing all the
stations and other trains. This is a goods train full of tons and tons
of granite chippings pulled by a diesel engine.
This is the view from Highgate Hill looking south over the whole of
I had a good look around for Easter shop windows. I just love this art
shop with giant pencils in the window, it makes me want to get my
colouring books out.
TOP OF PAGE
This is Alexandra Palace, which was built as a place of entertainments
for the general public in the 19th Century.
Being on a hill, it was the best place for this television transmitter
mast and the first television programmes were transmitted from here in
This is just a small part of the view, it goes a long way both left and
right. Next time we come we are going to bring our binoculars.
This is the copper lightning conductor. As it was a fine day, Brown
Teddy didn't mind touching the copper. This piece has been joined over
the break, so that the electricity from any lightning strike goes over
This is the door at the rear. Inside is the entrance booth to the indoor
ice rink. The rest of the Palace is derelict and is waiting for the day
when it is all refurbished. The roof is like the Crystal Palace and in
fact it was meant to be for North London what the Crystal Palace was for
South London - be a venue for entertainments and exhibitions for the
Behind the palace was a small fairground. I like these giant bubbles,
which children can get inside and make it roll about on a shallow pool.
Near the cafe is this lovely copper lion. The back and tail are all
smooth from all the hundreds of children who have climbed up on him over
The boating lake has lots of boats in the shape of swans. In the
distance is the television mast and the glass dome of the Palace. On the
far side of the lake these pigeons were having a quiet bath, away from
all the noise and people.
At the rear of the Palace is where the old railway station used to stop
and it is now a community centre.
TOP OF PAGE
We left the Palace and followed the route of the old railway track,
which is now a woodland path. Over the wall it drops away to the garden
below and there are views over all the town.
Someone has tied a rope to this old tree and all the jumping and
swinging has worn the soil away from the roofs. The track route stops
just under this bridge, and the rest of it has been built over with
We followed some more footpaths and came to Highgate Wood, which has
lots of crisscrossing paths through it. It is definitely one to come
back to when the leaves are out.
In the middle is this Victorian drinking fountain with a poem at the
bottom, and amazingly it still works and you can get a drink if you
press the brass button. All the pruned and fallen wood is left lying
around in neat rows and piles, but these branches are piled up over a
trunk to make an interesting little enclosure for children to
This is Highgate Station which is derelict, and there is a tree growing
out of the middle of it. Immediately underneath is the entrance to
Highgate Tube Station, and the escalator goes a long way down, as it
starts on a hill.
TOP OF PAGE
We went to Upminster Windmill in Havering, North London, for their first Open Day of the
year. After our last visit in January, I just couldn't wait to see
inside. This is the back view, the front view is much whiter.
We went in groups of about 8 and all had to have a disc so that everyone
is accounted for. We were taken by the guide straight up the steep
wooden ladders to the top floor, and then worked out way down. This
keeps all the groups separate and moving along safely. This is the view looking towards the
back and the excavations of the old engine house.
We were on the top Dust Floor. This view from the window would have been
much more dramatic when the sails were going round. Our guide told us
absolutely everything about all the equipment on each of the floors. It
was very interesting and we had no idea how much went on in just one
windmill! He explained exactly how all the equipment worked.
Almost everything is wooden, with iron fittings. The cog teeth are all
separate pieces that are held in with a wooden pin so that broken ones
can be replaced. Here is the bolted iron join in the central shaft.
The square bins on the right are the grain hoppers.
These octagonal boxes hold the millstones. The screw like machine is for
separating the flour from the chaff. I think it would all have been very
noisy when it was working, with heavy vibration and dust everywhere.
Even today people whose surname is Miller are often nicknamed Dusty
On the ground floor is an old millstone and a case with model windmills.
There is lots of other memorabilia like old flour containers, adverts,
newspaper cuttings, bits of equipment, and some tables selling souvenirs
and booklets. The tour was free but we did make an addition to the
collection box and I bought a pen and pencil to remind me of our
wonderful day. The guides did a really good job and made it a real day
TOP OF PAGE
We walked back to Upminster town centre and here is the painted frieze
over the front doors of the Library, showing the windmill sails on the left, followed by swirly
lines to show the wind, blowing both tree leaves and book leaves about,
then wheat, the church and the town houses.
On our way home we passed this very colourful train decorated like the
normal patterned train or bus seat material!
Time to put the new plants in. We have cleared the strip along the fence
and cut back the plants that are growing up the fence. The forsythia is
my favourite at the moment.
The robin visited to tidy up the grubs and worms. The wood pigeon is
rearranging the grass seeds - down his throat. Good job I dug in a
lot of the seeds, so he is only getting the ones on top, which would die
This little primrose is growing in a crack in the steps at the bottom of
the garden. It has been there for years. I decided to sort out the
trellis wood into difference lengths and think how I am going to put it
I made a straw raft out of a square of netting wrapped around the straw and sewn with
string, so the fishes can't get to the tadpoles so
easily. The tadpoles are just beginning to swim away into the corners,
which is much better for them.
We have moved the air pump to a different corner and it is being kept much
shallower. It had been slowly whooshing all the mud away from the bottom, which
is not really helpful as some of the smaller water lily tubers have now floated
to the surface.
TOP OF PAGE
We went to Limehouse Basin in North East London, to see the canals and
These steel lock gates are big and deep, and as soon as I got my photos
I was glad to get back onto the path. It looked a bit too far down for
This was the best boat with all its tubs of flowers on the roof. We
walked along until we came to the River Thames. The sun was out and the
water was sparkling. In the distance is the Canary Wharf area. It was
named after a dock quay which was named after the Canary Isles where
fruit was imported from.
Some of the canals between the housing developments are not flowing
water so it has to have a blue chemical added, and there is a notice
that the water is hazardous. How are these ducks surviving the hazardous
water, though? Hmm, a puzzle. There is little pond life so I am sure
people are feeding them. This is their duck house at the end of the
stretch of water.
We went back to Limehouse Basin and in a secluded corner behind the
moored boats, these two swans were beginning to make a nest out of the
weed twigs on the floating raft.
This is Commercial Road Lock. The zigzag edge is the water overflow and
the actual lock is on the right hand side.
We like to look for all the old leftover gear and try and guess what it
was for. The winding gear is easy to recognise but I think the second
one is a rope pulley for boats to get through the short tunnel.
I prefer it when the water is high up, I am not fond of the big drops.
Brown Teddy wondered what this little tunnel thing was but we think it
is probably just a drainage hole.
TOP OF PAGE
I had a go at pushing the lock gate bar. The gate moved a few inches. It
was already half open so I didn't flood anything! There are lines of
raised bricks in the paving underneath the bar so people can get a foothold when
We walked along to Millennium Park. This is a very beautiful big pond,
and the water is clear and full of big blobs of weed. It looks like an
underwater forest of trees and greenery. We walked along the bridge on
the right of the first photo and got a bird's eye view of it all.
Further along are these iron sculptures that we keep seeing in different
parks. The first is a suffragette from a century ago who is campaigning
for votes for women, the second is a footballer, and my favourite is the
This sculpture is meant to be the back half of a big fish, with the tail
fins being the steel seat. Each scale has been made by a child with
their own picture and writing on it.
The canal is called Regent's Canal, and it was much greener here with
the willow trees and the communal gardens to the houses. Off to the
right is the Hertford Union Canal.
Further along the Regent's Canal there was activity at Ford Lock, as
some boats were going through. As the were letting the water out, it was
all churning and foaming. It did not take long before the gates could be
opened and the boat came out. We had been hoping to see a lock in action
and so we were delighted to be there at the right time and get pictures.
TOP OF PAGE
We eventually arrived at Victoria Park and this is West Boating Lake.
There were crowds of people and children, and lots of water birds and
In the second part of the park is the Burdett-Coutts Memorial Drinking
Fountain built in 1862 to provide clean drinking water for the poor
people of East London. It is very ornate and I especially like the
mermaid on the wind vane. The spikes on her cup are to stop pigeons
landing on it!
Plenty of daffodils further along in the park, all lit up in the
sunlight. Then I remembered the daffodils at Greenwich so we stopped off there on our way back home, to get some more pictures. Many
were beginning to fade, but we found plenty of clumps still in good
We sat in front of the Queen's House and watched people going up and
down the hill to the Observatory at the top. Just time for a snack
before getting the train home.
TOP OF PAGE
The new pond pump we ordered arrived today. Dino is the best one to open
the stiff cardboard. I checked the box to make sure it was the correct
one as ordered.
It is much bigger than the present pump and it will push a lot of water
through. Dino was going to undo the flexible hose as well, but I think
he will have to be a bit more careful and not bite into it!
I finally got round to nailing together all the laths into a bespoke
piece of trellis to finish off the fencing at the end of the garden. I
had to bring in some extra pieces so there is more painting to do to get
it all green on both sides.
TOP OF PAGE
Back to the daffodil meadow to see what is out. I know the daffodils are
resting a bit this year, but there was lots of blossom. It was very
fluffy looking in the brilliant sunshine.
I like the wide mown paths so you can walk all round everywhere. Brown
Teddy likes the pink almond trees, as there is often a piece of blossom
coming out of the trunk lower down where he can see it properly.
A much better photo of the forsythia this time, and the flowering
currant bush was out as well.
When I got home a friend had sent us some lovely daffodils, so even more
to take photos of. The sun was still out and some of the fish were
lazing around in the straw rafts, which are beginning to fall apart.
They like the warm water in this corner of the pond, where it heats up
as there is not so much movement of the water.
I like these friendly ceramic owls in the garden centre but my garden
birds would be terrified of them. We wandered back home along the
riverside park. Looking over the bridge I could see lots of weed waving
about in the current. The water is always very clear.
Brown Teddy and I agree that this bridge is the best part of the
riverside park. I am looking downstream and Brown Teddy is looking
upstream, in case we can spot any ducks.
We like to look out for unusual weather vanes. This one is an anvil and
is on top of a old forge building at a nearby farm.
We went through the park very early in the morning. All the ducks were
sitting around on the grass sleeping, but I am sure some of them were
opening an eye to watch us as we went past.
Robin was following us around all the time we were working in the
garden. He especially likes it when someone moves a plastic bag, to
reveal all the worms underneath.
Today we watched the London Marathon on the television. Brown Teddy's
favourite part is when they all start off, as they are all going fast
and are full of energy.
I made myself a little video with me running in front of the two men in
the elite men's race. I think I took the lead for a very short while! I
don't think I could keep it up for the whole two and a bit hours though.
This is our friendly collared dove sitting on a neighbour's roof. He is
waiting to see if I throw a peanut onto the lawn. He likes the smaller
roundish peanuts but not the longer larger ones as they are a bit too
big for his throat. We went through the park and I just got close enough
to get a picture of the baby moorhens. The parent bird was running over
to someone throwing bread to the ducks, and then running back very fast
to feed the chicks.
We went to Hall Place. The yellow gorse is all out and very thick with
flowers. The meadow is full of apple and prunus trees in full
blossom. The weather was perfect, with a slight breeze and blue sky.
This fallen blossom is still in good condition. There are many millions
more on the trees though, I am very glad to say.
Brown Teddy was delighted to find this "snowy" corner round the back of
the meadow. This grassy path goes along behind the trees and I think not
many people go down here. I like mysterious little paths and finding out
where they go, as long as I am with someone.
This yellow bush was really bright even in the shadow. There were
several magpies finding worms and insects in the long grass and wild
plants under the trees. Magpies fly away when you get near, so we were
glad to have a really good zoom on the camera.
At the other end of the park are lots of brilliant azaleas. This clump
is my favourite, and it was even brighter than the photograph. I liked
this tree with the peeling papery bark, but I think if I had it at home,
I would want to tidy up the raggy bits! I think my birds would pull bits
off for their nests.
We saw this goose family on our way through the park very early in the
morning. The parent birds always have their necks up high, to look out
for any danger, and also for any food that visitors might have brought.
TOP OF PAGE