When the fish are
all facing the same way, it means they are heading for the food! They are getting
extra treats so the new fish realise it's a great pond to live in.
My new apple tree
arrived today. It is a Pink Lady apple which is one of our favourites.
We bought it in September and in November, after the leaves have
dropped, they start to dig them out of
the nursery fields to send to everyone.
I am looking forward to
the flowers next spring. I am giving it a good soak first to make sure
nothing is dried out.
I like a good
colourful dawn, if I am up in time to see it, but it will soon overtake
my Christmas lights.
This is a Nativity
scene in the High Street, but we were zooming past in the car, so a bit
Today we went to
the Natural History Museum in Central London. We spent some time
watching the ice rink, which was not very crowded. The penguins are for
the young children.
At the far end was
a gallopers carousel, but no riders as yet. This fossil tree is 330
million years old, about the time that reptiles started filling up the
We decided to look
around the geology wing. Opposite the entrance doors is this newly
discovered stegasaurus, spotlit in a dark hall with diagrams of star
fields all around. Behind him is an escalator going up into a molten
core effect. It is very dramatic with sound effects and a fantastic start to an exciting
adventure through the story of earth's rocks. I am glad someone has all
these good ideas! The second picture was taken from the upstairs gallery
a little later on.
This screen shows
all the earthquake zones and you can press the control panel to get
different views. This big model is about a metre and a half tall and
reminds me of a cream egg with sugar cream inside.
This is a heat suit
for scientists going near the lava flows. This case has models of giant
tubeworms that live in the dark on the bottom of the ocean near the hot
We went into an
earthquake simulator room, set up like a Japanese shop from a real
earthquake that happened there. The floor starts to move and everyone
has to hold on to the handrails. Everything on the shelves was moving
This is a fulgarite,
which is when lightning travels down through sand and melts it into the
same shape as the lightning bolt. This big circular tray of sand has
water pipes dripping onto it, so you can move the water flow about and
make different patterns in the sand, just like real rivers do.
I quite like this
yellow rock. Brown Teddy likes the brown coloured rocks of course! We
have some granite like this in the garden, holding up the edges of some
of the beds.
This is a desert
rose rock formation made of gypsum that has crystallised in the sand.
This one is from the Sahara Desert in Algeria.
You can read rocks
like a book of history, and this rock has the pages coming apart! Tree rings are also a record and this one is a fossilised piece of
There is a long
gallery showing everything starting with the formation of the planet and through
all the changes and different types of life, including dinosaurs and
fossils. Back in the hall at the bottom of the stairs is this beautiful
table made of coloured stone.
This is an
engraving from 1840 showing Great Sea Dragons as people imagined them
from the dinosaur bones that they were finding. I like the cafe sign and
I think it is an invitation to eat rather a lot of food in one go.
Apart from all the
displays, the building itself is very ornate, with the wall tiles covered in
plant and animal life shapes, and stained glass windows up at the top.
Once it got dark,
we went back to watching the ice skating outside the Museum. All the
bare trees were wrapped in white lights. We really enjoyed it because it
was not cold and there were more people on the rink. Afterwards we had a
look around Trafalgar Square. There were people singing carols on the
other side of the tree. The building behind is the National Gallery.
At the foot of
Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square is a Nativity scene in a big glass case. We saw
this last year and I am glad it is here again. All the characters are
spotlighted and it is a very quiet and peaceful scene.
It's time to get
the tree up. All the branches slot in and they are labelled A to E according to
size. Blue Parrot is checking that the lights are spread around evenly,
a most important job!
Brown Teddy has
already started opening all the box files. Dino always likes to play
with the ribbon bows, which we save every year from the presents to put on the tree.
We received this
lovely hamper box of Christmas food, with cakes, biscuits and
Dino played with
the filling material and Blue Parrot thought it would make a good nest.
These Eco Flow chips are made of starch. when everyone had finished
playing around with them, I wetted them and they collapsed
down to a small sticky lump, which can go in the food waste box - much
better than polystyrene, well done Eco Flow people!
We went up to
London to see more skating. This is Waterloo Station and because I had
the camera on the wrong setting it is all white and washed out - it
looks like a skating rink!
This is the South
Bank with Christmas stalls under the railway bridge, with lots of food,
sweets, decorations and clothing for sale. The Christmas tree at Cannon
Street Station is inside the front glass foyer.
We went to Somerset
House skating rink and had a good time watching everyone going round. The sky got
very dark for a while. At the end of the afternoon the rain began and
the rink cleared quickly.
There are a lot of
trains and platforms to choose from, and you have to keep your eye on
the board as it changes quickly. Meanwhile I look around for interesting
pictures while we are waiting. These lines on the
station floor directing people to various platforms and places are a
very good idea, as there is no need to remember instructions from a
notice, you just follow the colour until you get there.
We were on platform
5 and the ceiling lights make it look like a space station where
people are waiting for their spaceship home. By now it was dark and
rainy but the train is very warm and cosy, with heaters by our feet, and we started and finished
off the packet of chocolate bourbon biscuits.
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A very wet and
misty morning. The pond netting looked like spider webs. This is a
snowing tree, where the tiny polystyrene balls go up the middle and fall
out of the top of the tree like a real snow storm, and collect in an
upside down umbrella. It is wonderful!
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We went to see the
live reindeer at the garden centre. Amongst all the decorations, we
found this scene of Bambi and the magical reindeer.
In the model
village glass case, I found this nativity scene, which I had not noticed
before. This deer is eating the snowman's carrot nose!
Another visit to
Somerset House to see the skating.
This unusual wooden
nativity scene was in the shopping centre at Bexleyheath, built on a
trolley. It is just the right height for children to look into the
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We went to the
Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. I really like this avenue of lighted
arches. The bumper cars were very colourful with loud music.
The lights on the
Big Wheel were changing colour and making chasing patterns.
This is a Christmas
Tree Maze, what a wonderful way to get lost for a little while! The best
part is the skating rink around the bandstand and we stayed and watched
for quite a while.
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Today we are going
to Hampton Court Palace. It is a bit of a longer journey but I like to
see everything. This is the old Battersea Power Station being turned
into luxury apartments. I am glad it is staying there, because it is
part of the history of Battersea.
We arrived at
Hampton Court as it was getting dark. The ice rink had been rained on
and the machine had to spend quite a time sucking up the puddles and
getting rid of the extra water.
Lots of the people
had rain capes on but it did not rain again and everyone had a good
This is the front
of Hampton Court Palace. The lights change colours about every 20
Someone sent us
this lovely hamper of cakes and sweets. Dino is delighted and has
already memorised everything in it, mainly the iced cake and pudding! I
did a last check of the Christmas Day ingredients, in case I needed to
do more shopping.
In the afternoon we
went to a Christmas Dinner in a restaurant. This is a lemon meringue ice
cream called Frosty the Snowman. When we got home, we opened this lovely
house shaped card. I am definitely going to make some like that for next
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We went on another
visit to the Winter Wonderland, it is so big it needs two visits to see
everything and get photos and videos. This is the Hangover tower, where
the people go up very slowly and then come down very fast. They must get
a fantastic view over the Wonderland all lit up.
Everything is very
brightly lit and big crowds everywhere. Everyone was happy and eating! I
like these decorations, they would be good to fill a whole big window.
This is the scary
house, and this man was jumping out at the people as their travelling
seats came round the corner. He had a scary rubber mask on and they were
not expecting one of the characters to actually get that close to them!
This is the
gallopers carousel and the Bavarian tent.
There were sweets
piled up everywhere. Again we watched the skating for about an hour
before going home.
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This is Norad's
Track Santa going over Finland. Brown Teddy says our friends have brought
loads of presents already and there is no more room under the tree!
insisted on climbing to the back to see all the parcels. His favourite
decoration is the cotton wool robins on top of the living room mirror.
This year I have
hung all the cards on a long strip of paper, it is easier than sticking
them onto the wallpaper one by one. Dino is making one last check of the
nibbles containers to make sure they are as full as possible but he
knows it is time for bed very soon.
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We all got up a bit
earlier than usual, to make sure everything was tidy and ready for the
day. Blue Parrot watched Santa Claus The Movie, even though he can
remember every scene! Dino had a good time watching Conquest Of The
Skies showing prehistoric flying dinosaurs brought to life on the
favourite part was where the fossil bones came out and feathers came on
them and it turned into one of the first birds. Meanwhile, outside in
our garden we put out some extra Christmas food for our friendly
I had lots to do in
the kitchen. Blue Parrot helped lay the table and put out the Christmas
We had a lovely
Christmas dinner and afterwards Christmas pudding with custard in tubs,
stripy ice cream, and mint and chocolate ice cream. Dino had second
helpings of the pudding to keep his strength up.
Blue Parrot was in
charge of the presents, choosing which one came next. Afterwards there
was paper everywhere and we all helped get it into a plastic sack, but
it had to be trodden on to get it to fit.
This is Dino's
favourite bowl in the house. It was not long before there were only
Dino watched Alive
At The Natural History Museum, with more dinosaurs brought to life on
the screen. Here is David Attenborough feeding some leaves to Dippy the
Diplodocus. Dino was cheering all the way!
Someone bought us
this lovely LED lighted picture of a snowy house and lane.
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The fish are still
feeding well, because the weather is still very mild, even when it is
rainy. I put a few bits in and if they eat that, then they get a bit
Went went up to
London to see the Christmas lights. First we went to Greenwich. This is
the Cutty Sark ship and I was delighted to see a big fairground carousel
in front of it.
This is Oxford
Street, it was very busy with thousands of shoppers going to the sales.
Oxford Street, and
big peacock feathers in Bond Street.
When we got to back
to Greenwich, we saw the Cutty Sark ship all lit up, with a Christmas
tree shape at one end. What a wonderful surprise! This is the glass dome
roof over the entrance to the foot tunnel under the river.
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We went to Covent
Garden in London to see more lights. The tree is very big and always has
a big red bow at the base. On the other side of the market is this huge
silver reindeer covered in white lights.
This train and
carriages are made of Lego building blocks.
Inside the market
building halls are huge lights made up like bunches of mistletoe.
Someone in the crowd had these wonderful illuminated sneakers, red for
left foot and green for right foot!
As we left Covent
Garden I saw this interesting pillar, it is a place into which people
can plug their electric cars to charge up. These are the lights in the
We went to Somerset
House to see more skating. We watched the machine smooth the ice and
then everyone came on. The man in red was really good and spent all his
time going round quite fast. I like it when the lights change colours,
mainly purple and blue, with spots or snowflake shapes projected onto
On the way home we
went along the Thames riverside. This is the red London Eye big wheel.
The second picture is Blackfriars Bridge with the Shard in the
background with a white top lit up.
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Today we went to
the Geffrye Museum Of The Home in Bethnal Green. They have lots of
living rooms from all the different centuries. I really like this
Victorian one, done up for Christmas with a tree,a bunch of mistletoe and
lots of toys on the table.
This 1930's room
has paper chains and paper lanterns for Christmas. We have some smaller
paper lanterns like that up right now, by the side of the doors. This 1950's room brought back memories to someone who used to
make paper chains just like that. The toys and paper are still on
the carpet, just as if children had opened their presents and left the
Afterwards we went
to St Paul's Cathedral where they had a gathering of vintage fire
engines to commemorate the people who lost their lives fighting fires in
London. Everyone was taking lots of pictures from all angles.
The people were
dressed in wartime clothing from about 1940.
The man operated
this boom arm, which rotates and extends to carry the hose nozzle very
Cathedral and the Millennium Bridge is the National Firefighters
Memorial showing firemen during the Blitz of the Second World War. There
are lots of names on all sides, including later peace time names.
We walked down to
see the Millennium Bridge. It was quite blowy and the water looked murky
and cold. We were glad to get back to the train station and into the
with the heaters next to the seats.
People have left
some hard toffees so I have had a go at melting them and making oatie
toffee snacks. There were delicious but I think next time I will use
less water in order to make them a bit firmer. I have taken lots of
pictures of the decorations, as very soon they will be packed away.
We always leave the
lights up during January and sometimes they stay up longer than that. I
save the best cards and cut out the fronts to make a little picture
gallery to brighten the winter days.
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